Pakistani Horn Continues to Nuke Up: Daniel 8

Pakistan likely to continue to modernise and expand its nuclear capabilities:US intelligence official

Pakistan is likely to continue to modernise and expand its nuclear capabilities by conducting training with its deployed weapons and developing new delivery systems in 2022 as it perceives it as key to its survival, given Indias nuclear arsenal and conventional force superiority, the Pentagons top intelligence official has told lawmakers.Lt Gen Scott Berrier, Director, Defence Intelligence Agency told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a recent Congressional hearing that Pakistans tense relationship with India will continue to drive its defence policy.

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 18-05-2022 10:27 IST | Created: 18-05-2022 10:25 IST


Pakistan is likely to continue to modernize and expand its nuclear capabilities by conducting training with its deployed weapons and developing new delivery systems in 2022 as it perceives it as key to its survival, given India’s nuclear arsenal and conventional force superiority, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official has told lawmakers.

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Lt Gen Scott Berrier, Director, Defence Intelligence Agency told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a recent Congressional hearing that Pakistan’s tense relationship with India will continue to drive its defense policy. He said Pakistan ”perceives nuclear weapons as key to its national survival, given India’s nuclear arsenal and conventional force superiority.” “Pakistan very likely will continue to modernize and expand its nuclear capabilities by conducting training with its deployed weapons and developing new delivery systems in 2022,” Berrier said. ”Pakistan’s relations with India remain strained since a high-profile anti-India militant attack in the Union Territory of Kashmir in February 2019,” he said, referring to the Pulwama attack in which 40 Indian paramilitary troopers were killed.

“New Delhi’s August 2019 revocation of Kashmir’s semiautonomous status added to these tensions. However, cross-border violence has decreased since February 2021, when both countries recommitted to a ceasefire,” Berrier said, adding, “India and Pakistan have not made meaningful progress toward a long-lasting diplomatic solution since then.” India announced withdrawing the special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August 2019. India’s move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 outraged Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.

India has said that it desires normal neighborly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility, and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

Last year, India and Pakistan announced that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors. In his testimony, Berrier said that on April 11, Shehbaz Sharif was elected as Pakistan’s new prime minister after a no-confidence vote removed Imran Khan from the post. In his first speech as prime minister, Sharif called for rebuilding the US-Pakistan relationship and denounced Khan’s conspiracy theory that the US had orchestrated his removal.

“Sharif probably will give priority to addressing Pakistan’s economy while deferring to the Army on security issues for at least the first 6 months of his term,” he said.

”Khan’s removal almost certainly portends a period of political instability as the Sharif government transitions and as Pakistan prepares for elections due no later than August 2023,” he added.

Russian Horn Moves Nukes Towards Finland

Photo shows a line of Army green trucks traveling down a three-lane highway.
Nuclear-capable Iskanders filmed on May 16 en route to Vyborg, near Russian’s border with Finland.

Russia reportedly moves nuclear-capable missiles to Finland border

Lee Brown

May 17, 2022 4:29pm 

Russia has reportedly moved missiles capable of firing nuclear warheads close to its border with Finland amid heightened threats over the latter’s bid to join NATO.

A fleet of more than a dozen military vehicles moved down a highway — including seven that are thought to carry Iskander missiles, a video clip shared by Reuters Monday shows.

They were taken to Vyborg, a Russian city on the Finnish border, “as soon as the president of Finland said they were joining NATO,” the unidentified narrator of the clip said.

“Looks like a new military unit is about to be formed in Vyborg or the region,” he said.

The short-range ballistic missiles are already thought to have been used extensively by Russia — and are known to be ready to fire nuclear warheads, officials previously told Newsweek.

A senior US Air Force officer working on nuclear weapons told the outlet that the intelligence community sees the Iskander as the most serious threat.

Putin seated at a desk, facing a televised video conference.
Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting via teleconference on May 17.

The video emerged days after one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO that Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles if Finland joined the US-led military alliance.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that
joining would end the “nuclear-free status for the Baltic.”

Obama shouldn’t blow his Iran protest ‘do-over’

Biden shouldn’t blow his Iran protest ‘do-over’

by Michael Rubin

 | May 18, 2022 06:00 AM

In 2009, Iran erupted. Iranian elections have never been free in the Western sense: The clerical regime carefully vets who can run and often eliminates more than 98% of the candidates before the first vote is cast. Still, Iranians were outraged when the regime blatantly changed vote tallies to ensure Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s corrupt, Holocaust-denying president, got a second term. Protests erupted in every province, every major city, and most large towns. Iranians not only denounced Ahmadinejad, but they also condemned Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and called for an end to the Islamic Republic.

As the protests stretched from days to weeks, Iranians grew frustrated with then-President Barack Obama’s muted response, often chanting, “Obama, Obama, you are either with us or against us.” Only subsequently did it emerge that Obama sought to downplay any support for the protesters because he did not want to endanger his secret outreach to Khamenei. This led to a series of negotiations and hostage ransom that replenished Iran’s treasury and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Today, President Joe Biden has a rare opportunity for a do-over. Anger is boiling in Iran at increasing bread prices. The Russia-Ukraine war has disrupted much of Iran’s wheat imports, which had reached record levels even before the war. Much of the shortfall in domestic grain production, meanwhile, is due to regime corruption. The river ran dry in Isfahan last year, for example, not because of climate change but rather because the regime dispensed no-bid contracts to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-owned companies to build unnecessary dams solely for the profit of the military.

During Nowruz celebrations for the Persian New Year, many Iranian city dwellers left home because raising prices and food scarcity — chicken is also in especially short supply — meant they could no longer offer the traditional hospitality that marks the holiday. Rumors, meanwhile, circulate on Iranian social media that the Iranian government is about to implement bread rationing. The government, for its part, rails against the bakery profiteers and promises subsidies to the poorest.

Bread riots have long been a third rail in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. Wheat shortages due to heavy snow forced the regime to deploy security forces across several northern provinces in 2008, while slashing subsidies led to deadly riots in Egypt in 1977 and again 40 years later. Many Iranians do not understand why they lack wheat when Khorasan, Iran’s northeastern province, has traditionally been a breadbasket for the region.

