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Turkey’s internal equilibria and its foreign policy

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Turkey’s President Erdogan has recently dismissed almost all the Turkish flag officers still in service, thus leaving only a small proportion of them, with a view to later favouring the quick career of subordinate officers with a nationalist or Islamist background and training.

President Erdogan’s regime also actively supports all the Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled Egypt after Mohammed Morsi’s fall and Al Sisi’s coup. Moreover, the origins of Erdogan’s AKP Party are certainly obscure, but also clearly shrouded in the networks of the Turkish Brotherhood and in the more or less “moderate” political Islamism – just to use a trivial classification of Western political science.

To some extents the political-military choice made by the Turkish Presidency is still favoured by the long-term effects of the attempted coup against President Erdogan of July 15, 2016, when the Turkish Armed Forces were greatly purged of all officers who had even a slight or hidden “secularist” inclination – just to use  again the trivial classification of political science.

Currently only 42 Turkish flag officers are still in active service, with equal or higher rank,of the 325 ones who served in the Turkish Armed Forces at the time of the military putsch.

 Moreover, authoritative sources maintain that it was precisely the Turkish military that temporarily stopped President Erdogan’s designs in Syria, who had invasion plans that would have been far more aggressive and long-term than the recent Turkish occupation of Northern Syria.

The military dismissed from active service had also opposed President Erdogan’s plan to establish an alliance with the Russian Federation.

45% of the officers no longer in active permanent service were harshly “purged”, while 33% retired either voluntarily or not and 6% simply handed in their resignation. There were also other options, which materialized only for 2% of them (transfer to other State administrations, consultancy contracts, etc.), but only 14% of the total officers active at the time of the 2016 putsch have remained in service.

President Erdogan thinks – not too secretly – that the putsch was organized with the consent, or the silent approval, of the United States and of some EU countries.

However, the Interforce Chief of Staff at the time of the coup, General Hulusi Akar, who also stopped any national military mobilization in the early stages of the coup, is currently President Erdogan’s Defence Minister.

Was it a “self-coup”? It may be possible.

General Hulusi Hakar knew about the military coup, as also disclosed by the then and current Head of the Turkish intelligence Services, Hakan Fidan.

In 2016 the Generals of the Turkish Armed Forces were 325, while they are currently 233.

 149 Generals were “purged” in the week immediately following the attempted coup. Later it became known that many high-ranking  military were either on vacation with their families or in cities other than their workplace or – and this should come as no surprise – they were countering the putschists’ actions.

 According to the official data released by the Turkish government, a total of 8,651 military participated in the attempted coup – approximately 1% of the whole Turkish Armed Forces.

 Too few to take them seriously.

 How one can think of organizing a coup with so few operatives –  and the whole operation was carried out by experienced officers of an Armed Force as good as the Turkish one – remains a mystery.  Or a suspicion.

1,781 of the 8,651 coup operatives were simple conscripts, while 1,214 were cadets from military academies.

 150 Generals were involved – in various ways – in the 2016 coup.

 Some of the “purged” officers were quickly sentenced to long imprisonment, while all of them were accused of having systematic ties and connections with the movement of Gűlen, who currently lives in the United States – a charge that, however, President Erdogan’s regime has never been able to prove in a barely convincing way.

It seems to me rather naïve that the US intelligence Services, which certainly keep Gűlen under control, could authorize such a severe destabilization operation in a country that is still the axis of NATO throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, despite the difficulties faced by the US intelligence Agencies.

Hizmet (Service), i.e. Fethullah Gűlen’s movement, is still very widespread in Turkey.

At the time of the 2016 coup, President Erdogan closed down 800 companies, as well as 1,100 schools of all levels, 850 dormitories and 1,400 volunteer associations, all linked to the “Gűlen movement”.

Immediately after the coup of July 2016, President Erdogan imprisoned as many as 38,000 people linked to the Hizmet movement and expelled over 100,000 civil servants and Stateofficials from the police, judiciary, education and health sectors, who – according to the Turkish police – “were at the service” of the Gűlen movement.

 In the public sector, Hizmet members – in various ways – range between 1.5% and even 11% of the total civil servants and State employees in each Administration.

 In the judiciary, the “Gulenists” are as many as 30% and even 50% of the police force, while the largest share of Hizmet members – in relation to the total population -is found in Eastern Anatolia and the Aegean area.

