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The Israeli military satellite Ofek-16

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On July 6, at 4 a.m., the Israeli Aerospace Agency and Israel Aerospace Industries launched the Ofek-16satellite (“Orpheus”) from the Palmachim air base, almost in the centre of the Jewish State.

 The carrier was a Shavit 2 rocket and, after about 90 minutes of travel, the satellite entered into orbit regularly according to calculations.

Elbit System also collaborated in the program, organized by the MLM division of IAI. It provided the Jupiter Space camera with high spectral resolution, up to 50 centimetres and from a height of 600 kilometres, while the Ofek-16camera can photograph 15 square kilometres in a single shot. Other companies included the Rafael Advanced Defense System and Tomer, which built the launch engines, as well as Baer System and Cielo Inertial Systems, for navigation systems and satellite full autonomy.

Ofek-16 is a satellite designed for advanced optoelectronic reconnaissance, which has on board a much improved version of the high definition electro-optical imaging system of the already used Jupiter camera, which is still present in the OPSAT-3000 satellite, with a resolution further increased to 0.5 meters.

 So far Israel already has ten Ofek satellites operational, but only 13 countries in the world are capable of launching this type of spacecraft, of which the first Israeli one was sent into space on September 19, 1988.

Israel, however, never discloses the precise number of advanced satellites it has in orbit, but we know that Ofek-9, which will return to earth in two months, is still operational, in addition to Ofek-11, as well as Ofek-8 (TechSAR 1) and Ofek-10 (TechSar 2), which are satellites with synthetic aperture radars that allow continuous strategic control of the ground.

As usual, the images produced by the Ofek satellites will be analysed by the 9900 Intelligence Unit, but we should also recall the Amos military communication satellites, whose network covers all the strategically relevant areas of the world.

It should be recalled that the 9900 Unit is part of the Israeli Defence Forces and deals only with Imagery Intelligence (IMINT). Together with the 8200 Unit, which deals with Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) and the 504 Unit, which provides excellent Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and also sends covert agents everywhere in the world, it forms the entire military Intelligence, Aman.

Netanyahu said enigmatically that this new satellite “significantly strengthens Israel’s defences against near and far opponents”.

Obviously the reference here is mainly to the Islamic Republic of Iran, but the ability to control the territory, the movements and the structures is essential to Israel to monitor the whole Middle East, and not only it.

 Now, in fact, with the Ofek-16 satellite, Israel can observe the whole Middle East and other regions with great precision.

The Israeli reference here is to the sending of the first Iranian spy satellite, launched at the end of last April after several unsuccessful attempts.

 The Islamic “Revolutionary Guard Corps” have in fact sent their first modern spy satellite, Noor 1(“light”), into space. It was brought into orbit by the Ghasedrocket, never mentioned before by the Iranian authorities and media.

Undoubtedly, the Ofek-16satellite is designed to closely monitor the Iranian nuclear program, but the race for satellite IMINT has now spread to the entire Middle East and the Maghreb region. In fact, in a few days Tunisia will launch its self-produced and designed satellite, called Challenge ONE, sent into space by the historical Russian (indeed, Kazakh) Baikonur  Cosmodrome, while the United Arab Emirates have even launched their own Mars Mission.

The Emirates reconstituted their Space Agency in 2014 and an Arab Space Coordination Group was also established in March 2019, with the participation of Jordan, Bahrain, Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Morocco and Egypt.

 A new satellite, which will be called “813”, will be developed at the Emirates’ University in Al Ayn and will be operational in three years. The data will be reprocessed by a centre in Bahrain.

However, the Pan-Arab Space Agency’s objective is allegedly to build satellites to monitor climate change and environmental transformations.

813, however is the year in which the House of Wisdom was established in Baghdad, during the reign of Al Ma’mun.

In Egypt the satellite system is based on TIBA-1, a military satellite designed and built by Thales, Alenia Space and Airbus, in the historical factories of Toulouse.

Egypt also has EgyptSat 2, also called MisrSat 2, built and designed by the Russian company Energy and the Egyptian company NARSS – a satellite that has been in operation since 2013.

 Saudi Arabia can also rely on Saudisat 2, 3, 5A and 5B, for communications, in addition to the World View Scout 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

 The various kinds of Chinese satellites currently in orbit are as many as 363.

China wants space supremacy over the United States and will make no concessions to it or, even less, to Europe while, in the future, it could support its allies in the Middle East.

 China owns a very important anti-satellite system, namely SC-19, a kinetic energy ASAT vehicle which is launched by a medium range ballistic missile, operating since 2007, which directly hits an enemy satellite.

