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Is the Islamic Caliphate State (Dawlat al-Khilafah al-Islamiyah) Islamic?

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The Islamic Caliphate State is the fourth stage in the development of an Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. Historically, there was the Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (the uniqueness and Jihad group), established by Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, Jordanian citizen with a Palestinian identity.

Al-Zarqawi promised once he achieve these goals, he would establish an “Islamic Emirate.” In June 2006, Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi was killed, and Abu Ayub al-Masri (Abu Hamzah al-Muhajir), an Egyptian citizen, took his place and established the Dawlat al-Islam fil-Iraq (the Islamic State in Iraq=ISI). Its military leader was Abu ‘Umar al-Baghdadi. In April 2010, both al-Masri and al-Baghdadi were killed, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the leadership of the Islamic State in Iraq.

In April 2013 al-Baghdadi decided to withdraw from al-Qaeda and to expand his organization’s name from the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) to the Islamic State in Iraq and greater Syria (al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fil-Iraq wal-Sham=Da’esh, ISIS). On June 29th 2014, al-Baghdadi has coroneted himself as Caliph Ibrahim, Amir al-Mu’minin, being a descendent of Prophet Muhammad. He also declared the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate State (ICS), with the aim to topple down Arab-Islamic regimes, as the first stage. From that date on, there is no longer ISIS or ISIL or DAESH, but ICS. Those who continue to define it with these names, prove the inability to understand the situation and the complexities posed by this organization.

Who or what is ICS?

It is a Salafi-Takfiri organization characterized by an un-selective Jihad terrorist operations with the aim of bringing back the 7th century Islamic rule of the Fourth Califs (al-Khulafa’ al-Rashidun) as the ideal Islamic rule to humanity. At the end of 2015, it has become the largest and strongest Islamic Organizations with more than fifty Islamic groupings operating under its leadership, a proto-state that has representations in at least thirty states in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It has become the most important and influential non-state player in the entire international relations, and its political influence is perhaps more dangerous than its operational, being an attractive model of imitation for the Muslim believers.

Western political leaders, the media and the cultural-academic elite do not understand the situation. Every time there is a Jihad attack, they respond in the same routine way: Islam is the religion of peace, and Muslims are in fact not extremists. This reality is confusing and embarrassing: how does one determine this when the subject itself says he is Islamic and all his declarations, behavior, ideology and acts are Islamic? Something is really deeply odd, let alone confusing and embarrassing, relating to this issue when it comes to Islam. Western leaders are determined never to connect the dots and never to declare the obvious.

Construct and organization

ICS is an Islamic Salafī-Takfīrī organization that takes its ideology from Islam and acts exactly according to Islamic teachings. It is Islamic in its character, ideology, and objectives. Its political system and its governmental branches are purely Islamic. The flag, the anthem, and the rulings are all in accordance to Islamic teaching. They abide by Islamic commandments and they use a religious Islamic counseling. ICS has state symbols: a flag; passport; maps of political objectives; coin, and all other parameters of states. Most important is the educational system based on the Madrasah Islamic framework. It runs the political economic and social governmental machinery exactly according to the Islamic teachings.

Its uppermost religious-political institute is Majlis al-Shûra lil-Mujāhidīn, the religious Counseling Council that dictates their activity. It confirms, after studying the Islamic Scriptures, the horrific executions and slaughtering of the infidels, confirm by Fatawā, Islamic religious rulings. There is Majlis al-Sharī’ah, the Constitutional Council that deals with the constitutional, security, finance, and general administration aspects. There is also al-Majlis al-‘Askari, the Military Council, the central body of the military activity and operations.

Beheadings and massacres

Two verses from the Qur’an call to behead the Kuffār whenever and wherever they are. Sûrat Muhammad, 47:4, declares: “So when you clash with the infidels smite their necks until you overpower them… until war shall have come to an end.” Sûrat al-Anfāl, 8:12, declares: “I shall fill the hearts of the infidels with terror. So strike off their heads on their necks and every fingertips.” ICS also follows the Qur’anic teachings that terrorizing Islamic enemies brings success to the Muslims, since Allah commands acts of terror against the infidels. Sûrat al-‘Imrān, 3:151, declares: “We shall strike terror into the hearts of the infidels… Hell is their residence…” Sûrat al-Anfāl, 8:12, declares: I shall fill the hearts of the infidels with terror…” Sûrat al-Anfāl, 8:60, declares: “Prepare against them whatever arms and cavalry you can muster, that you may strike terror in the enemies of Allah and your own…” Sûrat al-Hashr, 59:2, declares: “Allah came upon the people of the Book, and filled their hearts with terror.”

