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UN restrictions on arms supplies to Iran must remain in place

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The global arms embargo against Iran, imposed by UN in its Security Council Resolution 2231, will, shockingly enough, be lifted in five months.

If it’s lifted, the obvious will happen: An escalation in Iran’s export of terrorism, destabilization of its neighbors, and a surge in domestic suppression. The issue has drawn great concern in the international community and among human rights organizations. Because if the mullahs have wrought as much havoc as they have with sanctions on them, imagine what they will do with no sanctions whatsoever.

It’s an ugly prospect.

The great powers of the world have reacted to this reality in accordance with their own individual interests; China and Russia want it lifted, the U.S. is using all the leverage it has to extend the sanctions.

Last week, Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran warned that if the UN Security Council does not agree to an extension of sanctions on iran, Washington may use an important mechanism embedded in the resolution, which grants the possibility of reviving the arms embargo and also all sanctions against Iran.

Here is a brief look at the negative and lethal fruits of lifting the arms embargo for the whole region:

1-    It will enable the Iranian revolutionary guards (IRGC) to obtain military equipment at lower prices to supply its proxy groups including Houthis in Yemen, Kataeb Hezbollah in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as its forces in Syria, with weapons of war.

2-    The allocated budget to Iran’s revolutionary guards this year has increased to $3.8 billion. To this, one must add IRGC’s other sources of income (having in mind that IRGC dominates Iran’s economy). Such a budget will provide this military organ with the money needed to purchase cruise missile parts, equipment needed for its helicopters, and drones for combat and suicide missions. They will have cash for assault helicopters, ships, missile platforms, high-speed boats, sea mines, and night vision equipment. It will also, help the IRGC to upgrade its Russian-built T-72 tanks and providing its spare parts as well as training for its minions.

3-    Iran while being under arms embargo nevertheless carried out three major assaults last year:

·       Retaliation attack against a U.S. base in Iraq with ballistic missiles

·       Mining oil tankers in the Persian Gulf

·       Using speed boats to take an oil tanker hostage

In addition, it downed an Ukrainian airliner by cruise missiles killing 157 souls.

4-    According to Reuters, in its semi-annual report to the UNSC, UN Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Gutierrez, has stated that both the cruise missiles fired and the drone used at the blitz on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities originated from Iran.         

5-    According to a report published in the Independent, Iran’s air force consists of 304 fighter jets of different models, 89 of which are ready for combat. Among these only 25, F-4E PhantomII bombers and six Su-24MK bombers are capable of carrying out missions beyond Iran’s border. Lifting the sanction will increase this capacity.

6-    If the arms embargo is lifted, the Iranian regime will have greater capability to detour the sanctions and acquire materiel or use its assets of dual purpose. As an example, the regime supplies its Quds force militia in Syria through Mahan Air; the lifting will give it a free hand to translocate its militias and Quds Force commanders as well as ammunition and weaponry. Currently, Mahan Air is under sanctions.

7-    If sanctions are lifted, the Iranian regime will be able to buy a vast array of armaments including VT-4 tanks to equip several of its corps. As an instance, only a few days past JCPOA, a military mission visited Russia Max exhibition negotiating the purchase of military equipment after UNSC’s arms embargo was over with Russian officials. Regime expressed its willingness to buy a great number of SU-30SM bombers to replace its old bombers and compensate for its shortage of modern bombers.

8-    As the sanctions are lifted the regime will be able to export some cheaply manufactured weaponry by its Defense and Armed Forces Logistics to the regional states thus compensating a part of its heavy expenses for research, development, and  production of military armament. This will lead to an armament contest among the states, leading, in turn, to destabilize the region, baring very dangerous consequences.

9-    Since 2013, IRGC is producing various models of tanks, armored carriers, missiles, radars, boats, submarines, man-free vehicles, and jet fighters. Lifting the sanctions will swiftly accelerate its productions turning the region into a powder keg.

Any lifting of the arms embargo has proven beneficial to the Iran regime. The regime in fact has found its survival in this, and using that space to disturb the peace in other countries. The Iranian people in their uprisings in November 2019 have demonstrated their will and shown that they have made up their minds to get rid of this violent

and medieval religious dictatorship. The regime, on the other hand, has realized its survival depends on the export of crisis and instability beyond its borders. This, of course, includes the export of terrorism against its opposition in various countries. This was the backbone of the regime’s policy of survival for the past four decades. Any logical mind rules out giving weapons to mullahs, because that would aggravate the region’s war and facilitate the killing of deprived people in many countries. Therefore, the world must act to keep the arms embargo in place, directed at Iran.

Social analyst, researcher, is an independent observer and commentator of Middle Eastern and Iran.

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Defense

India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture

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In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of the South Asian region. While trying to disturb the strategic stability in South Asia, India through its adventuresome counterforce posture against Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a rogue state. Notwithstanding the repercussions, India is voyaging towards destabilization in the South Asian Region.

India’s enhanced strategic nuclear capabilities which includes-the development of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD), Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, and acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines- indicate that India is moving away from its declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) towards a more aggressive, counterforce posture against Pakistan. The BMD and MIRV technology along with the provision of an advanced navigation system under BECA would embolden India to go for the first strike against Pakistan. While having reliance on BMD, as to be sheltered in return. These technological advancements made by India are sprouting a new era of counterforce posture, which would further make the South Asian region volatile and vulnerable to conflicts.

