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Iran’s and Hezbollah’s missiles against Israel

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The “precision project” of Iranian missiles, especially the Zelzal model (where the word “zelzal” means earthquake in Farsi), currently operating in the Lebanon, has reached a severe critical point.

 The “Party of God” is currently the most important non-State military actor in the world, which is certainly even more powerful than the Lebanese army itself, with at least 30,000 full-time fighters and additional 25,000 reservists.

 All very well trained by the Iranian Pasdaran, who in 1982 founded the Party with a personal decision of Imam Khomeini.

 The Zelzal missiles (and those currently available to Hezbollah are above all the Zelzal 3) are solid propellant surface-to-surface missiles, a model officially created in 2007, with a stable range of over 250 kilometres.

 According to the Iranian and Lebanese governments, these missiles have a range between 180 and 250 kilometres; a length of 9,600 millimetres; a diameter of616 millimetres; a maximum weight of the armed warhead equal to 900 kilograms and an average margin of error at arrival lower than five metres. The propellant is the HTBP, an oligomer of butadiene having the following formula.

They have a maximum weight of 1,980 kilos and operate in a maximum of 20 seconds. Their maximum service cycle is seven years.

 For the time being, the Iranian project in the Lebanon – and only for Hezbollah-entails the turning of over 14,000 Zelzal2 and 3 into high-precision missiles.

 The missile infrastructure project can convert Zelzal-2 into high-precision missiles with a unit cost – over a few hours – of approximately 5,000-10,000 US dollars. An operation that Iran has been doing for some time, also for the Houthi guerrilla warfare in Yemen.

 Obviously, this fast rapid reconversion immediately endangers Israel’s commercial, intelligence and military networks in the Red Sea, but also directly all US bases in the Greater Middle East.

 Initially Iran tried to send these missiles to the Lebanon directly via Syria, along the Iraqi-Lebanese Shiite “corridor”. Israel, however, has long been carrying out many precise air raids, capable of making the old “corridor” from Iraq to the Lebanon – the real target of Iran’s war in Syria – completely unsafe and above all making also the production of Zelzal 2 and 3missiles in Syria ineffective.

 In response, Iran launched its own technical and intelligence operation, with a view to enabling the Zelzal 2 and 3 missiles already present in the Lebanon (which are currently estimated at approximately 14,000 units) to have an autonomous and advanced GPS (and also Russian GLONASS) guidance system.

 The most important parts of these missiles are still transported, obviously disassembled, from Iran and Iraq to the Lebanon, in Hezbollah’s covert factories, both by land – in the parallel network of the Iraqi-Lebanese “corridor” – and by air from Syria, using the private commercial lines owned by the Pasdaran.

 When the missiles arrive in the Lebanese factories in the hands of Hezbollah (and the Iranian Pasdaran) – often located underground – the Zelzal 2 and 3missiles are upgraded in their intermediate control and command sector. A system is installed for GPS guidance or for the Russian satellite system, a new integrated command and control system. All this basically regards the turning of a Zelzal 2 into a new Fateh 110 missile.

 The Fateh 110 is precisely a short-range Iranian missile, usable on land-based mobile launchers, always with solid propellant.

 Probably it also incorporates Chinese-made guidance systems and has, however, a length of 8.86 metres; a diameter of 0.61 metres; a weight at launch of 3,450 kilos and a maximum charge of 500 kilos, as well as a maximum operating range of 300 kilometres.

 It is not yet completely clear how many Zelzal 2missiles turned into Fateh 110 are now available to Hezbollah, but it is thought that the “Party of God” currently has approximately 150 high-precision missiles.

 However, the Lebanese Zelzal 2missiles not yet upgraded are supposed to be 14,000.

 It should be recalled that Hezbollah has already attacked with missiles the refinery in Haifa – fortunately without repeating the 1947 massacre – some Israeli air bases, the areas near the nuclear reactor of Dimona, and the Kirya military base of the Israeli Armed Forces, as well as the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.

 Hence, this is the problem: while it is certainly true that Israel has the maximum coverage at missile level, it is equally true that absolute protection is no longer possible.

 It is therefore tragically probable that, in the future, the Israeli Defence may be forced to choose between the protection of critical infrastructure and the protection of the most populated centres.

 The best strategic solution for Israel can be a direct preventive attack into the Lebanon, which would lead to a full outbreak with the Lebanon, but also with Syria, with the Sunni groups operating there, with Iran and with a share of Shiite militants from Iraq already stationing on the Bekaa-Golan border.

One of the current Israeli strategies, however, is to maintain a focus of international attention and intelligence on Hezbollah’s missiles and to disclose, at the same time, much accurate intelligence data, capable of assessing and checking the danger of this new composition of forces on the Israeli borders.

 Incidentally, however, are we really sure that Iran wants to start destroying the Jewish State – just for mere silly anti-Semitic madness – thus setting the region on fire to finally do a favour probably only to its Sunni enemies?

 As well as eventually favour a complete clash with the Iranian interests in the Lebanon and Syria of the Western forces, which would easily enter from a destabilized Israel into Iran?