ICS also follows Muhammad’s example who ordered the execution by beheading of seven hundred men of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina. There are also many other examples of Muhammad’s orders to behead the enemy of Islam, appear in his biography by Ibn Ishāq, The life of Muhammad. Crucifixion is another part of beheadings. ICS members love chopping the heads off while their victims are crucified. By that they follow the Qur’an (Sûrat al Mā’idah, 5:33). Muslims are to fight the infidels, as Allah heals the hearts of the believers (Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:14–6).

Khalid Ibn al-Walid is one of the uppermost heroes and models of ICS. During the first internal war, the Ridda, in 632–3, he beheaded, burned and massacred all those tribes, men, women, children and the elderly, who left Islam after Muhammad’s death. For his utmost cruelty, he received an honorary name: Sayf al-Islām, the sword of Islam. In 633 he massacred and beheaded tens of thousands of Persian prisoners in the battle of the Red River, in Southern Persia. It was him who declared at the battle of Yarmuk, year 636: “we are a people who drink blood, and we know that there is no blood more delicious than the Byzantine blood.” Following that, one of ICS members, named Khalid (!) has eaten the heart of a Syrian soldier.

There are more. The Umayyad dynasty have massacred and beheaded all the clan of Ali’s family, including little babies. The Umayyad themselves where all massacred by Abbas Dynasty in 750. The Ottoman Empire used the most horrific inhuman acts of massacres and beheadings in the occupation of Constantinople and Athens. They operate the first modern genocide of the Armenians and the Greeks. What the Muslims done to the Buddhists in India is one of the darkest chapters in human history.

ICS follows these examples by herding and marching off hundreds and thousands of male hostages each time, where they shoot them in the head and throw them into the river one by one; or when they put them on lines and in trenches the victims dig, and shoot them by machine guns. However, what the Islamic Caliphate State members love extremely most is all kind of beheadings, with small knives, and then cheerfully show the heads, play football with the heads, or pile them in the main streets and roundabouts. They also educate their youth, ordering small kids to learn the profession of beheading or shooting. It is all done while quoting verses from the Qur’an that justify the massacre and shouting “Allāhu Akbar” against the infidels.

The Islamic hostility to the Cross is an unwavering fact of life, one that is very much indicative of Islam’s innate hostility to Christianity. It has started with Muhammad’s repugnance to the Cross who called it piece of idolatry; it has continued with the “Pact of Umar” which forbade the display of the Crosses, and it has culminated to a new peak with the ICS members slaughtering men on the cross. In their “communiques to the West” ICS leaders have declared: “We will conquer Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women… we will cast terror into the hearts of the cross worshippers.” In Libya, one of Islamic Caliphate State leaders has declared: “We will fight you until Jesus descends, breaks the cross, and kills the pig.”

ICS members are excellent narrators. The main idea is to legitimize beheadings, slavery, and gang-rape by reference to Islamic history and theology, being a powerful narrative of Jihād Fī-Sabīlillāh. Moreover, beheadings are done by the use of the most important Islamic weapon, the sword, with the symbolism of blood ritual. On February 3, 2015, ICS has released a video claiming to show horrifying burning of the captured Jordanian pilot, Maaz al-Kassasbeh. The video is entitled, “Healing the Believers Chests,” a slogan taken from the Qur’an (Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:14). The basis for this is Muhammad’s declaration from the Hadith (Sahīh Bukhārī, 1:11:626).

The problem is not with Muslims, as they clearly and utterly declare their objectives and how to obtain them. They don’t hide behind, and they reveal their world mindset openly. The problem is exactly with the West that does not wish even to discuss the situation concerning Islam and Muslims. It is not a sign of tolerance when one deliberately silences himself against reality; is it rational when one artificially differentiates between Islam as a peaceful religion and “extremists” who high-jacked Islam? Doesn’t it show that we have lost our freedoms purposely and consciously and that we are in a deep state of intimidation in front of the villain?

