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Russia

Yevhen-MahdaEverything may become an instrument of hybrid warfare. And electoral processes are no exception. It is well-known that Russia interfered in the Ukrainian election in 2004 which finally led to the Orange revolution. The Russian strategy in Ukraine in 2004 failed and back-fired. But it did not stop the further search for methods of election meddling. It took more than 10 years to create a more sophisticated strategy and tactics, as the article on the next page reviews.

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nickwattsIMG 20170907 0924504Figures released on 30th July by the UK's Defence Export Sales Organisation (UKTI DSO) indicate that on a rolling ten-year basis, the UK remains the second largest global defence exporter after the USA. Nick Watts took a look for Defence Viewpoints.

In 2018, the UK won defence orders worth £14bn, up on the previous year (£9bn) and illustrative of the volatile nature of the global export market for defence. The UK share of the global defence export market was estimated at 19% in 2018. The UK's largest defence export markets were the Middle East, North America and Europe. In 2018, the value of UK Security export sales was £5.2bn, an increase from 2017 (£4.8bn), maintaining the UK at 4th place in the rankings. The UK's largest Security export markets were Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America, of which there are more details on the next page.

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HRH Prince Saud al Faisal, Saudi Arabia's long serving Foreign Minister, talked to Defence Viewpoints in Riyadh today. He's calling for greater efforts from the international community to resolve the Syria crisis, but "nobody is asking for a military force to conquer all of Syria." Read more below.

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By Elayne Jude, Great North News Services

Chechnya Russia's restless frontier

On 16 April 2009 Russia declared that Chechnya was no longer a 'zone of counterterrorist operations'. In this three part series Elayne Jude (writing as Paula Jaegar) reflects on the writings of Professor Anatol Lieven, who also addresses the U K Defence Forum on 2nd June 2009 on the Afghanistan-Pakistan situation.

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By Elayne Jude, Great North News Services

Chechnya Russia's restless frontier

On 16 April 2009 Russia declared that Chechnya was no longer a 'zone of counterterrorist operations'. In this three part seriesElayne Jude (writing as Paula Jaegar) reflects on the writings of Professor Anatol Lieven, who also addresses the U K Defence Forum on 2nd June 2009 on the Afghanistan-Pakistan situation.

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By Elayne Jude, Great North News Services

Chechnya Russia's restless frontier

Part Three: Crime and propaganda

On 16 April 2009 Russia declared that Chechnya was no longer a 'zone of counterterrorist operations'. In this three part series Elayne Jude (writing as Paula Jaegar) reflects on the writings of Professor Anatol Lieven, who also addressed the U K Defence Forum on 2nd June 2009 on the Afghanistan-Pakistan situation.

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By Roger Green, Principal Reviewer, U K Defence Forum

Victor Sebestyen is a Hungarian by birth who left Hungary when he was an infant with his parents as refugees. He is a journalist who has worked on many British newspapers and was Foreign Editor and chief leader writer at the London Evening Standard. He covered the war in the former Yugoslavia and his first book 'Twelve Days' on the 1956 Hungarian Uprising was widely acclaimed. During 1989 he reported widely from Eastern Europe on the collapse of Communism and this experience forms the basis of this book.

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The Caucasus in transition
Part One - Georgia: The elephant in the room
By David Hoghton-Carter, UK Defence Forum Research Associate

Last week, we saw an event which may mark a watershed in the history of the Caucasus. Two female suicide bombers walked into Moscow underground stations, one a matter of yards from FSB headquarters, and detonated devices which together have killed more than thirty people. Within hours, Vladimir Putin had sworn to "destroy" those responsible, believed to be an Islamic terror group which wants to create a Muslim Caliphate out of three Russian states, Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia.

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The Caucasus in transition
Part Two - The Terrible Triad: religion, ethnicity and nationalism
By David Hoghton-Carter, UK Defence Forum Research Associate

Yesterday, I introduced our three-part "Caucasus in transition" series by examining Georgia and the need for a new approach to it from both Russia and the USA.

