As Aeschylus said, “in war, truth is the first casualty”. However, every civilization has its own truth or rather its “myth of truth”, just to quote Nietzsche. Hence how can we apply our non-empiricist concept of true and false to the current war in Syria, which is basically the battle for future hegemony in the Middle East? Therefore we must study, above all, the social media, which have very useful characteristics for truth and its contemporary “concealment”.
In the past mass communication was influenced and conditioned by an up-down axis, by those who ran the media vis-à-vis those who passively enjoyed newspapers, TV, radio and cinema.
Today, with a view to enhancing and making invisible the “concealment”, which goes hand in hand with the “disclosure” of truth, the conditioning is a peer-to-peer process, in which sources and media overlap and come to terms at horizontal level.
Here the philological notation of the Greek word for “truth”, namely aletheia (ἀλήθεια), applies, meaning “disclosure”, “revelation” or the shift from being concealed to being clear, evident and visible.
However, which are the channels through which we operate, in terms of Information Operations (IO), in the field of social media? And, in particular, how does this apply to the current war in Syria?
It is worth recalling that this war is the war for future hegemony throughout the Middle East, and then in the Mediterranean region.
In principle, the first tactic is downplaying the importance of facts and the people who put them in place – an action which unleashes a series of defamations and denials on the web.
A further tactic of diminutio is that of downplaying the magnitude or relevance of events.
Also in the other media manipulation procedures, this triggers off the typical web effect of demonstrating the “truth” as opposed to the analyses of the old media which, in some way, are all “servants of the visible power” – in the current common meaning of the phrase.
In addition, the Web has a very powerful “mass effect”: if a site or a piece of information is reflected on the Web, it generates a radial recall effect which intimidates the few ones having opposing opinions and is anyway infinitely greater than the effect of any old media.
However, from the Assyrians to present times, the real power is always invisible, just like the Web operators and manipulators. Hence, in contemporary warfare, the Web is the true agent of the Information Operations (IO), to which the operators of official communication now refer reluctantly and laboriously.
Then, in our categorization, there are the messages designed to influencing behaviours and opinions.
As Wittgenstein noted, “words are deeds”.
In this sector there are the sites with hidden identification sources, those with a false ideological origin, the “stories” – possibly true – which, however, become epitomes (i.e. compendiums, summaries) of political and strategic choices that have little to do with the private and individual story which is the subject of the storytelling.
It is worth considering the impact that the picture of a beautiful Afghan girl’s face had on the US public to make the US intervention in that country psychologically possible.
Nevertheless for the social media sites, the same old advertising techniques of manipulative marketing are used.
They are the following: the exaggeration of qualities, fallacious arguments and, finally, emotional appeals.
Anyone who goes to a supermarket for shopping can find examples for each category above.
Recently, a British newspaper reported a system enabling an operator to simultaneously manipulate at least a dozen fairly credible social networks, while other intelligence services use filtering systems to send to the major web media messages suitable for forming the public opinion they desire.
Therefore the peer-to-peer process of social media proves to be what it really is, namely a “concealment” of truth. It is worth recalling the real information that is provided mainly by the official sites which, however, often operate with deception techniques typical of the old intelligence technique of grey operations, namely those in which truth and falsehood are mixed credibly.
In the systems operating on the Web, the spreading of undesired news is prevented through the distributed denial of service (DDoS) or through hacking. Data can also be slowed down on the web, not to mention the distribution of some content on the social media, a technique that the US experts define as Viral Peace.
With a view to preventing the dissemination of harmful or defamatory content, a State can also spread a huge mass of irrelevant but not false signals, a technique similar to that of “noise” in traditional networks.
It can denigrate adverse sites or menacing Facebook accounts and possibly manipulate information or filter some websites directly.
And it can also shape the perception of operations, by managing the search engines on the Internet, manipulating Wikipedia and finally saying lies about political, strategic and military facts. Said lies will be believed inasmuch as they will be more widespread.
It is obvious that all these techniques do not rule out the use of usernames attributable to other subjects or the use of malware blocking the network and computers themselves.
Governments and terrorist or Mafia organizations can also prioritize the messages, so that the readers on the Web may attach more importance to the first than to the last web posts, namely those which are not usually read or are considered less reliable because they are less widespread.
