Belarus Places Blame on NATO for Russia/Ukraine War

On September 24th, Belarus’s Foreign Minister, Vladimir Makei addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Makei’s address centered around the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. He argued that the negligent expansion from NATO and the West prompted Russia to invade Ukraine. Makei even went as far as to blame the West for the casualties in the conflict: “it is the collective West that should fully bear the responsibility for the ongoing bloodshed in Ukraine.”.

The continued backlash based on NATO’s possible involvement in the conflict is reflecting badly on the alliances mission to promote peace. In such a crucial time when NATO is trying to recruit new members, the bad press from eastern European countries is especially harmful. It will be interesting to see how this effects other European countries decision to join NATO in the future.

-Katriel

https://apnews.com/article/united-nations-general-assembly-russia-ukraine-nato-belarus-c39bf051b2fd8649c155f3e2ea4b8901

 

China employs civilian ships as a proxy to conduct work for military

China, despite being the country with the largest navy (by count of ships), is employing civilian ships to conduct jobs that the navy could not do themselves. There are multiple ways China has been employing these civilian ships and have been doing so for years in an attempt to gain disputed territory, pressure other countries, or possibly gather data.

In terms of disputed territory, China pays commercial fishermen to anchor around the Spratly Islands in order to maintain the argument that the islands are Chinese territory. As the waters are “in use” by civilian ships, the territory dispute can be maintained even though the Chinese military is paying the fishermen to anchor there; an action the Chinese navy could not do themselves.

These fishermen have reportedly harassed fishermen from other countries who enter the waters, “accidentally” ramming into ships from other nations. This is an action that could be interpreted as the Chinese navy using the guise of civilians ship accidents to maintain the waters by force.

There have also been reports of civilian ships armed with technology that allows for the deployment of air and sea-borne drones and missile-tracking equipment.

Most importantly in terms of national security, there has been reports of Chinese military training on loading military vehicles onto civilian transportation vehicles. While the Chinese military doesn’t have the ability to move armed vehicles across the water to, say, Taiwan, it certainly could use civilian transportation to do so. The military training practicing just that opens up speculation as to why, and it’s possible that the training could be used to intimidate Taiwan.

As most of the major issues here are speculation, I would not do anything as the Biden Administration. However, as the Administration has been doing thus far, staying vocal in support of Taiwan is a must in protecting its sovereignty against China.

 

China is using civilian ships to enhance navy capability and reach (cnbc.com)

How 3 presidents announced the deaths of terrorist leaders and what it says about them

Over the past 11 years, American politics have often included the announcement of a terrorist leader’s death by the president of the United States. At the end of the day, every man wants to show off his dominance on the world stage. Also, every president makes it a point to mention in their speech that they told the military and intelligence personnel to act on the information presented. It was highlighted how Obama and Biden used sensitivity when describing and phrasing the killings of al-Zawahiri and bin Laden. When announcing the execution of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Trump used a different strategy and described the raid in dramatic detail while using emotive language. Overall, this article demonstrates how Biden and Trump attempted to mimic Obama’s speech and what Trump’s actual campaign language is. Trump believed that the position of the presidency was earned by being energetic and exciting and that the current presidential style was dull and pathetic. The phrases each president used and their demeanor on the platform speak volumes about the kinds of leaders they want to be.

 

-Nick

https://www.npr.org/2022/08/05/1115413454/biden-trump-obama-speeches-terrorist-leaders

 

Ukraine war: Protests in Russia’s Dagestan region against new draft.

Civilians in Russia’s Dagestan region have begun to have altercations with police after protests against the recent actions of the Russian government calling up an estimated 300,000 military reserve troops to fight in Ukraine. It’s been estimated that 2,000 people have been arrested in Russia following Vladimir Putin’s announcement of partial mobilization of the Russian military reserve forces. The protests have been taking part in cities across Russia. The violence against Russian police is seen as a rare event in Russia as images of protestors have begun to gain traction across social media platforms.