The Georgia Factor is a symptom of a larger problem, however. The Caucasus have long been dominated by a complex web of interlinking religious, ethnic and nationalistic grudges between competing power groups. For Russia, this is not an international issue of far-flung terrorist bases, this a domestic one of Islamist militancy right on the doorstep and deeply-held national allegiances.

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The Caucasus in transition
Part Three - The Great Game
by David Hoghton-Carter, UK Defence Forum Research Associate

Today, in this concluding part of our "Caucasus in transition series", we move on from examining the complex web of religious, ethnic and nationalistic grudges which marks out the Caucasus to considering how Russia and the other great powers could act to mitigate the risk of future conflict. As considered here on Viewpoints during March, Russia is developing a new foreign policy agenda for a rapidly-evolving future. The role of the 'West' in this whole mess is itself complex. We see the competing demands of autonomous national foreign policy coming out of USA and Britain, in addition to NATO policy, EU policy and a web of strategic and economic multilateral relationships.

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On the 8th June the Global Strategy Forum hosted the above lecture given by Dr Shirin Akiner. Outlined below are some of the key points from that lecture.

Overview

The origins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) can be traced to the end of the Cold War. For much of the Cold War era relations between China and the Soviet Union were characterised by antagonism and suspicion. The heavily guarded Sino-Soviet border, for example, was fiercely contested territory prone to sporadic outbursts of conflict. However, in the early 1990s China embarked on a diplomatic initiative to change the status quo.

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By Elayne Jude, Great North News Services

How are we to apprehend the last hours of the 118 souls lost aboard the submarineKursk in August 2000?

Perhaps by steeping ourselves in the reconstructed daily lives of the crew of an (almost imaginary) British Trafalgar class submarine, on covert patrol in theBarents Sea at the same time.

Imaginary, as this is the premise of Sound&Fury Theatre Company's current production at the Young Vic; absolutely realised, in a multidimensional production based on Bryony Lavery's watertight script.

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Afghan News Roundup for March 2014 is compiled by Elayne Jude for Great North News Service

On the playing fields of Khorasan

FIFA and the International Football Association Board have lifted a ban on female players wearing head coverings.

Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, president of the Asian Football Confederation, praised the decision. Officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan assume that the ending of the ban will result in more orthodox Muslim women competing in sports.

Head scarves were banned because of fears that players who wore them risked injury to their head or neck. New designs with safety features began testing in 2012.

/more

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By Lauren Williamson, Great North News correspondent

A British newspaper incorrectly reported that wikileaked diplomatic cables revealed the US was set to exploit the UK in its renewed arms reduction treaty with Russia. The February 5 article in The Telegraph called into question the UK-US "special relationship," reporting that the US would share secret UK Trident missile data with Russia as part of the New START treaty which went into effect earlier this month. The allegations were quickly echoed by news entities around the world from the Daily Mail to Iran's PressTV.

US Assistant Secretary of State PJ Crowley immediately dismissed the report. "There was no secret agreement and no compromise of the UK's independent nuclear deterrent," Crowley told the press.

UK officials substantiate this.

Though the Foreign Office would not comment on the specifics of the treaty, in an official statement to Great North News, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed support for the New START deal and its work "towards our long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons."

But regarding The Telegraph report, Dr. Julian Lewis, New Forest East MP and expert on defence and disarmament, said he found the article's content surprising.

"The idea that this was a clandestine deal is utter nonsense," said Dr. Lewis, calling the story "sensationalised" and emphasising that the US "never has, never will" provide external entities information on missile performance.

By and large, the New START deal is a straightforward extension of the original START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which was an historic bilateral agreement between the US and USSR to drawdown strategic arms, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The old START, which expired in 2009, effectively limited the number of warheads allowed on US and Russian missiles, while allowing for an information exchange and inspection-verification process between them. Part of the deal required each nation to share information about weapons transfers to third parties.

The Arms Control Association explains that Britain uses only one ballistic missile system for issuing nuclear warheads, the Trident II SLBM, which is provided by the US. An example of a third party missile transaction governed by START would be the return of UK missiles to the US for service checks and reconditions, followed by missile replacements.