 The Gűlen movement was President Erdogan’s greatest support when herose to power in 2002. The Hizmet networks produced evidence – often false – to accuse the members of the Kemalist and secularist tradition – in all the State bodies in which they were active – while the open clash between the Gulenists and President Erdogan’ supporters did not begin until 2013.

Currently, however, the Muslim Brotherhood is the main organizational and ideological support of President Erdogan’s AKP and the Ikhwanis behind the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association, the powerful MUSIAD, as well as behind companies such as Turkish Airlines and many of the big real estate and construction companies.

President Erdogan’s relations with the Muslim Brotherhood date back to many years ago, at least to the early 1970s, when the current Turkish President was one of Necmettin Erbakan’s brightest aides.

In 1970 Erbakan, an academic and a politician, founded the Milli Nizam Partisi, the “National Order Party” which was also a member of Milli Gorus, Turkey’s largest Islamic association.

 Both Erbakan’s Party and Milli Gorus were banned in 1971, while in 1973 Erbakan founded the new Milli Selamet Partisi, the “National Salvation Party”, with which Erbakan even became Deputy Prime Minister from 1974 to 1978.

 Arrested after the military coup of 1980, he was forced not to carry out political activity any longer. Said ban ended in 1987.

 Political Islamism, the fight against Turkey’s Westernization and  a “new nationalism” not separating the State from the Islamic religion were the salient features of Erbakan’s doctrine in its various party connotations.

Erkaban was an anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic, as well as an anti-American and a strong supporter of a New Islamic Union – on the EU model – which would bring together all the Islamic countries of the Middle East.

 Those were Erbakan’s ideas, many of which – although with some differences – seemed to herald President Erdogan’s AKP.

That Party was founded in 2001 as a result of the merger of as many as five Islamist Parties that had not previously had the possibility of organizing themselves overtly and out in the open.

 All the Generals and the other officers who were “purged” by the Turkish Armed Forces by Erdogan’s motu proprio were later defined by the Turkish Secret Service, namely MIT, both as “Gulenists” and as pro-Western and “US friends”.

Currently, after the various “purges”, only 65% of the officer posts in the Turkish Armed Forces are covered.

Recently over 150,000 civil servants have been further sidelined and dismissed, due to their membership of Fethullah Gűlen’s network.

Approximately 30,000 of these civil servants linked to Gülen’sHizmet are still in prison, while there are currently 6,760 military still confined in Turkish jails either on charges of having being involved in the coup or for being members of the Gülen movement.

 5,960 of them are Colonels or lowerranking officers and 142 are Brigadiers-General or higher ranking officers.

 The issue of the 2016 coup and of the Islamist repression of the Turkish society’s traditional ruling classes reminds us of the Ergenekon trials.

Ergenekon is a powerful secret society – as there were many in Turkish history, and still many continue to flourish – organising some of the secular and pro-Western power groups in Turkey.

 Giuseppe Garibaldi had a sound relationship with the Association of Italian Workers in Turkey, a para-Masonic network, while the  Lodges of the Grand Orient of Italy organized much of the flourishing emigration of Italian businessmen and financiers to the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, Italy’s Lodges “covered up” and concealed the “Young Turks” movement in the Ottoman Empire.

Ergenekon is also the fundamental legend of the Turkish literary and symbolic tradition regarding a grey she-wolf called Asena which helped the Turkish tribal clans of the Altai Mountains to reach the luxuriant plain of Ergenekon, where they could thrive and reproduce. 

A further possibility is that the secret society called Ergenekon is named after Colonel Necabettin Ergenekon, an officer who, at the time of its establishment, was the second in command of the whole covert network of the secret association.

 Probably, the secret society we are talking about is one of the many organizations of Turkey’s “Deep-State”, which is one of the great political traditions of the Ottoman Empire, which later merged with NATO’s covert networks in a country, like Turkey, which bordered on the USSR and was close to “hot” war zones such as the Middle East, Iran and the Persian Gulf.

We also need to recall the specific political role played by the military after the 1908 revolution organized by the Turkish Armed Forces and the subsequent self-proclaimed function of the military as “protectors of secular democracy” after the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

In Turkey the “Deep-State” networks were organized to work under the cover of official organizations, such as the Armed Forces – just think about the Feday group born in 1905 –  to ultimately stage mass mobilizations and demonstrative actions – hence to “do politics” without showing themselves in public.

