In today’s world, no organization or enterprise is completely safe from cyber-attacks or their possible consequences. In fact, one may even argue that the effects of Cyber Security incidents on our increasingly interconnected world have the potential to negatively affect every single individual on this planet. As a result, and aided by a progressively complex landscape of regulatory and legal requirements in this field and beyond, raising awareness of Cyber Security threats and, by extension, building Cyber Resilience, have developed from a traditionally rather technical matter into an increasingly important strategic topic for businesses, on the one hand, and into a critical diplomatic challenge for States, on the other hand.
The EU Network and Information Security Directive was the first piece of EU-wide Cyber Security legislation and aims to enhance Cyber Security across the EU. The national supervision of critical sectors, such as energy, transport, water, health, and critical digital service providers, including online market places, as well as the enhancement of national Cyber Security capabilities and facilitation of cross-border collaboration, are the key topics covered by the NIS Directive. Moreover, the NIS Directive is part of the EU Cyber Security Strategy, which states “achieving Cyber Resilience” as one of its five priorities. However, the fact that the NIS Directive was only adopted in 2016, with a deadline for national transposition by EU member States as recent as May 9, 2018, illustrates that Cyber Security and Cyber Resilience are relatively new topics in international collaborative efforts surrounding security and stability in Europe. One may argue that this recency inherently implies a certain lack of preparation for Cyber Security incidents; thus, vulnerability.
“The technology of today serves not only a Weberian predictability imperative – to further rationalise society. It makes society less safe and its individuals less free” – recently stated my former professor Anis H. Bajrektarevic discussing the EU cyber-related legislation.Hence, a preparation, in other words – strategic investment in preventative measures and resources, is considered an essential aspect of Cyber Security as well as critical to Cyber Resilience. While Cyber Security is primarily concerned with the protection of information technology and systems, Cyber Resilience aims to ensure the effective continuation of an organizations operations and to prevent demobilization of business- or organization-critical functions in the event of security incidents. To be more specific, it is “the ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from cyber attacks” and other security incidents, such as data breaches, that is commonly referred to as Cyber Resilience.
In this context, it has been argued that the creation of a resilience-conscious culture is a key element of successful Cyber Resilience strategies. Creating such a cyber resilient culture involves raising awareness of Cyber Security threats, such as phishing and malware, and communicating ways to minimize risks stemming from them to people outside of Cyber Security functions. The main goal here is to facilitate a cyber resilient mindset through awareness-building measures, leading to the question: If promoting awareness of Cyber Security threats ultimately enhances Cyber Resilience, how can we, first of all, assess the status quo of Europe’s Cyber Resilience and subsequently, monitor the progress and effectiveness of such awareness building measures, in order to better understand, compare and ultimately enhance the Cyber Resilience of individual States and Europe in its entirety?
This essay will argue that “a false sense of security” in the private sector is a warning sign regarding the Cyber Resilience of States, hence, a warning sign regarding the status quo of Europe’s Cyber Resilience. Moreover, it will argue that “a false sense of security” can serve as a valuable indicator for the effectiveness of, and increased need for Cyber Security awareness measures. This will be accomplished through the following approach:
Firstly, the essential need for and feasibility of active preparation for seemingly unlikely crisis situations, will be emphasized. To illustrate this point, the controversy surrounding the classification of the COVID-19 pandemic as “black swan event” will be discussed. Secondly, the discussion of several recent Cyber Security related incidents and their implications, will highlight that businesses and governments worldwide must, more than ever, and especially due to the C-19 related acceleration of digitalization, improve their Cyber Resilience. The main goal here will be to draw attention to the worldwide existing deficiencies regarding Cyber Resilience and, based on this, illustrate the need for and value of finding new ways to assess Cyber Resilience, but also key aspects of Cyber Resilience. Thirdly, current insights from the recently published study “Cyber Security in Austria” will be discussed and contrasted with the respective risk assessment from The Global Risks Report 2019 to illustrate apparent discrepancies in security related self-perception in the private sector versus the reality of the risk situation. It is important to note here that “a false sense of security” means feeling safe in an unsafe environment. Therefore, such discrepancies represent “a false sense of security”. As a final step, possible implications and limitations of the presented ideas will be discussed.
A black swan event is an unpredictable, highly improbable and rare event that has serious and potentially catastrophic consequences. One main characteristic of black swan events is the widespread insistence that their occurrence was obvious in hindsight; thus, should have been foreseen. In the recent past, this concept, which the Lebanese-American philosopher, professor and former Wall Street trader, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, developed and already described in 2007, has, in connection with the C-19 pandemic, again become a topic of conversation – not least because of social media, such as Twitter (#blackswan). While there seems to be general disagreement as to whether the ongoing C-19 pandemic constitutes a “real” black swan event, Taleb himself stated in an interview that the eventual outbreak of a global pandemic with all its consequences was, in fact, a predictable “white swan” event, arguing that companies, corporations and especially governments, had no excuse, not to be prepared.
Regardless of swan color, however, in connection with the aforementioned ability to prepare for cyber attacks, it can be argued that a particularly relevant consequence of the C-19 pandemic, in terms of Cyber Security and subsequently, security in Europe, has been the acceleration of digitalization throughout the world, affecting the public and private sector, as well as the private sphere of people’s homes. Exit restrictions and other social-distancing measures imposed by governments worldwide, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, have caused the global demand for remote working technologies to skyrocket within a remarkably short period of time. For example, the video conferencing solution provider Zoom experienced, within just a few weeks, a surge from around 10 million daily active users at the end of December 2019, to over 200 million daily active users in March 2020. It was not long before data privacy and data security related problems with Zoom became apparent: “Zoom bombing” or video hijacking, which refers to the unwanted and disruptive intrusion of a person into a Zoom video meeting, a lack of end-to-end encryption and, in this regard, misleading information advertised on part of the provider, along with various IT security related vulnerabilities that allowed hackers, among other things, unauthorized remote access to end user’s Mac computers – including webcam and microphone access, Zoom’s deployment of in-app surveillance features, as well as questionable handling and alleged trade with the obtained user data were, already by April 2020, seen as a considerable cause for concern, leading security experts to describe Zoom as “a privacy disaster”, and “fundamentally corrupt”. Moreover, Arvind Narayanan, associate computer science professor at Princeton University, was quoted as saying: “Zoom is malware”. The most memorable piece of news concerning Zoom was, however, arguably about the British prime minister Boris Johnson accidentally posting sensitive information, including the Zoom meeting ID and the login names of several participants, when sharing a screenshot of his first-ever digital cabinet meeting via Twitter.
The example of Zoom illustrates how companies, organizations, governments and private individuals benefit to an unprecedented extent from the advantages of digitalization, especially in the context of the ongoing C-19 pandemic, but also beyond such global crisis situations, while at the same time being faced with the considerable challenges and security risks brought about by the new technologies of what is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This Fourth Industrial Revolution, being “characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres”, is changing the ways we live, work and interact, resulting in significant risks to the privacy of natural persons, as well as to security and stability in general.