Slavery and rape

The enslavement of infidel women for sexual purposes is central aspect of Islamic civilization, from the Qur’an, the highest scriptural authority, to Muhammad, the ultimate role model for all Muslims. It constitutes a central part in Islamic history as much as to current events in “Islamic Tribal Anarchic Winter,” mistakenly called “Arab Spring.” Islamic sex slavery is religiously sanctioned by the Sharī’ah. The mainstream of Islamic jurisprudence has justified and supported this practice on the basis of Islam’s canonical sources, including Muhammad’s own example and teaching.

The Sharī’ah, permits the enslavement, selling, and rape of infidel women captured during Jihad wars, being legitimately gained booty, “what your right hand possess” (Sûrat al-Nisā’, 4:3). Sex-rape of captive women was very common during Islamic history and it was performed frequently, as these slave-concubines were considered equivalent to animals. The grammar use of the word “Ma” in this context relate to things or animals, not to human beings. Muslim exegetes agree that once a true Islamic State is established, those living in Dār al-Harb have no rights to their life or their wealth. Therefore, Muslims are allowed to go to these nations and take their wealth and to keep their women as slaves.

As it is against Islam to rape Muslim women, it is permitted, even encouraged to rape all others captured. In the battle of Hunain, the Muslims were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were infidels. So Allah sent down the Qur’anic verse (Sûrat al-Nisā’, 4:24). This verse relieved the Muslims of this restraint by giving them permission to have sex with captive women, at all conditions, even if the women were already married. Abd-al-Hamid Siddiqui, the translator of Sahīh Muslim (8:3433), commented on this tradition, saying: When women are taken captive, their previous marriages are automatically annulled. Sexual intercourse with these women is lawful. The women of the Banu Mustaliq were sold into slavery following their rape. They were “excellent Arab women, and we desired them” (Sahīh Muslim, 8:3371). The prophet of Islam, his companions, and the Muslims used war to collect women for personal sexual use and for slave trading.

An article published in Foreign Policy in September 2014, begins with: “Of the many terrifying stories emerging from Islamic State-occupied Iraq and Syria, the violence directed toward women is perhaps the most difficult to contemplate.” This perhaps sums up the entire issue. It is arguable whether it is more horrifying than beheadings and mutilations in public with sadistic pictures of the victims posted online. It is arguable whether it is more intimidating than herding thousands of infidels and cold-bloodedly shooting them just for the fun of it, while shouting “Allāhu Akbar.” It is arguable whether it is more abhorring than forcing religious minorities to convert to Islam, while showing crucified men. Still, the reality of women, tortured, raped, sold to slavery of very short miserable life is humiliating.

Although sexual violence, enslavement, and rape were the most generic atrocity committed during wars in history, common to all cultures and civilizations, ICS wholly based its activities on Islamic law. These women being desired spoils of war are treated not only like animals, but their short living miserable life is worth less than animals, when the slavery marketplace is full of fresh flesh.

Islamic law makes crystal clear that conquered infidel sex slaves are one of the rewards for those waging Jihad. It is in the Sharī’ah, whom Muslims are ordered to totally emulate, and it is a common fixture of Islamic history. Majid Khadduri explained the idea of “spoils:”

The term spoil (Ghanīma) is applied specifically to property acquired by force from non-Muslims. It includes, however, not only property (movable and immovable) but also persons, whether in the capacity of asra (prisoners of war) or sabi (women and children), If the slave were a woman, the master was permitted to have sexual connection with her as a concubine.

In the fourth edition of the magazine Dabiq, ICS promotes sex slavery as an Islamic practice that conforms to the teaching and example of Muhammad and his companions, and in fact Islamic history. Slavery and young girls’ sex-trade is common now in its occupied territories. It is recorded that the price of each Captured Yazidi girl is $12. An investigation done by Clarion Project reveals that forty-two Yazidi girls were sold by the ICS in Syria for 2000 dollars. At the end of 2014 the slave market in Iraq was by age: A woman aged thirty to forty cost $63; girls aged ten to twenty were priced at $126; girls from one to nine were sold for $168. As ICS members take new towns also in Syria, the market of sex-slavery girls is routine and commonplace.