China also owns the Dong-Neng-3 and the Hongqi-19, some anti-satellite missiles already tested in 2015, while China has also already tested ASAT satellites with robotic arms for inspections and repairs. Shortly China will even launch its Mars mission known as “Tianwen-1”, which will be in space in a few days.

With specific reference to Iran, to which we have already made extensive reference, the most used base by the Pasdaran and space facilities is the one called “Imam Khomeini”, which is the main one among the eight Iranian national satellite and missile sites, located in the Semnan province east of Tehran.

Between 2009 and 2015 about 45 satellites were sent into space from various Iranian sites, but none of them lasted in orbit more than a few months.

 Certainly the Iranian space launchers are mainly based on the refinement of Iran’s ICBMs. Iran has also recently established a “Centre for Space Monitoring”, which mainly uses radar, radio-optical technologies and radio tracking.

 There is already a centre, operational since 2018, which tracks – with specific radars – all the satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

 So far Iran has mainly two launch vehicles, Safir 1 and Safir 2, which is often called Simorgh.

 In the Iranian space system, the specialized Agency created in 2004, is under the control of the Ministry for Information and Communications Technology, but it depends mainly on the Supreme Space Council, which is chaired by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 As is already known, Iran can reproduce ICBM and LCBM missiles and weapons in large quantities, given the technology that, still today, often results from the Taepo Dong, No Dong and other missiles developed by North Korea.

 Moreover, during a military parade in late 2019, Iran unveiled an autochthonous ballistic missile, namely Labbayk-1, which is expected to transform both the Zelzal and the Fateh-110 traditional Iranian ballistic missiles into guided weapons and satellite launchers.

In all likelihood, Iran has already obtained from China and Russia the laser technologies that “pierce” the atmosphere and allow to hit electronic energy satellites or kinetic weapons with other advanced technologies or electronic jamming weapons.

 It was in 1990 that Russia agreed to build and design – together with scientists from Iran – the first modern military and civilian nuclear power plant.

 In 2012, however, Iran and North Korea signed an agreement “for Civilian and Technological Scientific Cooperation”, which so far has been a great transfer of military and, above all, nuclear technology.

 Iran has also proved to have remarkable ability to modify or blind the GPS systems.

 In 2011, Iran claimed it had forced a U.S. RQ-170 drone to land within its borders, after having disrupted and manipulated its communications with the reference satellite, as well as its GPS receiver.

 An Iranian base in one of the many islands in the Strait of Hormuz has been long modifying the communications of aircrafts and ships so that they unintentionally arrive in Iranian territorial waters and are captured by it.

 Also in 2019, the then Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps notified the rest of the world of the construction and commencement of an autonomous system of hardware for cyberwarfare and coverage of adverse jamming, a system called Seperh 110, which is supposed to cover all cyberwarfare operational units.

 This year, the “Iran’s Centre for Autonomous Jihad and Research” has announced it has built a portable anti-jamming system which, as Iran claims, would even be able to identify and destroy drones.

Iran has already demonstrated its cybercapabilities: some operations have already been made against U.S. critical infrastructure, as well as the 2012 Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack, against some U.S. banks and telecommunication companies, which led to a loss of over 5 million U.S. dollars.

 Again in 2019, the FBI was the target of covert access and data removal operations – probably coming from Iran- concerning U.S. satellite technologies.

 Iran has also built the Shamoon computer virus, which is capable of destroying and cancelling entire internal computer systems. In some periods of 2019, Iranian attacks on computer networks were estimated at almost 500 million per day.

 Meanwhile, Israel is developing the intelligence saturated combat model – albeit it is still in a non-operational phase – by combining artificial intelligence, data fusion from various sources, augmented reality and big data.

 The 3D mapping that is provided is absolutely realistic. It should be recalled that it was Israel that responded – for the first time – to a cyberattack with a conventional counter-attack, to destroy the cyber headquarters of Hamas in early May 2019.

Hence currently the Middle East balance of satellite weapons and weapon systems that depend on space networks is infinitely more complex than we can imagine.

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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Indian Chronicle: Exposing the Indian Hybrid warfare against Pakistan

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In recent years Indian hybrid warfare against Pakistan has intensified manifold to malign Pakistan Internationally through disinformation and propaganda tactics. Hybrid warfare has mainly been described as achieving war-like objectives with the help of fake news, disinformation, and propaganda. The Objectives of Hybrid warfare are mostly to secure long term victory against the opponent. Similarly, India has launched massive hybrid warfare against Pakistan, which was uncovered by EU DisinfoLab in its report called “Indian Chronicle”.