Several recently occurring or publicly emerging Cyber Security incidents underpin the scope of these risks: A cyber-attack on the British airline EasyJet, in the course of which personal data including email addresses and travel plans of 9 million EasyJet customers and additionally, credit card details of over 2,000 customers, were stolen, became known in May 2020. This once again demonstrates that companies of all kinds can at all times become targets and victims of cyber-attacks. Costly penalties for violations of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR), as well as claims for damages and lawsuits by those affected and, last but not least, the loss of reputation often caused by such security incidents, pose significant challenges for companies under any circumstances. These challenges can, however, easily become existence-threatening, especially in view of the C-19 induced crisis situation, in which particularly the aviation industry currently finds itself in, as recently highlighted, when Austrian Airlines received EUR 450 million in financial aid from the Austrian government.
On the one hand, the EasyJet security incident illustrates that Cyber Resilience has, in recent years, developed from a formerly predominantly technical matter into a business-critical strategic topic and, in today’s world, competitive advantage for companies, whereas on the other hand, the case of Austrian Airlines requiring millions of Euros of state aid to continue their operations, illustrates how crisis situations faced by private companies can and do affect States.
As a matter of fact, we live in a time where the vulnerability of critical infrastructure is a real concern among security specialists and States, as illustrated by the following example: A joint memo, sent out in May 2020 by German intelligence and security agencies, warned German operators of critical infrastructure against hacker attacks. The memo included a description of the hackers’ approach as well as information indicating long-standing compromises in corporate networks of companies operating in the energy, water and telecommunications sector, in other words, critical sectors covered by the EU Network and Information Security Directive 2016/1148 (NIS).
It is in light of security incidents like these, that the results of and contradictions arising from this year’s “Cyber Security isn Austria” study (KPMG, 2020), may be perceived as especially worrying: According to the study, 27% of 652 companies surveyed place great trust in their Cyber Security measures, while 58% “rather” trust their Cyber Security measures. At the same time, 57% of participating companies became victims of cyber attacks in the past 12 months, of which 74% where phishing attacks. It is important to note here, that, when it comes to the prevention of phishing attacks, security experts consider regularly training employees on security awareness, essential. In the context of such Cyber Security awareness measures, it seems especially interesting that the study highlighted the significance of employees in the detection of cyber attacks, as opposed to merely focusing on employees as a potential weakness: 79% of companies stated that they had become aware of a cyber attack through their own employees, while internal security systems ranked second (72%) as a means of detection. Awareness building measures must, therefore, remain a high priority for companies.
Furthermore, the study established that one third of companies believe it would take them 1 to 4 weeks to safely remove attackers from their systems, while a fourth of companies even believe it would merely take them between 2 and 6 days. These findings are in direct contradiction with the considerably longer and demonstrably increasing average “dwell time” (100 to 170 days) of attackers in corporate networks. Regarding Cyber Resilience, it is worth noting here, that although 69% of companies surveyed invest in awareness and security monitoring to protect themselves against cyber attacks, only 25% prepare for possible damage through cyber insurance coverage. Also, the study found that 82% of companies would like to see established a government agency dedicated exclusively to Cyber Security issues and 77% would like to be supported more by the State, while at the same time, 57% state that they do not trust the authorities when it comes to Cyber Security. Additionally, it was found that the primary expectation (64% of companies) companies have toward the State is the provision of information and EU-wide support as well as exchange between experts from the State and private sector, in order to learn from each other. Considering the companies’ expectations regarding the exchange of information between experts, it seems particularly striking that about 90% declined to comment on the effects that past Cyber Security incidents had in terms of damage caused to their reputation. Based on this finding, it was concluded that a trustful exchange of information must be encouraged and observed, that changes to the existing legal framework would help facilitate open communication on cybercrime.
All in all, it was concluded that Austrian companies mistrust others, but do not protect themselves sufficiently, that they demand cooperation, however, shy away from open communication and that they feel more secure than they are. In other words, “a false sense of security” in the Austrian private sector, emerged as a key finding.
It was already established earlier that “a false sense of security” means feeling safe in an unsafe environment. Therefore, it seems only logical to look in more detail at the threat environment, also known as risk environment, in which businesses in today’s world operate in. For the sake of coherence and comparability, the following section will, first of all, examine Austria’s situation before briefly considering the global risk environment:
The “Risks of Doing Business 2019” report (World Economic Forum) rates cyber-attacks as the most critical business risk in Austria (46.7%) and data fraud or theft as second critical (34.1%). Taking into account the previously discussed findings regarding levels of trust companies place in their security measures (27% trust “greatly”, 58% “rather” trust) and unrealistic company estimates of attacker “dwell time” in corporate networks, “a false sense of security” clearly reemerges. The top Risks of Doing Business 2019 on a global scale are fiscal crises (28.9%), closely followed by cyber attacks (28.2%) as the second critical risk and unemployment or underemployment (28.2%) as the third critical risk, while data fraud or theft ranks seventh (22.4%), firmly establishing technological risks among the most critical risks globally.
Overall, and especially against the background of the global risk environment and increasing interconnectedness of the public and private sector, “a false sense of security”, or to be more precise, “a false sense of Cyber Security” in the private sector must, therefore, be considered a significant threat for the security of private companies and, consequently, the security in Europe, a warning sign regarding the status quo of Europe’s Cyber Resilience and, one may argue, valuable instrument in assessing the effectiveness of Cyber Security awareness measures.
While the scope and purpose of this essay did not allow for an in-depth analysis of how “a false sense of security” may practically be translated into a quantifiable, clearly defined key performance or risk indicator, it may serve as a starting point in doing so. Also, it may rightfully be argued that any indicator of performance or risk must be evaluated in the context of already established key performance and risk indicators, as well as existing efforts, procedures and best practices in the field, in order to fully assess its value and usefulness. Again, the scope of this essay did not allow for an in-depth analysis in this regard. Nevertheless, it may prove useful as a starting point in doing so. Other limitations and challenges arising from the scope, purpose and choice of approach as well as ideas advanced in this essay, include the risk of bias when generalizing from Austria to Europe and the risk of response bias (demand bias) when utilizing survey questions to identify “a false sense of security” with the same participants.
Nevertheless, despite these limitations, it seems possible to derive the following conclusions from the analysis conducted in this essay: a) the security and stability in Europe depend on the ability of States to continuously improve and maintain their Cyber Resilience, b) Europe’s Cyber Resilience is closely tied to the Cyber Resilience of each States’ private sector and, as a result, the actors operating within them, c) improving cooperation and trust between the public and the private sector as well as between States is necessary to improve Europe’s Cyber Resilience and, d) an organization with the appropriate authority, financial and professional capacity as well as reach, such as, one may argue, the OSCE, must act as the initiator and governing body of projects aiming to utilize “a false sense of security” to assess Europe’s Cyber Resilience and existing security awareness measures.
All in all, one may conclude that in order to ensure and enhance security and stability in Europe in our increasingly interconnected world, especially in the face of rapid technological progress, new technologies and the recent acceleration of digitalization, an urgent need to continuously improve and monitor Europe’s Cyber Resilience exists. This will call for more and more cooperation between the public and private sector, as well as between States and will, consequently, likely even heighten the significance of international organizations, such as the OSCE, in initiating, financing, overseeing and supporting Cyber Resilience initiatives in Europe.