The New START deal continues most of the old treaty's provisions, further limiting deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, deployed and non-deployed strategic launchers and heavy bombers to 800, and deployed strategic launchers and heavy bombers to 700. The main differences in the new agreement, according to Dr. Lewis, is that the US and Russia are now allowed five days to provide third party transaction information, as opposed to 48 hours, and that part of the data provided includes the unique identifier of the missiles exchanged.

Some analysts are concerned that this gives Russia too much detail on the size of the UK's arsenal. While Dr. Lewis agrees that this information will, over time, provide Russia a clearer picture of the number of missiles the UK possesses, the UK's overall security strategy is not compromised, since providing Russia the unique identifier numbers to UK missiles falls far short of full disclosure.

"The truth is that it is rather irrelevant information," Dr. Lewis said.

The number of warheads mounted on each missile supplied by the US still remains unknown to outside nations, and Britain's minimum strategic nuclear deterrent remains intact, as does its relationship with the US.

"The important thing is that we are always at liberty to vary the number of warheads on a missile," said Dr. Lewis.

 

By Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary General

Extract from speech at Tbilisi University, Georgia 16 September 2008

When I was here last, in October of 2007, less than a year ago, no one could have predicted the dramatic events that have recently unfolded in this country. I have come back to Tbilisi this week, together with the members of the North Atlantic Council, NATO's most senior political body, to demonstrate the Alliance's strong support for Georgia - and for the democratic choices which Georgia has made, and will continue to make.

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Today (15 Sept), two Tupolev TU 160 bombers (NATO codename Blackjack) are expected to overfly Cuba.

They are taking part in a training exercise which saw the aircraft's first-ever transatlantic flight and first-ever landing outside the former Soviet Union.

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Afghan News Round Up forMay 2013 Compiled by Elayne Jude for Great North News Service.

Also dues unpaid, woman journalist recognised and raising journalism standards, social attitudes

The spectre of Russia sending troops to Afghanistan after the coalition withdrawal was raised by media reports citing Russian Defence Ministry representative Sergei Koshelev saying Russian repair bases may be established in Afghanistan. The Defence and Foreign Ministries subsequently denied the reports.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich: "Moscow's position, that a return of the Russian military to Afghanistan is impossible, remains unchanged."

Moscow and Kabul have a military and technical co-operation agreement, under which Russian specialists repair Afghanistan's Russian-made military equipment. The pull-out in 2014 means that Moscow must re-evaluate the threats that will emerge on the borders of CIS countries.

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In a recent article,The Times discusses Russia's "new" foreign policy position as a graceful extension of an olive branch but common sense tells experts not to get so excited. Russia came out on January 28th with a chain of statements about supporting the Obama Administration because of its willingness to reconsider current U.S. missile defense shield plans in Poland and the Czech Republic. This so-called "olive branch" is a statement that the Russian's will not position Iskander short-range missiles in Russia's Baltic enclave(a plan they announced the day after the 2008 Presidential election) so long as the United States backs down from its plans for the shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. How thoughtful of the Russian's to back out of a missile program it can't afford and hasn't even begun.

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A study commissioned by UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay concluded that there had been 59,648 deaths between February 2011 and November 2012, and that figure would now have risen above 60,000.She described the bloodshed as "truly shocking" according to news reports.

Syrian opposition groups had previously estimated 45,000 people killed.Had the world powers taken the right action a year or eighteen months ago the total would have been a lot smaller.

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According to the elite newspapers and journals of opinion, the future of foreign affairs mainly rests on ideas: the moral impetus for humanitarian intervention, the various theories governing exchange rates and debt rebalancing necessary to fix Europe, the rise of cosmopolitanism alongside the stubborn vibrancy of nationalism in East Asia and so on. In other words, the world of the future can be engineered and defined based on doctoral theses. And to a certain extent this may be true. As the 20th century showed us, ideologies -- whether communism, fascism or humanism -- matter and matter greatly. Bit there is another truth, opines Robert D Kaplan, Chief Geopolitical Analyst of Stratfor.

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