The horrific thing is that ICS has openly established, organized, and institutionalized a state-sanctioned system of sexual slavery. It is not intended to be a temporary war-time tactics, but a peace-time Islamic institution. It is to recall that contrary to historical evidence, this is not the “usual” women-rape and abuse perpetrated during wars all along history. This is exactly the Islamic tradition to take booty from the vanquished, and it is a deliberate tactic to demolish and degrade the enemy, the infidels, through organized slavery and women rape.

Members of ICS regularly declare that according to Islam they are allowed to rape the Kuffār. This is ‘Ibādah, a way of worshipping Allah. The systematic rape of women and girls has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State. Yazidi women and girls who escaped the Islamic State, and the examination of the group’s official communications, illuminate how the practice has been enshrined in the group’s core tenets. It has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery and trade slavery. This is a “theology of rape,” an integral part of the doctrine and practice of all along the Islamic history and reproduced in the ICS. One has also to recall, there is no male rapist in Islam but seducing woman, whose penalty is death by stoning.

Sheikh Yasir al-‘Ajlawni states that Muslims fighting to topple the regime of the infidel, Bashar Assad in Syria are permitted to capture and have sex with all non-Sunni women, including Shia Muslims, Alawites, Christians, Druze, and Yazidis. The same approach comes from Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamic organization that performs horrific atrocities like the ICS. Its leader also believes that Allah permits the Mujāhidīn to enjoy free sex slavery, after abducting three hundred “infidel” schoolgirls to be sold in the sex slave market.

One can also relates to the issues of crime and punishment to examine the similarities between ICS and the law of Islam, according to the Sharī’ah. The punishment for blasphemy (insulting Allah, Muhammad, and the religion of Islam) is death. The punishment of adultery (if marries) is death by stoning, and if not married 100 lashes. The punishment of slender and drinking alcohol is 80 lashes. The Punishment of stealing is amputation of hand. The punishment of banditry (theft) is amputation of hand and foot. The punishment of murder in banditry is death by crucifixion.  

Summary

One can conclude the issue in one sentence: ICS is the top model of Islam and Islamic teachings. So ingrained in violence in the religion that Islam has never really stopped being at war either with other religions or with itself. Muhammad inspired the Muslims to battle the infidels promising all desires in this world and the Hereafter, and threatened them with Hell if they did not. Muslims were laying siege to towns; massacring its men, raping and enslaving their women; enslaving and converting their children; and taking the property of others. Fighting, violence booty, women enslavement, and rape is the main of Arab-Islamic political culture through history. This is exactly how ICS acts and behaves.

The refusal of Western political leaders, the media, and the cultural elite to open their eyes to reality and protect Western nations from ICS is one of the biggest betrayal. Boko Haram leader also believes that Allah permits the Mujāhidin to slaughter and behead all the infidels, and to enjoy free sex slavery.

Indeed, the Islamic Caliphate State is Islamic. It follows Islam and acts according to Islam. To say it is not Islam is exactly to say the Nazi ideology was not Germany, or the Shinto was not Japanese, or that Islam does not exist as a political religion. ICS is the great winner in contemporary international relations, and the free world contributes the lion’s share to this success by denying its connection to Islam and by not willing to fight it seriously.

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The drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil wells

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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In the early morning of Saturday, September 14 last, at 3.31 and 3.42 a.m., the Yemeni Houthi Shiite rebels supported by the Iranian “Revolutionary Guards” – the right eye of Imam Qomeini, as they are called in Iran – launched about ten drones against the largest Saudi oil extraction area owned by ARAMCO.

Allegedly the operation was launched from Iraq. Both Abqaiq, the largest stabilization facility in the world, as well as the Buqaiq facility in the extraction field, and finally Kurais, about 60 kilometres from Abqaiq, were hit with drones.

  It is the largest oil disruption ever, considering all those caused by wars or other reasons.

The Shiite attacks have immediately reduced Saudi production by about five million barrels per day, i.e. about half of the Saudi Kingdom’s daily output.

 With the drone attacks, the world has lost 6% of its oil output.

