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Additional considerations on the Huawei 5G issue

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In principle, excluding Huawei’s 5G from the US networks certainly does not make them safer.

 The logic for the operation of the 5G network is such that the criteria for secure transmission shall be defined immediately.

 An executive order of President Trump, issued last May, prevents US companies from buying materials and information technology from companies that pose a danger to national security.

 There is an obvious reference to Huawei and ZTE, the two Chinese companies that currently set and dictate the rules in the 5G sector.

 At the basis of these operations for excluding Huawei-ZTE products there is the new Chinese National Intelligence Law of 2017, which obliges all Chinese companies to support the government abroad.

 It should be recalled, however, that – according to all independent analysts – Huawei and its 5G network are at least a year “ahead” of their Western competitors, besides being less expensive and more user-friendly.

 The 2017 law provides the Chinese system (and the CPC) with new tools – especially in the cyber sphere – for State security. Exactly the opposite of what happens in the West, where the intelligence services seem to be bogged down in an eternal wasteland made of little money, excess of regulations, hatred on the part of decision-makers and closed-minded attitude vis-à-vis civil society.

 Considering this strategic context, it is easy to predict what will happen to us.

  Nevertheless, it is not just a matter of naive evaluation of hardware – as far as the Huawei 5G network is concerned – considering that the dangers to security are always present also in software and networks.

 Thinking that there is only one danger for the 5G networks, and not for others, is a colossal naivety, which will be exploited by those who do not want us to equip ourselves with 5G networks at the best level available on the world market.

 In fact, both the Russian Federation and North Korea have already penetrated some US web networks without using – in any way – Huawei or Chinese-made material.

 Hence why so much ado about Huawei, considering that the current 5G or 4G networks are equally penetrable, and certainly not by China?

 As I hope it is clear, the origin of a network says nothing about who wants to use it illegally or “covertly” and how.

 The US 5G system has not yet an international standard, while the 4G security measures, which may well be adapted to the new network, have not yet been fully adapted to the new use paradigm, both in the USA and in the EU.

 A recent study on the 5G authentication by the ETH of Zurich and the universities of Lorraine and Dundee has showed that the standard currently used on the 5G network- derived from the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), an international organization of telecommunication industries – lacks security and accuracy.

 Hence, this is certainly not a “fault” of Huawei.

 The Authorization and Key Agreement (AKA), which is a security protocol used mainly in the 5G network, also shows structural weaknesses, which can enable some people to steal data and intercept communications.

 Once again this does not regard Huawei. Quite the reverse.

 It should be recalled that currently the US government has no control over the 5G procedures and standards. It can only collaborate – and not substantially – with the companies operating in the sector. Nevertheless, we believe it is already too late.

 The myth of the “free market” is back again. If the USA still believes that a network like the 5G – which, as was said in the Davos Forum, will create the “fourth industrial revolution” – can do without the State support, we are really stuck back in the nineteenth century.

 Instead of always thinking about the links between the founder of Huawei and Chinese Armed Forces (and, indeed, we should wonder how many US companies are born from the military sector and hence why should we trust them), the USA should be able to establish – by legislation – the built-in network security standards and criteria.

But it will never do so. Hence also the USA is interested in building 5G networks with backdoors, while Huawei follows the world market and adapts to it.

 This should obviously apply to all producers. Why is no world Conference of 5G producers organized to set the network security criteria? Is someone – who is not Huawei – afraid of it?

 A further problem for the advanced networks will arise with the Internet of Things (IoT), one of the 5G elective applications.

 The IoT is a particularly sensitive system and many attempts have already been made by hackers to block it, especially with the Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS).

 We can partly survive with the same 5G flow rate, but nothing can be guaranteed and taken for granted.

 But, ultimately, what is really the 5G network?

 It is a set of technologies, which can connect both self-driving cars and the most traditional data networks.

 The transmission bandwidth is over 20 gigabits per second, but the 5G network operates with two different frequencies.

 In one of two modes, the 5G system uses the same networks and the same frequencies as 4G and WI-FI, but with a better coding system and with wider transmission channels.