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Russia, Turkey and UAE: The intelligence services organize and investigate
The FSB (Federal’naja Služba Bezopasnosti Rossijskoj Federácii, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) – created in 1995 from the ashes of the Komitet Gosudarstvennoj Bezopasnosti (KGB), the State Security Committee – is ready for additional responsibilities under the new national security strategy. President Putin’s recent redefinition of the FSB’s role provides some indications on the national security strategy that will soon be announced – a strategy that will affect seas, borders and the security of strategically important intelligence.
On June 1, 2021 President Putin issued a decree outlining the new priorities that will be given to the FSB in Russia’s revised national security strategy, which replaces the one that officially ended last year.
The changes to the Intelligence Service’s regulatory framework, including the peripheral one, provides some indications on the Russian security priorities. Some of the main changes include additional responsibilities for intelligence security, counterterrorism, border control and stronger protection of maritime interests.
Border control and the various references to counterterrorism in its broadest sense – as recently defined by Russia – means entrusting the security service with a number of new areas and tasks, including the redefinition of procedures to detect political radicalisation.
Border control is also strengthened in the revised rules, with FSB border guards acquiring records, filing and storing biometric data and obtaining and processing DNA information obtained during border checks.
The details on access to Russian soil shed light on the Kremlin’s problems with its own fellow countrymen. In the article on the FSB’s involvement in controlling entry into Russia, the decree mentions the “territories requiring special authorisation” such as Transnistria, some parts of Georgia and Eastern Ukraine, and states that the FSB will be involved in a national programme to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Russians living abroad.
Intelligence is a valuable asset and its security has always been one of the Kremlin’s main concerns. Therefore, the new strategy makes the FSB the leading agency, not just the end user regarding computers, security and telecommunication encryption.
It will oversee and supervise the implementation of the new technological security throughout the community. All this was outlined in December in a law that redefined the role of the FSB’s Centre for State Licensing, Certification and Protection. It will grant licences for the use of “special technical means and equipment intended to receive information secretly”.
The FSB will also examine patents for classified inventions. In addition to its official role in intelligence warfare, the FSB has been tasked with producing more security measures to protect the identity of Russian intelligence agents, and keep the confidentiality of its own officials, officers and soldiers.
The Internal Security Service will also set up a new procedure to inspect agents and individuals entering the army, the intelligence services and the Federal Administration. Using the protection of marine life as an additional task, the FSB will also have increased responsibilities for the seas, including competence and powers over the protection of fishing grounds outside Russia’s exclusive economic zone, the establishment of checkpoints for fishing vessels entering or leaving the zone, and the power to suspend the right of passage for foreign vessels in certain Russian maritime zones.
The Service will also define the structure of operational offices in maritime zones. These measures follow a law adopted last October outlining the FSB’s role in “establishing control and checks in fisheries and the conservation of sea biological resources”.
An important concept in Russian history and life is the silovik. He is a representative of law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies, armed forces and other structures to which the State delegates the right to use force. This concept is often extended to representatives of political groups, but also to businessmen, associated with power structures in Russia or formerly in the Soviet Union.
As a jargon term, this word is used in other languages as a broad political term in everyday conversation and in journalism to describe political processes typical of Russia or the former Soviet Union. The etymology of the word is the Russian word sila, meaning strength, force and power.
Trying to renew the aforementioned concept, President Putin provides momentum and injects new impetus into the meaning of this word. After putting the issue on the agenda of the National Security Council of May 28 last, the President is now pushing for the publication of the national security strategy. It has been delayed despite the fact that the Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation (Sovet bezopasnosti Rossijskoj Federacii), Sergej Vachrukov, had announced it was to be published in February.
As we might commonly believe, the steps to strengthen the Russian secret services are not so much focused on the aforementioned and movie-style “derby” between secret agents, but are mainly targeted to Russia’s traditional “Ottoman” adversary, namely neighbouring Turkey.
President Erdogan’s official meeting with the UAE’s National Security Advisor, Tahnun bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and the renewed ties with Abu Dhabi are the result of behind-the-scenes regional intelligence operations in which the Kremlin wants to see straight and clearly.
While there is still a deep political divide both between Russia and Turkey, and between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, the Turkish President hopes to encourage future Emirates’ investment. Turkish President Erdogan’s unprecedented meeting with the UAE’s national security representative, the aforementioned al-Nahyan, in Ankara on August 18 can be largely attributed to the work of the two countries’ intelligence services over the last few months.
There is a desire to turn a new page after eight years of icy relations, crystallised by the 2013 overthrow of Egypt’s leader Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood’s member close to Turkey and firmly opposed by the United Arab Emirates.
Steps towards reconciliation began on January 5, 2021 at the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in al-Ula. The Summit marked the end of Qatar’s isolation, thus paving the way for a resumption of relations between the UAE and Turkey. After the Summit, al-Nahyan flew to Cairo where he met President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who strongly encouraged him to begin a new chapter with Turkey.
At the same time, Egypt’s intelligence service, Mukhabarat al-Amma, engaged in secret talks with its Turkish counterpart, the Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatıı. However, it was al-Nahya’s meeting with the Turkish intelligence Chief, Hakan Fidan, in Cairo a few weeks later that achieved the first results.
That meeting was organized by the Chief of the Mukhabarat al-Amma and by Abbas Kamel, al-Sisi’s regional Director, along with Ahmed Hosni, the strongman of Jordanian Dayirat al-Mukhabarat al-Amma, that King Abdallah II had sent from Amman. Since then, there were eight additional meetings between Turkey and Abu Dhabi, which then led to the aforementioned meeting of President Erdogan with al-Nahyan, with the possibility of holding a future Summit between them.
This rapprochement still has difficulty hiding the deep divide between the two countries on key regional issues such as their respective positions on Syria and Libya, in particular. While they have managed to find some common ground for understanding – ending smear campaigns and trade blockades; resuming visa issuance; direct air links and the return of Ambassadors – President Erdogan and al-Nahyan are simply keeping quiet about their current irreconcilable differences.
Political considerations are put aside to facilitate future UAE’s investment in Turkey.
On August 25, the Emirates’ Group International Holding CO announced it would invest massively in Turkey’s health and agrifood industries, while it seems that the sovereign fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is willing to lend Turkey 875 million US dollars.
Is it just business? Russia is investigating.