 The Saudi authorities have said that, as early as September 17, everything has been under control.

The first geopolitical deduction that can be made is that the current attacks, much more virulent than those already occurred last May, open a second front of Arabia’s war against Iraq, which, in any case, would severely strain the Saudi armed forces, already absorbed by the war in Yemen- albeit with meagre results.

Moreover this could open a new strategic area, in which the USA could be forced to help Saudi Arabia and Israel could be forced to later project its power not only onto its northern and southern borders, but also onto eastern Syria and Iraq – and permanently so, unlike what currently happens.

Certainly, all this regards above all Iran that, however, could not afford a hybrid and conventional war with Saudi Arabia and its traditional regional allies.

 Moreover, the Shiite Houthi’s attack on the Saudi oil facilities was conceived and probably planned by the Head of the Pasdaran, Qassem Soleimani.

Hence the Houthi operation has run parallel with the action directly organized by the Pasdaran on September 15 last, i.e. the seizure of a ship – the name of which is still unknown -carrying a fuel cargo of over 250,000 litres.

 All this happened in the Strait of Hormuz, near the island of Tunb, in Iranian waters.

 A full option strategy to show Iran’s new regional strategic status.

According to Iranian sources, the rationale underlying the naval operation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards concerns the substantial oil smuggling to and fro the United Arab Emirates.

Tout se tient.

  Iran, on the one hand, while assessing the war burden for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, wants to open other fronts of the conflict, thus also extending Israel’s defence chain. Hence Iran pursues the overstretch of its traditional opponents.

 Another possible assessment of the drone operation carried out by the Houthis and Iran is that it could be an Iranian response to the actions undertaken by French President Macron who has recently tried to organize a side meeting, at the UN General Assembly, between US President Trump and  Iranian President Rouhani.

Ali Khamenei, the Rahbar and, hence, Iran’s Supreme Leader, was, however, clearly opposed to a new Iran-US diplomatic relationship, and his Revolutionary Guards have immediately understood the issue.

Moreover, the very recent drone attacks on the two Saudi facilities are not even the first and only ones. As mentioned above, on May 15 last, two Saudi pumping stations – placed on the East-West pipeline that reaches up to the Yanbu oil terminal were attacked with two drones probably launched from Iraq.

Hence Iran has an efficient and stable network in Iraq to launch attacks on the Saudi territory and its surrounding areas, not necessarily with drones only.

With its satellite photos, Israel has shown that the Al Quds Force, the elite of the Pasdaran, is building an Iranian military station in Albukamal, on the Syrian-Iraqi border-and probably these operations indicate that the base is already finished.

  It is supposedly a base for at least 3,500 soldiers, with means that should be used above all for the “hybrid war”, but not only for it.

Once again Israel has become a target for Iran, from the new bases in Northern Iraq. The United States, however, does not want to be entangled and bogged down into a new “long war” in the Middle East, even though it will help Saudi Arabia (and, obviously, Israel) from afar, while Saudi Arabia has explicitly stated that the Iranian drones are very hard to track.

At economic level, however, the Saudi oil crisis has the same magnitude as the oil crisis following the Yom Kippur war.

 This crisis, however, is really such only because Saudi Arabia has proved to be fragile, not only in terms of mere oil quantity, which has been immediately reintroduced into the daily balance, using the Saudi huge reserves.

Nevertheless they will run short and nobody really knows what the reserves of the Saudi wells are, which are reportedly still very large. However, there are those who have doubts in this regard, since it is the best kept Saudi State secret.

 This has been the worst attack ever on the “oil bank”, as analysts call the Saudi Kingdom.

Hence the attack is a real game change rand it is currently hard to predict all its effects, even for technical experts and  strategic analysts.

 It much depends on Mohammed bin Salman’s moves, as well as on the US real engagement in the region, and finally on Israel’s future military policy.

 According to some organizations that study oil markets, the Iranian and Houthi operation is at least as severe as the invasion of Kuwait – which also “sucked” Iraqi oil- or as  the 1979 Iranian Shiite revolution itself.

 President Trump has already authorized the release of US strategic reserves (SPR), where necessary, “to keep the markets well supplied”.