  If only the Europeans were less foolish, they could also put credible pressure on Hezbollah, thus letting Hariri’s new government – that still appears friendly to Westerners -know that all this is a clear and very severe violation of the UN Resolution n. 1701.

 A pressure capable of forcing also the Russian Federation and China to become milder and more reasonable.

 Certainly, the situation is increasingly complex.

  As already said, Hezbollah owns approximately 140,000 Iranian-made missiles, hidden in private houses on the Lebanese border with Israel. According to the statistics of the last conflict between the “Party of God” and Israel in 2006, at least 14,000 of them, which are certainly Zelzal 2 and 3 missiles, can be launched at a rate between 180 and 1,200 per day.

 Obviously, the saturation of launches from the Lebanon is capable of causing damage against resources or forces, which could jeopardize Israel’s military response and its internal social stability.

 As already said, currently Hezbollah’s “precision project” is organized directly by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards.

 Considering Israel’s internal structure, it is enough to hit some critical infrastructure (airports, including the civilian ones, factories, inhabited centres) and the more accurate missiles are, the fewer they are needed to achieve seriously destructive effects.

 It should be recalled, however, that Hezbollah has also SCUD 2 missiles available, always deployed in the Lebanon, which are supposed to have an operating range between 200 and 400 kilometres.

 The “Party of God” also bought from Bashar al-Assad’s Syria some M-600 Tishreen missiles, the Syrian version of the already mentioned Fateh 110,with different guidance and control systems.

 The GPS accuracy of missiles, however, is critical for their strategic effects.

 Precision missiles are such especially because they have a low Circular Error Probability (CEP).

 CEPis the radius of the circle that should enclose 50% of the points of arrival of the missiles launched.

 Hence the lower the CEP, the fewer missiles are needed to destroy a target.

 The missiles with GPS and GLONASS systems reach their target through inertial mechanisms.

 The main coordinates of the target are entered into the missile, at the time of launch, via laptop.

 GPS and GLONASS systems use accelerometers and gyroscopes that move wings and external supports on the missile surface. With immediate feedback on the route and the amount of inertia-fuel that is evaluated immediately and automatically by the missile itself.

 The solid propellant engine, however, lasts about 30 seconds and then the missile is driven by inertia.

 Corrections to the route are possible until the time of impact.

 All these Iranian missiles available to Hezbollah, however, are mobile by road.

 The non-negligible size of the missile makes it liable, for a short period, to be hit before the launch, but it is certainly a particularly difficult operation.

 The Zelzal 2 and Fateh 110missiles are similar and hence their refitting with GPS or GLONASS systems is relatively simple and entails small additional parts which are easy to transfer.

 It should be noted once again that Iran uses both the Western GPS and the Russian Glonass as satellite sensor.

 Just 2-3 hours per missile are enough to turn an old Zelzal into a precision missile, i.e. the time needed to replace the guidance system, the new surface fins and the inertial control system.

 Some hundreds of Lebanese militants for the Hezbollah missile system are trained in a special section of the Imam Husseyn University in Tehran, the official university of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, but only to upgrade the missiles, and many of the “Party of God” have already returned to the Lebanon.

 Spare parts and materials are sent to Syria and the Lebanon by land or by air, with the formally civilian airlines owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

 The new parts are stored and checked especially in the warehouses of Damascus airport, but the Syrian factories of missile parts have all been placed under the Pasdaran direct control since December 2016.

 Hence the Hezbollah logic is probably that the more missiles – even low-precision ones – are available, less possible will be for Israel to choose a preventive strategy of destruction of the arsenals before they are used.

 How much damage can such a missile -upgraded by Iran for the Lebanese Shiites – do?

 The Fateh 110missile has a 100-metre CEP and can hence destroy a standard target with a 75% probability rate.

 For urban targets in highly populated areas the Fateh 110 CEP decreases further.

 Israel is small and densely populated, with a very high distribution of critical targets between resident population and urban systems.

 Particularly important centres are located very close to each other, in an area that, on average, is about 20 kilometres wide and 100 metres deep.

 Israel has 20 energy production areas, three commercial ports and a large international airport.

 It has also the military bases of Palmahim, Tel Nof, Nevatimand Hatzor, as well as Dimona, the Haifa refinery, and the  IDF headquarters in the centre of Tel Aviv.

 The operational coverage of Hezbollah’s missile factories in the Lebanon is also varied: under a football field, just north of the Beirut airport, near the Uza’i canal and in many private houses, often of individuals not reported as Shiite militants.

 There are also Lebanese missile depots in Latakia – right near the Russian positions and, probably, in such a way as to make them also the target of an Israeli counter-operation –as well as in Safita, Hisya and, as already mentioned, in Damascus.

 It should be recalled, however, that all Israeli air raids against the launch sites, factories and areas for upgrading Hezbollah’s Iranian missiles – starting from the one of November 2017 in Hisya to the one on Jamaraya, in February 2018, until the operation on Latakia of September 2018- were carried out by Israel in full agreement with the Russian Federation.