Power Vacuum in Afghanistan: A By-product of An Incompetent Geopolitical Contract
I still recall the evening of December 18, 2011, when I read the news of the last U.S. troops being pulled out of Iraq, that ended an eight-year-long military involvement in the region. Somehow the news instantly gave me an uneasy feeling knowing that a catastrophic storm was awaiting and will mark the beginning of a cataclysmic civil war. Within hours of U.S. military troops leaving the land, Iraqi’s rival Sunni and Shi’ite factions resumed a kind of political infighting that threatened a lurch back into turmoil. Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered an immediate dissolution of his Sunni deputy and issued an arrest warrant for the Sunni Vice President. Not only Sunnis gradually lost the authority of power in the government and security discourse, but the Sunni elites, who challenged Maliki were subsequently either tortured or killed. Out on the streets, after the ISF raided the home of Iraq’s minister of finance, who was also a member of Iraqiya coalition, Sunni protest broke out in Fallujah; and the fire spread across the country. Iraqi Security forces killed between 50-65 civilians on Maliki’s order. This led to the most notorious consortium in the history of global terrorism – an alliance between the Sunnis and ISIS. On July 21, 2013, ISIS initiated a 12-month campaign called the ‘Soldier’s Harvest’ on Iraqi security forces, teamed up with Sunni tribal leaders and former Baathists, and ultimately forcing ISF to evacuate Fallujah and remnants of its government. Soon after, ISIS attacked Abu Ghraib prison freeing up to 1000 minacious inmates, including senior al-Qaida leaders and militants. Empowered and endued with Sunni support, ISIS officially seized Fallujah, parts of Ramadi and Mosul, by June 2014. By gripping Mosul alone, ISIS gained $480 million in stolen cash and armed itself with two divisions’ worth of military weapons and ammunition that were left behind by the U.S. military troops. And, within six months, ISIS became the world’s most well-funded and equipped terrorist group in the world – controlling approximately 100,00 square kilometers of territory across Iraq and Syria at its zenith. Not just the Middle East, ISIS spread its terror tyranny globally as well with strategic attacks on Paris and Brussels.
So, what led to the birth of ISIS? Two words – Power vacuum; and the U.S. policy in Iraq between 2010 and 2011 actively created this geopolitical conditions in which ISIS thrived.
Stages of Power Vacuum – From The Birth of ISIS in Iraq to Rise of The Taliban in Afghanistan
If one thing that we have learned from the U.S led invasion in Iraq is that an incompetent geopolitical contract abhors a political vacuum. In political science, the term power vacuum is an analogy that deconstructs and artificially manufactures power relations and political conditions in a country that has no identifiable central power or authority. In a critical situation like this, the inflow of armed militia, insurgents, warlords, dictators, and military coups to fill this vacuum becomes an organic response, and it comes with a cost – the cost being a noxious civil war and national unrest. On the other hand, a power vacuum can also thrive in conditions following a constitutional crisis where the majority of the ruling government entities resign or are removed, giving birth to an unclear anecdote regarding succession to the position of power.
What happened in Iraq starting December 2011, and what is happening in Afghanistan today in 2021, is a result of a power vacuum – a by-product of an incompetent geopolitical contract. Twenty years after being forced into power annihilation by the U.S led military bases in Afghanistan, the Taliban is now actively resuming its power as the U.S continues to execute its full exit. Within hours of Joe Biden announcing the official termination of U.S military involvement in the country, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani worded a farewell post on social media, vocalizing that he must leave the country to prevent bloodshed. Today, the only remnant left of his political presence is his departing statement, “Long Live Afghanistan.” With the President fleeing the country, and creating a constitutional crisis of succession to the position of power, what we are witnessing is the manifestation of the initial stage of power vacuum. Soon after the President abandoned the country, the Taliban released a statement declaring that the group has taken over Kabul, a capital city of 6 million civilians, and is working to restore law and order. Considering the reputation of the Taliban – infamous for brutality, repression of women, and execution of religious minorities in the past, the idea of restoration of law and order appears antagonistic.
However, I am not interested in deconstructing the inimical and deleterious ideologies of the Taliban, but unfolding the mechanisms of the power vacuum in Afghanistan. With the Taliban now actively trying to fill this power vacuum created after Ghani’s disappearance, the second stage is at play. The primary question here is not about who will form the national government, but what type of alliance will be established among entities to procure this power. The typology of this alliance – its fundamental values, utility, durability, and workability, will regulate Afghanistan’s democracy and sovereignty in the coming years. If one turns back to 2011 in Iraq, you will recall how the alliance between Sunni tribal leaders and ISIS gave birth to a global terror reign. This was a direct result of abysmal policy deliberation and the abrupt exit of the U.S military troops from Iraq. So, the question is – now that the U.S military troop has ended its twenty-year-long involvement in Afghanistan, what type of alliance will be formed to fill this power vacuum? Will it be as catastrophic as Iraq? As the Taliban continues to coercively occupy the cities, Matthew Levitt, Director of Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy adds, “The possibility is very strong that Afghanistan will have both – a weak government and a government that has a close alliance with the elements of al-Qaeda. To add, there is an element of ISIS, ISIS Khorasan, as well. Although the Taliban doesn’t like them, but as we are witnessing the effort to evacuate people through Kabul airport and the threats of ISIS suicide bombers coming into Kabul, the fact is that the Taliban probably won’t for a very long time have control over all of the city, let alone all of the country. So, there will be an element of a safe haven even for groups that the Taliban doesn’t like – groups and alliances that will use Afghanistan as a base from which to operate and carry out terrorist attacks nationally and globally.”
It is worth noting that the alliance between the Taliban and al-Qaeda started with its leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, who pledged their allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar in kid 1990s, and accepted Omar as Amir al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Faithful) of all Sunni Muslims. Al-Zawahiri later re-affirmed this pledge to Omar’s successors. Soon after, al-Qaeda gained substantial freedom to operate in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. In return, al-Qaeda doled out money to the Taliban. Since then, to up till now, the alliance between Taliban and al-Qaeda has flourished mutually. Soon after the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda congratulated the group and spoke about their alliance for Kashmir liberation in India. A letter was addressed to the Taliban by al-Qaeda and was shared on Twitter by a journalist. It read, “Allah! liberate the Levant, Somalia, Yemen, Kashmir, and the rest of the Islamic lands from the clutches of the enemies of Islam.”
If this alliance continues to grow stronger to seize power, the probable birthing of one of the deadliest terror organizations is certain – a terror entity that would not only have passive support of the Taliban but would surpass the atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq. This is a direct result of Biden’s ham-fisted deliberation to exit Afghanistan abruptly, leaving a space to harbor national unrest, the collapse of a democratically elected government, procurement of this political vacuum by insurgents, and brutal violence by the Taliban against its civilians. In short – the fall down of Afghanistan democracy.