As early as September 16, however, Saudi ARAMCO has been expected to recover at least a third of its production, with a maximum of two or three million barrels of Saudi oil that will go back to the markets within two-five days, while additional 2.7 million barrels will arrive on the market later, considering the nature and specificity of the Abqaiq facility.

 It is a huge facility located in a Saudi area where the  presence of Shiite Islam is far from negligible, i.e. about 15-20%, mainly in the eastern zones and among the workers operating in the wells and facilities.

This is another political sign-halfway between religion and class struggle – not to be neglected.

When the markets opened, on the Monday following the attacks, the oil barrel price increased by 20%, with a peak of 71.6 USD per barrel.

However, what are the Iranian assets in the current war launched against the great Wahhabi and Sunni power, namely Saudi Arabia – a war which is a proxy one only from a formal viewpoint?

They are manifold and remarkable.

 There are over 45 Iranian military airports. The maritime positions currently held by the Revolutionary Guards are over 16, all located on the coasts and islands of the Persian Gulf.

 The missile stations in Iran and Iraq have several carriers capable of reaching a range of 2,500 kilometres.

 Iran’s area denial and access denial capabilities are much greater than those of any country in the region.

Iran has a significant submarine fleet, both in the Persian Gulf and in the Indian Ocean, as well as a large fleet of very fast motorboats and patrol boats.

At military level, Iran is not afraid of its obvious tactical superiority nor of the first or second-level reactions of its opponents.

Cyberattacks are another Iranian “excellence” while, only recently, Saudi ARAMCO has been updated in terms of protection from cyberattacks- albeit we are still at less relevant levels than Iran’s.

 It is no by mere coincidence that the Saudi oil company has already suffered cyberattacks, with the Shamoon virus in 2018. Moreover, due to their geographical location, also the Saudi ports and infrastructure are scarcely protected from missile or air attacks.

 But also from sea bombings, especially on the ports of Ras Tanura and Ras Juaymah, located in the Persian Gulf, and of Yanbu, in the Red Sea, which are hard to protect.

So far, however, the Saudi critical infrastructure has been defended only from Qaedist attacks, not from a real military operation, possibly with the Houthi conventional or hybrid war protection.

Not to mention the desalination plants, which process 70% of all the drinking water distributed in Saudi homes, in addition to electricity grids, which are based on the production of energy using over two thirds of the abundant oil supplies. They are surely targets of the drone attacks, as well as cyberattacks or conventional operations.

 Another factor not to be neglected regards one of the mainstays of Mohammed bin Salman’ strategy, namely the sale of Saudi ARAMCO.

Clearly the attacks significantly reduce the stock market value of the company, and it just so happened that, in the last days before the attack of last Saturday, the sale procedure had recorded a strong acceleration.

 Mohammed bin Salman has set the cost of the ARAMCO operation at 2 trillion dollars.

Hence, considering the infrastructure weakness shown by Saudi Arabia, it will be very unlikely for investors to run to buy the company and carry out transactions on the Stock Exchange.

It is also easy to understand that Iran’s and its proxies’ operation against Saudi Arabia is such as to place Iran in a vantage position in a future new negotiation on the nuclear issue.

It should be recalled that the war in Yemen started in 2015 when Saudi Arabia entered that country to free some areas, including the capital Sana’a, from the insurgents.

Later Saudi Arabia established a friendly government, led by Abu Mansur Hadi.

Saudi Arabia, however, was not able to hold its positions and reach its strategic objectives.

In fact, holding Yemen means to completely control the Persian Gulf and the areas pertaining to it.

Saudi Arabia has kept only Aden and Al Mokha, as well as few other areas, while the border between Arabia and Yemen is still a land of conflict and clashes, in a tribal zone, on the Saudi side of the border line, which has always been scarcely favourable to the Al Saud family and to the Wahabi tradition of Islam.

 Nevertheless, not the whole Ansar Allah, the Houthi Shiite movement, is strictly dependent on Iran.

Hence the war in Yemen is a huge cost for Saudi Arabia, while it is negligible for Iran.

We should also consider the support provided to the rebels in the South by Abu Dhabi, the other Emirates and Oman, a country that has always had its own specific policy vis-à-vis Iran.

It should also be recalled that Saudi Arabia was directly hit by drones on December 4, 2017.