  Nevertheless, unlike what happened in Syria, Israel has still no intention of carrying out stable preventive actions on the Lebanese territory, in a region that could quickly trigger off a major conflict with Syria, Iran, the Sunni groups and many others.

 In terms of protection and missile response, Israel can still count on the Iron Dome, a network of sensors and early warning missile batteries, with additional advanced mortar batteries – operational since 2012 – but above all operating against the old Qassam or Soviet Katiusce rockets.

 It works optimally for targets around 70-100 kilometres.

 Since 2017 Israel has also been operating David’s Sling, a medium range and medium-high charge missile network, operating up to 300 kilometres, which is useful precisely against the Fateh 110, the Zelzal 2 and 3missiles, as well as against the Syrian M-600 missiles, including those upgraded with the Iranian GPS-GLONASS. Israel also owns the Arrow 2 network, with ballistic missiles having a long range of over 200 kilometres, which has been operating since 2000. Finally, since 2017 Israel has also been operating Arrow 3, a network of sensors and missiles with a range over 200 kilometres and spatial guidance in their final trajectory phase.

 However, there is still a problem.

 The anti-missile networks, even the most specialized and modern such as the Israeli ones, can be quickly saturated by a very high rate of almost simultaneous launches and by missile decoding actions in flight, which can blind or otherwise limit the full anti-missile response.

 While it is true that Israel has no difficulty in selecting missiles targeted to critical areas of its territory, or those targeted to irrelevant areas, it is equally true that the interceptors are extremely expensive to be placed on site, infinitely more expensive than the missiles they have to intercept, especially if they are short-range missiles.

 Hence, in a tragic future, the Jewish State might be forced to choose to defend only the critical infrastructure, thus leaving some populated centres overexposed.

 A politically suicidal choice for any government.

 Obviously,an unavoidable option for Israel will also be to bring the war – probably not just the air one – into the Lebanon, with evident cascading effects for all the forces present in the region.

Therefore it is fully rational that the Israeli government has made the choice of creating a new IDF “missile Corps” to  specifically face this new type of threat, which will come  from the North, but also from the South, from the Gaza Strip and, possibly, from the jihadist networks now controlling the Sinai region.

 Iran’s technology in the field of missile precision guidance, however, comes from the US Paveway IV (CEP 15 metres, 70,000 US dollars per missile), which is a missile incorporating a dual communication system, carrying out anti-jamming activity on the GPS network (but not on GLONASS), and a semi-active laser guidance.

 Currently Great Britain uses the Brimstone, with a CEP lower than one metre and a particularly advanced laser guidance system.

 Great Britain has also the Exactor 2 available, a multirole missile with a 30-kilometre range.

 A system that is almost completely automated.

 All technologies also available to Iran.

 The fast reverse engineering of the allied and Western materials found in Syria worked miracles for Iran.

 According to Israeli sources, the cost of the new Iranian project on precision missiles in the Lebanon should total 17 billion US dollars, all invested in Hezbollah’s networks only.

 Currently the final unit cost per missile is expected to be 10,000 US dollars.

 As disclosed by various intelligence sources, however, the Lebanese program still has only 250 missiles already operational, as demonstrated by the documentary film produced by the Lebanese Shiite group, which shows an IDF border patrol, the 401th armoured brigade, hit in an accident occurred four years ago.

 It is strange: the Israeli patrol had an M4 Windbreaker tank available, which has a significant passive and active anti-missile defence. Hence Hezbollah, however, has correctly inferred that Israel has currently the ability to send units by land to the Lebanese territory to bring the confrontation to  the Lebanese Shiite region.

 Which is exactly what Hezbollah does not want at all.

 Both the Israeli military services and the Israeli Armed Forces, however, have explicitly stated that Hezbollah “has not yet the industrial capacity to turn the missiles supplied by Iran into precision missiles”.

 For the time being, however, the “Party of God” is supposed to have 90-250 missiles available, already prepared for high-precision actions.

 It is not what Iran and Hezbollah need to carry out the missile saturation operation they have in mind.

 It should also be considered that the “Party of God” normally fails at least 10% of launches, while currently the international standard is 4% for small and medium-sized missiles.

 Hence with 50% of the missiles stopped at departure or in flight by Israeli forces – as always happens – finally only 50 of the 250 missiles upgraded by Iran could be currently launched and become really dangerous for Israel.

 The political and strategic effect would remain anyway, considering the population density and the complexity of the Israeli defence and infrastructure system.

 Therefore the problem is not solved anyway by waiting.

 Hence both Iran and Hezbollah have recently decided to confine the upgrade program only to the 14,000 Zelzal 2 missiles already present and operational, without updates, in the Lebanese Shiite group’s arsenal.

 Here again, however, there are many problems.

 New factories are needed, with a piece-by-piece process that turns a Zelzal 2 or 3 into a Fateh 110missile, which has a 300-kilometre range.

  Which is exactly what the Iranian and Lebanese Shiites need in the first missile salvo.