Finally, other manipulation techniques on the web and, above all, in social media, are blaming, falsification, labelling, the “appeal to fear”, the “opinion of the Author, of the Authority or of the Experts”, the “relativization”, the “demonization”, the “manipulated videos” and the “ad hoc images”. The first pictures of the riots against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria were images of the regime rallies from which the “dangerous part had been removed”.
All these techniques have been used by all actors in the Syrian war.
In short, the war of the Web and on the Web is a great strategic equalizer, as well as an effective mass mobilization factor within the opponent’s field, and finally an extraordinary element of pressure on governments and military and economic decision-makers.
The latter are usually immediately sensitive to public opinion, that is the real target of the enemy’s mass manipulation.
In the case of Daesh-Isis, the Caliphate’s terrorist group uses specifically Twitter, because this type of social media allows to better conceal the real identity of “texters”, while it currently makes little use of other social media such as Friendica, Quitter and Diaspora, which have quickly removed the Caliphate’s accounts from their records.
Through a Google Play website called “Dawn of Glad Tidings,” currently the Caliphate reaches the Android platform, which it also uses for internal communications and, above all, for the propaganda towards young Islamists in the West.
In this very modern meaning, for Daesh propaganda and communication almost overlap: showing videos of beheadings conveys the message that the Caliphate is strong, does not fear adverse forces and will destroy the West.
This is also the core of its propaganda abroad, including the steganography or “implicit quotation” techniques, which are interpreted by Western or Arab militants as signals for action on their territory, equal in terror to the one they have seen in the videos.
No matter whether the attack is organized in Nice, Paris or Cologne; what counts for the managers of the Daesh-Isis communication is that the attack is perpetrated and is unpredictable.
It is worth recalling that the Assad regime fell as the other Arab countries’ during the Information Operation which was later called “Arab spring”.
In Libya, again for an Arab Spring operation, a few relatives of detainees gathered in front of the Benghazi prison to protest against the treatment of their loved ones, both “ordinary” inmates and political prisoners.
Later some activists of the “Libyan League for Human Rights”, a subsidiary of the head office in Paris, staged a demonstration against Gaddafi’s regime. The police reacted immediately and everything was filmed and “magnified”, while the French government was sending a submarine off the coast of the capital city of Cyrenaica with a group of the DGSE Service Action to expand and sustain the insurgency.
In Tunisia, the rebellion against Mohammed Bouazizi’ suicide (forced by the police asking the usual bribe) on December 17, 2010 was multiplied in the various cities with the Web, while amplifying the reaction of Ben Ali’s regime which, however, did not fully perceive the new molecular and “swarming” threat of the new political communication.
Even the French Revolution was amplified out of all proportion by the false news regarding the many ferocious tortures at the Bastille, where the Parisian revolutionaries found only very few inmates in excellent health conditions, including the Marquis De Sade.
In Egypt, the ranks of the Tahrir Square insurgents swelled only after the first demonstration against Mubarak’s government. The sister of Ayman Al Zawahiri, who was also a doctor, and, above all, the Head of Google in Egypt arrived in Tahrir Square. The latter allowed to bypass the web communications through the social media between the few insurgents and the large audience of young Egyptian Internet users.
The armed “security guards” to control the boys of Tahrir Square was provided by the Muslim Brotherhood – and it was certainly not a disinterested aid.
In Syria, the first activists against Bashar al-Assad’s regime got organized only with videos on YouTube. Before the outbreak of the real insurgency, they created a hashtag on Twitter (MAR15) and set the image of a small Gandhian, non-violent protest against the Syrian Baath’s power.
The point of no return was reached when the Syrian government arrested some young people in Deraa for having written a few sentences against President Assad on the walls.
Since then the Web swelled with messages, which were further amplified by references and comments, while the pan-Arab networks such as Al Jazeera used what they had, namely only the videos “posted” by the insurgents on YouTube, while there were only two Western journalists operating in Syria, who were loin des balles.
At that juncture, while the reaction of the Syrian regime increased, the leadership of the uprising shifted to the armed groups.
There was the dissemination of videos and “social networks” of the various Syrian armed groups competing with one another to recruit new militants and to show abroad who was really leading the anti-Assad front, not to mention the propaganda videos against Bashar.
The most disturbing and notorious videos of that period were those of the rebels’ commander eating a lung of the “enemy” or those of the many corpses of the children killed apparently by Assad’s gas, as during the Hama massacre in 1982 when Hafez el Assad quashed a revolt of the Muslim Brotherhood with nerve gas. The parallel between Hafez and his son characterized all rebels’ propaganda.