However, only a part of the Yemeni tribes are currently  loyal to Hadi’s central government and they have often had to enter the Saudi territory, while the other tribes, including the Sunni ones, have supported the tribal-national autonomy proposed by the Houthis.

As already mentioned above, however, ultimately not even Iran will be able to control Ansar Allah completely.

 Other effects of the oil crisis will be seen in India, whose  economic take-off relies solely on Middle East oil, with 18% of its annual consumption resulting from Saudi oil alone.

 Other Asian countries shall change their main supplier, but also the United States – despite its shale oil production -has so far imported 400,000 barrels per day in 2019 alone.

 The situation is not bad at all for Russia which, for years, has been setting oil prices similar to OPEC’s. The same holds true for Kuwait and the Emirates, but the possible expansion of production could currently reach a million barrels per day, which are not enough to cover the Saudi shortfall.

 Reverting to Yemen, it should also be recalled that the local war is the result of the US-sponsored “Arab spring”.

Hence, it is however unlikely that the attacks on oil wells and facilities (and we should consider that they are not far from the Yemeni border) provide the opportunity for a combined Saudi, US and Israeli attack on Iranian military positions in Iraq or in the Persian Gulf.

From a disadvantaged position, Iran has managed to create its own strategic level playing field with regional and international players, which is the real new fact of the drone attack on the Saudi oil facilities that took place last Saturday.

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Iran: New details of shooting Global Hawk disclosed

Newsroom

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Deputy of Operations of Iran’s Passive Defense Organization Amir Khoshghalb, in an interview with Mehr news agency, released the details of downing US Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone by IRGC.

“We were precisely observing the US drone’s activity even from the beginning moments of its flight,” he said, “We knew its route and it was under full supervision of Iran Defense Organization.”

“The drone was moving towards Iran, breaching international regulations i.e. taking that route it was making a threat to Iran,” the Iranian official said. 

“It had even turned off its identification system,” he added.

“We needed to take a tactical measure, accordingly,” he said.

“Our tactical measure has various aspects; first we issued a radio warning,” Khshghalb described, “In some cases, the warning is stronger and will lead into a strong tactical measure such as shooting.”

“On its route, which was longer than three hours, the drone, which was under our full surveillance, was seeking something,” he reiterated.

“May be we could take initial measures much earlier but we let the drone do its job and end its route,” he said, “We repeatedly issued warnings when the drone was on its way moving towards us asking it to act upon international regulations but it ignored all of them.”

On June 20, In June, Iran’s IRGC downed a US Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone after it had violated Iranian airspace. Despite the US claims that the drone had been flying over international waters, Iran said it had retrieved sections of the drone in its own territorial waters where it was shot down.

The intruding drone was shot by Iran’s homegrown air defense missile system “Khordad-3rd”.

US President Donald Trump said afterward that he aborted a military strike to retaliate against Iran’s downing of the US drone because it could have killed 150 people, and signaled he was open to talks with Tehran.

Chief of General Staff of Iranian Armed Force, Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, said on Wednesday that the US was on the verge of attacking Iran but called off the plans after Iran downed the intruding drone.

“The US was to take a practical measure [military strike] against us but in the name of a high number of probable victims, it overturned the decision,” he said, adding, “The main reason, however, was Iran’s deterrence power.”

These are the result of the Iranian thought and the commands of the Revolution Leader, he said, noting that despite all problems, Iran enjoys great capabilities in the defense sector and the Iranian nation will not let eruption of another war.

From our partner MNA

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Rethinking Cyber warfare: Strategic Implications for United States and China

Zaeem Hassan Mehmood

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“Every age had its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions, and its own peculiar preconceptions.”Carl von Clausewitz

Internet has transformed the front lines of war. Modern conflicts are now waged online in cyberspace. World Wide Web (WWW) has eradicated all physical borders and defences, without which weak and powerful states are all prone to attacks. Concurring to this pretext, a number of countries have formally recognized cyber as the new domain of warfare in their strategy papers and documents. United States and China are the master players in this realm having military units active, with sophisticated state of art capabilities dedicated to cyber strikes. The consequences are dire, for the sole superpower, and for the rising economic giant which is projected to take over the former by 2025.