 The secret societies of the Turkish Armed Forces mainly carried out espionage and counter-espionage missions, but also organized rebellions throughout the Ottoman Empire – suffice to recall the Libyan insurgency against the Italians, or the one in the Balkans against Greece and Bulgaria, or in Egypt against Great Britain.

They were all Turkish nationalist operations, without direct ties to the Ottoman Empire, which often did not even know the nature of “Deep-State” actions.

 The “Deep-State” societies were largely dismantled after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, but some espionage and counter-espionage groups remained active, such as the Karakol, Yavuz and Hamza associations and Felah, which incorporates the above mentioned Feday group.

 Ataturk tried to place all these organizations within the Police and the intelligence Services, but he did not fully succeed to do so.

It should be noted that MIT, the current Secret Service, was founded in 1960, after the first legal Turkish military coup.

 In 1971 there was another constitutional coup and in 1980 there was the so-called “post-modern” coup. In 1998, a white coup outlawed the Welfare Party, an Islamist political group founded by Necmettin Erbakan, that was at the origin of President Erdogan’s AKP.

In the midst of the political changes occurred in the post-Cold War period, the EU universal geniuses demanded and obtained the stop of the Turkish Armed Forces’ constitutional operations, thus ensuring the rise to power of the AKP, disguised as a great coalition with other secular political forces.

Furthermore, in 1968 the MIT operated mainly through the pro-Western Turkish Parties to create the conditions for a military coup.

 The political link between MIT and the Parties in the Turkish Parliament was the “Counter-Guerrilla Office”, a body of the intelligence Services having considerable autonomy from the central Command.

 The counter-guerrilla networks were all connected by a NATO Command for “non-orthodox war”, which was easily penetrated by an East-German secret agent. Much of the Western “Gladio” structure was well known to the Warsaw Pact and, sometimes, to the Communist Parties of Western Europe to which NATO belonged.

 This is one of the most rational interpretation of the “Moro affair” and of its effects in Italian political history following the assassination of the Christian Democrat leader.

Nevertheless the Networks – to which probably also Ergenekon belonged – were manifold: Absalon in Denmark; Aginter in Portugal, with many branches also in Italy; the Auxiliary Units in the UK; the Bund Deutscher Jugend and the Technischer Dienst operating in West Germany; the well-known Gladio-Stay Behind in Italy and Central Europe, including Switzerland; the Grupo Antiterorista de Liberacion, operating in Spain; Informationsbyran in Sweden and also Intelligence & Operations in the Netherlands; the Mountain Riders in Greece; Nihtilä Haathti in Finland and the Österreichischer Wander-Sport und Geselligkeitsverein in Austria; Plan Bleu and Rose de Vents (with interconnections also in Italy), as well as Arc en Ciel in France, which had two “Gladio” structures, one in the South and another in the North, whose Head of the Southern network was Mitterrand’s “presidential hunter”; Projekt 26in Switzerland; Rocambole in Norway and finally SDRA-8 and STC/Mob in Belgium.

The official Turkish network of NATO Stay Behind, however, was not Ergenekon but the Tactical Mobilisation Committee, which was at the base of the pogrom against the Greek Orthodox people of September 6-7,1955.

 The Ergenekon trialsbegan in June 2007 with a raid by the Turkish police while, coincidentally, the Constitutional Court put the AKP on trial on charges of “being the core of anti-secularist activities”.

 The charges against Ergenekon concerned 86 suspects, in the first phase of police activities, and later further 56 ones.

 The trials against the secret society ended in early August 2013.

 In the end, there were 275 defendants, 17 of whom were sentenced to life imprisonment. Only 12 of them were found innocent.

As stated above, the operation against Ergenekon started with the search of Oktay Ildirim’s house, where several grenades were found, and Ildirim was a simple retired sergeant.

 The usual EU universal geniuses positively viewed the trial against the pro-Western secret society, which was a clear sign to the military by the AKP in power.

Clearly the current crisis of the Turkish military world and hence the subsequent replacement of “secularist” officers with Islamist or neo-nationalist military – in line with President Erdogan’s project of New Turkish Ottomanism towards the East – is a strong sign of the persistence of “secret societies” in the Turkish Deep-State and of President Erdogan’s willingness to have an Armed Force completely free of the “coupist” and secularist temptations typical of the Kemalist world which is still deeply rooted in the tradition of the Turkish Armed Forces.

 This will create many problems to NATO and still many more to the EU.