The “storytelling” marking the insurgency against Bashar’s Baath Party was anyway that of a non-violent, pro-Western and especially joint revolution.
Three blatant cases of hoaxing and misinformation. Conversely Assad’s regime reacted, again on the social media, by stating that the “Syrian Spring” jihad was funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It was certainly true, but the primary effect on the web and the old media amplifying the insurgency videos was the one obtained by the children killed by Bashar’s gas, always assuming that is was true.
As taught by the old masters of Criminal Law, the eyewitnesses are the least reliable.
And the terrible images were immediate and affected the deep psyche of the readers and the Western public, while Assad’s “cortical” and political message could not have the same effect.
Even in foreign policy, crime news gains the upper hand.
Therefore the primary goal of the insurgency groups was the West’s involvement and in that phase, at the end of 2012, the Local Coordinating Committees were activated in Beirut, London and Istanbul to lobby their respective governments and the huge “Arab masses”, with a view to stepping up the intervention.
Another tactic similar to the one of the Libyan uprising against Gaddafi can be found specifically in Syria when, at the time, the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, based in London, which had always been close to the rebels and funded by Saudi Arabia, was alerted.
There was also the creation of the Sham News Network, which distributed to the official press videos, news and data manipulated according to above described methods.
And it is worth noting that it was the only source of Western newspapers and TV networks (including Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya) which were opinion leaders and influenced the governments which, at the time, had no independent sources on the Syrian territory.
And it is also worth noting that they legitimized the insurgents’ messages thanks to their information authoritativeness.
The network of “citizen journalists”, usually non-military members of the opposition to Bashar, did the rest.
It was at that juncture that the Syrian Electronic Army started to operate in favour of the government and began to launch DDoS attacks and hacking against the opposition websites and social networks.
But it was too late and the storytelling conveyed by the opposition to the Baath Party had already gained the upper hand in the minds of the Western media and public.
Once again, we have to pay attention to what the Italian economist and sociologist, Vilfredo Pareto, called “residuals”. In psychology as in war, those who strike first, strike twice.
Finally, before the very first Western journalists arriving on the Syrian territory, a network of “authentication” of the insurgents’ messages was created – a network which was run by some well-known Arab journalists, who acted as testimonials – just to use the advertising jargon – for the videos shot and manipulated by the Syrian rebels.
Twitter, a preferential channel for the Information Operation of the rebels and the regime, was largely in Arabic, and almost all Western operators did not know that language and communicated in English on Twitter. The two language areas, however, never overlapped, thus creating a further manipulation tool.
The English-speaking Twitter-sphere spoke of President Obama or of NATO, while the Arabic-speaking one spoke of situations on the ground and magnified the insurgents’ operations.
Hence, with a view to understanding the present wars in the Middle East, we must know the current deception techniques used on the Web and the social media, which mostly employ the traditional methods of advertising, marketing and applied psychology.
The future will be characterized by “psywars” and infowars, which will generate much more terrible and fiercer effects on the ground than traditional wars. The Information Operations are ubiquitous and pave the way for actions on the ground.
The wars of the future will be Long Wars which will be fought between information central units, while, on the battlefield, the Western self-disarmament will create the conditions for an equalization of the warring forces.
Artificial Intelligence: Potential Intensifier of Strategic Dynamics in South Asia
With growing dependency on artificial rationalization, human reasoning and decision-making is under continuous suppression. Where machine learning and deep learning tends to empower machines to carry out functions and break assigned tasks into easier ones, it nevertheless fastens the route towards a world order that is likely to be in absolute control of Artificial Intelligence(AI). Does it indicate cutting humans entirely out of the loop?