There has always been a socialist component to the Islamic Revolution. Revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini and those surrounding him melded Islamism with various Marxist influences. The regime promotes a command economy while often rooting its decisions in an amorphous concept of social justice. Today, however, Iranian leaders have difficulty distracting the public with the rhetoric of class warfare when poor Iranians see the leadership rather than the disappearing middle class as the source of the problem.

Iran is a tinderbox, and rising bread prices and shortages could be the spark that sets off the conflagration.

As Iranians protest the regime that has failed to keep its promises and transformed Iran into an international pariah, the question for Biden is whether he will repeat Obama’s mistake and turn his back on the Iranian people in order to grease a process with the regime they hate. Alternately, he can stand aside and declare that the Iranian people have the same right to freedom and liberty as the Ukrainian and American peoples do.

Should Iranians control their own destiny, the nuclear impasse will fade away — first because it is the ideology of the regime that threatens and second because, economically and from an energy standpoint, there is no logical reason for Iran to invest in nuclear energy.

Let us hope that, as Iran erupts, Biden is farsighted enough to see the big picture and not repeat Obama’s mistakes.

Michael Rubin (@mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential. He is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Babylon the Great Has Hypersonic Nukes: Daniel 7

Air Force says it successfully tested hypersonic weapon

U.S.

Keleigh BeesonTom PalmerPosted: MAY 17, 2022 / 04:31 PM CDT | Updated: MAY 17, 2022 / 04:31 PM CDT

(NewsNation) — The U.S. Air Force said Monday that it had conducted a successful test of a hypersonic weapon, which flew at five times the speed of sound.

According to a statement from the Air Force, the test was conducted Saturday off the coast of Southern California when a B-52 bomber released an Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW.

After the weapon separated from the aircraft, its booster ignited and burned for the duration of the flight, the statement said.

The test comes as the U.S. races to develop hypersonic weapons to counter potential adversaries Russia and China.

The speed and maneuverability of hypersonic weapons make them difficult to track and intercept.Kim warns North Korea could ‘preemptively’ use nuclear weapons

The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced in early April that they were working together via the recently created security alliance known as AUKUS to develop hypersonic missiles.

Also in April, the Russian military said it successfully performed the first test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a weapon President Vladimir Putin said would make the West “think twice” before taking any aggressive actions against Russia.

According to U.S. military officials, Russia has now used hypersonic air-to-surface missiles in its military campaign in Ukraine, in what could be the first time these missiles have been used on the battlefield.

An expert NewsNation spoke with said Russia generally use conflicts to test their latest weapons systems.Russian officer: Missile to carry several hypersonic weapons

So what does that mean for the arms race between countries?

According to a professor of international affairs, the U.S. is leading the charge in hypersonics in at least one sense.

“It’s ahead of the pack in terms of the wide range of technologies being developed in the hypersonic program,” said Dinshaw Mistry, associate professor of international affairs, University of Cincinnati. “It’s slightly behind Russia in actually fielding them. But … that does not really matter in terms of battlefield effectiveness.”

Most military analysts say China and Russia have distinctly aggressive intentions.

Their objectives require dominating their neighbors and ensuring that the U.S. encounters significant obstacles in conducting a counterattack.

The U.S., on the other hand, must be able to deter at all levels of war, and all levels of escalation.

Hypersonics are only one, albeit critical, part of a broader American strategy.

The Hill and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Iranian Horn Just Weeks From Being Nuclear: Daniel 8

Gantz: Iran ‘weeks from enough fissile material for bomb,’ adding 1,000 centrifuges

Defense minister warns cost of dealing with Iran will be higher in a year; warns Tehran against transfer of advanced weapons to proxies; says Israel’s position on Ukraine ‘ethical’

By EMANUEL FABIAN 17 May 2022, 11:06 am  

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a conference at Herzliya’s Reichman University, May 17, 2022. (Gilad Kvalarchik/Gilad Kvalarchik)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned on Tuesday that Iran is just a “few weeks” from accumulating sufficient fissile material for a bomb. It is also working to finish the production and installation of 1,000 advanced centrifuges enriching uranium, including at a new underground site at the Natanz nuclear facility, he said.

“Iran continues to accumulate irreversible knowledge and experience in the development, research, production, and operation of advanced centrifuges,” Gantz said during a conference at Herzliya’s Reichman University.

“It stands just a few weeks away from accumulating fissile material that will be sufficient for a first bomb, holds 60 kg of enriched material at 60%, produces metallic uranium at the enrichment level of 20%, and prevents the IAEA from accessing its facilities,” he added.Keep Watching

“During these very days, Iran is making an effort to complete the production and installation of 1,000 advanced IR6 centrifuges at its nuclear facilities, including a new facility being built at an underground site near Natanz,” he said.

Last month the head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency confirmed that Iran had set up a new centrifuge parts workshop at its Natanz nuclear facility.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi said the machines were moved from Karaj, near Tehran, to the new location, which he said was some three floors belowground, possibly to protect it from airstrikes.

The workshop had been set up in one of the halls of Natanz’s fuel enrichment plant, where Iran has thousands of centrifuges, Grossi said.

Natanz, in Iran’s central Isfahan province, hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility. (AP)

Iran’s centrifuge facility in Karaj was targeted in what Iran described as a sabotage attack in June. Natanz itself has twice been targeted in sabotage attacks, assaults that Iran has blamed on Israel.

Talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal have stalled. There is concern that Iran could be closer to being able to construct an atomic weapon if it chose to pursue one.

In this frame grab from Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran, June 6, 2018. (IRIB via AP)

The nuclear deal collapsed four years ago when former US president Donald Trump withdrew the United States and imposed crushing sanctions on Iran. In the meantime, Iran has vastly expanded its nuclear work, while insisting that it is for peaceful purposes.

“The price for tackling the Iranian challenge on a global or regional level is higher than it was a year ago and lower than it will be in a year,” Gantz said.

The defense minister also said two Iranian drones downed over Iraq in February were intended to reach terror groups in the Gaza Strip or West Bank.

“The [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard [Corps] launched a pair of drones from Iran itself, towards Israel. Among other things, based on the fact that the UAVs had parachutes attached, we estimate that the purpose of the launch was to parachute them into the Gaza Strip or Judea and Samaria and for them to be collected by terrorist organizations,” he said.

