As countries continue their squabbles, their home the earth is going to hell in a handbasket. A new review paper in Biological Conservation reports 40 percent of insect species are threatened with extinction. Guess who pollinates our plants where we get our food?
All of which is of little concern to President Trump, who disdains science and experts of any kind. His vice president has been at the Munich Security Conference where an awkward silence prevailed as he conveyed greetings from Trump and waited for the customary applause. His speech, focused on hounding Iran, met with polite, muted applause.
Angela Merkel in contrast defended the Iran agreement (which the US has unilaterally abrogated) and talked of maintaining lines of communication without giving up gains already achieved. Her ambit included Russia and Mr. Putin, and her critique of Trump and his policies received thunderous applause in what was seen as a striking rebuke to ‘America First’. Some said it was one of her best and thoughtful speeches.
In India, it’s Kashmir again. Poor Kashmiris. They tried trusting Nehru and waited … and waited for the promised vote for self-determination; of course Pakistan’s headstrong responses did not help. They tried peaceful demonstrations and received blinding and sometimes fatal shotgun pellets — not for them just tear gas or the famed Israeli rubber bullets. What’s left but militancy for which Mr. Modi blames Pakistan his convenient scapegoat. All too convenient with elections round the corner, he has the country awash in jingoism. Communal assault often follows in this his tried-and-true election tactic.
Rahul Gandhi the jejune opposition leader is out of his depth as usual. His only hope is for Mr. Modi to overplay his hand. All of this despite a general dissatisfaction because the promised economic benefits for the majority have not materialized, and as cell phones multiply, people can actually see the extravagances of the rich.
Mr. Modi threatens to isolate Pakistan and Muhammad bin Salman signs projects and loans worth $20 billion — at the beginning of his visit to Pakistan, the figure touted was $10 billion. As Theodore Roosevelt used to say, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’ not the reverse.
A rational answer to the Indian subcontinent is a loose confederation of independent states in a cooperative scenario, accruing the benefits of free trade and the particular resources of individual members — not the copycat US ‘most favored nation status’ to be yanked like a toy from a recalcitrant child. All this when Pakistan has just introduced the very short range Nasr low-yield nuclear-tipped missile designed to decimate a cold start attack.
Instead of the frenetic jumping up and down and undiplomatic meaningless threats, how about a calm and rational peace?
The Original Sin of Space
There has been a lot of talk in the news these past several months about the current American administration’s interest in the creation of a new ‘Space Force,’ both in serious terms and in comedic light. This perhaps has distracted people from realizing just how much ‘space’ has been an important and expansive part of American national security and is increasingly crucial to 21st century global security across many different countries.
A brief history of this domain shows that a military element has always been part of the American conceptualization of space and its usefulness. After all, there were satellites even before there was a NASA. In fact, DARPA (the secretive and to most Americans mysterious Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) was created FIRST. This in turn made some fairly wise minds in Washington realize it might behoove the nation to create a more open, civilian-oriented agency that could proudly toot the country’s space achievements with full transparency while the more national security-oriented DARPA could remain behind-the-scenes and out of the limelight. Thus, peaceful exploration and the advancement of national security science have always been closely and strategically aligned for Americans when it comes to the final frontier. It also means the American understanding of space as an important domain for the projection and maintenance of power.
It is because of this innate duality from the very beginning that most of the extensive legal acts and treaties that have developed over the decades have not always made every important area of cosmic definition and demarcation explicit. Locational sovereignty, territoriality, type of mechanisms used, definition of technological purpose, and many other important concepts are still left a bit open for creative interpretation when it comes to objects in space. This was perhaps not such a major concern when space was basically dominated exclusively by the United States with no real rival competitors on the near horizon. But today sees the emergence of several so-called near-peer competitors who may or may not share the same interests about the utilization of space as America. The opinions and ultimate behaviors of countries like China, Russia, and India, to name a few, will become paramount vis-à-vis this overall lack of legal and diplomatic space specificity.