This deliberate submission of power to machines has some assured repercussions in the realm of strategic stability which rational actors must take into consideration. The simulation of human cognition – the capacity of human mind to learn, interpret and reason- in machines is what artificial intelligence refers to. It eventually stands as a defining feature of modern societies. By the enhanced use of algorithms, AI optimizes the ability for collecting avast range of data whether numeric or categorical in the form of big data to measure the information and derive results accordingly. Thus, Artificial Intelligence is itself emerging as a vast technological industry for creating intelligent machines. Such machines would be capable of independent decision-making based on the level of subjectivity conceded to AI. This subjectivity defines the rationale of decisions made by machines. Along with enhanced precision and prompt responses, it suggests that over-reliance on AI could probably take the shape of absolute control.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the International Arena (IA) acts as a modifier of global affairs and challenges whether bilateral or multilateral. Additionally, it is transforming military strategies with its significant precision and speed via contracting the action-reaction loop. As such AI is being developed for assessing and responding to problems with minimum human supervision. Which, the other way, predicts an autonomous crisis escalation with minimal or no chances of containment. One such example is the development of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS). Analyzing the broad view of global affairs under the predominant existence of nuclear weapons, robotic and computational technology is so far effectively assisting states in maintaining the safety and security mechanisms of nuclear and fissile material/data. It is evident from the events of the cold war era that other than human error, technological error within the realm of nuclear strategy could easily escalate towards nuclear war fighting or its accidental use with a catastrophic domino effect. Despite the precision, speed and human-like reasoning, machines are likely to lack a considerable situational variation with respect to risk assessment of actions and their reactions. The reliance on artificial rationalization means increased unpredictability and competition that resultantly means greater strategic instability around the globe.
Strategic stability demands a credence among nuclear weapon states that their adversaries would not likely be able to undermine their nuclear deterrence by any means. This surety is crucial in the case of South Asia. Comprising of three nuclear weapon states with inter-state rivalries, South Asia demands a stable strategic environment which requires a considerable level of risk assessment and management. Machine learning and big data analysis are some already adopted strategies in South Asia as in other parts of the world to predict and track an adversary’s aggressive posturing. Although, it is technically challenging for a state to be able to locate and target all of its adversary’s dispersed nuclear weapons and delivery systems during crisis-time, AI maximizes this detection and tracking ability. Hence, it could provide a win-win strategic advantage to one party over the other. This likelihood convinces states to pursue greater reliance on advanced AI-supported defence technology while greatly increasing the chances of a possible malfunction or misinterpretation of command.
Strategic stability of South Asia is already fragile. The prediction dynamics of this strategic stability after AI inception has long been a bone of contention. It can be traced that China’s New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan and its AI advancements within strategic realm could lead to more aggression stemming from India’s hegemonic designs. Resultantly, Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence would be reasonably undermined. This can lead to a mutual fog of war in terms of strategic vulnerabilities and disparities. Moreover, the cyber-vulnerabilities and cyber-breach events in South Asia already foretell the emerging uncertainty currently undermining strategic stability in the region.
Furthermore, the prevalence of AI within nuclear realm elevates the risks of an accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons which as an outcome could trigger escalation. Incorporating AI within command and control mechanisms of nuclear weapons states would possibly increase the risk of a misinformed and irrevocable weapons launch. China in pursuit of advanced AI, a bellicose India and balancing Pakistan (vis-a-vis India) would all vulnerable to such misadventures inflicted by an over and uncontrolled reliance on AI. In this regard, keeping the strategic stability of South Asia intact is a much more challenging matter than anywhere else on the globe.
Being an alluring domain, Artificial Intelligence has become a necessary evil which based on the above discussed risks still poses an existential threat to humanity. It presses states around the world and particularly in South Asia as a technologically nascent yet rapidly advancing region to compete in such a way that it may eventually turn into their absolute submission to AI. Another alarming aspect is that ultimately human intelligence adheres to the necessity of the human security perspective whereas AI, if not programmed correctly, may not recognize or emphasize the human safety or security enough. Instead of relinquishing total control and submitting to machines intentionally which could be real risk attracting phenomenon, Artificial intelligence must be employed to assist and empower human cognition to better respond to the collective and individual strategic challenges.
New strategy of U.S. counter-intelligence: Real and unreal threats
The newly published US Counter-Intelligence Strategy for 2020-2022 puts Russia and China at the top of the list of countries that pose a threat to the USA. “Russia and China are operating throughout the world, using all power instruments at their disposal against the United States, resorting to a wide variety of modern intelligence methods”, – the document says.
The strategy formulates five objectives for the counter-intelligence service: to protect the critically important infrastructure, cut the number of threats to basic supply chains, counteract the exploitation of American economy, defend the American democracy against foreign influence, and repulse cyberattacks and technological disruptions that could come from foreign intelligence.
The US has made public only a brief 11-page version of the strategy, whereas its full, classified variant will be submitted to members of intelligence committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate, to White House officials, heads of corresponding agencies and other officials with access to classified information. The mere list of goals for counter-intelligence gives rise to questions such as whether they are fully grounded or whether they are all but tribute to the current political trends in the USA.