An Iranian Shahed-136 drone is launched during a military exercise in Iran, December 2021. (Screenshot: Twitter)

The Israel Defense Forces has confirmed it intercepted at least four other Iranian drones heading for Israel or the West Bank and Gaza Strip in recent years.

The defense minister warned that Iran’s attempts to transfer “accurate munitions” to its proxies, including via Syria, were continuing. “Israel will continue to halt these efforts and prevent the threat to its citizens and the region,” he said, days after an airstrike in the northwestern Masyaf area of Syria was attributed to Israel.

“The quantity of this strategic weapon in the hands of Iranian emissaries has increased significantly in the past year,” Gantz said. “In Iraq, there are hundreds of [munitions]; many dozens have been added this year. In Yemen, the number of [munitions] has increased in the past year, and the Houthis hold dozens of them.”

Speaking on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Gantz said Israel was in the right place “ethically and strategically,” adding that he supports transferring additional defensive equipment to Ukraine.

Israel has avoided aligning too closely with either side since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24. It is one of the few countries that maintains relatively warm relations with both Ukraine, a fellow Western democracy, and Russia. However, the rhetoric coming from Jerusalem shifted in the wake of the reports of widespread civilian killings by the Russians and comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claiming that Adolf Hitler had “Jewish blood.”

While Jerusalem has increasingly shifted its tone to align more with Western powers, it has so far steadfastly declined to contribute to the Ukrainian military effort, instead sending humanitarian aid and defensive equipment to be used by emergency services.

Gantz said supporting Ukraine must not come at the cost of Israel’s “broad operational considerations, which are also an anchor for regional stability.”

Israeli strikes have continued in Syrian airspace, which is largely controlled by Russia, even as ties with Moscow have deteriorated in recent weeks. Israel has found itself at odds with Russia as it has increasingly supported Ukraine, while seeking to maintain freedom of movement in Syria’s skies.

Agencies contributed to this report.

3 Scenarios for the Russian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Russian President Vladimir Putin surrounded by uniformed people.

3 Scenarios for How Putin Could Actually Use Nukes

Here’s how to think about the unthinkable.

Vladimir Putin looks on during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, May 9. | Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik via AP

By GREGG HERKEN, AVNER COHEN and GEORGE M. MOORE

05/16/2022 12:00 PM EDT

Gregg Herken is an emeritus professor of American diplomatic history at the University of California, and author of Brotherhood of the Bomb.

Avner Cohen is a professor of nonproliferation studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and the author of Israel and the Bomb.

George M. Moore, PhD, is scientist-in-residence at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey.

We know that Russian President Vladimir Putin is thinking about using nuclear weapons. He has twice warned the West not to intervene in Ukraine or face “consequences that you have never encountered in your history.” Recently, Moscow again threatened “unpredictable consequences” if the U.S. continued sending advanced armaments to Ukraine. CIA Director William Burns has said that “none of us can take lightly” the prospect that Putin might resort to the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

While any use of a nuclear weapon is unthinkable to most of the world, under current Russian military doctrine — usually described in shorthand as “escalate to deescalate” — Putin could choose a nuclear “demonstration” as a warning to halt further American military aid to the Ukrainians. In other words, for the Russian leader, detonation of a tactical nuclear weapon by Russia is entirely thinkable. And so the West needs to do some thinking, too.

Tactical nuclear weapons are often called “battlefield” or “theater” weapons to distinguish them from much more powerful strategic nuclear weapons, but they are far more destructive than conventional weapons. During the Cold War, tactical nuclear weapons had yields ranging from tens or hundreds of tons of TNT to thousands of tons. These weapons came in many forms: gravity bombs, short-range missile warheads, anti-aircraft missiles, air-to-air and air-to ground missiles, anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes and even demolition devices or mines. Reportedly, the smallest tactical weapon in the Russian nuclear arsenal has a yield of about one-third the size of Hiroshima or Nagasaki bombs, or equivalent to about 5,000 tons of TNT.

There are a few ways that such a tactical nuclear weapon could be used to fire the kind of “warning shot” envisioned in Russian military doctrine. These options come with increasing degrees of risk for the U.S., Ukraine and its allies, and for Russia.

Here are three scenarios.

Scenario 1: Remote atmospheric test

Least provocative would be Putin’s resumption of above-ground nuclear testing — by detonating a low-yield nuclear warhead high above Novaya Zemlya, the old Soviet test site in the Arctic, for example. While both the actual damage on the ground and radioactive fallout would be negligible, the psychological effect could be enormous: It would be the first nuclear explosion by a superpower since nuclear testing ended in 1992, and the first bomb detonated in the atmosphere by either the U.S. or Russia after such tests were outlawed by treaty in 1963. It would also be a potent reminder that Putin has tactical nuclear weapons in abundance — about 2,000 by last count — and is prepared to use them.

Scenario 2: Atmospheric detonation above Ukraine

A more provocative demonstration would be an ultra-high-altitude explosion of a more powerful weapon over Ukraine itself. In a 1962 test, the U.S. detonated a 1.4-megaton H-bomb in the mid-Pacific, 250 miles above the Earth. The resulting electromagnetic pulse unexpectedly knocked out streetlights and disrupted telephone service in Hawaii, 900 miles distant. A similarly powerful explosion above Kyiv would not only be visually spectacular but would likely plunge the capital into prolonged darkness and silence by shorting out computers, cellphones and other electronics. EMP effects might also extend into NATO member countries. But the extent of damage from the pulse is unpredictable, and Russian communications could also be affected.

Scenario 3: Ground explosion in Ukraine

Most dangerous — and, for that reason, perhaps least likely — would be using a tactical nuclear weapon to achieve a concrete military objective such as disrupting the delivery of weapons to Ukrainians fighting in a city like Mariupol. Alternatively, Putin might detonate a tactical nuclear warhead against military or logistics targets in sparsely populated western Ukraine — in the agricultural lands between Lviv and Kyiv, for instance — after warning people in the target area to evacuate. But even the smallest nuclear weapon would set fires over a wide area if detonated in the air. Depending on the height of the explosion, it could also spread lingering radioactive fallout, possibly extending into NATO member countries and Russia itself.

If, instead of a demonstration in a remote area, Putin were to attack a Ukrainian city with a weapon one-third the Hiroshima yield, the resulting casualties and destruction of property could approach that seen in Japan, since the corresponding radii of damage would be about 70 percent of that seen in those atomic bombings.