 In the second mode, the 5G system uses much smaller frequencies, which can send data even faster than 4G, but for shorter distances.

 Hence, considering that the 5G system operates mainly with small and very small waves, which “fall” after a short distance, it will need more transmitters – in series or in parallel.

 With a view to increasing the bandwidth, the 5G cells use – in particular – a technology called Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO).

 In this case, hundreds of antennas operate at the same time, which significantly increases the speed and proportionally decreases the signal latency.

 In the 5G network it is currently one millisecond only, while in the 4G system the standard latency is 30 milliseconds.

 There is also a specific 5G technology available, enabling both transmitters and receivers to send / receive data on the same wavelength.

 It is known as full duplex and operates with specific circuits, so that the outgoing and incoming signals can never interfere with one another.

 At security level, the 5G network is weak when exchanging cryptographic data and, obviously, the greater the number of processing points, the more the possibility of data theft increases geometrically.

 Currently, however, it is weak for everyone, not just for Huawei users.

 The average 5G speed is currently one gigabyte per second (1GBps) – far beyond the 4G standard and the standard of any WI-FI network operating today.

 As already seen, with a view to reaching the very high speed of its signal, the 5G network uses the millimeter waves (MMS).

 They are radio signals with frequencies ranging between 30 and 300GHz. Obviously, high frequency waves have a great signal transfer capability and carry much data, while the lower frequency ones carry little data and can be blocked by buildings, cars, airplanes and trees.

 With a view to solving this problem, the 5G network resorts to small cell antennas, which must be placed in a far more widespread way than 4G antennas – one every 150 meters approximately.

 The small cell antennas are 1.3 meter high, but if the 4G uses frequencies ranging between 1 and 5 GHz, the 5G networks operate with frequencies between 24 and 90 GHz, with serious health risks.

 As we all know, however, if the signal dispersion is proportional to the distance squared, the possibility that the 5G spreads data not allowed by the source is intrinsically high.

 It is not an issue of naive IT backdoors in sensors (which seems, however, rather unlikely) but of simple squared spreading of signals.

 After all the 5G is very similar to microwave radiation.

 And there are now certainties about its negative effects on both the skin and the reproductive organs.

 Nevertheless, as often maintained by the supporters of the new 5G network, it is not so much a 100 times faster system than the 4G for Internet communication, but rather the way in which the future world will organize production, life, trade and exchanges.

 So far, at least in Europe, the US Presidency’s activities to block Huawei have been such that the 5G network in Europe will cost over 55 billion US dollars more than expected.

 Currently, in Europe, Huawei and ZTE hold 40% of the 5G networks and the related equipment.

 Hence, half of the 55 billion US dollars comes from our EU markets’ loss of competitiveness.

 Not to even mention the situation in which the 5G network operators in Europe were to rebuild the entire network of fixed structures – an incalculable cost.

 In fact, the companies operating in the sector should  rebuild  the entire physical lines, at a huge cost, apart from the networks’ loss of effectiveness.

At that point, we might just as well keep the 4G network.

 What about the interference with the other networks, especially the military ones?

 Here the USA tells us that the danger lies in the width of the spectrum used by the Huawei 5G network but, as we have already seen, both the very low signal permanence in the networks and the multiple antennas prevent any signal closure, any  backdoor and any parallel recording.

 Normally the US military and intelligence transmission systems are “sub-6”, which means they use a band ranging between 3 and 4 GHz.

 The signal overlap is therefore unlikely.

 Furthermore, the USA – with South Korea and Japan – had planned a 5G network with a wave width of 24-300 GHz, a very different and far more expensive technology than the Chinese one, which was supposed to go into production around 2022.

 It would have been called mm Wave technology, a technical procedure transmitting with a wavelength of approximately a millimeter that, however, can penetrate solid materials, is very directional – like light – and is also selective in targets.

 Hence Huawei has therefore shot ahead, with simpler, sounder and more reliable technology. This is the real reason underlying the opposition to the Chinese 5G project – cheap intelligence issues are only a pretext.

 On the technological and commercial levels, considering that the Chinese 5G networks provide greater coverage and fewer disruption risks, China has already installed 350,000 5G stations in China and over 10,000 abroad, in 30 countries including Turkey and Iceland.