India’s urge to acquire counterforce capability is strongly associated with its doctrinal shift. As the stated posture requires flexibility in the use of nuclear weapons, which fortifies the first strike capability, and thus a deviation in India’s declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) has become more significant, particularly concerning its impact on regional stability. India’s declared policy of NFU, set out in Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 1999, followed by its first amendment in January 2003 has since then been into hot debates. Pakistan has long doubted the Indian policy of NFU, as the actions and statements by the officials of the latter have always been aggressive and protruding towards the former. India, now, is drifting away from its policy of NFU with the acquisition of counterforce capabilities, particularly against Pakistan. This is further evident from the statement issued by India’s Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, back in August 2019. It stated “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no-first-use’ (NFU). What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” A change at the doctrinal level is evident in the Indian strategic enclave. Notwithstanding the challenges and repercussions caused by the counterforce strategy and with an attempt to destabilize the nuclear deterrence in the region, India would go unjustifiably low to attain such measures.  

In the same vein, India has been enhancing its nuclear capabilities for strategic flexibility against its regional rivals. By the same token, it wants to attain nuclear dominance, which would ultimately result in chaos in the region. The counterforce capability by India would compel its adversaries to heed towards the preemptive strike, in case of a crisis, out of the fear of the use of Nuclear weapons first by the patent enemy.  Moreover, the counterforce capability pushes the enemy to put the nuclear weapons on hair-trigger mode, which is directly linked with the crisis escalation.  The acquisition of counterforce capability by India would likely provoke a new arms race in the region. This would further destabilize the already volatile South Asian region. The far-reaching destabilization which India is trying to create, just to have an edge on the nuclear adversary, would be back on India’s face, faster than she knew it.

On the contrary, Pakistan has been maintaining a posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) and does not claim to have a No-First Use (NFU) policy. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is defensive in principle and a tool for deterrence. Given the Indian evolved notions of counterforce preemption, even now Pakistan would be left with no choice but to leave room for carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a feasible deterrent against India. Nevertheless, with the advent of technological innovations, its countermeasure arrives soon, too. Presently, there are two aspects that Pakistan should take into consideration; the growing Indo-US nexus and India’s concealed innovations in the nuclear posture. Though India is far from achieving counterforce strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear targets, concrete steps are required for maintaining future deterrence stability. With that intention, Pakistan might need to look towards its allies for getting hands-on the modern capabilities which includes- advanced communication and navigation systems, sensors, and advancements in artificial intelligence and otherwise, is essential for strengthening its deterrent capability. Pakistan should heed towards the development of absolute second-strike capability; as, what is survivable today, could be vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, advancements in technology should be made for preserving nuclear deterrence in the future as well.

Summarizing it all, the existence of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has created a stable environment in the region, by deterring full-scale wars on multiple occasions that might have resulted in a nuclear exchange. With the revolution in nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war has emerged again. Instead of going towards the attainment of peace and stability in the region, India has been enhancing its counterforce capabilities. This would likely remain a significant threat to the deterrence stability in the region. Moreover, any kind of failure to maintain nuclear deterrence in South Asia could result in an all-out war, without any escalation control. India, in its lust for power and hegemonic designs, has been destabilizing the region. Both the nuclear states in South Asia need to engage in arms restraint and escalation control measures. This seems to be a concrete and more plausible way out; else the new era of destabilization could be more disastrous.  

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A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces

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The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.

The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.

The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.

This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.

Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.

Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.

Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.

Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.

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Defense

Fatah-1: A New Security and Technological Development About Pakistan’s Indigenous GMLRS

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Islamabad: It seems like 2021 has been a good start for Pakistan specifically with regard to stepping up its missile testing. On the 7th of January, the Pakistan military has successfully conducted a purely indigenously developed missile test flight known to be Fatah-1. As stated by various reports, Fatah-1 is an extended-range Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which itself is a developed variant of the guided MLRS family.

According to the recent statement given by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) about the newly developed rocket, it was stated: “The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of a precision target deep in the enemy territory.” Director-General of Pakistan Army, Media Wing, major general Babar Iftikhar on 7th January tweeted: “Pakistan today conducted a successful; test flight of indigenously developed Fatah-1, Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering a conventional Warhead up to a range of 140 km.”

Defense analyst Mr. Syed Muhammad Ali also stated in his capacity: “the new system was very fast, accurate, survivable, and difficult to intercept”. A video was also shared by ISPR on their official website, in which the missile launch can be seen while being fired from the launcher however, the details on when and where the test flight has taken place, along with the specification of the rocket system are yet to be announced.

Currently, Pakistan Army owns a wide range of Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM), Battlefield Ballistic Missiles (BBM), Rocket Artillery, and Surface to Surface Cruise Missile (SSCM). In the previous year, Pakistan had also maintained prime success in conducting the Ra’ad-II cruise missile and Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM). Besides, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on 30thDecember made apt progress when it comes to the national air defense arsenal as it was announced that PAF is beginning the production of the State-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder Block 3 fighter jets, at the same time acquiring the 14 dual-seat Jf-17 aircraft.

According to various reports, the JF-17 Thunder Block 3 will be said to have a new radar operational capability which will be far better in the practical domain as compared to the Raphael aircraft acquired by India. Whereas, the exchange of 14 dual-seat aircraft, manufactured with Pak-China cooperation were also given to the PAF which will be used for extensive training.

The recent successful testing of Fatah-1 has been considered to be another milestone for Pakistan as it tends to be a fitting response to the recent developments in the conventional capabilities carried out by India and also to India’s Cold Start Doctrine.

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