 Nevertheless, while Iran has already produced4,000 new high-precision missiles in the above mentioned university research centres in Tehran, so far only 1,000 have safely reached the Lebanon.

 Another problem for Hezbollah and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is the inevitably significant areas needed to upgrade the missiles both in Syria and in the Lebanon.

 All areas already hit by Israeli attacks that, however, are still limited and well-known.

The few factories that have recently been operational in Syria and the Lebanon have already been hit by Israeli air strikes.

 Hence, for the time being, Hezbollah has solved the problem by distributing the missiles to be upgraded to small and widespread factories, located throughout Southern Lebanon, and the few ones still existing in Syria.

 This means that the process for upgrading the missiles becomes slower, more difficult and hence less qualitatively significant.

 Therefore, the previously mentioned costs increase proportionately to the difficulties of technical upgrading. Hence, if the upgraded missiles cost at least 11,000 US dollars each, the total technological upgrade of Hezbollah’s missiles will be worth at least 145 million US dollars.

 Therefore, everything is resolved in the standard time needed for the Iranian upgrade and for Israeli response and certainly for a new possible indirect agreement between Israeli and Syria, not mediated – today, as in the 1990s – by the United States.

 A tacit agreement that is worth, today, in a framework of agreements between Syria itself, which got its grip on the Lebanon and currently cannot hold it any longer, and Israel itself, which could accept – after a credible threat on Hezbollah- a Russian or even US mediation on the current equilibria in the Lebanon.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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Iran-Israel: Can the low-intensity conflict turn into open war?

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On Friday, November 27, on the motorway from the town of Absard to Tehran, the armoured car carrying the Head of Iran’s nuclear programme, Moshem Fakhzarideh, was ambushed. The scientist was killed, probably together with his bodyguards. The news of the incident is still confusing.

The Iranian news agency Farsi News has even talked about the attackers’ use of a sort of “Robot machine gun” placed on a pickup truck by the side of the motorway and apparently controlled remotely.

 An evocative and probably fanciful piece of news useful to draw a merciful  veilover the new debacle of the Iranian security services which, once again, have failed to ensure the safety of their scientists.

The only certain news is that Fakhzarideh was killed in an attack that runs the risk of significantly harming Iran’s nuclear programme.

The scientist lived such a secluded and secret life that not even his age is known for certain.

 According to the technicians of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – the United Nations organization that oversees international controls on nuclear proliferation -until his death, Fakhzarideh was directing the very secret projects aimed at uranium enrichment, the production of high potential explosives and above all the construction of missile warheads capable of carrying fissile material.

Despite his life apart in the shadows, in 2011 the IAEA had identified him as the Head of the AMAD programme, a long-term plan organised by the Ayatollah regime twenty years ago, with the aim of turning Iran into a fully-fledged nuclear power.

Israel had identified him well before the UN technicians: in May 2003, the Mossad‘s deputy-Director, Tamir Pardo, outlined to his Director, Meir Dagan, and to the Israeli Secret Service’s operational directors, a top-secret program to stop the AMAD plan, a program that was the result of four months of espionage in Iran, aimed at thwarting Iran’s nuclear projects.

According to Israeli sources, Pardo outlined his strategic proposal in a simple way: “In this situation, Israel has three options: firstly, conquer Iran; secondly, organize a regime change in Iran; thirdly, convince Iranian politicians that the price they shall pay to continue the nuclear programme will be so high that it will better for them to stop it”.

Since both the first and the second option were clearly unrealistic, the Israeli government started a “low-intensity war” against the Ayatollah regime designed to making the third option materialize. Alongside political and diplomatic measures aimed at achieving the international isolation of the Iranian regime, Israel entrusted the Mossad with the task of supporting the activities of Iranian minorities (the Kurds) and of organised groups opposed to the regime (first and foremost, the Mujaheddin El Kalkh, MEK), as well as starting plans to sabotage the production of fissile material and, above all, authorised the targeted and selective killing of key figures in the AMAD programme, the leading scientists of the nuclear projects.

The Mossad project was shared with the United States, which agreed to take on both the diplomatic and political side of the programme and a large part of the funding for the opposition groups within the Iranian regime.

Moreover, CIA and Mossad together planned a wide range of cyberattacks designed to sabotaging Iranian plutonium enrichment and production. A joint operation called “Oliympic Games” was launched, which led to the “cyber sabotage” of the computerised systems of Iranian nuclear facilities with viruses, such as the notorious Stuxnet, which in 2009 led to the stop of all the centrifuges used for uranium enrichment.

At the same time, Israel drew up a list of 15 key figures in the AMAD programme to be eliminated. The United States kept out of the plans to target Iranian scientists because Obama’s CIA was afraid of being involved in clearly illegal operations.

However, as the then Director of CIA, Michael Hayden, admitted, the elimination of the technicians could prove an essential tool to frustrate Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

During the first meeting of the National Security Council in January 2009, in the presence of newly elected President Obama, Hayden said as follows about the fissile material stored in the Natanz laboratories:”The issue is not how much fissile material is stored in Natanz. There are no electrons or neutrons in Natanz that can be turned into a nuclear bomb. What they are building in Natanz is knowledge. When the Iranians have enough knowledge they will go somewhere else to enrich uranium. That knowledge, Mr President, is stored in scientists’ brains.”