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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Security of nuclear materials in India

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The author is of the view that nuclear security is lax in India. More so, because of the 123 Agreement and sprawling  nuclear installations in several states. The thieves and scrap dealers even dare to advertise online sale of radioactive uranium. India itself has reported several incidents of nuclear thefts to the international bodies. The author wonders why India’s security lapses remain out of international focus. Views expressed are personal.  

Amid raging pandemic in the southern Indian state of Maharashtra, the anti-terrorism squad arrested  (May 6, 20210) two persons (Jagar Jayesh Pandya and Abu Tahir Afzal hussain Choudhry) for attempting to sell seven kilograms  of highly-radioactive muranium for offered price of  about Rs. 21 crore. The “gentlemen” had uncannily advertised  the proposed sale online.. As such, the authorities initially dismissed the advertisement as just another hoax. They routinely detained the “sellers-to-be” and forwarded a sample of their ware to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.  They were shocked when the centre reported that “the material was natural uranium”.  As such the squad was compelled to book the duo under India’s Atomic Energy Act, 1962 at Nagpur police station (Explained: ATS seizes 7 kg uranium worth  Rs. 21 crore from a scrap dealer…Indian Express May 7, 2021).

Not a unique incident

The event, though shocking, is  is not  one of its kind. Earlier, in 2016 also, two persons were arrested by Thane (Maharashtra) police while they were trying to sell eight to nine kilograms of depleted uranium for Rs. 24 crore.  It is surmised that sale of uranium by scrap dealers in India is common. But, such events rarely come in limelight. According to Anil Kakodar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, `Factories using uranium as a counterweight in their machines are mandated to contact the Atomic Energy agencies and return uranium to them. They however resort to short cuts and sell the entire machine with uranium in scrap’.

India media scarcely report such incidents. However, Indian government sometimes reports such incidents to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to meet disclosure requirements. According to international media reports (February 25, 2004), India reported 25 cases of “missing” or “stolen” radio-active material from its labs to the IAEA.  Fifty-two per cent of the cases were attributed to “theft” and 48% to the “missing mystery”.  India claimed to have recovered lost material in twelve of total 25 cases.  It however admitted that 13 remaining cases remained mysterious.

India’s reports such incidents to the IAEA to portray itself as a “responsible state”.  It is hard to believe that radio-active material could be stolen from nuclear labs without operators’ connivance.

Nine computers, belonging to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation establishment at Metcalfe House, New Delhi, were stolen. India communicated 25 cases of ‘stolen or missing’ uranium to the IAEA. In different incidents, uranium in varying forms and quantities continue to be recovered from scrap dealers and others by Indian authorities. The recoveries include fifty-seven pounds of uranium in rod form, eight kilograms in granular form, two hundred grams in semi-processed form, besides twenty-five kilograms in radioactive form, stolen from the Bibi Cancer Hospital.

Too, the ‘thieves’ stole three cobalt switches, worth Rs. 1.5 million, from Tata Steel Company laboratory at Jamshedpur (Jharkhand). A shipment of beryllium (worth $24 million), was caught in Vilnius, on its way to North Korea. Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea. A New Jersey-based Indian engineer Sitaram Ravi Mahidevan was indicted for having bypassed US export procedures to send blue-prints of solenoid-operated valves to North Korea.

We know that the Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship, carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea.  The oxide is an essential ingredient of rocket casings and is, as such, prohibited for export to “rogue” countries.

Pakistan bashing

Despite recurrent incidents of theft of uranium or other sensitive material from indiandian nuclear labs, the IAEA never initiated a thorough probe into lax security environment in government and private nuclear labs in india. However, the international media has a penchant for creating furore over uncorroborated nuclear lapses in Pakistan. The Time magazine article ‘Merchant of Menace’, had reported that some uranium hexafluoride cylinders were missing from the Kahuta Research Laboratories.  Pakistan’ then information minister and foreign-office spokesman had both refuted the allegation.  Masood Khan (foreign office) told reporters, `The story is a rehash of several past stories’.

Similarly,  Professor Shaun Gregory in his report ‘The Security of Nuclear Weapons’ contends that those guarding about 120 nuclear-weapon sites, mostly in northern and western parts of Pakistan, have fragmented loyalties. As such, they are an easy prey to religious extremists.