 Between 2009 and 2011, however, Vodafone Italia discovered “backdoors” in the Huawei network – not in the 5G, but in the standard network.

 No data was tampered with or illegally recorded, as claimed by Vodafone Italia itself and by the media that reported the news.

 The Italian Internet operator also said that the network security problems had been quickly solved.

 The Chinese company defined those defects as mere “errors”, not as backdoors, a term designating a voluntary mechanism of non-permitted data recording.

 Hence this is the reason why the NATO Centre of Excellence claims that “there is no alternative to Huawei’s 5G” but that “it would be necessary to define autonomous security standards”.

 It is therefore inevitable that the Chinese 5G networks become essential parts of the communication system, but also of the defense-control system of many Western countries, including the United States.

 In any case, Huawei has always said that there have never been any security incidents concerning its network and, indeed, Huawei is the most controlled and checked industry in the cyber sector worldwide.

 Considering that every part of the network built or designed by Huawei is fully verifiable and usable, a way to make a 5G network completely safe is encryption. We imagine it will be developed in a short lapse of time and with homogeneous criteria for all global operators.

 Nevertheless, insofar as Huawei networks are built in the world we have outlined, they cannot anyway be intelligence networks in favour of China, considering that: a) the Huawei 5G network is already the most widespread and used system and statistics is such as not to allow any ambiguity; b) the technology itself – with the minimum signal latency – is such as not to allow backdoors that are neither obvious nor hidden and which, however, would be capable of blocking the entire global market for the  Huawei 5G system; c) the idea that the founder of Huawei is a former officer of the People’s Liberation Army and a CPC member makes us smile.

 What if we applied the same criterion to the huge number of components or tools for the web that are produced in China, but for the major Western companies?

 Moreover, d) it is irrational to think that a company like Huawei ruins its market – which is what really matters – or even its reputation for technical and political reliability for some IT backdoors.

 It should be reiterated that intelligence is not made by eliciting unmentionable secrets, but by discovering the creative mechanism of the enemy’s thinking.

 Intelligence is not about a “fact”, but about a concept.

 As Napoleon used to say: “Unhappy the general who comes on the battlefield with a system”.

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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Lithium in Afghanistan: Gold or Dust?

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Image created by nicolasboehmer.de using source free images from pixabay.com, cleanpng.com, and own material.

With Lithium being much in focus due to the increasing demand for the electrification of many areas on the planet, expectations and dreams around the delicate metal grow by the day. Many electronics devices, most devices with rechargeable batteries, modern electric vehicles in particular, but also in storage and balancing battery systems for the electric grid – they require Lithium. All this is stirring the dreams of those governments, regions and countries having Lithium as one of their raw materials at hand. Like Afghanistan.

Besides some precious stones – which illegally are mined by many groups since decades – Afghanistan has several other raw materials, and a huge supply of Lithium among them. The war-worn country officially is led by the Taliban but with many regions under control by other groups and even terrorists. Situated in Nangarhar province, one of these opposing groups, the ISIS-K, seeks control over Ghazni province, with the goal to occupy the south of the capital Kabul and, therefore, having access to some of the raw materials as well as the smuggling routes towards Pakistan. One focus lies on Lithium in the Ghazni province. In parallel, the government seeks to find cooperating partners for mining Lithium as well – in the Ghazni province, for instance. Conflicts, therefore, can be expected. However, there are other areas where the Afghan people could mine Lithium, in the provinces of Helmand, Daykundi and Uruzgan, for instance.

Foreign countries and companies are interested in Lithium

This puts light onto a number of opportunities but even more on the obstacles. First and foremost, all known facts of the areas where Lithium can be found, and the calculated amount are based on Russian explorations from the mid 80ies and even earlier British information. Thus, the database is at least 40 years old. These figures neither have been thoroughly updated, nor verified, and not properly aggregated, too. Furthermore, there is a good chance to find more regions with Lithium as well as other sought-after minerals and metals.