Frances

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-63028586

Recent Protests in Iran and the impacts on the JCPOA negotiations

As we have all seen this week following the death of Mahsa Amini Iran took steps to choke the Iranian people’s access to the internet, within certain regions of the country,  in an attempt to reduce the flow of information, both into and out of the country. This is a somewhat fruitless attempt to reduce the international consequences the government could face as the truth surrounding Amini’s death spreads worldwide, showing a brutal and restrictive regime. However, in response the US has reduced the internet sanctions imposed on Iran, this expands the use of social media, the cloud, and video conferencing, this move is designed to signal to the Iranian people that the US stands with them and will help to ensure the Government understands that the protesters will not be silenced. This follows the move by the US to impose sanctions on the ‘morality police’, who are viewed as a police force designed to enforce the laws, including those relating to the ‘proper’ use of a hijab, this is viewed as a restriction on the rights of women to choose how to dress and act.

The recent actions of Iran and its police force, who rather than protecting the people seem to target them and infringe on their basic human rights, and the response by the government to restrict access to the internet – another infringement on basic rights, could pose another challenge for those seeking to restore the JCPOA. The US response shows it clearly stands with the protesters, this will further increase tensions between the two governments, making the already fraught negotiations increasingly demanding, as both governments now have another contingent to be added to the agreement before either one will sign on to the deal. The Iranian government will see the US’ actions as the US government overstepping its role into Iranian domestic affairs, and it will not take this lightly, thus increasing Iranian hostility towards the US, and reducing the likelihood of these talks coming to a conclusion any time soon.

-Ellie

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/23/us-relaxes-internet-sanctions-on-iran-in-support-of-protesters

The Argentine government plans to spend $684 million on new fighter jets.

The proposed budget comes set up with $664 million to buy new aircraft and $20 million for new infrastructure to support the operation. South American countries have been working to modernize their militaries, but Argentina’s efforts have been hindered in some unique ways. The United Kingdom (UK) has bans and restrictions on any British-made parts that would be sold to Argentina because of the Falklands war in 1982. This has limited the maintenance and operational capacity of weapons Argentina currently has and may be looking to procure. Argentina has shopped elsewhere for jets, but with some parts being British in origin (radar, refueling systems, ejection seats), the sale has either been canceled or blocked. Sales won’t be made for Russian jets because of current “political and logistical” reasons. Sales likely won’t happen with India as replacing parts of British origin will be too expensive. A deal with a US company is also unlikely as the US won’t help with Argentinian procurement efforts and the sale would likely come under heavy restrictions. Israel has launched a campaign to sell to Argentina. The mixing of US and Israeli components has complicated this venture as well. This leaves China as the most likely candidate, as none of the parts on the fighter jets are of British origin. Argentina’s commitment to these deals is also being questioned, adding another layer of difficulty to these efforts. Retired Argentine Army Col. Guillermo Lafferriere has been quoted as saying “The people today in office in the government spent decades describing the military as criminals, as well as neglecting the armed forces while saying they are an unnecessary waste. Their voters believe that, and will get enraged if they now start spending in military hardware and getting international loans for it, even if it is a small amount like this for combat aircraft.” If and where these fighter jets will be bought remains to be seen.

-Roderick

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2022/09/21/argentina-eyes-664-million-for-fighter-jets/

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/argentina-and-uk-sign-deal-formal-degree-recognition

“I Don’t Want to Take Part in This, but What, If They Threat Me With a Weapon?” Farce Referendums Held by Moscow in Occupied Parts of Ukraine

From this morning on, Moscow began orchestrating processes, that the Kremlin calls “referendums” in the occupied regions Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizka in the south of Ukraine on joining Russia.

Russian proxy officials in those four regions announced that the referendums will be held over four days from Friday on. While Russia controls major parts of, Luhansk and Kherson, it only exercises power over a fraction of Zaporizka and Donetsk.

The question on the election papers is written in Russian as well as Ukrainian: “Do you wish to secede from Ukraine and create an independent state that will enter the Russian Federation?”

The Ukraine as well as Western partners dismiss the “referendums” as pure propaganda. President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the farce” of “sham referenda” would do nothing to change his nation’s fight to drive Russia from Ukraine, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, ARD, the public German broadcast, reports about people with transparent ballot boxes knocking on local residents’ homes in the occupied regions, pressuring them to set a cross on the “referendum” papers. One man told German correspondents anonymously via phone: “I don’t want to take part in this, but what, if they threat me with a weapon?”

With the referendums, as far as I can see, Russia takes another step to further escalation not only towards Ukraine but also towards Europe and the US. As Putin announced earlier this week, once the referendums will define the occupied regions as “official” Russian territory – as he puts it – Putin will see any attack on those regions as an attack on the Russian Federation.