The third stage of the power vacuum is yet to mature in Afghanistan. This stage expediates the process of procurement of power, if any of the entities trying to seize power acquires economic funding and gets equipped with advanced military weapons. Jan Pieterzoon Coen, a leading officer of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century, said, “There’s no trade without war; there’s no war without trade”. He was right. The establishing of power requires a trade that allows an alliance of immaterial ideology between groups and hoarding of material resources (weapons and money) to execute the ideology. In 2011, the Islamic State armed itself with two divisions’ worth of military weapons and ammunition that were left behind by the U.S military troops. They used these weapons to terrorize the civilians, execute opposition, and expand their captured territory. Another material resource may include stolen or funded cash apart from military machinery. For example, by gripping Mosul alone, ISIS gained $480 million in stolen cash. And, within six months, ISIS became the world’s most well-funded and equipped terrorist group in the world – controlling approximately 100,00 square kilometers of territory across Iraq and Syria at its zenith. So, what we observe here is that the acquisition of economic funding or military weapons gives birth to an effectively exercised political control through coercive means, and internalization of this coercive mechanisms by the civilians. In both cases, the mission is accomplished – an attempt to seize power vacuum by occupying the land and psyche of its civilians. Today, a similar narrative is at play in Afghanistan. The speed with which the Taliban swept across Afghanistan is reminiscent of Islamic State militants taking weapons from the U.S.- supplied Iraqi forces, who like the Afghan Air Force offered little resistance. Grey Myer and Scott Neuman writes, “The Taliban wasted no time in gloating over their new war booty. Photos and video posted to social media show the Taliban posing with captured aircraft, trucks, Humvees, artillery guns and night-vision goggles captured. Such equipment could be used to suppress internal dissent or fight off their rivals. Before the Taliban captured it, the Afghan air force had more than 40 operational U.S.-made MD-530 helicopters. The Taliban has already shown itself ready and willing to use U.S.-made small arms and other technology. Non-weaponry technology like the Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, U.S. devices containing biometric data, could be used to find potential threats in hiding. I have fallen into the hands of Taliban.” This stage is climacteric
in materializing the procurement of power into a reality. Even if they would be protest in Afghanistan against the rise of the Taliban as the central power, Taliban will use the overwhelming amount of potential weaponry to stifle the dissent and expand their captured territory to places like Panjshir valley.
Who will procure the power in Afghanistan?
The Taliban will eventually seize power, but it would form a weak government, with under-the-table alliance with al-Qaeda; and would potentially foster the inflow and breeding of other groups like ISIS and ISIS Khorasan in Afghanistan. With opium and rich copper deposits, the international intervention is likely to be seen – motivated by self-interest as opposed to the interest of advocating for civil rest and peace in Afghanistan. Beijing has already held a talk with Taliban officials over the implementation for strategic engagement. It is highly possible that the $25 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is extended to Afghanistan now that the U.S has vacated the country. Financial support would most likely be delivered hand-in-hand with Beijing’s strongest ally in the region – Pakistan, allowing the Chinese government to persuade the Taliban to sever links with East Turkestan Islamic Movement group, who have executed terrorist attacks in Xinjiang province. On the other side of the border, India – a Hindu extremist governed country, is also in injudicious talks with the Taliban. Taliban’s close association with al-Qaeda can potentially create a political defilement and unrest in Kashmir, India. This may manifest into border security threat and infiltration of terrorists – manufactured by al-Qaeda, but with the Taliban’s blessings as the central power. To conclude, to think of Afghanistan as a ‘graveyard of empires’ is a zombie narrative. It is being revived to deflect, distract and distort the failure of Biden and the U.S military policies in Afghanistan. The truth is far simpler than we complicate – The creation of a power vacuum in Afghanistan is a direct result of abysmal foreign policy deliberation and the abrupt exit of the U.S military troops. It is indeed a by-product of an incompetent geopolitical contract. Biden’s administration must be held accountable for harbouring a space for demolition of a democratically elected government and rise of the Taliban terror in Afghanistan.
The establishment of a communist Shiite state in Afghanistan
Given the internationally known Egyptian researcher’s specialization in Chinese and Asian political affairs, specifically the (academic and research studies related to communist and leftist currents and movements around the world, especially connected with China and perhaps the Russia’s ideological stance on them in the first place), as well as my research and academic area of endeavor to internationally study and analysis of the development of communist movements and currents, and leftism waves internationally, and by applying this to the Afghan interior landscapes, after the Taliban movement’s control and trying to analyze the impact of my mentioned above analysis on the intellectually, organizationally and politically dispute between (Da’esh organization “ISIS” in Afghanistan with the leaders of Taliban movement), the Egyptian researcher reached out to an important conclusion, which she will later try to accurately prove it, through the gate of Russian-Chinese-Iranian control over the Afghan interior lands, through spilling over of the (Shiite sectarian and communist ideological game), in view of the intersection of the China, Russia and Iran agenda by spreading the (communist, leftist, nationalist ideologies, then spilling on the Iranian Shiite sectarian), as an attempt to deradicalize the Afghan jihadist movement of the Taliban movement and possibly the Da’esh organization “ISIS”, through (reviving the Afghan Liberation Party) against the ideology of Da’esh organization “ISIS” and Taliban leaders, and searching for the Afghan old leaders of the (Afghani Communist Party) related to China and the old legacy and inheritage of the Soviet “USSR”.
Hence, the Egyptian researcher analyzed that the success of Russia, China and Iran in (establishing and reviving communist ideology and Shiite doctrine) is the (only guarantee) for them at the present time, to confront the influence of Da’esh organization “ISIS” on the one hand, and perhaps to confront the “Taliban insurgency” in the future on the other hand, as the ideological and doctrinal gate is a real guarantee to support – although it requires a relatively long effort to support and study – the feet of the Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians inside Afghanistan.
Here, we find that the expected American withdrawal from Afghanistan after its failure may have come as a result of very many factors that Washington could not predict or study well, which was met with a kind of (ideological and sectarian propaganda) in the three countries “China, Russia, and Iran”, with the celebration of all means of communication. The official Chinese media, its think tanks and research centers talked about the American failure in Afghanistan in terms of the (failure of the Western liberal-democratic American model and values in the face of Chinese anti-communist propaganda by their victory over the misleading American values of human rights and the dissemination of American liberal democracy), and others.
Perhaps this was confirmed by the Egyptian researcher during an international meeting as a press interview with me, published in the Iranian famous newspaper of (Tehran Times), on August 27, and then the dialogue of the Russian diplomat “Dmitry Polansky”, who is the current (first permanent deputy of the Russian mission to the United Nations), on August 29, In the same Iranian newspaper.
Noting that the Iranian journalist (Mohammed Mazhari), who hosted me and the Russian diplomat at the United Nations “UN” for the interview, is one of the most famous Iranian journalists.
With my strong belief that Iran has carefully selected and nominated the personalities with whom it conducted the interview, regarding the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, as evidenced by my interview with the (Russian delegate at the current permanent mission to the United Nations), given my closeness to the Chinese side and all of its files in the Middle East, and my extensive study of all files of interest to the Chinese in the region with its (Russia and Iran allies) from an academic research point of view, as well as for my internationally well-known academic relations with all sides, and my internationally participation on an almost daily basis with American and Western research groups, mainly for discussion and analyzing of all developments related to China, Asia and the world, with my attempts to focus analytically on the effects of any international events on the Middle East and the Arab world, given my affiliation with that region. With the keenness of all concerned international academic parties to provide me on a daily basis with all international publications, writings and analyzes related to China’s relations with the United States of America, and my keenness as an international well-known known Egyptian researcher and academician to academically and analytically understand and express for the views of all parties, with my full acknowledgment, that we are still missing in our Arab world to a clear academic and research role, and the presence of international think tanks in our Arab region is capable of providing our Arab street with various ideas, analyzes and opinion polls that are always neutral and new, about (Chinese, Russian, Iranian, Turkish, Israeli, Asian parties) and others, to see all the analyzes of each of them according to his point of view by focusing on my research areas in Chinese political affairs, balancing with my current attempt to analyze and present these issues to the Egyptian public opinion and the Arab peoples, and analytically add to it to serve our orientations and thought in our relations with the great and regional powers in the region.