While none of the above scenarios is currently likely, neither are they far-fetched. Barring scenarios of an imminent Russian defeat, another humiliation like the loss of the Russian flagship Moskva or growing domestic discontent in Russia at a stalemated war — Putin has no logical reason to initiate the use of nuclear weapons.

But wars are very unpredictable, and there are ample precedents in history where a nuclear demonstration has been considered, beginning with the United States.

In May 1945, weeks before the successful test of the first atomic bomb in New Mexico, former President Harry Truman’s advisers considered, briefly, the option of a harmless but spectacular demonstration of the revolutionary new weapon as an alternative to its military use, in hopes of compelling Japan to surrender. For practical reasons — there were too few bombs in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and some feared a dud — the demonstration option was never presented to Truman.

But the warning shot idea would surface again and be taken more seriously. During the 1961 Berlin crisis, former President John Kennedy was presented with the option of firing a nuclear-tipped missile at Novaya Zemlya to show American resolve. Israel has also considered a nuclear demonstration; prior to the Six-Day War, in May 1967, Shimon Peres proposed detonating a nuclear device over the Sinai desert to head off the conflict. Six years later, the Israelis again briefly entertained the notion of a high-altitude nuclear warning shot to force an end to 1973’s Yom Kippur War. In 1981, with the Cold War again heating up, Secretary of State Alexander Haig — a former NATO supreme allied commander — let slip that “there are contingency plans in the NATO doctrine to fire a nuclear weapon for demonstrative purposes …”

There is little doubt that a nuclear demonstration is an option that has been considered in the Kremlin. This opens the question of what would be the best U.S. or NATO response. It’s our view that if Putin fires a nuclear warning shot in the Ukraine war, President Joe Biden should resist pressure to respond in kind and avoid any options that could lead to an escalating nuclear exchange. Instead, the president should rally the nations of the world in a universal condemnation of Putin for breaking the nuclear taboo and taking the most dangerous first step toward a nuclear war. The U.S. and NATO could also respond by use of non-kinetic means like cyber warfare. For Biden, regardless of what Putin decides, engaging Russian forces in direct combat should only be a last resort.

Tenuous Stability Leading to the First Nuclear War

Pakistani, foreground, and Indian border guards mimc each other's movements during their daily ceremonial face off, at the Wagah-Attari border crossing, Sept. 28, 2019. (Mustafa Hussain/The New York Times)
Pakistani, foreground, and Indian border guards mimc each other’s movements during their daily ceremonial face off, at the Wagah-Attari border crossing, Sept. 28, 2019. (Mustafa Hussain/The New York Times)

China, India and Pakistan: Tenuous Stability Risks Nuclear War

Senior Study Group explores the trends threatening stability in Southern Asia and offers recommendations for U.S. policymakers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022/ BY: Daniel Markey, Ph.D.;  Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.;  Vikram J. Singh

PUBLICATION TYPE: Analysis and Commentary

Editor’s Note: The following is an adapted excerpt from USIP’s Senior Study Group Final Report, “Enhancing Strategic Stability in Southern Asia.” The report reviews the challenges posed by changing strategic circumstances in Southern Asia, assesses a range of U.S. policy options and presents a set of priority recommendations for U.S. policymakers.

Over the past decade, long-standing disputes between the nuclear-armed states of Southern Asia have repeatedly veered into deeper hostility and violence. These regional developments reflect and reinforce new and significant geopolitical shifts, starting with the global strategic competition between China and the United States. In Southern Asia, relations between the United States and Pakistan have frayed even as U.S.-India and China-Pakistan ties have strengthened. The region now faces deepening and more multifaceted polarization. Global competition adds fuel to regional conflict and reduces options for crisis mediation.

To help keep the peace in Southern Asia, the United States should undertake efforts in three domains: core regional disputes, strategic regional stability and potential crises involving nuclear-armed actors in the region.

Core Disputes

Consistent with long-standing U.S. policy, Washington should encourage diplomacy between the governments of India and Pakistan to resolve their bilateral disputes nonviolently. In addition, recognizing that regional circumstances have changed, especially in Afghanistan and Kashmir, and that the February 2021 cease-fire holds, if tenuously, the United States should also seek senior-level discussions with New Delhi to consider prospects for new India-Pakistan diplomatic initiatives. This would include encouraging diplomatically, and when possible supporting with technical assistance or advice, even minor opportunities to reduce India-Pakistan tensions. Examples include demilitarizing the Siachen Glacier, reenforcing water sharing agreements, and enhancing channels for communication between India and Pakistan, even if core bilateral disputes continue to prove intractable. Washington should also pursue bilateral consultations with New Delhi on India’s border dispute with China to discuss strategies for returning to nonviolent management of differences without territorial concessions.

U.S. diplomats should clarify to Beijing that the primary consequence of its provocative actions in disputed territories is stronger U.S-India strategic cooperation. In U.S. negotiations with the Taliban-led regime in Afghanistan, Washington should explicitly name anti-Indian terrorist organizations among the groups of serious, if not topmost, concern to the United States. This would be a first step to gauging prospects for cooperation with the Taliban in limiting Afghanistan’s role as a base for anti-Indian training and operations. Relatedly, as Washington attempts to build over-the-horizon counterterror capabilities inside Afghanistan, it should consider anti-Indian terrorist organizations as high priority targets, just below terrorists with global or chemical, radiological, biological and nuclear ambitions.

The United States should develop, in partnership with the widest possible coalition of allies and partners (starting with Quad members Australia, India and Japan), new economic and financial tools intended to deter Chinese territorial aggression against India and elsewhere, along with coordinated implementation strategies. That coordinated effort should begin by identifying a range of economic and financial measures (including targeted market or supply cutoffs) and by anticipating likely Chinese policy responses to minimize the potential costs of retaliation.

The United States should also increase economic and financial costs to Pakistan for continuing or expanding support to anti-Indian and other terrorist organizations, including by working with allies and partners to maintain the conditions-based financial instrument of the Financial Action Task Force. Other policy tools merit serious consideration as well, such as closing market access or denying visas to Pakistani officials to Europe and the United States. 