The dynamic nature of cyber warfare has caused frustration in the inner circles of Washington and Beijing. Both the public and the private sector have been targeted. The former to get hands on state secrets and latter for intellectual property rights. According to an estimate by US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), it has cost the American economy $338 billion, an amount closer to the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Pakistan. China on the other hand leads the Asia-Pacific region in cyber losses which incurs the country an annual estimated loss of $60 billion.

Next Generation Warfare

There is a surge seen in cyber attacks against the US. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and National Security Agency (NSA) at multiple times have came under attack. This is followed by Silicon Valley tech giants, such as Netflix, Twitter and Spotify who on numerous occasions have been taken down by cyber attackers. It is very difficult to trace the identity and origin of the attack, as various techniques like changing Internet Protocol (IP) cannot only hide identity of attacker but misattribute it to other nations. Cyber security analysts working in their private capacity have collected evidence that seems indicate China as the alleged perpetrator of recent waves of cyber-attacks.

However, cyber pundits have openly stated that they cannot guarantee with a hundred percent accuracy that the evidence collected in wake of cyber-attacks is authentic and not planted by perpetrators to seem to look genuine. In cyberspace. An attack could be from anywhere around the globe. It could be from friends and foes alike, anyone can attack and make it look like an attack came from China or other adversary. In the past, cyberattackers from France bypassed into secured servers stealing classified information relating to American products and designs. Added to that, it is an expensive and difficult task to analyze these attacks. To know that you have been attacked or infiltrated is itself a big achievement. Considering that, it take days or even months to find that your security has been compromised. It took seven months for security analyst to find the Stuxnet virus that was hiding itself into a legitimate Siemens software responsible for controlling centrifuges at nuclear power plants around the world. According to an estimate starting rates for analyzing and identifying cyber attacks start from $650 dollars per hour, which often end up towards an uncertain conclusions.

Philippe Goldstein author of Babel Zero argues that attacking against a wrong adversary would be catastrophic. A troublesome scenario, where attacks in cyberspace can be met with conventional and even nuclear culminating a “Cyber Armageddon”. It is this reason that states have taken cyber warfare seriously and synonymous to national security. China has incorporated cyber command structure within its armed forces, under the“Three Warfare strategy.”

Cybersecurity analysts have called minuet “cyber bullets” as ‘Cyber weapons of Mass Destruction.’ All one needs is ‘bad timings, bad decision making and some bad luck!’ and you can end up having a World War III which was 24/7 nightmare of Cold War veterans. The world is not immune from such attacks. Anyone having an access to any computing device, from iPods to digital smart watches, having right technical skills can cause a national security crisis. This is well depicted in John Badham’s film, WarGames where a young hacker unknowingly sets a US military supercomputer to launch nuclear weapons on the former Soviet Union. Few years back, an attack on FBI’s website resulted in leaking of classified data caused alarm bells in Washington. Later it was found out the perpetrator was a 15 year old school boy from Glasgow, Scotland.

The way forward for states remains cumbersome in the absence of legal framework from the United Nations (UN). Further complications arise when the attack is orchestrated by a non-state actor or private individual from a particular state. Recent debates among the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members have arisen in the wake of alleged Russian sponsored cyber activities against Europe and America whether the collective defence measures under Article 5 would apply to a cyber-attack.

Cyber security is a relatively new introduction in war studies. The US Department of Defence (DOD) recognized cyber warfare, as the fifth domain of warfare following land, sea, air and outer space. There are around 30 countries that have dedicated cyber military units, whereas more than 140 countries have or are in developing stages to acquire cyber weapons. Cyber is the means by which countries irrespective of their financial standing can acquire to further states objectives. US and China are considered advanced states in cyber realm, having cyber military technology and capabilities that are rarely matched by other contenders. Therefore, studying their way of cyber dealings, strategies and policy making would allow other countries such as Pakistan to better able to understand the dynamics and nature of this new type of warfare. India has tasked the Defence Cyber Agency (DCA), presently headed by a two-star Admiral which reports directly to Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CCSC). DCA is presently undertaking to prepare a Cyber warfare doctrine for India. The repercussions of the developments are critical for Pakistan, which require a comprehensive safety and information guideline to be prepared for the masses. 

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