This aggressive approach also directly affects US Foreign policy, as in combination with the partial mobilisation within Russia, Ukraine will probably need more weapons to defend itself in the near future. The USA will probably stay among the most important donators for weapons and financial aid. Thus, decisions by Washington about when which aid will arrive in Ukraine is very important for the overall course of the war. Consequently, the Biden administration has to be even more cautious and quick in reaction regarding its involvement in the conflict with Russia in the coming weeks.

– Maline

Sources

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/09/23/world/russia-ukraine-putin-news?name=styln-russia-ukraine&region=hub&block=storyline_live_updates_block_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection

https://www.tagesschau.de/multimedia/video/video-1091345.html

https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/europa/jurij-sobolewskij-103.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60564123

North Korea Denies US Intelligence Report of Arms Agreement With Russia

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/3655662-north-korea-rejects-us-intelligence-allegations-it-supplied-weapons-to-russia/

Today North Korea denied having provided Russia with weapons for use in the war between Russia and Ukraine, which stands in direct conflict with a U.S. intelligence report released earlier this month, which stated that a substantial artillery purchase between Russia and North Korea was in the making. North Korea claims these allegations were spread by the U.S. to deliberately “tarnish” North Korea’s image.

This is an interesting response from North Korea because it begs the question of why exactly would they deny an arms deal with Russia when they have already openly supported Putin’s mission since the beginning of the Ukraine war. Perhaps by denying these claims, North Korea is attempting to discredit U.S. intelligence, and by extension to cast a negative light on the legitimacy of the Ukrainian cause as a whole in favor of the alternative narrative that the U.S. is somehow responsible for escalating the tensions of the crisis.

-Anna

Pakistan in Recovery

While damage to infrastructure remains a prevalent concern, it has been reported by authorities that no civilians have succumb to flooding related deaths in over 3 days. This significant milestone provides hope that the worst is behind the country, and they can now focus on reconstruction in affected areas. Over 1500 people have died since the beginning of the flooding and a further 33 million have been displaced from their homes. In the aftermath of these events, doctors are left fighting waterborne disease that have become increasingly prevalent in victims of the flooding, but many are lacking access to necessary medicine and food supplies. It still remains to be seen how long it will take for Pakistan to recover from this monsoon disaster, but with the help of aid from the international community, hopefully this will be done sooner rather than later.

-Wesley

https://apnews.com/article/floods-health-pakistan-56862ab335b14fcd4357b1888bddac20

Ukraine Has Recorded over 1,000 Cyber Attacks Since the Beginning of the Year

Since the beginning of 2022, The Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine has detected 1,123 cyber-attacks, experiencing three times more cyberattacks at the beginning of the war than in the same period a year earlier. Government and local authorities experienced 260 cyber-attacks, and security and defense organizations suffered 154 security incidents. One month prior and a month into the war, Russian hacking operations had focused on impairing the capabilities of the Ukrainian military and government – quickly realising that they instead had to change their tactics to focus on inflicting the maximum possible damage on the civilian population. Kyiv managed to succeed in gathering an international IT army to help retaliate against Russian hackers. That group consisted on Anonymous, Ukraine’s IT army, Hacker Forces and other hacktivist groups. Pro-Russia groups had started to attack government websites of the countries supporting Ukraine: Finland, Italy, Romania, Germany, Norway, Lithuania, Czechia, and Latvia.

The impact that cyberware plays in modern war is much larger than most people think. The usage of cyberwarfare has larger consequences than just hand-to-hand combat, it has the ability to cause electrical blackouts, failure of military equipment and breaches of national security secrets. Speaking of Ukraine, many have realized that Ukraine has proven themselves with physical warfare, however no one really understands just how under attack they have been through cyber means. Russia may not have the upper-hand with physical combat but they definitely have advanced technological warfare. Not even mentioning all the Pro-Russia hacker groups that have no direct association with Russian government or military. These groups launch themselves into their own cyber warfare leaving Ukraine to fight not only attacks coming directly from the Russian military, but from many other hacker groups meaning there has to be a capable team ready to defend any kind of cyberattack. This conflict between Russia and Ukraine is only skimming the surface of the abilities of cyberwarfare, and technological advances can only increase from here, meaning who knows what the future of cyber warfare looks like.

-Kerrin

https://cybernews.com/cyber-war/ukraine-records-over-1100-cyberattacks/

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