Washington should support regional economic development projects through the World Bank and other partners specifically intended to improve interstate commerce, especially between India and Pakistan, and to build material incentives and more vocal constituencies favoring peace. Last, Washington should support creative track 1.5 and track 2.0 initiatives to promote interaction, new ideas and dissemination of previous lessons among current and future policymakers in the United States and Southern Asia.

Strategic Stability

To enhance prospects for strategic stability in Southern Asia, Washington should devote renewed attention to nuclear risk reduction measures in the region. Specifically, it should offer U.S. diplomatic, technical and analytical support to improve the region’s capacity for nuclear information-sharing and communication in future crises. This would start with establishing a dedicated, secure and redundant India-Pakistan nuclear hotline with supporting bilateral agreements and practices, followed by the establishment of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers that would facilitate information collection and sharing as they have in the U.S.-Russia context.

The United States should also encourage India and Pakistan to consider unilateral or bilateral steps, such as renouncing specific technologies like nuclear depth charges and adding cruise missiles to the 2005 missile test pre-notification agreement. Such moves would both help reduce the use of especially destabilizing technologies and build confidence for more significant arms control discussions.

Washington should urge New Delhi to open a bilateral strategic stability dialogue with Beijing, backed by quiet U.S.-India information-sharing about Chinese nuclear developments to support Indian dialogue participants. Equally, US diplomats should urge China, perhaps in the context of proposed US-China strategic stability talks, both to be a voice for restraint in Pakistan and to pursue a bilateral strategic stability dialogue with India as a tangible demonstration of responsible leadership. 

The United States should discuss with partners and allies the concept of a new transregional forum on regional and global strategic stability that would convene an N-7 group (China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) in discussions to increase mutual understanding, strengthen stabilizing nuclear norms (such as new declaratory policies and practices intended to distinguish nuclear from conventional weapons and thereby address the discrimination challenge), and over time encourage restraint.

Washington should raise the N-7 concept with Beijing in the context of bilateral dialogues, appealing to Beijing’s desire to play a greater role in international leadership and citing the need for China to assume greater responsibility on issues of global peace and security. U.S. policymakers should lay the groundwork for their official diplomatic initiatives by providing support to track-2 N-7 discussions to encourage participation by other member states, seek workarounds to likely objections and obstacles, and identify topics and ideas that could eventually be fed into official channels.

Relatedly, the United States should deepen defense cooperation with India in ways that contribute to India’s capacity for territorial defense and a stabilizing conventional and nuclear deterrent. At the same time, Washington should be careful to avoid exacerbating the regional arms race or increasing the likelihood of nuclear crises. Accordingly, U.S. efforts should prioritize defense cooperation and sales in areas that contribute to the resilience of India’s civilian and military communications infrastructure in future crises, such as cyberattacks, and otherwise enhance prospects for crisis stability.

When U.S.-India defense cooperation and sales are not possible, and especially in areas that have been central to India-Russia defense cooperation, Washington should encourage New Delhi to consider purchases from U.S. allies and partners, such as France and Israel, as smart and reliable alternatives. It should pair these defense initiatives with an enhanced strategic stability dialogue with New Delhi, specifically to discuss ways in which newly acquired systems could be deployed to enhance rather than diminish prospects for regional peace and security.

Last, the United States should restart a regular dialogue with Pakistan on strategic stability. Washington should also conduct a systematic review of lessons learned from past U.S. initiatives to help Pakistan improve the security and safety of its nuclear assets, then should consider whether related lessons could be applied to future cooperative activities with India or Pakistan.

Crises Between Nuclear-Armed States

To better manage crises between nuclear-armed regional states, the United States should take concrete steps to prepare its policymakers for complex nuclear crisis diplomacy in Southern Asia. U.S. preparations should include conducting gaming exercises within the intelligence community; developing a generalized policy playbook for India-China, India-Pakistan, and overlapping India-China-Pakistan crises; and routinely sharing insights from these planning documents with all incoming senior officials in relevant U.S. government agencies, embassies, and bases.

Although any new crisis will be unique, Washington should use these briefing sessions to consider policy challenges that run through many crisis scenarios in Southern Asia, such as the need to balance two potentially competing U.S. aims: supporting India as a strategic partner and simultaneously avoiding actions that could inadvertently escalate crises with nuclear-armed adversaries in China or Pakistan. The United States should also consider whether and how public messaging, including sharing U.S. information, should be used to debunk disinformation propagated by regional actors to prevent crises and avoid escalation.

Other measures Washington should undertake to manage crises include improving U.S. indicators and warning for regional crises and preparing capabilities for sharing information publicly and with regional actors. In addition, the United States should improve its technical channels for real-time intelligence sharing with India, especially related to indications and warning of increased threats posed by China along the China-India border and at sea. Relatedly, the United States should offer technical assistance to India to enhance the resilience of its information and communications systems in a regional crisis. Washington should also establish, maintain, and test routinely multiple secure and reliable channels for information-sharing with China, Pakistan, and Russia, even if official bilateral relations with or among these countries continue to deteriorate.

U.S. preparation for crisis diplomacy should include working with trusted third parties, such as the United Arab Emirates, to serve as intermediaries and honest brokers in future crises. Part of such preparation would be to preestablish points of contact and secure communication protocols to avoid confusion in crisis. Similarly, the United States should work with close allies such as France and the United Kingdom to prepare a menu of diplomatic initiatives intended to introduce delays and offer off ramps from possible nuclear escalation.

Trump Administration Provokes the Iranian Horn

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives an address. (Photo credit: ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Pompeo’s Visit With Iranian Resistance Will Rattle Regime

 By Ken Blackwell | May 17, 2022 | 10:45am EDT

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives an address. (Photo credit: ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s presence at the headquarters of the largest Iranian opposition movement Monday marked a significant moment in U.S.-Iran policy. Its impact on the strategic U.S. outlook toward Iran may be indirect or momentarily hazy, but its historic connotation will be neither short-lived nor inconsequential. It has the potential to persuade a shift in focus to an American policy orientation that has been dangerously discounted for far too long.

In November 2019, Iran was shocked by the most unprecedented nationwide protests in its history. In January 2020, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, delivered a major public speech, in which he blamed the main opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) for organizing the protests. This is a critical point that Western policymakers ignore.