EU DisinfoLab is an independent organization working to expose and tackle disinformation campaigns targeting the European Union and its member states. The organization has claimed that the disinformation campaign against Pakistan has been active since 2005, “a massive online and offline 15-year ongoing influence operation supporting Indian interests and discrediting Pakistan internationally”.

In a recent investigation EU DisinfoLab has exposed a malicious Indian campaign against Pakistan. In the report, “Indian Chronicle” EU DisinfoLab has exposed the dubious use of media outlets, NGOs, and fake personnel by India to malign Pakistan. The disinformation campaign mainly targeted the United Nations and the European Union through more than 750 fake media outlets and 10 fake NGOs. According to the report, “uncovered an entire network of coordinated UN-accredited NGOs promoting Indian interests and criticizing Pakistan repeatedly. We could tie at least 10 of them directly to the Srivastava family, with several other dubious NGOs pushing the same messages.”

According to the report the disinformation campaign is supported by the Srivastava group. The Srivastava group has helped in “resurrected dead NGOs” to spread fake news. The report says that “Our investigation led to the finding of 10 UN-accredited NGOs directly controlled by the Srivastava Group, which our full report introduces at length. Their common trait? The fact that they all rose from the ashes of real NGOs. Indian Chronicles effectively benefited from the track record of these organizations while pursuing their agenda: discrediting Pakistan and promoting Indian interests at UN conferences and hearings,”.

Moreover, Asian News International (ANI), a major news agency in India has provided a platform for suck fake news campaigns. The aim of the Srivastava group and ANI media outlet is “to reinforce pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan (and anti-Chinese) feelings” in India, and “internationally, to consolidate the power and improve the perception of India, to damage the reputation of other countries and ultimately benefit from more support from international institutions such as the EU and the UN”.

The report claim that the organizations funded by the Srivastava group-sponsored trips for European Parliament members to Kashmir. “The organizations created by the Srivastava Group in Brussels organized trips for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to Kashmir, Bangladesh, and the Maldives. Some of these trips led to much institutional controversy, as the delegations of MEPs were often presented as official EU delegations when they were in fact not traveling on behalf of the Parliament,”. Such sponsored trips aimed to build a positive image of India, while spreading disinformation about the alleged claims of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir.

Moreover, India has been actively involved in portraying Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsored state through its disinformation and fake news technique. For instance, India is lobbying strongly at FATF to put Pakistan on the blacklist.

India has also supported and sponsored Baloch separatist leaders and spread disinformation through their fake media outlets as mentioned in the EU DisinfoLab report.“These UN-accredited NGOs work in coordination with non-accredited think-tanks and minority-rights NGOs in Brussels and Geneva. Several of them – like the European Organization for Pakistani Minorities (EOPM), Baluchistan House, and the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) – were directly but opaquely created by the Srivastava group,”one of the examples is Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian spy who was captured in Pakistan.

The Indian Chronicle report has exposed the dubious face of India and the administrative structure of the United Nations and the European Union. Indian involvement in the spread of disinformation and resurrection of dead people and NGOs has exposed its long-standing for Human rights and democracy. Meanwhile, the reports have also exposed the administrative structure of the UN and EU, as they failed to notice the activities of fake UN-accredited NGOs and spread of disinformation through their affiliated NGOs.

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Hybrid Warfare: Threats to Pakistani Security

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‘Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war’-Giulio Douhet

Hybrid threats are becoming a norm in Pakistan and if we want to move forward in this age of technological advancements, cybercrimes, and the use of social media, we must have a wholesome response mechanism.

Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that employs not only conventional forms of warfare but irregular with it as well. It involves propaganda, cyber-attacks, state-sponsored terrorism, electoral intervention, and many more means of multi-dimensional approaches towards war which are used by militarized non-state actors. The term ‘Hybrid’ came into use around 2005-2006 due to the Israel-Hezbollah war (“Lessons from Lebanon: Hezbollah and Hybrid Wars – Foreign Policy Research Institute” 2016) and became a hot-topic in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. Using non-confrontational means can lead to internal struggles and crumbling of the target. What direct force won’t get you can be easily achieved by infiltration and multi-faceted resources. It’s neither character of war nor its outcome that defines it as a hybrid war, but the changing tactics (“State and Non-State Hybrid Warfare” 2018). In a world where everyone, from wealthy states to those caught in throes of hunger, is armed to the teeth, there are ways to achieve socio-political objectives through the use of violent and non-violent non-state actors.