Although the United States stayed away from the targeted killings of Iranian technicians, the Mossad was not sitting on its hands.

On January 14, 2007, the nuclear physicist Ardeshir Hosseinpour died from radioactive gaspoisoning.

On January 12, 2010, Dr. Masoud Alimohammad, a leading member of the AMAD project’s scientific team, was killed by the explosion of a booby-trapped motorbike parked near his car.

On November 29, 2010 it was the turn of Dr. Majid Shahriari, who was killed by a carbomb with “magnetized explosives” that two motorcyclists had attached to his Peugeot, detonating it remotely. That same day another scientist escaped death, together with his wife, as they managed to leave the car before the explosion.

In July 2011, Dr. Darioush Rezainejad, a member of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, was shot dead by a motorcycle-riding gunman in front of his house. On January 12, 2012 the same fate befell the chemist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshani, working at the Natanz facility.

This seemingly unstoppable and relentless series of targeted killings had various effects on the Iranian scientific community and Iran’s politicians.

On the one hand, as Fakhzarideh himself admitted, the last and probably most illustrious victim of Israel’s longa manus, it made the life of Iranian scientists a real “living hell”. Under the 24-hour obsessive escort of the protection services and without a social life any longer, what at first seemed a cursus honorumturned into an infernal circle.

On the other hand, the feeling of being the target of an unstoppable spy penetration from outside made the Iranian security services suspicious, bordering paranoia, thus forcing them to suffocating internal control measures that often paralyzed their action.

Moreover, as Mossad Director Meir Dagan admitted during a rare public conference, the killings caused a “White Defection” in Iran, a constant drain of scientists who asked to leave nuclear research for other assignments.

The “low-intensity” war informally declared by Israel on Iran in 2003 has had its results.

The international community has imposed economic and trade sanctions on Iran, which have caused the collapse of its economy. In 2015 Iran accepted the “Nuclear Deal” proposed by the United Nations and signed a non-proliferation agreement guaranteed by Germany, France, Russia and the United States.

President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 to protest against Iran’s increased activism in Yemen and Syria in opposition to Saudi Arabia, a U.S. strategic ally throughout the Middle East.

During the electoral campaign theU.S. President-elect, Joe Biden, repeatedly stated that under his administration the United States would sit back at the “Nuclear Deal” negotiating table, as he is convinced he can lead Iran again on the “right track” of nuclear non-proliferation.

Probably, faced with this prospect, Israel wanted to send a signal to Iran with the killing of the Head of its nuclear scientist team on November 27 last. Although Israel has lost the proactive support of Donald Trump after his defeat in the Presidential election, vigilance and supervision over Iran is still high and will remain so until Iran definitively gives up its dream of becoming a nuclear power capable of dictating the law with nuclear persuasion over the Persian Gulf and the whole Middle East.

In this strategy, Israel has the increasingly evident and proactive support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, within new links in a chain of regional alliances that should convince Iran to seek a way of political compromise with the counterparts on its borders and drop its hegemonic designs of recent years. Probably, instead of stimulating reprisals and retaliations, Fakhrizadeh’s assassination could paradoxically make a political compromise closer.

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National Security of PakistanPost 9/11: A Critical Review

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Pakistan’s troublesome decades preceding the millennium mark all boiled down to significant events of the morning of September 11, 2001, coupled with its prevailing traditional animosity on its eastern borders. The years following 9/11 all put Pakistan’s security apparatus in an unprecedented situation unlike any faced before, especially on the internal security domain with the external security paradigm remaining unchanged. The blowback of the Afghan crisis (from the 1980s-1990s) had poised itself to strike following Pakistan’s alignment towards its American ally. This new myriad of security issues ignited a destructive trial and error process for the Pakistani state, dealing with challenges unknown to it, and through that trial and error process emerged solutions: both material and ideational. The first 8 years of the millennium can easily be described as a roller coaster: starting from military rule and ending with a shift towards democratic civilian rule and filled with internal power play of politics, starting with the after-effects of the turmoil of Kargiland ending with the ill-fated Mumbai attacks along with encompassing the 2002 Military standoff which put South Asia on the brink of all-out war and lastly starting with the ill-fated menace of the 9/11 after impacts seeing no end in the 8 years.

Identifying National Security Threats & Issues

Foreign Interests:one of the core threats to Pakistan’s national security emanate from the interests and actions of foreign powers, precisely the United States. The United States initiated war on terrorism starting from 2001 in Afghanistan had compelled Pakistan to be an ally. An as an ally, Pakistan had to face the brunt of war more than the American as Pakistan shares a physical border with Afghanistan and cannot escape from the ripple effects of conflict in Afghanistan.

Lack of Direction on the PoliticalLevel: The top echelons of the Pakistani state to date have not defined any or laid out a policy for National Security or National Defense policy. The lack of such a policy framework on defense and security issues starts of a domino leaving the “purpose for war” undefined. The lack of broader political end made this whole war a seemingly futile effort as the national security issues remained unaddressed.