Incidentally, several days before the uprising, former U.S. national security advisor to President Obama, General James Jones, had paid a visit to Ashraf-3, the MEK’s home in Albania. Khamenei publicly pointed to that visit in his speech, saying, “Several days before the riots, in a small and sinister European country [Albania], an American [General Jones] joined some Iranians [MEK] and planned the crisis.”

Khamenei remains deathly afraid of the MEK. Ironically, however, his ministry of intelligence has painted the movement in its official propaganda as a marginalized “cult” that does not enjoy public backing. Some American journalists uncritically relay the same narrative.

On Monday, the most senior American official to date, a Secretary of State in the previous administration, visited Ashraf-3 and met with Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), in which the MEK is the main component.

The visit is meaningful for several reasons. Every time the movement attracts growing international recognition, the regime reacts with a mix of fury and fear. Over the past two decades, the MEK and the NCRI have been recognized by international luminaries, lawmakers, human rights defenders, policy experts, top officials, and thousands of parliamentarians on both sides of the Atlantic for their genuine struggle for democracy and freedom in Iran.

Horrified, the regime tried to bomb the NCRI’s international gathering in Paris in June 2018. Recently, a Belgian court found an Iranian regime diplomat and three accomplices guilty of conspiring to bomb the Free Iran rally in 2018.

For the past few years, the regime has become even more sensitive to the MEK as an existential threat and the only alternative to its decaying rule. First, the MEK’s Resistance Units have expanded the scope and depth of their activities, leading anti-regime activities in hundreds of cities and organizing nationwide protests. Second, the MEK has led an elaborate international movement to bring the major culprits of the regime to account for their crimes against humanity and genocide in 1988.

In that year, at least 30,000 political prisoners, 90% of whom were MEK members and supporters, were brutally massacred for their political and religious beliefs on the orders of former Supreme Leader and regime founder Khomeini. Their bodies were dumped in secret mass graves located across the country. Amnesty International has called it a crime against humanity while United Nations officials and rapporteurs have demanded an independent international inquiry into the killings. Notably, the regime’s current president, Ebrahim Raisi, was involved as a key executioner.

Dozens of MEK witnesses have testified in Sweden against a former Iranian regime official involved in the 1988 massacre. A ruling is expected this year, which will have a lasting consequence for the regime internationally and domestically.

In these circumstances, Pompeo’s visit lends further credence to the argument that the Iranian opposition led by the MEK is gaining ground while the regime is clearly on the brink. It points to the MEK’s startling staying power against all odds. It shows that the organization is here to stay, and that major policy experts consider it as a serious alternative to the regime. A former U.S. Secretary of State does not play dice on such a critical issue that generates the regime’s permanent wrath. This is especially noteworthy as U.S. authorities are actively protecting Pompeo after receiving credible threats by the regime against his life.

Pompeo’s visit to Ashraf-3 also serves as a guideline for the most pragmatic and appropriate policy toward Iran. This policy should reject appeasing the regime while siding with the Iranian people. The Ukrainian example should serve as a model. Appeasing dictators produces potent dangers to international peace and security. A resilient people and opposition have a chance against dictators. Ukraine has shown that regardless of size, a determined opposition can be a serious and formidable opponent against some of the world’s largest powers.

The MEK’s message and history gives a similar flavor. The Iranian people have a chance to win against the ruling theocracy. The Iranian people have not resigned to a future dominated by dictatorship. They want freedom and democracy and they are paying the requisite price for it. Pompeo’s visit shows that the international community should support the MEK in its plight. The policy orientation is as clear as it is noble: Instead of appeasing the regime, stand with the Iranian people and their organized opposition in their quest for a free, secular, democratic, and non-nuclear Iran.

Ken Blackwell was the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Russia Threatens to Nuke the European Horns: Daniel

Russian state TV said the country may use tactical nuclear weapons in response to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, highlighting military bases used by the alliance as targets

Russia threatens to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on its European border ‘when NATO bases appear in Sweden and Finland’ as Stockholm now joins Helsinki in confirming they want to join the alliance

  • Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party has said it backs NATO membership bid
  • It comes after Finland said early Sunday it would be making its own application
  • Sweden reversed policy within hours of Finland and said it too will join NATO 
  • Russian state TV said the country may use tactical nuclear weapons in response
  • Yesterday, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin told the President of Finland he is making a ‘mistake’ by joining NATO as it faces ‘no security threats’
  • The Finnish Parliament is expected to endorse the decision in coming days 
  • Public support for the two countries to join has swelled since invasion of Ukraine 

By CHRIS JEWERS and TOM BROWN FOR MAILONLINE and AP

PUBLISHED: 18:57 EDT, 15 May 2022 | UPDATED: 07:54 EDT, 16 May 2022

Russian state television has said Moscow may deploy tactical nuclear weapons to its European borders if Finland and Sweden allow military bases on their territory after joining NATO.

Sweden’s Social Democrats yesterday said they had dropped their opposition to NATO membership only hours after Finland confirmed its intention to join the alliance.

Vladimir Putin-supporting pundits responded with more sabre-rattlling on Russian state TV last night.  

A commentator on Rossiya One said: ‘Their official reason is fear. But they’ll have more fear in Nato. 

‘When Nato bases appear in Sweden & Finland, Russia will have no choice but to neutralise the imbalance & new threat by deploying tactical nuclear weapons.’ 

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, said weeks ago that Russia could deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave between Poland and Lithuania, in responce to NATO’s Nordic expansion.

One of the original supposed rationales for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February was to stop Nato enlargement – but that plan is now in tatters as both Scandinavian nations say they will seek membership of the alliance.

Stockholm’s formal application is expected to start later today after being debated and approved by MPs. Sweden, which was neutral during the Second World War and has stayed out of military alliances for more than 200 years 

The turnaround by prime minister Magdalena Andersson’s party, which has opposed Nato membership since the start of the alliance, secures a firm majority in Sweden’s parliament in favour of joining. 

Mrs Andersson said she would consult parliament today before announcing her government’s official intention to apply.

‘Europe, Sweden and the Swedish public are living a new and dangerous reality,’ said Ms Andersson, announcing the decades-long policy U-turn. ‘The best thing for the security of Sweden and the Swedish people is to join Nato.’

Many Swedish politicians said their support was conditional on Finland joining.