This criticism isn’t even about the frustrating inability to definitively acknowledge the difference between ‘militarization’ and ‘weaponization,’ something that has been relatively analyzed in the past decade. After all, the reality today is that 95% of all satellites launched into orbit are ‘dual-use.’ Ostensibly this means that while the formally pronounced purpose for most satellites is commercial and non-military, they can all be easily converted on the fly (pun intended) so that they suddenly become quite strategically militaristic and weaponized, or at least connected to a weaponized system. Again, none of this seemed overly concerning or dangerous when space was the habitat of a single country that also happened to dominate the on-the-ground global economy and military development races. But the horizon that once seemed incredibly distant, or even possibly fictitious, is now unbelievably closer than anyone could have guessed just a decade ago. That dominance is now not so dominant.
This is why before anyone, America included, gets more serious about talks to create an active space force of any kind, it would be better for the global community to fix what was space’s ‘original sin.’ These once benign ambiguities in past space treaties have now been combined with malignant ambiguities in present-day space technologies that create a critically dangerous new domain with far more than just a single dominant player. These grey areas of space potentiality provide ample opportunity for friend and foe alike to manipulate and provoke new areas of conflict between states on the global stage. With no global consensus, formal rules, explicit restrictions, vague definitions, and ambiguous legal interpretations, what could possibly go wrong?
At the moment, there seems to be an international presumption that space is a ‘new’ thing and thus modern concepts of global governance, peace mediation, and weapons-free are the natural characteristics that will dominate the domain. This is dangerous because of how historically inaccurate it is when it comes to man’s presence and purpose in space. Since space has always had within it the potential for being a domain for warmaking (and states saw it as such literally from the very beginning that they began to make technology to reach it), there need to be concrete steps taken today to ‘correct’ the ambiguities of the past. This demands the creation not just of a single space force by a single country, but an internationally-created and consensus-governed multination alone. This is the path most likely to result in moving forward focused on the peaceful advancements in science that space exploration inevitably brings, rather than focused on the powerful innovations in weapons and military strategy that also comes with space exploration. This science-dominant focus for peace might also result in the creation of new legal projects that the majority of the world (and the most powerful players more importantly) will sign on to and obey. For now there are not only no such legal projects being drafted with this purpose in mind, there really aren’t any states or non-state organizations clamoring for the need to do so. There is just so much innocent assumption about the natural good and righteousness of space. It is not that these assumptions are entirely erroneous. It is just that these hopes are too easily toppled when space’s original sin is not addressed.
So, if the ultimate desire is to see space develop into a domain that only represents the best of humanity and the peaceful advancement of technology for all of humanity’s progress and prosperity, then international organizations the world over need to start being a bit less naïve, a bit more honest, and a bit more ambitious. After all, one country’s space force can just as easily be another country’s space invader.
The role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with regional terrorism
The creation of a Hashd al-Sha’abi in Iraq was a great step that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) took to increase the military power of the people and the army against ISIL, which caused to open the blind knot of the confused Iraqi crisis in a large extent.
The onset of the political crisis in Iraq and Syria led regional and transnational actors to pursue a particular policy in the face of insecurity, based on their own interests. Given the geopolitical and geostrategic significance of the two countries in Southwest Asia, the approaches of each of these actors differed in their dealings with the story. Strategies and policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, compared to some supporters of chaos and insecurity in the field of foreign policy based on religious teachings, rationality, interests of the Islamic nation and national interests, It is therefore very different from the contradictory and shaky policies of the governments contending to fight terrorism, human rights and democracy.
Change the rule of game in Syria
With the onset of the Syrian crisis and the role of regional and transnational states that were largely in the interests of the terrorists and rioters, Iran also expressed its willingness to resolve the crisis with Syria’s desire. Initially, activities began on diplomacy, and Iran was able to play a diplomatic role, and invited some countries, such as Russia and China, to play a more active presence in the Syrian case. Despite the effective efforts in this field, Iran came to the conclusion that not all diplomacy capacities could be used to cope with insecurity and they have to pursue the issues more seriously. Although this presence declaration was not so favorable to the US and its allies, it was natural that the national interests of each country, such as Iran, were at the head of national security, and our country also has a tolerance border to these areas. The Islamic Republic of Iran could not simply witness the crisis of various confrontational and terrorist groups and their supporters in the region, with only the role of spectator in the scene. Defense policy of Iran in MENA region has based on the principles , therefore on the basis of these principles, Iran protects the sovereignty of legitimate and legal governments. Naturally, due to the principled belief of the Islamic Republic of Iran about the sovereignty of the Syrian people to determine their political destiny, the support of the legal government of the country against insurgents was emphasized as a general principle in foreign policy. In the battlefield and defense policy, the Syrian government faced turbulence on the one hand, which was gradually expanding its influence, and on the other hand, US and its allies make any attempt to support terrorists militarily and financially. The Syrian government’s approach and its defense policy to deal with this crisis was accompanied by weaknesses and in the set of these approaches, there was little efficiency to solve the problem.