Pakistan – A Target

Pakistan has risen to incredible heights despite it being a relatively young nation and this is only proved further by the interest international players have in its internal workings. Several factors contribute to the important stature Pakistan holds in the international community such as the Pak-China alliance, its geostrategic location, military aptitude, Russian interests in the Indian Ocean, Deep Sea Gwadar Port (One Belt One Road Project), neighbor to Afghanistan (a country existing as a battleground for proxies), etc. All these reasons make sure to keep Pakistan on the radar.

Though it may be secure militarily, Pakistan is still vulnerable to hybrid threats due to internal dynamics, numerous conflicting interests of nations in state-affairs, and increasing non-state actors. South Asian nuclearization has all but guaranteed that a full-fledged war between Pakistan and India is unlikely therefore the latter uses hybrid warfare to weaken Pakistan from within.

Evolutionary Nature of War

There was truth to Heraclites’s words when he claimed that change is the only constant in our world. The social theory of evolutionary change tells us that individuals, communities, societies, and states are always in a state of motion, continuously evolving according to the era. War is born from man, it is only fair that if a man changes, so shall war. It has become more complex; the stakes have raised from territorial boundaries to the maintenance of world order and preservation of state sovereignty. Wars are no longer fought on the borders, skirmishes aside, the real destruction takes place within. Due to the paradigm shift after the Cold War (Ball 2018), there rose a need for legal, economical, socio-political, and informational means of warfare. It is used as a way to undermine other nation-states in pursuit of national power; the international system is not only a race but also a way to tear others down.

Threats to Pakistani Security

To secure Pakistan from all sides, we must first analyze the threats it faces from all sides. Conventional Warfare used to be seen as one dimensional and it only perceived assault to be done through the land, air, or sea channels. However, now it is fought in various intangible zones.

·         External

India

India is a budding regional hegemon due to its political and economic growth including hidden agendas. Pakistan is perceived to be a direct threat to India especially after the launch of the CPEC project, perceived to be undermining its hold over the region, which is why it is employing stratagems of hybrid warfare to internally weaken Pakistan. Till now India has used State-Sponsored terrorism, funded insurgencies, operated terror cells, and even sent fighter jets into Pakistani Airspace as an attempt to ruin its reputation in the international community.

Afghanistan

There has been growing instability in Afghanistan which has led to mass migrations across the porous border into Pakistan, with around 1.4 million registered Afghans (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2018) and 1 million unregistered (“Amnesty International” 2019). India has its claws in Afghan matters as well and will use it to exploit Pakistan’s weaknesses even after US forces leave the arena. Afghan Government’s poor administrative capability especially after the return of DAESH (Tribune 2020) and Tehrik-e-Taliban Afghanistan are threats to Pakistan as well as regional peace and are a major cause of lawlessness in the country and has a spillover effect for its neighbors.

Iran

Ideologically speaking, Iran is a sectarian threat to Pakistan and its Port Chahbahar stands to lose active traffic once CPEC is fully functional which means it stands as an instigator of hybrid warfare and it would be a risk to overlook it based on past good relations.

USA

Even after the Cold War, strategic rivalry and animosity between the powers including Russia, America, and China still exist. The emergence of China as an economic superpower is perceived as a threat to the US due to which there is a major shift in its defensive posture towards the region.

The US has shown significant interest in Pakistan due to its geo-strategic location but not all interest has yielded positive results. They carried out a surgical strike for the capture and assassination of Osama-Bin-Laden. Such a breach of sovereignty and security is a hybrid threat.

·         Internal

Sectarian

There are several lobbies in Pakistan all vying for their own cause. The Iranian lobby has sectarian undercurrents. Sectarianism has always been one of the leading factors of the divide in the Muslim civilization and is the rising trend of terrorism.Such conflict itself is volatile and is deepening the rift between different sects(Shia-Sunni) of Pakistan, causing unrest.

Economic

Rising prices of commodities such as flour and sugar can lead to social unrest and discord. Such industries and their stocks are under the thumb of a select few, the elites. With the right bribes and conditions, even they would agree to sell out society.

Non-State Actors

Non-state actors are groups or organizations that have influence in the state but work independently and have their socio-political agendas (“Towards a Typology of Non-State Actors in ‘Hybrid Warfare’: Proxy, Auxiliary, Surrogate and Affiliated Forces” 2019). They work on political opportunities and mobilized grievances. Groups like BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army), TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are some of the major actors. Pakistan needs to focus on curbing Jihadist Terrorism as it is keeping it from leaving the grey list of FATF.