Russian state TV said the country may use tactical nuclear weapons in response to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, highlighting military bases used by the alliance as targets

President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki (pictured)

President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki (pictured)

Finnish president confirms country will seek to join NATO

‘The party board has at its meeting on May 15, 2022 decided that the party will work toward Sweden applying for membership in NATO,’ the Social Democrats said in a statement.

Sweden, which was neutral during the Second World War, stayed out of military alliances for more than 200 years though it forged closer ties with the Brussels-based organisation from the 1990s.

The turnaround by Mrs Andersson’s party, which has opposed Nato membership since the start of the alliance, secures a firm majority in Sweden’s parliament in favour of joining.

Coming less than three months after Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine on February 24, the move from the two nations is a stunning reversal of their military non-alignment policies – and paves the way for the 30-member Western military alliance to expand.

Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made their announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.

The Finnish Parliament is expected to endorse the decision in coming days, but it is considered a formality following a swell in public support for doing so.

A formal membership application will then be submitted to NATO headquarters in Brussels, most likely at the some point next week.

Speaking during a NATO conference in Berlin today, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced confidence that NATO members would support the bid, after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed last-minute objections. 

‘I heard almost across the board, very strong support for Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, if that’s what they choose to do, and I’m very confident that we will reach consensus,’ he said from the German capital.

Russia has said it could place nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave between Poland and Lithuania in responce to NATO's Nordic expansion

Russia has said it could place nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave between Poland and Lithuania in responce to NATO’s Nordic expansion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said on Sunday that Turkey is not blocking potential membership bids by Sweden and Finland and voiced confidence at resolving Ankara’s stated concerns.

‘Turkey made it clear that its intention is not to block membership,’ Stoltenberg said. 

The two nonaligned Nordic nations becoming part of the alliance would pose an affront to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has justified the war in Ukraine by claiming it was a response to NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe. 

Finland shares a 830-mile border with Russia. Should Finland’s application be ratified, Russia’s border with NATO would roughly double in length.

Yesterday, Putin told the President of Finland he is making a ‘mistake’ by joining NATO as it faces ‘no security threats’ in a phone call.

President Niinistö said his conversation with Putin was ‘conducted without aggravations’ as both parties worked to ‘avoid tensions’.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and cyber-attacks on Finland and Sweden have ‘altered the security environment’ in Helsinki, Putin was told. 

Meanwhile, Western military officials said Sunday that Moscow’s campaign in Ukraine, believed to have been launched with the goal of seizing Kyiv and toppling the Ukrainian government, had slowed to a snail’s pace. They said the invading Russian army had lost up to one-third of its combat strength since February.  

Speaking during a NATO conference in Berlin today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (pictured) voiced confidence that NATO members would support the bid

Speaking during a NATO conference in Berlin today, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (pictured) voiced confidence that NATO members would support the bid

Blinken adresses Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO

‘Today, the President of the Republic and the Government’s Foreign Policy Committee have jointly agreed that Finland will apply for NATO membership, after consulting parliament. This is a historic day. A new era is opening’, Niinisto said.

‘We have reached today an important decision in good cooperation with the government and the president of the republic. We hope the parliament will confirm the decision to apply for the NATO membership during the coming days. It will be based on a strong mandate’, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said.

Finland has remained militarily non-aligned for 75 years.

But after its powerful eastern neighbour invaded Ukraine in February, political and public opinion swung dramatically in favour of membership, with the Finnish president and prime minister on Thursday calling for the country to join NATO ‘without delay’.

Russia has repeatedly warned of consequences if Helsinki joins the alliance, but earlier this week, Niinisto told reporters that ‘joining NATO would not be against anyone.’ He said his response to Russia is: ‘You caused this. Look in the mirror.’

NATO’s deputy chief said on Sunday that the alliance is confident that it can overcome objections by Turkey and quickly admit Finland and Sweden.

Foreign ministers from NATO’s 30 member states are holding two days of talks this weekend in Berlin that are focused on the two Nordic countries’ membership bids.

However on Saturday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu unexpectedly raised objections, saying it was ‘unacceptable and outrageous’ that the prospective new NATO members gave support to the outlawed Kurdish militant group PKK.

It was not immediately clear whether discussions between Cavusoglu and several NATO foreign ministers as well as their Finnish and Swedish counterparts later in the evening had yielded any progress in resolving the dispute.

As talks resumed on Sunday, NATO’s Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said he was confident Ankara’s concerns could be addressed.

‘Turkey is an important ally and expressed concerns that are addressed between friends and allies,’ Geoana told reporters.

‘I am confident if these countries decide to seek membership in NATO we will be able to welcome them, to find all conditions for consensus to be met,’ he added.

‘Finland and Sweden are already the closest partners of NATO,’ Geoana said.

Geoana also told reporters: ‘The brutal invasion (by) Russia is losing momentum. We know that with the bravery of the Ukrainian people and army, and with our help, Ukraine can win this war.’

Geoana, who was chairing the meeting while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recovers from a COVID-19 infection, said Ukraine’s supporters were ‘united, we are strong, will continue to help Ukraine in winning this war.’

Key moments from second day of NATO talks in Berlin

Members of the media wait for the news conference on Finland's security policy decisions at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, May 15, 2022

Members of the media wait for the news conference on Finland’s security policy decisions at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, May 15, 2022

Foreign ministers pose for a family photo at a NATO meeting in Berlin, Germany May 15, 2022

Many allies at the Berlin meeting backed Finland and Sweden, stressing the need for swift ratification of their membership bids, which typically take up to a year.

‘Germany has prepared everything to do a quick ratification process,’ Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters, adding that ministers had agreed at a dinner on Saturday that the momentum should not be lost.

‘We must make sure that we will give them security guarantees, there must not be a transition period, a grey zone, where their status is unclear,’ she said.

She was referring to the ratification period during which the Nordic countries would not yet be protected by NATO’s Article 5, which guarantees that an attack on one ally is an attack on all.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly echoed Baerbock’s comments, saying she hoped it could be done ‘within weeks’.

Despite last-minute objections voiced by Turkey, NATO members are on ‘good track’ in their discussions on welcoming Sweden and Finland into the Western military alliance, Croatia’s foreign minister, Gordan Grlic Radman, said as he arrived for talks.