Frederick W. Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon, also draw a gloomy portrait of the situation in Pakistan. In their article, published in The New York Times, dated November 18, 2007, they predicted that extremists would take over, if rule of law collapses in Pakistan. Those sympathetic with the Taliban and al-Qaeda may convert Pakistan into a state sponsor of terrorism. They pointed to Osama bin Laden’s meeting with Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, former engineers of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission (having no bomb-making acumen).

They claimed that U.S. military experts and intelligence officials had explored strategies for securing Pakistan’s nuclear assets. One option was to isolate the country’s nuclear bunkers. Doing so would require saturating the area, surrounding the bunkers, with tens of thousands of high-powered mines, dropped from air, packed with anti-tank and anti-personnel munitions. The panacea, suggested by them, was that Pakistan’s nuclear material should be seized and stashed in some “safe” place like New Mexico.

Rebuttal

The fact is that the pilloried Pakistani engineers had no knowledge of weaponisation (“When the safest is not safe enough,” The Defence Journal -Pakistan), pages 61-63). The critics mysteriously failed to mention that Pakistan is a party to the UN Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. The steps taken by Pakistan to protect its nuclear materials and installations conform to international standards. The National Command Authority, created on February 2, 2000, has made fail-safe arrangements to control development and deployment of strategic nuclear forces. Pakistan’s nuclear regulatory authority had taken necessary steps for safety, security, and accountability of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, facilities, and materials even before 9/11 incident. These controls include functional equivalent of the two-man rule and permissive action links (PALs). The indigenously-developed PALs are bulwarks against inadvertent loss of control, or accidental use of weapons. So far, there has been no security lapse in any of Pakistan’s nuclear establishments.

Abdul Mannan, in his paper titled “Preventing Nuclear Terrorism in Pakistan: Sabotage of a Spent Fuel Cask or a Commercial Irradiation Source in Transport”, has analysed various ways in which acts of nuclear terrorism could occur in Pakistan (quoted in “Pakistan’s Nuclear Future: Worries beyond War”). He has fairly reviewed Pakistan’s vulnerability to nuclear terrorism through hypothetical case studies. He concludes that the threat of nuclear terrorism in Pakistan is a figment of imagination, rather than a real possibility.

There are millions of radioactive sources used worldwide in various applications. Only a few thousand sources, including Co-60, Cs-137, Ir-192, Sr-90, Am-241, Cf-252, Pu-238, and RA-226 are considered a security risk. The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) has enforced a mechanism of strict measures for administrative and engineering control over radioactive sources from cradle to grave. It conducts periodic inspections and physical verifications to ensure security of the sources. The Authority has initiated a Five-Year National Nuclear-Safety-and-Security-Action Plan to establish a more robust nuclear-security regime. It has established a training centre and an emergency-coordination centre, besides deploying radiation-detection-equipment at each point of nuclear-material entry in Pakistan, supplemented by vehicle/pedestrian portal monitoring equipment where needed.

Fixed detectors have been installed at airports, besides carrying out random inspection of personnel luggage. All nuclear materials are under strict regulatory control right from import until their disposal.

Concluding remarks

Nuclear controls in India and the USA are not more stringent than Pakistan’s. It is not understood why the media does not deflect their attention to the fragile nuclear-security environment in India. It is unfortunate that the purblind critics fail to see the gnawing voids in India’s nuclear security.

The ‘research work’ by well-known scholars reflects visceral hatred against Pakistan. The findings in fresh ‘magnum opuses’ are a re-hash or amalgam of the presumptions and pretensions in earlier-published ‘studies’. It is time that the West deflected its attention to India where movements of nuclear materials, under the 123 expansion plan, are taking place between nuclear-power plants sprawling across different states.

Above all, will the international media and the IAEA look into open market uranium sales in India.

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Biological warfare: A global security threat

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Biological warfare is not a new concept in arena of international politics as it has been used as a tool to sabotage enemy in previous centuries. Biological weapons are a sub-category of Weapons of Mass destruction (WMDs) in which there is a deliberate use of micro-organisms like pathogens and toxins to cause disease or death in humans, livestock and yields.Form its usage in 14th century by Mongols to its usage by imperial Japan during 1930s-40s against Chinese, it has always been a threat to global security. The evolution of bio-weapons can be broadly categorized into four phases; first phase includes the post WWII developments with the evident use of chlorine and phosgene in Ypres.The second phase was marked by the use of nerve agents like tabun, cholinesterase inhibitor and anthrax and plague bombs. The initiation of third phase was marked by the use of biological weapons in Vietnam war during 1970s where deadly agents like Agent orange were used. 4th and last phase include the time of biological and technological revolution where genetic engineering techniques were at their peak. Traditionally they have been used in wartime in order to defeat enemy but with the emergence of violent non-state actors, bioterrorism is another potential threat to the security of states. There are certain goals that are associated with the use of biological weapons. Firstly, it is purposed to hit to economy of the targeted country, breaking down government authority and have a psychological effect on masses of the targeted population. It is also a kind of psychological warfare as it may hit a smaller number of people but leaves impact on wider audience through intimidation and spreading fear. It also creates natural circumstances under which a population is induced with disease without revealing the actual perpetrator.

