Archive for October, 2018

Hack Attack of the Skies

British Airways website was hacked recently, with the possibility that more than 185,000 people have had payment card details stolen in a hack attack on the British Airways website. The cause of this breach was a website compromise that had gone undetected for months, and was only discovered while another breach was investigated in September, which affected 380,000 transactions. The breach appears to have been exploited by the same group.  There is also talk of British Airways and their parent company facing fines as a result. Constant vigilance is required of all companies and financial groups in these days, as the fallout from hacks and security breaches is devastating in the sense of data loss, loss of public trust and confidence, and the financial repercussions. Frequent patches and updates to websites and programs are also needed.



US Troops to Mexican Border

Under the name Operation Faithful Patriot, President Trump is sending 5,200 troops to the US Mexican border to respond to the migrant caravan coming from Central America. President Trump is calling the caravan an “invasion of migrants”. The additional troops being sent will join the 2,100 coast guard members that are already at the border. According to BBC, General Terrence O’Shaughnessy say troop mobilization holds a goal of protecting Texas, Arizona and California. The operation will include troop deployment along with weapons, helicopter, planes, and barriers with wire to support boarder patrol agents. Although the migrants are a few 1,000 miles away, a journey which is estimated to be another few months before they reach the US- Mexico border, troops are said to be deployed within the week. According to President Trump, “many gang members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border”. Many in the caravan are hoping to apply for asylum to escape violence in their home countries as well as look for job opportunities, the president finished his statement by saying that unless they go through the legal process than they will be stopped. According to the Wall Street Journal the number of troops being deployed will exceed those in Syria and Iraq. The article ends stating, while other presidents in the past have employed similar actions to illegal migration, cases of asylum do have a legal precedent that under international law these migrants are considered refugees and their cases for asylum have to be heard. The article compares this deployment of troops to the 1,200 troops president Obama sent to the border during his presidency and  Operation Jump Start under President Bush, who sent 6,000 troops to the border.

– Ayanna

Russia opposes US OneWeb satellite service, citing security concerns

A few years ago OneWeb and Roscosmos (Russian space agency) struck a deal where OneWeb would provide internet coverage for the remote parts of Russia that have no internet access. This was supposed to be a deal that would eventually provide internet for people worldwide, because as of right now about 45% of world’s population still have no internet access. The reason OneWeb partnered with Roscosmos was because OneWeb wants to create a network of satellites (900 in total) and launch them in space using Russian satellites. FSB opposes this, citing security concerns, because this would grant an unlimited access to rural and remote areas (particularly the Arctic region and the Far North) to a foreign satellite network. The agreement that was initially struck is worth $1 billion. Now, the majority stake in this venture belongs to a Russian company Gonets, so that Russia has control over the who provide the network service. Russia wants either India or China to do that, because those countries are not as “aggressive”.

The only way it really affects US would be that if its intelligence agencies wanted to spy on Russia in this way, then now they won’t be able to. Things like these keep highlighting the amount of mistrust there are among Russian and US governments right now. This deal was struck before the Ukrainian conflict and before US became involved in Syria.


OIC Continues to support Somalia

The OIC is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The body is an organization of Islamic countries that seek to forge better relationships with non-Islamic countries, promote stability, and lasting economic growth. Somalia hosting the meeting of the organization is meant to show that Somalian leaders are sill attempting to alleviate the country of its corruption and better its international standing. There were 16 representatives of differing Islamic countries attending the meeting.

This meeting is a step in the correct direction for Somalia. For long term stability, the country still needs to eliminate their corruption issue. At this point Somalia seems unable to eliminate either the terrorist opposition or the rampant corruption prevalent in the government. They already accept foreign aid in combating the militants, but refuse foreign offers of assistance to control the corruption in the country. Somalia needs to increase the ability of foreign arbitrators to enter the country and gauge the severity of corruption in the country so that aid could be put to use where it is most effective instead of funding individuals seeking profit and control of the country.

ISIS bomb maker blows himself up in… Iraq? I thought we were done there?

Just one day ago, on October 28th, 2018, one of ISIS’s most notorious bomb makers has blown himself up in Iraq. This is a prime example and proof that ISIS still remains in Iraq after the International Coalition’s efforts (Operation Inherent Resolve) to remove them. As I predicted in a previous article, ISIS may seem to have been defeated in Iraq and Syria but they are far from being exterminated.