Religious Extremism: Pakistan’s toughest domestic national security threat at that time was the religious extremism. Pakistan had faced severe challenges from extremism in the early 2000s. Extremism is the fringe element to hijack our noble faith, steal the Quaid’s vision, jeopardize our economic well-being, undermine our moderate outlook, and hurt our international standing. He regarded this fight against extremism and terrorism as a battle for the very soul of Pakistan.Mushrooming of Madrasas in the 1970s and 80s was the tactic used to increase the morale of fighters against the Soviets. This cause is still preliminary in the Madrasas to promote religious extremism.

Baluchistan Insurgency under the Musharraf government had been again the major threat to the national security of Pakistan. The Baloch people have always shown antagonism to the military ruler because of their confrontation with the Bloch people in the previous insurgencies and that’s why the uprising in Baluchistan took more strength after a few years of Musharrafgovernment. The events that triggered the violence in the province include the murder of Nawaz Akbar Bugtiand the enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing of Bloch people. The volcano of Baloch eager erupted after the death of Nawab Akbar Bugti and an organized rebellion started.Baluchistan Liberation Army was the deadliest liberation party in the province. They have done many violent actions in the province such as rocket attacks, suicide missions, spreading rumors, create uncertainty, in the minds of people, terrorize people, hit electricity pylons, blow up gas pipelines, etc.   

Another issue regarding the Balochistan insurgency was the division of Balochistan between ‘A’ areas and ‘B’ areas. B areas were considered to be the areas where police had no jurisdiction and had given no right to police to investigate and interrogate any immoral activity in the ‘B’ region. Only 5% of Balochistan was an ‘A’ area and the rest 95% was a ‘B’ area. This ‘B’ area was the hub of all insurgents and liberation parties.

Another important national security issue was the lack of police reform to fight effectively against the threats of different nature that emerged after 9/11. Former IG Sindh ShoaibSuddle asserted in an interview, that there must be a reform in the police department so that it become adaptive and agile to the emerging threats.

Means and Methods Adopted For Dealing with National Security Threats

Counter-Terrorism Department

Punjab Police in the early 2000s had taken an initiative to counter the terrorist threats i.e. formation of a new department called Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD). Its motto is “To fight terrorism in all its manifestations” CTD registers and investigates all terrorism-related cases at the newly established CTD Police Stations. The creation of Counter-Terrorism Force (CTF) within CTD was another landmark initiative. Highly educated corporals (1200 in number) had been inducted and given the most modern training with the collaboration of the armed forces and friendly countries. These corporals had been deployed all over the Province to perform their mandated tasks. State of the art gadgetry and equipment have been provided to CTD and its infrastructure is being improved.CTD has varied functions which include Collection, collation, and dissemination of information regarding terrorism, violent extremism, Detection, and investigation of offenses of terrorism and terrorism financing under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

Police Order 2002

Another method government of Pakistan had taken to cope up with national security issues was the police order 2002. The police Order 2002 was promulgated on 14 of August 2002 as Chief Executive’s Order No. 22 of 2002 and it replaced the police Act of 1861 (Vof 1861). It contained 19 chapters, 188 articles, and 4 schedules. Its primaryobjective was to reform the police in such a way that it could “functionaccording to the Constitution, law, and democratic aspirations of the peopleof Pakistan”

Forensic & IT Support

This was the decision taken by the government to provide forensic and IT support. In doing so, the Government hired different IT experts to sort the computer technology challenges and related cases. On the other hand, the government hired different staff and scientists for forensic matters. 

Conversion of ‘B’ Areas into ‘A’ Areas

To eliminate the terrorists and insurgent threats, the government of Pakistan had converted all the Balochistan area into the ‘A’ areas. And then the police department had jurisdiction overthe whole of Balochistan.

Counter Insurgency Operation

In the timeline of 2000-2008, the government of Pakistan had decided to carry out full-fledged military operations against the terrorist and insurgents sentiments. First Battle of Swat; Operation Rah-e-Haque was the first suchoperation carried out. It was the battle fought between October 2007 and December 2007.

Strategy to Eradicate Extremism

To combat extremism, Khalid Kasuri asserted that we are pursuing a multi-pronged strategy with military, political,and economic tracks. The strategy hinges on rejection of violence, enforcement of therule of law, broadening of political participation, spread of education, and expansion ofeconomic opportunities. An elaborate FATA Development plan for the Tribal areas ofPakistan has been designed, including initiatives like Reconstruction Opportunity Zones(ROZs). The effort is to wean vulnerable people away from the appeal of extremism.

Decision Making Process and National Security Interests/Objectives

The key decision-makers were as follows, in order of importance regarding decision-making powers

Pervez Musharraf: who was at the time President and Army Chief was the key decision-maker regarding issues overall and national security.

Corps Commanders Conference: the meeting of top leadership of the Pakistan Army.