·         Technological

Information

It refers to the spread of miscommunication. Propaganda and circulation of false news through social media are a relatively common way to cause turmoil in a community. Once a rumor is circling, there is no way to erase it. India claims that Pakistan is spreading the false narrative of ‘Islam being in danger’ to justify its actions, although untrue, is something that the Indians fully believe now. That Pakistani Intelligentsia is made solely to create narratives under which to attack India. Such beliefs further antagonize the states against each other.

Indian Chronicles are a prime example of information warfare being waged against Pakistan.

Cyber

Channels such as Cyber-Jihad and Dark Web come under the purview of cyber warfare and are a threat to the fabric of society and its security in Pakistan.

Given the above discussed bleak prevailing internal security situation, Pakistan needs to formulate a short to mid and long-term response that curbs all external and internal parties alongside proxies from infiltrating and influencing the working of the state and affecting the masses.

For a full-spectrum approach, all domains should be covered such as diplomacy, defense, internal and external security, economic, informational, cyber, and media security.

There are steps to be followed through for active and effective quelling of hybrid threats. First, a strategy must be put for, then tactical action should be taken and lastly, the implementation process should be supervised and fully followed through.

The main focus of the state should be on deterrence towards, protection from, and prevention of hybrid threats to the state.

One must not forget that Hybrid war is a mix of both unconventional and conventional warfare, therefore a nation-wide response should include the intertwined operational capabilities of armed forces alongside political actors. Pakistan sees its security being threatened both by internal factors and external hostile/proxy elements. This is hampering state development. State-building and nation-building must go hand in hand if counter and deter such threats effectively.

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The Impact of Management in Information Security

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Authors: Sajad Abedi and Mahdi Mohammadi

Due to the increasing role of information security in the management of any society, public and private organizations and institutions are inevitably required to provide the necessary infrastructure to achieve this. In addition to material resources, management techniques also have a great impact on the optimal and successful implementation of information security management systems. The recording of management standards in the field of ICT information security can be designed in a planned way to change the security situation of organizations according to the needs of the organization and ensure security in terms of business continuity and to some extent at other levels (crisis management and soft war). Despite extensive research in this area, unfortunately for various reasons, including the level of security of the issue for governmental and non-governmental institutions or the direct relationship of the field with their interests, clear and useful information on how to implement and prioritize the implementation of a system over the years. The past has not happened until today.

The protection of the organization’s information resources is essential to ensure the successful continuation of business activities. The fact that information and information assets play a key role in the success of organizations has necessitated a new approach to protecting them. Until now, risk analysis and management has been used to identify the information security needs of the organization. After analyzing the risks, security controls were identified and implemented to bring the risks to an acceptable level. But it seems that risk analysis is not enough to identify the information security needs of the organization. Evidence of this claim is that risk analysis does not take into account legal requirements, regulations and other factors that are not considered as risk, but are mandatory for the organization.

Identifying, assessing and managing information security risks is one of the key steps in reducing cyber threats to organizations and also preventing the unfortunate consequences of security incidents that make organizations more prepared to face cyber risks. The risk assessment process, which is the first phase of a set of risk management activities, provides significant assistance to organizations in making the right decision to select security solutions. Risk assessment is actually done to answer the following questions: * If a particular hazard occurs in the organization, how much damage will it cause? * What is the probability of any risk occurring? * Controlling how much each risk costs. Is it affordable or not? The results of risk assessment can help in the correct orientation in choosing solutions (which is to eliminate the main threats) and can also be used in formulating and modifying the security policies of the organization. Risk management is a comprehensive process used to determine, identify, control, and minimize the effects and consequences of potential events. This process allows managers to strike the right balance between operating costs and financial costs, and to achieve relevant benefits by protecting business processes that support the organization’s goals. The risk management process can greatly reduce the number and severity of security incidents that occur in the organization. Risk management has 5 steps, which are: 1. Planning: At this stage, how to manage potential risks in the organization is determined and completed by developing a risk management plan. This plan defines the risk management team, defines the roles and responsibilities of individuals and the criteria for assessing identified risks. Documented. 2. Identification: At this stage, team members gather around each other, identify potential hazards, and record them in the organization’s risk list. Arranging group brainstorming sessions is a good way to identify hazards 3. Assessment: In this step, the assessment of identified risks is performed using the criteria defined in the risk management plan. Risks are assessed based on their probability of occurrence and possible consequences.

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