With the advancement in genetic engineering techniques more lethal biological weapons are being produced everyday around the world. Countries which are economically deprived are more likely to pursue such goals as it is difficult for them to go for heavy military sophistication keeping into consideration their poor economic conditions. Biological weapons serve as inexpensive tool for developing countries to address their issues in prevailing international security environment. During the initial decades of cold war, united states of America (USA) and Soviet Union went for acquiring tons of biological weapons alongside nuclear proliferation.

 The quest for these weapons reduced during 1970s with the formation of Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). This convention was presented in 1972 before countries and finally came into force in 1975 with 150 countries who signed this convention and 140 countries who fully joined this treaty. This convention prohibits any biological weaponization in order to promote peace and stability around the world. But this convention has obvious defects as it is unable to address many issues like it doesn’t prevents itself the use of biological weapons but just reinforces 1925 Geneva Protocol which forbids the use of bio-weapons. Convention allows ‘defensive research’ to which there are many objections that what is incorporated into this defensive research. It is non-binding to the signatory states and in case if countries are proliferating it lacks the effective oversight techniques to look after them either they are pursuing these biological weapons capabilities or not. Since the inception of this convention till now it has clearly failed in stopping the countries from acquisition as well as usage of these weapons. This is evident as there were many cases after 1975 where these weapons were used as in 1980s when Iraq used mustard gas, sarin and tabun against Iran and many other ethnic groups inside Iran. Another incident which was highlighted was Sarine nerve gas attack in Tokyo subway system leaving thousands injured and many got killed. In post-cold war era, however, the number of these attacks reduced as much attention was shifted to terrorism after 9/11 attacks with the change in global security architecture.

“Anthrax letters” in post 9/11 attacks revealed yet another dimension of bio-weapons which was the threat of bioterrorism from non-state actors. US became a victim of bio-terrorism when in 2001 a powder was transported through letters containing bacterium called anthrax infecting many people. One purpose which terrorists have is to make general masses feel as if they are unsafe in the hands of their government which can be best achieved through the use of these weapons. The fact that biological weapons are cheaper and more devastating than conventional weapons make it more likely for biological weapons to be used by terrorists. Also, the fact that they are easy to hide and transport and a smaller quantity can leave long-lasting impacts on larger population makes these weapons more appealing.  Now that we are facing a global pandemic in the form of COVID-19 which according to some conspiracy theories is a biological weapon pose even more serious challenge to the international security in coming decades. There is no such scientific research which proves Corona Virus as a biological weapon but the realization here is that whether or not it is a biological weapon but world was least prepared for it. Not only the developing countries but also developed states suffered more despite having enormous medical infrastructure. The fact that there has been decline in the incidents related to bioterrorism should never let us think that there is no possibility of such attacks. The fact that world failed to handle Covid-19 puts a question mark on the credibility of measures if we are faced with bio-terrorism. The medical community as well as general population needs to develop an understanding of how to respond if there is such attack. At the international level there is a dire need to develop some strong norms which discourage the development and use of such weapons in any capacity.    

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The ‘Post-Covid-19 World’ Will Never Come

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On May 3rd, the New York Times bannered “Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe” and reported that “there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.”

In other words: the ‘news’-sources that were opposing the governments’ taking action against Covid-19 — libertarian ’news’-sites that oppose governmental laws and regulations, regardless of the predominant view by the vast majority of the scientists who specialize in studying the given subject — are looking wronger all the time, as this “novel coronavirus” (which is what it was originally called) becomes less and less “novel,” and more and more understood scientifically.