Besides exploration, the infrastructure, dependability, safety, continuous supply, social and environmental sound mining are further obstacles which need to be overcome. And this are a huge tasks. As of today, there are five Chinese companies – like Ganfeng Lithium corporation – looking into the Lithium business in Afghanistan. Many of the country’s Lithium deposits are in remote locations with limited infrastructure. Decades of war and economic hardship have deteriorated the situation. China has been willing to undertake risky projects to support strategic investments in other countries like Nigeria and learned it is not worth the hassle. As a result, the Chinese are interested, but also reluctant to go for the Lithium in Afghanistan.


What is needed to attract foreign countries and companies to go into the Lithium mining business in Afghanistan? To obtain the raw materials lots of rocks/minerals need to be transported to the processing plants, ideally located nearby. Thus, safe well-built roads for heavy-duty trucks or heavy-duty train tracks coming from the mines to the processing plants and from there to the borders for export are needed. Access to these remote areas, thus the infrastructure, plays a significant role.

To run these activities, many people are needed to do all the jobs and these people need accommodation as well as healthy food, medical help, transport, communications, entertainment, education, and more. Mining and particularly mining of Lithium needs lots of water. Water supply as well as environmental sound mining including saving water have become major issues. Many markets and the car & truck businesses in particular require a number of (independently controlled) actions to ensure social and environmental sound mining as well as the use of water: the car industry learned from the Cobalt disaster to closely monitor the situation at each mining facility.

Time and dependability

It takes about seven years to build, install and put a large and well monitored mining facility for Lithium into operation. In a situation of uncertain exploration data, two years for exploring the area, sources and mines must be added. These huge investments in geology, technology, labor, and time makes sense only if such a facility can safely run for as long as possible, preferably over decades. Thus, dependability is key. To make all parties profiting from such a mine, continuous supply, transport and sale of the metals and materials must be ensured. All this can only be achieved in a safe and stable environment. Frankly, Afghanistan neither will be able to provide the required infrastructure, nor the dependability, safety and continuous supply to achieve an economically successful operation. Not even mentioned the social and environmental sound mining which needs to be ensured, controlled, and confirmed.

Mining on a small scale as done today in Afghanistan is a way to sell raw materials like Lithium into secondary channels. These channels do not pay market prices and they do not ask questions. This might be an opportunity for ISIS-K and others, but it certainly isn’t an option for the Afghan government in the long term since it is not economically sound. In order to properly and continuously make money with Lithium and other raw materials, the preconditions have to be established, adapted and improved, first

Lithium is not at short supply

With crude oil, we were informed to see peak [supply of] oil very soon. Such stories came up first about 100 years ago, but the fossil fuel companies found more oil in countless new areas worldwide. Today, we talk about peak [oil] demand and this is more likely to happen before peak oil. Same applies to Lithium. Several analysts said we already are facing a shortage of Lithium. This, as well, is not true. Lithium is at high supply and rising demand. Several new Lithium sources – many easily accessible – have been found during the past few years. There are large new ones in Iowa, a huge source underneath the river Rhine in Europe, many more have been found in several countries, including China, but most of them in South America. Furthermore, there is lots of Lithium in sea water, too. Why do we suddenly find so many Lithium sources, now? Simply said, if you search for something very specifically you probably will find some – like California’s Salton Sea area which is abundant with Lithium and is enough to build tens of million electric vehicles. Furthermore, this Lithium source is easily accessible.

There is a high and rising demand for Lithium, but no, there is no need to go far into remote areas of instable countries like Afghanistan to obtain the metal. Prices for Lithium came to an all-time high in late 2018 but then gradually dropped and now are relatively stable. New battery designs require less Lithium while the battery sizes become bigger. Furthermore, recycling will become the most important source of Lithium within the next ten years. As a result, Afghanistan is no treasure trove, companies can more easily acquire Lithium (and other critical minerals) from alternative sources. Most countries and companies are well aware of the risks and headaches that come with doing business in and with Afghanistan. As a result, China is not going to rush into Afghanistan, nor does any other country.