The Egyptian researcher is still believing that – and I think that everyone agrees with me and shares this opinion completely with me – that the post-pandemic (Covid-19) world is in dire need of peaceful initiatives in all aspects, away from the ideas of hegemony, control, dependence and unilateralism, and even away from the logic of alliances and dividing the world on “fighting fronts”, as the Americans did, by dividing the peoples of the world even at the technological level, with the American logic of that (peoples who follow authoritarian digital technology are non-democratic following China, and others adopt liberal democratic digital technology according to the American Western approach), which is inconceivable from my point of view, compared to the supposed role to be entrusted with the great and major powers around the world to serve the developing and poor peoples around the world. And this is the problem that the researcher is trying to study and analysis it academically by deeply research and transfer it to the region, given that everything that happens between the major and regional powers in the world, inevitably affects our Arab region and our peoples, whereas benefits of the region and its future directions, because, as I have mentioned, and I am still rejecting the principle of (dividing the world into alliances and advocating the principles of multilateral cooperation, multilateralism and cooperation among all for a better future for humanity and for all humanity), as a Chinese principle expressed and stressed out by the Comrade “Xi Jinping”, who has always advocated in all his current political speeches.
Accordingly, the Egyptian researcher will seek to try to trace the effects of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan on the (future and evaluation of the possibility of spreading the communist and leftist ideology of the Chinese Communist Party and spreading the Shiite doctrine on the Iranian model) to de-radicalize the Taliban and ISIS in general, according to the Egyptian researcher’s analytical point of view, and she will also present it Below, through her analysis, that the (gateway to the Russian-Chinese and Iranian interests in Afghanistan, whether economic or political, begins with spreading the communist ideology and re-establishing it inside Afghanistan, then spreading the Iranian Shiite doctrine through the minority Hazara and Tajik Shiites inside Afghanistan to defuse the extremism of the Taliban movement and the terrorist leaders of ISIS) to protect the interests of the three concerned mainly countries, are: “China, Russia, and Iran”, through the (ideological and sectarian door).
Here, the Egyptian researcher will develop a major analysis consisting of (several basic points to explain the interests of China and its allies in Afghanistan), and then my comprehensive analysis of how to preserve those interests through the dissemination of “communist ideology and Shiite sectarianism” to ensure their survival in Afghanistan and the exercise of a great regional role and influence.
What is noticeable here is that China is seeking to achieve several strategies in Afghanistan, the most important of which are: (fighting terrorism and expanding investments), as Beijing wants to achieve several major main goals in cooperation with its allies (Russia and Iran), and by subsequent planning that achieving those interests is done (ideologically and doctrinally). The Egyptian researcher will also analyze this, as follows:
1) China, with the help and support of Russia and Iran, wants it to prevent any contact between the “Taliban movement” and the Islamic militants of the China’s Uyghur minority who seek independence from China), who belong to the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement”, and who are accused of belonging to the Taliban activists in Afghanistan.
2) China seeks to expand its relations with the Taliban movement, and to integrate it into its global project of the Belt and Road, mainly through the Pakistani and Iranian gates.
3) Beijing views Afghanistan as the (main link between the Central Asian republics close to Russia, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) “CPEC”, as Afghanistan is a short-cut way to link (Central Asia and South Asia, and then between China and the Middle East), and Afghanistan is a gateway to the Arabian Sea.
4) China is trying to make a strategic partnership with both Pakistan and Afghanistan to form what is known as the “Pamir Mountain Range”, which aims to establish a (new Silk Road linking the Caucasus with western China).
5) China considers (Pamir Mountains) as a strategic trade route linking the (city of Kashgar in the Xinjiang region of China to the city of Kokand in Uzbekistan on the Northern Silk Road).
6) Beijing continues its security relations with the help of Pakistan and Russia, and Iranian monitoring of the situation with the leaders of the (Taliban movement) to control the movements of Uyghur extremists belonging to the (East Turkistan Movement) and their extensions inside Afghanistan and the Middle East.
7) Beijing seeks to deepen security relations with Taliban leaders to preserve their interests. For example, Beijing invited representatives of the Taliban to visit it twice, during June and September 2019, to hold talks with Chinese officials, with the Egyptian researcher noting that this visit came during the American presence and the presence of the “NATO forces” inside Afghanistan.
8) Also, as it was rumored, China has a military base in Afghanistan, located in the (Wakhan Corridor mountain range) in Afghanistan, in order to protect China geographically and geopolitically from the movement of extremist elements from the Taliban and Turkistan Uyghurs to and from Afghanistan and the “Xinjiang” region in China, where it participates China crossed its border with Afghanistan through (Wakhan Corridor).
9) China is also trying to support its influence in Afghanistan to monitor all those (regional powers surrounding Afghanistan), which have close relations or competition with China.
10) China seeks, through its proximity to Afghanistan and Taliban leaders, to (protect its investments with Pakistan), in particular the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) “CPEC”, and the Pakistani port of Gwadar), as well as its proximity to its strategic ally of (Iran).
11) China’s presence in Afghanistan can be close to the (State of Tajikistan), and its investments, especially after “Tajikistan” has been joined the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
12) China oscillates between opening up to the Taliban movement or supporting the anti-alliance against it, as China feared the (Taliban) after seizing power in the capital Kabul in 1996, and China also supported its ally Iran after the (Taliban movement) killed eight Iranian diplomats in the (city of Mazar-i-Sharif) of Afghanistan in 1998.
13) China sought to support Tehran in proximity to the (anti-Taliban Northern Alliance) prior to the 2001, whereas the USA led an invasion against Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.
14) There are Iranian attempts to convince its ally, China, that Iran’s Shiite minority in Afghanistan is the key and China’s eye of the Taliban leaders, through the (Hazara and Tajik Shiite minority) in Afghanistan.
15) China fears the rise of Da’esh organization “ISIS”, and the joining of more than five thousand Uyghur fighters to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq “ISIS”, and fears that they will target China’s interests, so China developed a (security rapprochement strategy) from the Taliban movement to serve its interests in striking the “ISIS” and its extremist elements who joined these terrorist and extremist groups.
16) China, with the help and support of its ally Iran, is seeking to “secure their extended borders with Afghanistan and establish a buffer zone”, extending from the (province of Helmand in southern Afghanistan to the province of Kunduz in the north of the country), especially with the Taliban’s control of large parts of the provinces of (Helmand and Kunduz).
17) Also, China tends to believe that the (threat of the Taliban movement is less than the threat posed by “ISIS”), which is also present in Afghanistan.
18) The most dangerous thing for China after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan remains that it has a role in the (future of Afghanistan), through openness to all its components and forces, including, the “Taliban movement”, given the movement’s continued strength and effectiveness in the (internal Afghan balances), especially that shift of the major factor after the (Taliban’s control of more than 90% of the Afghan territorial lands after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan).