The weakness in identifying the causes and sources of insecurity and the lack of use of the popular mobilization in dealing with terrorists and the unfamiliarity of the Syrian classical army with urban warfare led to a more complicated crisis. The presence of these factors led Syria to invite Iran to fight the terrorists, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as the executive arm of the regime, went to this country for guidance and controversial activities. With the presence of the IRGC in the area and the use of military advisories by the Iranian forces, the Syrian army began to regain defenses, and practically with changing the rules of the game, the terrorist attacks were stopped in many areas. It was so; the classical Syrian army has developed its defense capability in dealing with terrorists and has been able to learn urban warfare techniques with the help of the IRGC’s training and Finding a defense policy with the lowest casualties. Using the power and capacity of the popular mobilization and communication with tribes and tribesmen, as well as the followers of religions and different creeds and the intelligence assistance provided by the Syrian army, put the terrorists in a state of turmoil. Those countries who had pursued the Syrian conflict on the basis of their arrogant goals , now saw their hopes unattainable.
Westerners and other supporters of the terrorist currents in this situation were completely concerned about the changing circumstances on the battlefield and tried to accuse Iran of military intervention in Syria. Although it was very good at first glance on its interest, but the release of documents from the insurgents proved that Western, Arabian and Hebrew axis support Terrorist and Takfiri groups in obvious and hidden. Along with this, the victory of the Axis of Resistance in Aleppo as a result of the military assistance and military advisories of IRGC and the widespread use of mass mobilization was a turning point in the Syrian case, strengthening the Syrian government’s position to continue to confront the insurgents and Terrorist groups. The influential role of the IRGC in Syria has led advocates of terrorism, especially the United States, who used to take all the necessary tools to weaken Iran’s position in the region, Following the developments on the Syrian front, they were forced to confess the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran to resolve the crisis and urge Iran to engage in Syrian settlement talks.
When ISIL borders narrowed
The rise of ISIL as a terrorist power in Iraq and Syria has caused changes in equations in the region since a few years ago. The rapid progress of the Takfiri (unbeliever) group in the Iraqi crisis had created difficult conditions. The ISIL have faced little resistance of IRAQ and Syria. The combat capability of this terrorist group and the support of the Arab countries of the region on the one hand, and the apparent betrayal of some of the commanders of the middle classes of the Iraqi Army and the Ba’athist survivors of the Saddam Hussein era, It provided the ground for the Takfiri group to flourish in military arena like a rebel horse for a long time and occupy vast sections of Iraq’s five major provinces. In those days, Invisible whispers of some US-led countries was announced, the formation of an unlucky coalition would be called in the name of the anti-ISIL coalition, but its initial rumblings fell from the very first days of its formation. The bitter satire was that some of the Arab and European countries that participated in this coalition were the main suppliers of financial and weaponry of ISIL. The US and European advanced aircraft fighters targeted civilians instead of bombing the positions of this takfiri (unbeliever) group.
Naturally, these promotional measures did not contribute to containment of terrorism but it was also strengthened it. Since Iran saw the lack of integrity between participating members as the most important reason for the failure of the coalition, has pursued another path to assist the Iraqi people to repel ISIL. Arms assistance and advisory services to the army and volunteer groups in Iraq were one of the effective ways for Iran to eliminate this intrigue. For example, Massoud Barzani, head of the Kurdish region of Iraq, said in a news conference that Tehran has provided weapons to Peshmerga forces. We demanded weapons and Iran was the first country to provide us weapons. The creation of a Hashd al-Sha’abi in Iraq was a great step that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) took to increase the military power of the people and the army against ISIL, which caused to open the blind knot of the confused Iraqi crisis in a large extent. The successful operation of the IRGC in Iraq’s field greatly weakened the role of the US-led anti-ISIL coalition in the country and raised Iran’s position as the guiding and the leadership of the resistance. The military and intellectual confrontation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps with ISIL as the most dangerous combat force against the resistance axis, while limiting the sphere of influence and the circle of their activities, has also led to the defense of Iraq’s territorial integrity. The IRGC’s advisory operations in Iraq led to mobilization of different a range of country including the Kurds, Sunni tribes and Shi’a Hadesh al-Sha’bi against ISIL, and retreating terrorists and Takfiris (unbeliever) from the occupied territories. The other thing was that as a result of these efforts, the ghost of war and chaos that had shadowed Iran’s border lines in the early days had been forbidden hundreds of kilometers away.