The group has went into hiding in the cities and towns where the fighting has taken place. The fighters are re-organizing and re-structuring their organization to make, yet again, another attempt at establishing the caliphate. I also assume that this will be a double edged sword for the international community, considering that ISIS now has personal incentive to launch attacks in the countries who assisted in Iraq and Syria.

Over the next few months, keep your eyes open for attacks throughout the world as well as in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. in Competition with China over Foreign Assistance

I have posted on this topic previously, but with the Trump administration’s foreign aid review underway, I think it is important to re-address this issue. Because of China’s increasing economic involvement in international funding of infrastructure and programs to enhance the economic growth of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, Trump is still deciding if cutting foreign aid aligns with U.S. interests abroad.

Pompeo and Trump believe that if the U.S. and China continue to compete economically around the globe, it will actually enhance the global economy and benefit everyone, and ensure the U.S. still has powerful influence worldwide. Do you think Trump will stick to his decision to continue foreign funding?



NATO assists Cyber Security systems in Ukraine

NATO  is currently working with Ukraine to help develop cyber security systems and enhance preexisting ones. Similar programs are being in run in countries such as Afghanistan, the Republic of Macedonia, Armenia and Tuinsia.  These programs were said to be developed in order to help nations that are struggling to keep up with the pace in which cyber security moves forward.

This is probably happening not only to help these nations, but to increase NATO’s influence within them. Ukraine has already had a history with cyber attacks from Russia which caused them and many American businesses several issue. Countries such as Afghanistan and Macedonia also history with Russia looking to interfere with their affairs so these programs set up by NATO very much seems to be a power grab.

Environmental Changes Spurs Immigration, and Immigration Spurs Environmental Changes

Indeed, one of the most direct environmental impacts of illegal immigration is one that’s clearly observable to anyone who lives at the southwest border — the thousands of pounds of trash that are discarded and left behind by aliens and their hired human smugglers. Perhaps the state hardest hit by trash at the border is Arizona, which shares 370 miles of border with Mexico. Behind only the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, Tucson, Ariz., is consistently the sector of the border with the highest number of Border Patrol apprehensions.

Given our discussions regarding environmental changes spurring immigration, this article serves as an interesting contrast that highlights how immigration contributes to environmental changes. I think the buildup of trash caused by immigration represents an added concern that is not being addressed as a security concern. Over time, increased trash is just going to build up and become more and more of an issue that not only affects the environment but effects how we deal with immigration. For this reason, I think this is just another example of how possibly environmental concerns are an afterthought but will eventually possibly build up to become a legititimate concern whihc at that point, might be too late.

-Christiana Meyers

Russia Warns of ‘Trade Wars’ Negatively Affecting Energy Security

Earlier this month the Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak warned that increased protectionist policies that result in ‘trade wars’ will negative effects on international energy security. He warns that by 2040 worldwide energy consumption will increase by 30% implying that nations will have to work together in the future to solve potential energy shortage issues. Novak’s statement comes as tensions between the US and China are increasing with each country levying new tariffs on one another in the hopes of gaining an advantage.

Novak’s statement is not inherently flawed as future energy reserves are a concern for most developed countries. However, his sentiment of nations working together for energy security ring hollow given Russia’s use of energy dependency to destabilize Crimea before annexing it only four years ago.

Read more:

–John Reinboldt, 10/28/2018

Progress, Power Politics, or Procrastination

The four power summit which included Russia, Turkey, Germany, and France meet on Oct 27 in Istanbul. There was little progress made. This is due, in part, to the different agendas each actor has. Each state is calling for action by the others while refusing to take any real steps in the peace process. The power dynamics apparent in this summit eclipse the stated goal of finding a peace settlement and rebuilding Syria. Turkey, in particular, is trying to balance Russia’s power in the region by drawing in European powers. The writer of the article thinks it very unlikely that Assad will allow any type of democratic elections. He has worked brutally to maintain power and will not give it up willingly.

Though the article claims a final settlement will not be possible with out US support, it also demonstrates the lack of confidence in the US. Turkey has not gone through the standard UN process, but has tried to rally international support through this four power summit.

Anna K.

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