19) The most dangerous thing for the Egyptian researcher remains, with the existence of some security links for several years between the (Taliban leaders and the governments of China and Iran), as a part of (security relations and regional understandings), and to complement this important point, this explains the reasons for the (Taliban’s condemnation of the killing of the Iranian general “Qassem Soleimani”, as the commander of the Quds Force in Iraq), who was previously accused by the US administration of supporting the Taliban movement financially and logistically.
20) China’s motives in Afghanistan range from (fighting terrorism and containing the Taliban with the help and support of its ally the Russian bear), and this appeared after the invasion led by the United States of America, with praise from Russia and China, and the assertion of the Russian President (Vladimir Putin) that:
“Washington bore the burden of fighting terrorism at Afghanistan, and now we should make a campaign to purge Afghanistan from the quagmire of terrorism to the end”
21) And the most dangerous thing that drew the attention of the Egyptian researcher, is that despite the (Chinese-Russian agreement) on the threat of the “Taliban movement”, as a serious terrorist threat, Russia, with Chinese support, was playing a major role in (fighting the Taliban) as a corridor to supply American forces in its war Against the Taliban in Afghanistan from 2009-2015, with assurances of Russia’s contribution and support to Washington with several (military helicopters) in this effort against the terrorist leaders of the Taliban, with Chinese support for the Russian side in this context.
22) But the major transformation in the (relationship between Russia, China and the Taliban movement) has turned into something like a (security alliance) between the aforementioned parties, due to the emergence of the threat of (ISIS).
23) We find here joint Russian-Chinese fears of the threat of ISIS spreading to the (Chinese Muslim region of Xinjiang, and the Central Asian republics close to Russia’s borders and were part of the historical legacy of the Soviet Union), so both Russia and China will be the (supporters to the Taliban movement in the face of Da’esh organization “ISIS”).
24) Also, the (tense relations of China and Russia with the United States of America and the West), especially because of issues of trade competition or because of the increase in their military sales as Chinese and Russian-made weapons to anti-Western regimes and Washington, or because of those economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the West on Moscow after its decision The 2014 annexation of Crimea, and China’s support for Russia in this direction, all led to an increase in the rapprochement between Russia, China and the leaders of the Taliban movement.
25) The Egyptian researcher believes that (Russia and China) are now playing within the (theory of exchanging roles with the United States after its withdrawal in Afghanistan).
26) We also find the (Chinese-Russian alliance to find security solutions for Taliban leaders), through China’s agreement to host Moscow (two international conferences) that include leaders from the Taliban movement to discuss and explain the (current Afghan peace process), and Taliban leaders were invited, as well as parties from the Afghan jointly supervised by Sino-Russian.
27) Perhaps the very dangerous thing, on which the Egyptian researcher stopped a lot, is the accusations made by the American media, specifically, on July 2020 against the (Russian Military Intelligence Unit, with the Chinese support for it), by offering secret rewards to Taliban leaders, to encourage (armed extremists). Taliban to kill US and “NATO forces” stationed in Afghanistan.
28) We find here, despite the Russian and Chinese denials of the authenticity of these reports, but this has contributed to shedding light on mysterious Chinese-Russian dealings in Afghanistan, according to the American description of them.
29) We find that China and Russia have major interests after the withdrawal of the United States of America from Afghanistan in order to achieve the (strategy of containing the Taliban movement), especially because the (Taliban movement) is located, intertwined and intersected on the thorny, which is intertwined and linked with the important borders of both China and Russia, which are considered as their sphere of influence in a chain of mountain corridor and the Khan for China or in the Central Asian republics for Russia), and the use of the Taliban movement in the face of the Americans to prove and confirm their influence as the superpowers in the world.
30) The most dangerous relationship, which the Egyptian researcher has analytically observed, remains with China’s attempt to (ideologically) infiltrate the Afghan lands by promoting the failure of the (liberal model and Western American democratic rule, and seeking to revive and activate the Afghan leftist and communist ideological propaganda at home with the help of revolutionary movements that are ideologically close to China), especially the (Afghan Liberation Party and the old Afghan Communist Party leaders), who are closely related to the Chinese old leaders as well.
31) The Egyptian researcher paused a lot, as a new advanced analytical aspect of it, and as a future outlook on the relationship between the speech of Chinese President (Xi Jinping) at the (Central Conference on National Affairs in Beijing) on Saturday, August 28, 2021, and Beijing’s ideological attempt for communist, intellectual and revolutionary rapprochement with Leaders of (Afghan Liberation Party) opposed to the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan’s rule, despite the agreement of their agendas on the need to confront Washington and “NATO leaders” in Afghanistan.
32) Where the speech of Chinese President (Xi Jinping), who is also serving as a (General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China) at the (Central Conference on National Affairs), on Saturday, August 28, 2021, whose sessions are held for two days in the capital (Beijing) to discuss Chinese Minority Affairs, by calling for:
“Strengthening and Improving the Work of the Communist Party of China in National Affairs”
– As President Xi’s statement has focused on:
“The urgent need to consolidate a sense of belonging to the Chinese nation and adopt approaches with Chinese characteristics in dealing with national issues, promote high-quality development of the work of the Communist Party on national affairs in the coming years, and accelerate modernization in ethnic minority areas, concurrent with the need to improve the rule of law in the “Ethnic Minority Affairs” to prevent potential dangers and threats facing these groups, stress the importance of ethnic unity as the basis for China’s unified development, and call upon all the people of the entire Chinese nation to work together towards the goal of building a modern socialist country”
33) Here, the Egyptian researcher will make a greater leap to link between the speech of the Chinese President, Comrade “Xi Jinping”, and the communist ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, and what the Egyptian researcher analyzed and highlighted as the most important words of Comrade “Xi Jinping” in the (Central Conference for National Affairs) on Saturday, August 28, 2021 in the capital of Beijing, and achieving:
“Chinese ideological rapprochement with the old senior and central leaderships of the Communist Party of Afghanistan” (Maoist), which mainly called (People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan), then, the establishment of the “Afghan National Army”
34) With the Egyptian researcher’s attempt to trace the roots of the founding of the (Afghan People’s Democratic Party) and its relationship with China and Russia as well through (the ideological, not the economic, gateway), it became clear that there are old ideological communist links between the Afghan communists and the ancient Chinese communists.
35) Rather, the Egyptian researcher analyzed another matter, related to the same (the Russian left and communist ideological game of rapprochement with the old communists of Afghanistan and the revival of their old ties with the Soviet legacy), through the (Afghan Communist Party), which was initially established in 1965 in Afghanistan, with a great support from the Soviet Union, neighboring Afghanistan at the time.
36) The ties on which Russia is based ideologically with the help of China to revive the old communist and leftist revolutionary ideological hopes in Afghanistan remains the help of the Afghan Communist Party, led by the communist (Mohammed Daoud Khan) with Soviet help for him at the time, in the coup against his cousin (Muhammad Zahir Shah), who founded the (Republic of Afghanistan), however, shortly after the communist coup in Afghanistan, (Daoud Khan) became against the Afghan Communist Party itself, therefore, the Afghan government pursued the Afghan communists at that time, and worked to cut their relations with the Soviet Union in 1987.