As we read «protect the American democracy against foreign influence» we understand what they mean by ‘foreign’ – both Democrats and Republicans keep talking about Russian interference in American elections. Although this talk has long been dismissed by many as inconsistent with reality, it nevertheless, continues unabated.
The strategy, published on the website of the US National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center, is a renewed version of the 2015 document. The Center’s Director, William Ivanina, said as he presented the report that modern technology – artificial intelligence, encryption technology, internet of things – make the work of counter-intelligence more complicated. According to CBS, W. Ivanina has been saying since 2014 that China poses the most serious long-term threat to US security. In his words, the theft of American intellectual property, allegedly committed by the Chinese, cost the US 400 billion dollars annually.
Statements about stealing intellectual property are not new and are being exploited by the Americans to justify a trade war they are waging against China. It is not for the first time that the Trump administration is resorting to “banned methods” adding the country’s economic problems to the list of national security threats, which makes it possible to introduce restrictive measures against China.
The strategy in question is seeing light just as the debates on a new American budget are getting under way. This is not accidental given that documents of this kind can justify budgetary spending. In 2021 the US government is planning to spend $1.5 billion to counter “China’s influence” and another $596 million to establish “diplomatic cooperation for securing the strategy in regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. A statement to this effect is part of the press release circulated by the US State Department and published after the White House submitted to the Congress a draft budget for the next fiscal year.
However, proposals on the budget, though reflecting the position of the US administration, do not always become law. In most cases, the US Congress approves the budget depending on the political situation at home. Now that they have sustained defeat on Trump’s impeachment, the Democrats have a good chance to take it out on the budget. Democratic minority leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer has described the draft budget submitted by the incumbent administration for the next year as “a plan to destroy America”.
Considering that these are all but domestic political games, it is not immediately clear what Russia and China have to do with them.
From our partner International Affairs
Modi’s extremism: Implications for South Asia
Hindutva is a main form of Hindu nationalism in India this term was popularized by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in the 20th century. It is reinforced by the Hindu extremist volunteer organization Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and Hindu Sena. Hindutva movement has been expressed today as almost fascist in the classical sense (sticking to a disputed idea of homogenized majority and dominance of culture). The Hindutva moment has gained enormous momentum under the government of Modi (Zaman A. , 2019). Under the Modi’s government dozens of Muslims have been killed for the protection of cows. Most of them are those who allegedly slaughtering cows. These attacks indicate that Hindu extremism has increased. Even, lower caste Hindus also faced violence from hardliner Hindu extremists. (Zaman A. , 2019) .
The prevailing extremism in India is no longer a national issue, but is spilling over to become a regional flashpoint and has worldwide implications. The regional stability is endangered due to the current situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) (Qureshi, 2019). Since the Modi’s extremist policies revoked article 370 of the constitution of India in which special and independent status had been given to the Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK). This kind of extreme move of a fanatical ruler was expected, whereas, such kind of unconstitutional effort of a democratic government was not expected. Moreover, it is not only a violation of India’s constitution, but it is also a breach of United Nations Security Council Resolutions, which confirmed Kashmir as a disputed territory.
Furthermore, Article 370 and 35-A cancellation changed the demographic structure of IoK. Article 35A prevented the outsiders from staying, buying properties, getting local government jobs or scholarships in IoK than it annulment permitted outsiders to buy properties there. Hindutva forces are trying to conquer the IoK territory with its 800000 military crowd, which is making the situation more instable there. It would not have lasting consequences for India, but for the whole region (Jaspal, 2019). The Kashmir imbroglio should be the concern of the entire world because it is a perilous flashpoint that could lead to a catastrophic war between two nuclear powers. If this happens, it would not engulf the region, but the entire world. The International community is insensitive towards the recent brutal developments have taken place in IoK. The brutalities boldly committed by the more than 500,000 Indian troops in the occupied valley. There should be a strong response of big powers and the international community towards the atrocious changes in India (Elahi, 2019).
It is not the first time, Narendra Modi’s administration has involved in many disputes with the regional countries which has put the regional security at risk. Like, the Modi government relationship is not just deteriorated with Pakistan, but other neighbouring states too. In 2015, Madhesi Crisis in Nepal and border issues tensed the India Nepal relations. However, India restricted the flow of trade at the check posts whereas; India did not accept this blame. India also has not good relation with Sri Lanka since 2014 as Sri Lanka has been more disposed towards China with the signing of the infrastructure projects of belt road and initiatives. Moreover, New Dehli was concerned about the harbouring of Chinese submarines in Colombo and ruler of Maldives Abdulla Yameen signed fee trade treaties with China, which was not digestible for India (Wong, 2017).