In response to the question above Lithium is not the new gold for Afghanistan since the preconditions are so questionable: The Taliban and ISIS-K dreams of a money flow by Lithium will not happen. And this applies to other raw materials, too. For instance, many rare earth elements can be found in Afghanistan. But with their name comes a misunderstanding: rare earth elements are not rare by the means of abundancy, they are “rare” since they “rarely exist in their purified form”. Thus, rare earth elements require extensive processing – which as well requires infrastructure locally.

For Afghanistan it becomes vital to sort the infrastructure issues out which not only means roads and train tracks, but also hospitals, educational facilities, stores, entertainment, and social life – since with the investments in mining and processing by foreign countries and companies’ specialists are coming and will work in Afghanistan: they want a normal life. The government’s plans for such investments are highly important for being able to profit from all the raw materials. Otherwise, it all remains dust.

Which would be very sad since the country and particularly the areas where raw materials can be found are of an exceptional beauty with inhabitants of unparalleled hospitality.

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Somalia: Security Council adopts resolution to keep pirates at bay

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Suspected pirates wait for members of the counter-piracy operation to board their boat. US Navy/Jason R Zalasky

The UN Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution to combat the continuing threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia, as shipping and protection measures to keep vessels safe, have returned to levels not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Secretary-General’s latest report on the situation in the country illustrates that joint counter-piracy efforts have resulted in a steady decline in attacks and hijackings since 2011.

However, although piracy off the coast of Somalia has been “repressed”, the ongoing threat of resurgence remains.

As such – under Chapter VII of the Charter, which provides for enforcement action – the Security Council adopted Resolution 2608, which, among other things, condemns piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Somali coast, underscoring that it exacerbates instability by introducing “illicit cash that fuels crime, corruption and terrorism”.

Making amends

Through its resolution, ambassadors said that investigations and prosecutions must continue for all who “plan, organize, illicitly finance or profit from pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia”.

The Somali authorities were called upon to put in place mechanisms to safely return effects seized by pirates and to patrol the coastal waters to prevent and suppress future acts of armed robbery at sea.

At the same time, they were requested to bring to justice those using Somali territory to “plan, facilitate, or undertake criminal acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea”.

Member States were asked – at the request of the Somali authorities and with notification to the Secretary-General – to strengthen maritime capacity in the country and to appropriately cooperate on prosecuting suspected pirates for taking hostages.

The resolution also encourages the Somali Government to accede to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and develop a corresponding legal architecture as part of its efforts to target money laundering and financial support structures on which piracy networks survive.

Authorization to fight piracy

The Security Council renewed its call to States and regional organizations to deploy naval vessels, arms, and military aircraft to combat piracy, and stressed that the importance of international coordination.

At the same time, the resolution authorized – for a further three-month period – States and regional organizations cooperating with Somali authorities, to fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off Somalia, “for which advance notification has been provided by Somali authorities to the Secretary-General”.

Calls to action

Through its resolution, the Council called upon all States to “take appropriate actions…to prevent the illicit financing of acts of piracy and the laundering of its proceeds…[and] to criminalize piracy under their domestic law”.

Countries were also petitioned to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of anyone responsible for or associated with acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, including international criminal networks.

Resolution 2608 welcomed the continued work of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Global Maritime Crime Programme to ensure that those suspected of piracy are prosecuted, and those convicted, imprisoned in accordance with international legal standards.

Finally, the resolution recognized the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) role concerning privately contracted security personnel on board ships in high-risk areas and welcomed its continued anti-piracy role – particularly in coordination with UNODC, the World Food Programme (WFP), the shipping industry and all other parties concerned.

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ISIS-K, Talc, Lithium and the narrative of ongoing jihadi terrorism in Afghanistan

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Terrorism

Chinese and Russian efforts are underway to strengthen the Taliban government economically and militarily, along with legitimacy and international recognition. In return, Pakistan is trying to disrupt the Taliban government’s relations with Iran and Tajikistan, as well as with China and Russia. Subsequent to the fall of the previous republican government, following Russia and China, Iran is a major supporter of the Taliban.