36) Perhaps the Egyptian researcher has analyzed something dangerous that no international study has addressed, related to the (Sino-Russian communist ideological future in Afghanistan to revitalize their future roles as a matter of reviving the old nationalist and revolutionary communist projects), through the revival of the (Afghan Communist Party). Reviving and establishing the (Afghan National Army) and increasing and supporting their influence in Afghanistan militarily and economically, but through (the communist ideological portal), and with the return of the Egyptian researcher to the history of communism and leftism in Afghanistan, she found that the Afghan National Army fought against the former Afghan government and was able to depose the president (Mohammed Daoud Khan) from the presidency, and founding the (Democratic Republic of Afghanistan).
37) The Russian and Chinese leaders have also taken an increasing interest in (Afghan Liberation Party), which is largely present in Afghanistan, has leftist revolutionary ideas, and a political agenda that converges with the Taliban movement, such as: the expulsion of the Americans and “NATO forces” from Afghan lands, but (Hizb ut Tahrir Al-Afghani) has an anti-Taliban ideology, in its extremism and its extremist approach.
38) Hence, the Chinese and Russian leaders began to pay more attention to (Afghan Liberation Party), starting in 2015, especially its secret network of relations with (the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, Iran and the Shiite minority of Hazara and Tajik in Afghanistan, close to Tehran), as a guarantee for them to be inside Afghanistan, after the success of (Afghan Liberation Party) to infiltrate many (Afghan youth organizations), and that it operates as a (civil wing of many Shiite groups), including the (Lebanese armed group Hezbollah).
39) What the Egyptian researcher stopped at a lot and as a (future insight) to her, is her search for the hidden and underlying reasons behind the silence and negativity of the Afghan government during and throughout the presence of the American forces and “NATO” inside Afghanistan, and the silence of the legitimate government of Afghanistan, which basically enjoys the confidence of the Americans and the international community regarding the activity of (Afghan Liberation Party), which adopted a largely negative approach in dealing with (Afghan Liberation Party), which sparked widespread criticism in some Afghan political circles during the period of the Americans and “NATO” control over the Afghan lands themselves.
40) Hence, the Egyptian researcher found that the (lack of the seriousness of Afghan officials’ dealing with the Afghan Liberation Party, and their failure to take it seriously), confirms her theory of the (Sino-Russian rapprochement with the (Afghan Liberation Party), perhaps with the help of the same legitimate Afghan government supported by the US and internationally) and their support for it. This led to the growing influence enjoyed by the Afghan Liberation Party in (rural and urban areas) inhabited by a majority of Sunnis, despite the presence of large Shiite elements linked to “Tehran and the Lebanese Shiite group of Hezbollah”.
41) It became clear here to the Egyptian researcher, that (Afghan Liberation Party) inevitably and certainly constitutes a great threat to any upcoming Afghan regime and affects even the influence of the “Taliban movement”, which controls large parts of the country, due to the party’s acquisition mainly of the attention of foreign actors in the Afghan state, and it was headed by China and Russia, without anyone paying attention to that with highlighting, studying, researching and analyzing.
42) When the Egyptian researcher studied the origins of the “Afghan Liberation Party”, it became clear to her that it is an (unofficial party), since it began to work (unofficially) in opposition to the US-backed Afghan government since 2003. And he set his ultimate goal in “overthrowing the Afghan government, which is backed mainly by the United States”.
43) In order to achieve the Chinese, Russian and also Iranian ideology in the face of Washington, the Egyptian researcher analyzed the modus operandi of the “Afghan Liberation Party”, which consists of several (various stages), which are as follows:
– First: The Afghan Liberation Party is trying to mobilize the population to cooperate with it, by spreading anti-state propaganda, and working to achieve this by publishing books, magazines, periodicals and brochures on its official website.
– Second: The party is trying to penetrate society through mosques, universities, and religious schools in Afghanistan.
– Third: Hizb ut-Tahrir’s goal is to overthrow the Afghan government backed by the United States (mainly peacefully) during the political process. Although he relied on peaceful efforts at the beginning, but he believes that if all these peaceful steps fail, he intends to use force or violent jihad to overthrow the former legitimate Afghan government led by (Hamid Karzai and then Ashraf Ghani).
– Fourth: Hizb ut-Tahrir believes that (ISIS) has distorted the Afghan people’s perceptions of what the (Islamic State) should look like, in agreement with (Russian, Chinese and Iranian orientations), due to (ISIS) intense focus on violence and brute force.
Here, we can find that (Da’esh Organization) or “ISIS” – according to the Afghan Liberation Party – is heavily influenced by outsiders, because it has no ideological basis to rely on.
Through this comprehensive analysis of the Egyptian researcher, it becomes clear the presence, linkage and intersection of (communist and leftist ideology in the relationship of China and Russia with Afghanistan and the leaders of the Taliban movement inside the Afghan interior landscape itself).
The Egyptian researcher also analyzed the pattern and intensity of Russian and Chinese dependence on the (Hazara and Tajik Shiite minority in Afghanistan, supported mainly by Tehran), in the face of the Taliban movement, both before and after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as the existence of a kind of (secret coordination of the leaders of the Afghan Liberation Party of the Shiite sect with Iran and the Shiite Hazara minority supported by Tehran in the Afghan interior, while seeking to penetrate areas of work and the presence of the Sunni majority in Afghanistan).
The Egyptian researcher’s analyzes remain of the text and content of the last speech of Chinese President “Xi Jinping” at the “Chinese National Minorities Conference in Beijing” at the end of August 2021, with an analysis of the connotations of his words and the depth of meanings said by Comrade “Xi Jinping’s speech”, by emphasizing the need to revive Chinese national projects, the great Chinese nation, and the Chinese dream to exist around the world and protect its influence and borders through the gateway of ethnic and national minorities in the Chinese state, which prompted the Egyptian researcher, in a previous and comprehensive manner, to analyze the (ideological relations between the Afghan communists, especially the old ones, with the old leaders of the Chinese Communist party as well as the Russian side, given their intertwined relations with the old legacy of the Soviets and their support for the Afghan Communists).
The new and final analysis of the Egyptian researcher remains emphasizing the agenda of both the (Afghan Liberation Party and the old Afghan National Democratic People’s Communist Party), by reviving the work of the (Afghan National Army), which may coincide with the future Chinese, Russian and Iranian efforts to have a permanent and continuous presence inside Afghanistan.
Therefore, the final outcome of the future game for the Egyptian researcher remains the (ideological game), in view of the agenda of China, Russia and Iran to spread (communist leftist, nationalist ideological agenda and then Shiite sectarian), as an attempt to (de-radicalize Afghani jihadist movement of the Taliban) and perhaps the Da’esh organization (ISIS), through the (revival of the Afghan Liberation Party against the ideology of ISIS and the Taliban and the Afghan Communist Party).
From here, the Egyptian researcher found that the success of Russia, China and Iran in (establishing and reviving communist ideology and Shiite doctrine) is the only guarantee for them to confront the influence of ISIS and possibly the Taliban rebellion in the future, and a real guarantee to entrench the Russian, Chinese and Iranian feet inside the Afghan interior landscape.
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