National Security Council: Meeting of the top leadership consisting of government institutions and military. Includes the Prime Minister/ service chiefs and ministers.

It is important to notice that during the timeline of 2000-2008, the importance of the Corp Commander Conference outweighed National Security Council in decision making, even though the latter consisted of senior officials. Moreover, the decision-making process by military command pursued a narrow tunnel vision approach towards the national security issues. This happened due to the lack of trust in civilian authorities by military officials.

Conclusion

The first eight years demonstrate a disparity amongst the top grand strategic level and the operational and tactical levels. The security apparatus of the country has adopted to deal with the changing nature of threats but the lack of consensus and political will prevent to see through that the kinetic/operational success combine to form an overall strategic victory. To cultivate success on the national level, the top echelons of leadership need to demonstrate sincerity in dealing with issues otherwise all the costs paid in securing and defending the country will all have gone in vain. 

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Intelligence

The Nature of Islamist Violence in France

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France faces a persistent jihadist threat, and all indications suggest the violence afflicting the country will continue. France has been targeted for upwards of three decades, but the frequency of attacks has increased quite dramatically over the past ten years or so. There are several reasons why it is distinctly fertile territory for jihadist activity and why militants have declared France an enemy and priority Western target. France is a European hub of jihadism and has been hit particularly hard in recent years. It has the largest Islamic population in Western Europe and, recognizing this, militant organizations devote time, effort, and resources to media production aimed at existing supporters and potentially receptive elements within French society. While only a small percentage of this varied demographic is involved with jihadist activity, individuals residing in France conduct most attacks. In other instances, militants travel to France and gain entry prior to committing violence. The country’s population profile is important to consider but does not explain why some are willing to kill and die for their cause on French soil.


Historically, much of the Islamist violence against France has been motivated by French interference in Muslim lands. This was true of the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in the 1990s and is largely the case with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) today. Jihadists have consistently made this clear in their propaganda and martyrdom statements. In addition to this, militants have struck religious targets and there has been imported conflict related to external events.


The 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices and recent series of blasphemy-motivated incidents represent a marked typological development for jihadism in France. In response to the public’s demand for action, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced measures to fight “Islamist separatism” and has been working with European and international partners on matters of border security. Macron’s statements and announced policies have evoked outrage from some within France and internationally. Jihadists are capitalizing upon this and propagandizing Macron’s strategy in a way that hardens the enemy distinction of France, framing it as a nation that is waging war against Muslims at home and abroad. This is a very potent narrative for inciting violence.

National Security Profile
Emmanuel Macron has been criticized for his strategy as well as his comments about Islam being “in crisis”. Macron’s remarks are particularly noteworthy given the composition of French society. Islam is the second largest religion in France and Pew Research Center estimates there are 5,720,000 Muslims living in the country, accounting for 8.8% of the total population. Other sources place this figure closer to 5 million. Macron is accused of over-generalizing and stigmatizing the nation’s Islamic population in response to the actions of a comparative few.


The veracity of Macron’s claims can be debated, and the efficacy of his plan is unknown at this time but there is significant public pressure on the government to address the momentum of militant violence. The attacks have spurred discussion about strengthening French border security and immigration policy. Macron has called for the “refoundation” of the Schengen area and has urged Europe to do more to prevent illegal immigration, citing threats posed by trafficking networks with terror links.
 The global context saw tremendous geographical expansion and numerical growth in Islamist militancy over recent decades. These broader international trends have notably affected the European jihadist landscape and associated ideological currents have influenced some elements within France. France is as well a site of militant network formation and there is a degree of interplay between domestic and international dynamics.
In 2018, the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimated the number of “Sunni Islamic militants” worldwide to be around four times higher than on September 11, 2001. A study by the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) found that France was the Western nation most often attacked from January 2004 to December 2018, accounting for 27% of all incidents. The AIVD says the first jihadist attack on French soil during this period was in 2012 and since then, the country has experienced frequent violence. Additionally, the Program on Extremism estimated that France has been the target of 35% of all combined attacks conducted in Europe and North America since 2014.


Several other assessments have illuminated the scale of France’s security troubles. In 2017, European Union anti-terror chief Gilles de Kerchove warned there were 17,000 militant Islamists living in the country. Following the December 2018 Christmas market attack in Strasbourg, France 24 reported that approximately “26,000 people who are believed to pose a danger to France are currently categorised as fiché S,” and “roughly 10,000 of those are believed to be religious extremists who have been radicalised, some in fundamentalist mosques, some online, some in prison and others abroad.” Upwards of 2000 French nationals have reportedly joined the Islamic State and in 2016 the French government estimated that 1,400 prison inmates were “radicalized”.


Foreign Policy
From the Armed Islamic Group in the 1990s to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State today, France’s enemies have been forthright about what motivates them to conduct attacks. French intervention in Muslim lands has fueled decades of Islamist resentment. Jihadist leaders continually reiterate this in their messaging, as do attack perpetrators in their martyrdom statements and claims of responsibility.