Iran plays a significant role in a new intelligence surge launched by major regional players in Afghanistan, which includes ISIS-K campaign against the Taliban government in country. Although Taliban have been able to crush, ISIS-K in several provinces of Afghanistan, but the group was able to mobilize a bunch of other terrorist organizations such as Turkistan Islamic Party, Khetabat Iman Ul Bekhari, Khetabat ultauhied Waljihad, Islamic Jihad Union, Jamaat Ansarullah and East Turkistan Islamic Movement, and The Army of Justice. According to sources on the ground, the group has also established contacts with the resistance front led by Ahmad Massoud to fight Taliban.

Seemingly, the group joined forces with the Resistance Front in northern part of the country to downfall the Taliban particularly in northern Afghanistan.  In addition to defeating the Taliban in the central and southern provinces of Afghanistan, the group has started a sectarian war between the Sunnis and Shiites, which has partly soured relations between the Afghan Taliban and Iran. The group had the support of Pakistan as well as other regional countries and beyond.  Furthermore, Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters entered Afghanistan with the help of the Pakistani army, joining the fight between Sunni and Shia in Afghanistan.  Efforts are underway to start a civil war in the country.  According to the information, ISIS militants have been mostly funded and financed by the Saudi government, as well as other Salafi Gulf States to minimize and even eradicate Shiites in the region.

In accordance with some sources, additional costs are being borne by the United States and Great Britain.  Beside all such financial support, Islamic State (ISIS-K) militants also obtain some funding and thrive through mining and establishing business firms throughout the region.

Let us say, Islamic State militants relatively control the oil reserves in Iraq and they illegally extract it, meantime they have hands on talc and other precious stones in Afghanistan to cover their propaganda campaign expenses. ISIS-K uses the same tactics applied by Taliban during the US occupation; Taliban began illegal mining in Afghanistan to finance their activities in order to wage the war against the US aggression.   During the Taliban’s resistance, Taliban fighters had also a strong financial support from Pakistan, and the Pakistani government accordingly received that financial sustenance from other countries namely western and the Arab world.  However, the Taliban forcibly mined Afghanistan’s lapis lazuli and smuggled it to Pakistan. Under the auspices of the Pakistani government, the gems were shipped to the United States and the European countries.  In return, the Taliban were paid in cash.  Likewise, the Taliban, ISIS chose the same path, and made the most of money via mining in Afghanistan.

Subsequently, the ISIS group has chosen Nangarhar province as its stronghold in Afghanistan, since it has mineral deposits of talc, chromite, marble and other precious and rare earth minerals in addition, the group is also trying to control smuggling routes, to launch cross border terrorism.

 Consequently, ISIS-K endeavors to bring Ghazni province under its control, since a huge Lithium, mine exists in the province. The group is well aware of its preciousness in the world market because the element is mainly used by automotive industries to produce batteries for electric cars.

The anti-corruption network of the former Afghan government reported that the Taliban and the Islamic State together received about 46 million in 2016 thru illegal mining from a single district of Nangarhar province. That is why ISIS has spent millions of dollars in Afghanistan because of holding its campaign and propaganda, allegedly, most of which came from mining.

Furthermore, district governors have been appointed by ISIS for Afghanistan’s 387 major districts, with a monthly salary of up to 80,000 Afghanis.  This is a huge financial burden for the Islamic State, but the Islamic State group’s representatives say that they stick to their words, so that everyone will be paid on time. The ISIS group needs a large amount of financial support to achieve its major goals, but the group is not overstrained financially, because it receives a chockfull financial support.

Conversely, Iran is trying to increase the number of Shiite orientated proxies in the world and especially in Afghanistan to eliminate ISIS-K in return; the Saudi and other Gulf Sates want to prevent it. Therefore, they use ISIS and other associates of the group to counter Iran’s ambitious trans-national agenda; ISIS-K takes advantage of having been provided with huge financial support by anti-Iran camp.

Iran has repeatedly tried to spread Shia religion around the world, most notably at Mustafa International School in Bamko, the capital of Mali in Africa.  There have been several attempts by the Iranian government to convert the students to Shi’ism, an issue that has become the topic of international debate supported by Saudi Arabia.  Finally, all of these events are currently having a direct and indirect impact on Afghanistan and the country’s ongoing security crisis, which will affect the entire region at the end.

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