The allies, who were joined on Sunday by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, discussed the issue of interim security guarantees for Sweden and Finland, whose plans have drawn threats of retaliation from Moscow. 

United States Secretary of State (left) is shown standing next to Britain's Foreign Minister Liz Truss during the NATO foreign minister family photo on May 15

United States Secretary of State (left) is shown standing next to Britain’s Foreign Minister Liz Truss during the NATO foreign minister family photo on May 15

Annalena Baerbock, Foreign Minister of Germany, speaks at the beginning of an informal meeting of NATO members states foreign ministers on May 15, 2022 in Berlin, Germany

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Annalena Baerbock, Foreign Minister of Germany, speaks at the beginning of an informal meeting of NATO members states foreign ministers on May 15, 2022 in Berlin, Germany

Russia regards NATO expansion as a threat to its own security and cited Ukraine’s ambition to join the alliance as a reason for launching what it calls a ‘special military operation’ in its southern neighbour.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was due to join Sunday’s talks to brief the allies on the situation on the ground and NATO support for Kyiv.

Kuleba said he met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Berlin on Sunday and that ‘more weapons and other aid is on the way to Ukraine’.

‘We agreed to work closely together to ensure that Ukrainian food exports reach consumers in Africa and Asia. Grateful to Secretary Blinken and the US for their leadership and unwavering support,’ Kuleba tweeted.

The two men discussed the impact of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, including on global food security, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said.

‘The Secretary conveyed details regarding the latest tranche of U.S. security assistance to bolster Ukraine’s defences,’ Price said.  

The ministers will also look at a first draft of NATO’s new strategic concept, its basic military doctrine, which is set to be agreed at a leaders summit in Madrid at the end of June.

‘We agreed we must continue to help Ukraine win and push Russia out,’ British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

‘(Russian President Vladimir) Putin must face a sustained defeat in Ukraine, Russia must be contained and such aggression must never happen again.’ 

Pictured: A map showing the current members of NATO in Europe (in blue) - and the possible expansion of NATO should Sweden and Finland (green) join

Pictured: A map showing the current members of NATO in Europe (in blue) – and the possible expansion of NATO should Sweden and Finland (green) join

Ukraine, meanwhile, celebrated a morale-boosting victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. The folk-rap ensemble Kalush Orchestra won the glitzy, televised Eurovision contest with its song ‘Stefania,’ which has become a popular anthem among Ukrainians during the war. 

Votes from home viewers across Europe cemented the victory.

President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed his nation would claim the customary honor of hosting the next annual competition. ‘Step by step, we are forcing the occupiers to leave the Ukrainian land,’ Zelensky said.

Russian and Ukrainian fighters are engaged in a grinding battle for the country’s eastern industrial heartland, the Donbas.

Russia has now likely lost one-third of the ground combat forces it committed in February and continues to suffer ‘consistently high levels of attrition’ while failing to achieve any substantial territorial gains over the past month, Britain’s Defence Ministry said in its daily intelligence update Sunday.

‘Russia’s Donbas offensive has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule,’ the ministry said on Twitter, adding that the forces are suffering ‘continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness.’

‘Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days,’ the ministry said. 

Weaponizing for the First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

china nepal pakistan india globe map south asia

Weaponization Of South Asia – OpEd

   Eurasia Review  

By Asad Ali

South Asia has become volatile region due to the warmongering approach of Modi government. The aggressive statements of Indian officials, strengthening its military might by increasing defense spending, hegemonic and Hindutva driven designs of government are putting entire regional peace in jeopardy, creating panic in the region. The BJP and RSS led Indian establishment making the lives of minorities miserable by attacking them and vandalizing their properties.

By increasing arms race, Indian government is playing with fire while creating chaos in the region. It will gain nothing out of it: hence it is likely to create disturb balance of power severely. Nuclearisation of South Asia by India, a deplorable step, permanently endangering the peace of this region and depriving the population of prosperous life due to diversion of resources towards an arms race. This must be stopped right now before its too late. The leaders in India must not forget that Pakistan has more sophisticated nuclear arsenals than India. It has outclassed India many times in conventional and non-conventional battlefield. The recently dog-fight between Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force in the aftermath of Balakot airstrikes had proved Pakistan’s strategic superiority over India when Pakistani Air Force shot down two Indian aircraft and captured pilot Wing Commander Abinandhaan. That was eye opener for India its also compelled New Delhi to reconsider its hostile approach towards Pakistan. In addition to this, Pakistan had identified more strategic targets inside India after the New Delhi’s blatant violations of Islamabad’s airspace, but it acted in a mature and responsible way. Pakistan showed its military might in retaliation only in defense. Pakistan had to compete as existential threats were posed by Indian leaders of myopic views.  Remember, it was India who violated all diplomatic and international military norms. 

Likewise, after facing humiliating defeat in dog-fight, India had decided to further enhance its strategic capabilities and for that matter it approached Russia and France for latest military equipment. New Delhi purchased latest Rafale aircraft from France to beat Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunders and F-16 aircraft. It had also signed deal with Russia worth billions of dollars to acquire S-400 missile defense system and other defense equipment such as Su-35 aircraft. All these Indian actions and deals are against the already existing international and bilateral rules, which are aimed at increasing arms race in the region. The warmongering designs of Indian government are creating hunger and poverty within the country. Instead of improving the basic life style of masses, New Delhi is interested in strengthening military might. Tens of thousands of Indian people are living below the poverty line having no access to basic necessities of life. They are dying of hunger. But, Modi government is more interested in warmongering. 

Indian liberal political elite, academicians and human rights watchdogs have vehemently denied Modi government’s priorities. They have been asking the government to focus more on health, education and human development instead of wasting money on defense sector. Even, Pakistani government asked India many times to join hands, end animosity and work for peace and stability in the region. Recently, former Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked Premier Modi to come forward and fight against hunger and poverty. He also offered to reduce defense spending and use of that money for human development. Indian government must understand that investing massively in defense sector is not good omen for human and economic development of the region. This will only create further security threat in the region. It must abandoned this approach and come forward to work for the overall economic and political integration of South Asia. 

To conclude my argument, I must say that Indian Army’s prevailing doctrine leaves the military with two main choices: do nothing or risk wars it cannot win. The Indian Army needs to rethink its use of force and must work in a professional way like Pakistan Army is working to maintain regional peace and stability.