Meanwhile, the role of Major General Hajj. Qassim Soleimani is undeniable. The nations of the region considered him as one of the greatest saviors. Therefore, the Strength of the IRGC in resolute clash with regional terrorists has increased our soft power for boosting bargaining and growing popularity in other countries.
The Flying Coffin
“If intense warfare broke out tomorrow, India could supply its troops with only 10 days of ammunition, according to government estimates. And 68 per cent of the army’s equipment is so old, it is officially considered vintage”. This is what was stated in a recent report published in New York Times about India’s military equipment.
Mikoyan-Gurevich-21 or MiG 21 was India’s first supersonic jet fighter aircraft manufactured in the Soviet Union in 1955. It is considered a second-generation jet fighter, which was first inducted in the IAF in 1963. MiG 21 once thought to be the backbone of Indian Air Force, playing a stellar role in the 1971 war against Pakistan. It was also used in the skirmishes which broke out between Pakistan and India in 1999 during the Kargil War, whereone IAF MiG 21 was shot down by ground fire. The IAF was forced to continue using this outdated warhorse mainly because of the delays at the part of Indian Defence Ministry regarding which their own senior naval official has claimed is incapable for even asking for the batteries for their submarines and secondly because of the poor and defunct technology of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, eventually leading to numerous accidents.
Moreover, according to various reports and the answers given by various former defence ministers to the parliament MiG 21 were among the biggest casualties with more than 177 peace time air crashes so far. However, almost after every accident a committee was for formulated which stated these aircrafts to be outdated based on a design of 1950s.
Since its induction or more precisely since 1970s more than 200 pilots have been killed in MiG 21 accidents, which also resulted in the deaths of 40 civilians and also earning a name “Flying Coffin” or “Widow Maker”. Whereas IAF officially claims that pilot error were the main cause behind accidents, internal reports conclude otherwise stating technical defects and engine flameouts to be the cause behind the crashes further strengthening the speculation that India’s MiG fleet may have certainly outlived its service life.
Notwithstanding, in summer of 2013 within two months, two incidents of MiG 21 jet crash took place and that too both the jets crashed whilst attempting to land at the Uttarlai Air Base at the Bamer district of Rajasthan, and the height of incongruity was that the crash had been attributed again to pilot error and later an inquiry was commissioned. However, the thing to mention here is that soon after the incident, Wing Commander Sangeet Singh Kaila, a serving officer from the IAf, who himself was a MiG 21 crash survivor petitioned the High court for scrapping the entire fleet of the MiG 21 because of their being vintage and other technical defects. He was involved in a crash during flight exercise in 2005. The court later gave the verdict in his favor where he has alleged in his petition that poor maintenance work executed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which manufactured all the domestically made MIG jets, had contributed to the failure of his aircraft.
The Indian Air Force has inducted more than 1,200 MIG variants in its fleet since 1963, when it was first used by the military. Currently, at least 252 MIG-21s are known to be operational in the air force, according to the Indian military enthusiast site Bharat Rakshak, including the latest upgraded version, the Bison, the same upgraded version was being knocked by the Pakistan in the very recent dogfight between Pakistan and India and the same has been crashed a couple of days ago in Rajasthan but this time it was not the poor pilot but the poor bird behind the crash.
Nevertheless, truth be told it had certainly to be taken off service long ago even IAF pilots often joke around that it is just a hollow tube with an engine which flies very fast however, they also forget to spice up the joke that this hollow tube also lands very fast like 330-334- km/h.
The aircraft has exceeded its stress limit and recommended life and flying hours.
Premier Modi and his party won the office on the back and support of hopes that they will put India on the course to becoming a superpower and had also promised a modernize military, now again he and his party is on board with same outdated mantra very much like their so called modernized technology. But this time results are very clear already.
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