India’s offensive nuclear posture towards Pakistan and increased violation of the Line of Control (LoC) has made the situation more adverse. India holds Pakistan responsible for every attack on its territory and its attitude towards Pakistan is very hostile. The Pathankot attack in 2016 and Pulwama attack in 2019 increased the resentment as Modi government blamed the attack on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad. Pakistan asked India to provide evidence so that Pakistan can take action, but no evidence had been given. The Indian air force claimed launching air strikes on the camp of Jaish-e Mohammad mountainside in the Balakot region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa . While, following the attack international media and local media disgraced Indian claim of launching the attack and killing many militants. Next morning, Pakistan shot down an Indian MIG 21 fighter and captured the pilot who violated the Pakistan airspace. Still, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan showed peace gesture and released the captured pilot. (Shoukat, 2019).
The Indian airstrike’s that were launched in response to Pulwama attack were clear a breach of Pakistan’s space sovereignty. It was a clear perspective of war, however; India has continued to justify its position by calling it non-military strike. It was extremely reckless behaviour of a nuclear state. Even, history shows that such events are very rare between nuclear weapons states while the US and Russia never engaged in direct airstrike’s (Jan, 2019). Afterward, an Indian submarine also detained by the Pakistani Navy, which tried to infringe Pakistani water. India blames Pakistan for every attack and defies the Pakistan air, space and land territory itself. Besides, India is also responsible of sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan through its spies as one of them is Kulbushan Yadav (Shoukat, 2019).
India’s nuclear doctrine also changed from No First Use (NFU) to First use. The false description of surgical strikes and attacks on non-state base points has demonstrated the uncertain security environment in South Asia. The Indian nuclear doctrinal change increases the security risks in the region, particularly for Pakistan and China. At Pulwama, Pakistan clearly exposed India’s long-held fable of conventional superiority. At the same time, it is obvious that India would keep its behaviour hawkish towards Pakistan under the radical Hindutva mindset (Nawaz, 2019).
Additionally, India took another major step against the Muslims as it passed a bill on December 9, 2019 that would give the nationality to those migrants who want to become citizens of India except Muslims. This step of Prime Minster would increase the Modi Hindu-nationalist agenda. It would modify the India secular status, preserve by its founders in 1947. The Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by the lower house, the Lok Sabha with 311 votes. Now, it would be presented in the upper house and would become law soon. Hindu extremist agenda deeply unsettled the Muslims with this new law as they would make more than 200 million Muslims second class citizens and many of them stateless. It is not first extremist step of Modi, he also stripped away the autonomy of Kashmir, which was Muslim majority Indian occupied state.
Furthermore, Hindu fundamentalist build a new temple over the remains of the demolished mosque in the Ayodhya. According to Modi this would protect the maltreated Hindus, Christians and Buddhists who want to migrate from Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, this brutal legislation would extradite innocent Muslim residents, even those whose families have been in India for generation, if they cannot provide evidence of citizenship. Under the Modi’s leadership, attacks and intimidation against Muslim community have augmented and anti Muslim sentiment has become deliberately more mainstream. The people of Assam are protesting in the streets and hoisting placards again the bill because it is against their rights and identity (Gettleman & Raj, 2019).
Besides, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen cancelled his visit for two days Indian Ocean Dialogue and Delhi Dialogue XI, to India. He also rejected a statement by Indian home minister Amit Shah that the new citizenship law will provide safety to “persecuted minorities” from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. An official visit to India by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also been delayed due to the unrest in Assam. Following the protests began in Assam, a curfew was forced in four of the main cities in the state and the internet was shut down. Two paramilitary battalions were deployed to contain the demonstrations. (News, 2019).
In a nutshell, as evident from the aforementioned brutal developments, it seems that India aspires to increasingly showcase itself hegemon and potential big power in the region. The Prime Minister Modi government is impressed by the Hindu extremist ideology and making IoK its integral part by forcefully. Its hawkish policies towards Muslims in India and IoK has once again put at stake the peace and stability of the entire region of South Asia. Indian government not only targeting Muslims everywhere, but it is also seizing their identities which is dismantling secularism foundations of India. Moreover, Indian hawkish nuclear posture increases arms race in the region and it is not only threat for Pakistan but the entire region.
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