France had various degrees of involvement in the Algerian Civil War, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, the Libyan Civil War, and the conflict in Mali. France has deployed 5,100 military personnel to the Sahel and has around 1,000 more troops stationed in Iraq. It maintains a military presence in Mali, Chad, Niger, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso as part of Operation Barkhane. This is France’s largest operational military footprint in Africa since the 1950s. France has also played a highly visible and multifaceted role in fighting the Islamic State in the Middle East.


Jihadist propaganda frames the country as an aggressor, foreign occupier of Muslim lands, and a crusader state waging war on Islam. Following 9/11 and entry into the War in Afghanistan, France and other coalition nations were increasingly portrayed in this way. Al-Qaeda propagated similar narratives following the 2013 launch of Operation Serval in Mali.
The development of media campaigns specifically geared towards Western audiences has increased the reach and traction of jihadist narratives within these societies. Incorporating this approach into the overall military strategy against their enemies helped bring the war to the streets of Western cities. Al-Qaeda’s propaganda efforts in the 2000s and early 2010s had some success with incitement, but the Islamic State drastically increased the offensive tempo against the West in 2014. Although there were jihadist plots in the 2000s, militants did not have a great deal of operational success on French soil again until the turn of the decade. France notably refrained from the 2003 War in Iraq and seemingly avoided much of the violent backlash associated with it. The general growth of Islamist militancy since 9/11 is another contextual trend to consider.


The Islamic State demonstrated its capabilities through its sweeping military victories, caliphate, unprecedented propaganda infrastructure, and vast global reach. When the US-led coalition intervened against the organization in Iraq and Syria, IS harnessed its robust media apparatus to launch targeted campaigns against participating nations. The Islamic State’s top leadership declared France an enemy and the organization produced specialized French language video, audio, and online print materials. IS has also been very effective in its use of social media and messaging applications.    


The Islamic State’s spokesman at the time, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, released a statement in September of 2014 that tracked with the evolving trends of jihadist violence in the West. Adnani was very explicit in his instructions, “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.” He provided simple tactical advice to streamline the attack process, “If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”


Blasphemy
There had been demonstrations against Salman Rushdie in the late 1980s and against the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad by Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten in 2005, but not lethal attacks of this nature over such things on French soil. The recent surge in these kinds of incidents and the animosity over Emmanuel Macron’s plan to fight “Islamist separatism” have added dimension to France’s jihadist threat. Militant propaganda has focused on blasphemous acts by French citizens and has framed Macron’s strategy as a direct attack on the country’s Muslim population.


 There were several warning signs leading up to the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack. A 2010 issue of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Inspire magazine featured a timeline of events related to depictions of the Prophet Muhammad from 2005 to 2010, which included explicit mention of Charlie Hebdo. Anwar al-Awlaki warned, “If you have the right to slander the Messenger of Allah, we have the right to defend him. If it is part of your freedom of speech to defame Muhammad it is part of our religion to fight you.” Awlaki wrote about “the hatred the West holds towards Islam and the Prophet of Islam”. He called for retaliation and claimed that “Defending the Messenger of Allah is a greater cause than fighting for Palestine, Afghanistan or Iraq; it is greater than fighting for the protection of Muslim life, honor or wealth.” Awlaki focused on Western insults towards the most sacredly held beliefs of many Muslims, sanctified anger over these offences, and gave the greenlight for reprisal.


A subsequent 2013 issue of AQAP’s Inspire included a section about the “French crusader intervention in Mali” and a wanted poster featuring individuals accused of insulting Islam. Charlie Hebdo’s Stéphane Charbonnier was among the designated figures. On January 7, 2015, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi conducted a raid on Charlie Hebdo’s offices that killed 12 people, including Charbonnier. The shooters had trained in Yemen, identified with AQAP, and executed the attack in retaliation to the magazine’s depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.
Blasphemy-motivated violence has reemerged with intensity in recent weeks, sparked again by the republication of these cartoons. Events transpired rather quickly with the high-profile Charlie Hebdo trial, the stabbing near the magazine’s former offices, the announcement of Emmanuel Macron’s plan, the beheading of history teacher Samuel Paty, and the church attack in Nice. Leaders of Muslim nations have scorned Macron, anti-France protests have erupted across the Islamic world, consumer boycotts have been promoted against French products, and there was a stabbing and subsequent Islamic State-claimed bombing targeting French diplomatic personnel in Saudi Arabia. Jihadist organizations and their online supporters have been actively stoking hostilities, celebrating the attacks, and calling for more violence. They have focused on Macron as a figurehead for insults to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. The French government is accused of enabling and even encouraging blasphemy.

France is faced with a complex threat from independent actors as well as militants directed, guided, and inspired by jihadist organizations. France is in a precarious position and faces potential violence if a certain foreign policy decision is made, a citizen blasphemes, the state enacts a security measure, or an external event occurs in some foreign flashpoint. This reality informs the French desire to assert national sovereignty. France’s security environment is showing signs of deterioration and there is nothing to suggest the violence will subside anytime soon. It is clear the French people want meaningful action and time will reveal if Emmanuel Macron’s approach will have any real impact.

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