The “herd immunity” advocates for anti-Covid-19 policies have been saying that governments should just let the virus spread until nature takes its course and such a large proportion of the population have survived the infection as to then greatly reduce the likelihood that an uninfected person will become infected. An uninfected person will increasingly be surrounded by people who have developed a natural immunity to the disease, and by people who don’t and never did become infected by it. The vulnerable people will have become eliminated (died) or else cured, and so they won’t be spreading the disease to others. That’s the libertarian ’solution’, the final solution to the Covid-19 problem, according to libertarians.

For example, on 9 April 2020, Forbes magazine headlined “After Rejecting A Coronavirus Lockdown, Sweden Sees Rise In Deaths” and reported that, “Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has continuously advocated for laid back measures, saying on Swedish TV Sunday that the pandemic could be defeated by herd immunity, or the indirect protection from a large portion of a population being immune to an infection, or a combination of immunity and vaccination. However, critics have argued that with a coronavirus vaccine could be more than a year away, and insufficient evidence that coronavirus patients that recover are immune from becoming infected again, the strategy of relying on herd immunity and vaccinations [is] ineffective.”

The libertarian proposal of relying upon “herd immunity” for producing policies against this disease has continued, nonetheless.

CNN headlined on 28 April 2020, “Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story”, and reported that 

On March 28, a petition signed by 2,000 Swedish researchers, including Carl-Henrik Heldin, chairman of the Nobel Foundation, called for the nation’s government to “immediately take steps to comply with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations.”

The scientists added: “The measures should aim to severely limit contact between people in society and to greatly increase the capacity to test people for Covid-19 infection.”

“These measures must be in place as soon as possible, as is currently the case in our European neighboring countries,” they wrote. “Our country should not be an exception to the work to curb the pandemic.”

The petition said that trying to “create a herd immunity, in the same way that occurs during an influenza epidemic, has low scientific support.”

Swedish authorities have denied having a strategy to create herd immunity, one the UK government was rumored to be working towards earlier on in the pandemic — leading to widespread criticism — before it enforced a strict lockdown.

FORTUNE magazine headlined on 30 July 2020, “How parts of India inadvertently achieved herd immunity”, and reported that, “Around 57% of people across parts of India’s financial hub of Mumbai have coronavirus antibodies, a July study found, indicating that the population may have inadvertently achieved the controversial ‘herd immunity’ protection from the coronavirus.” Furthermore:

Herd immunity is an approach to the coronavirus pandemic where, instead of instituting lockdowns and other restrictions to slow infections, authorities allow daily life to go on as normal, letting the disease spread. In theory, enough people will become infected, recover, and gain immunity that the spread will slow on its own and people who are not immune will be protected by the immunity of those who are. University of Chicago researchers estimated in a paper published in May that achieving herd immunity from COVID-19 would require 67% of people to be immune to the disease. Mayo Clinic estimates 70% of the U.S. population will need to be immune for the U.S. to achieve herd immunity, which can also be achieved by vaccinating that proportion of a population.

On 27 September 2020, Reuters bannered “In Brazil’s Amazon a COVID-19 resurgence dashes herd immunity hopes”, and reported that, “The largest city in Brazil’s Amazon has closed bars and river beaches to contain a fresh surge of coronavirus cases, a trend that may dash theories that Manaus was one of the world’s first places to reach collective, or herd, immunity.”

Right now, the global average of Covid-19 intensity (total cases of the disease thus far) is 19,693 persons per million population. For examples: Botswana is barely below that intensity, at 19,629, and Norway is barely above that intensity, at 20,795. Sweden is at 95,905, which is nearly five times the global average. Brazil is 69,006, which is around 3.5 times worse than average. India is 14,321, which is slightly better than average. USA is 99,754.  

However, the day prior, on May 2nd, America had 30,701 new cases. Brazil had 28,935. Norway had 210. India had 370,059. Sweden’s latest daily count (as-of May 3rd) was 5,937 on April 29th, 15 times Norway’s 385 on that date. Sweden’s population is 1.9 times that of Norway. India’s daily count is soaring. Their population is four times America’s, but the number of new daily cases in India is twelve times America’s. Whereas India has had only one-seventh as much Covid-19 intensity till now, India is soaring upwards to become ultimately, perhaps, even worse than America is on Covid-19 performance. And Brazil is already almost as bad as America, on Covid-19 performance, and will soon surpass America in Covid-19 failure.

There is no “herd immunity” against Covid-19, yet, anywhere. It’s just another libertarian myth. But libertarians still continue to believe it — they refuse to accept the data.

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