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Intelligence cooperation in the modern world: Challenges and problems

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In their effort to ensure their national interests, countries have traditionally used “intelligence diplomacy” with the foreign intelligence services of different countries officially working together on a bilateral or multilateral basis.

The world has accumulated considerable experience in pulling together the intelligence efforts of countries, not necessary allied ones, on various tracks of their shared interest. The results of this mutually-beneficial interaction convincingly testifies to the fact that such a partnership makes it possible to solve many tasks of an intelligence nature as well as those going far beyond the realm of “classical” activities by special services.

The experience of Russian foreign intelligence, which is now celebrating its 100th anniversary, is as interesting as it is instructive. Created on December 20, 1920, the Foreign Department of the Cheka, the first independent organizational structure from which all of this country’s foreign intelligence services come from, quickly established official contacts with a number of foreign intelligence services…

Back then, it was the foreign intelligence agencies that proposed signing “fair partnership” agreements with their Soviet colleagues, which is the best evidence of their acknowledgement of Russian intelligence as a strong, “useful” and reliable partner.

The US proposal made to the Soviet Union to join the two countries’ intelligence efforts during WW2 was another proof of the high status of the Soviet intelligence, and Washington’s realization of the importance of joining efforts against a common enemy. In less than a year and a half (1944 – the first half of 1945), the Soviet Union and the United States exchanged a slew of secret information of a proactive nature, which saved hundreds of thousands of human lives.

This wartime interaction was all the more significant because despite the political differences between the two countries, their intelligence services managed to work hand in hand in the face of mortal danger, implementing common plans, constructively and in good faith. The assessment of that cooperation by the head of the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS – American intelligence) William Donovan is very indicative here, although it sounds a bit unusual today, given the present state of Russian-American relations.

In his letter to the head of the 1st Directorate of the NKGB of the USSR (the official name of Soviet intelligence during the war), Pavel Fitin, Donovan wrote that the successful intelligence cooperation between the two countries proved the allies’ ability to work together, at least when it came to intelligence.

Although the above facts are now history, mentioning them in the context of the current problems of intelligence cooperation is both appropriate and important. It is always useful to remember the lessons of the past, and it is imperative for us to take them into account now that destructive tendencies are intensifying in the world and global instability is growing.

The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) regards the existing and potential threats to peace as a strategic challenge for the intelligence services. Russian intelligence is ready to adequately respond to this challenge with all the analytical and operational potential at its disposal, as well as the appropriate “infrastructure” for maintaining contacts with foreign partners.

These days, the SVR maintains various degrees of interaction with virtually all leading intelligence and counterintelligence services of the CIS countries, as well as those in the West, in Central and Eastern Europe, in the Asia-Pacific region and the Far East, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The forms and methods of interaction with each partner vary depending on the foreign policy priorities of the Russian Federation, the international situation and the current state of relations with this or that country.

It must be admitted that the current tensions in relations between Russia and the West is reflecting negatively on the Service’s ties with foreign intelligence agencies, above all American, Western European and some others. We are well aware of the strong US and British pressure on some countries regarding their cooperation with the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia. Despite this “ungentlemanly” behavior, in recent years we have achieved unprecedented progress in relations with most foreign intelligence services, including some in the West.

Increasingly annoyed by their Anglo-Saxon allies’ nagging attention, many of our partners now try to be more objective, realizing that today the SVR is more than just a leading participant in the process of interaction between intelligence services of different countries, but largely determines its directions, content and forms. Notably, the basic principles of partnership proposed by the SVR in the early 1990s, such as equality, mutual benefit, non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs, and confidentiality, have proved universal and are being actively used today.

The international intelligence community is fully aware of the planetary nature of the threat of international terrorism and its enormous destructive potential. Terrorism has entangled in its net virtually every region of the world, with its elements able to quickly change their tactics, adapting to the environment, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This is why we still consider terrorism as one of the main threats to civilization, and, therefore, we see interaction in the war on terror is an overarching priority for national intelligence services today.

In this context, it is worth recalling the fact that after the large-scale terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001, cooperation between intelligence services of different countries literally went through the roof. The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service was, on the whole, well prepared for such a development and, using the experience it had already obtained in conducting counterterrorism operations, it was able to contribute heavily to the cooperation of intelligence services of different countries.

The SVR has been working very closely and productively with the intelligence agencies of the CIS and SCO countries, and our joint intelligence activities are always high on the agenda of the annual meetings by the heads of the security agencies and intelligence services of the CIS member states. And with very good reason too, because in the wake of the military defeats suffered by ISIS and other terrorist groups in the Middle East, jihadist groups started fanning out throughout the planet, thus putting the CIS countries in a high-risk zone. Therefore, ensuring their security is perceived by us as a top-priority issue.

The permanent format of cooperation between the intelligence services of Russia, China and India, including regular trilateral meetings by their intelligence chiefs is particularly valuable for strengthening regional security and countering terrorist threats.

The efficiency of the interaction between Russian intelligence and its foreign partners against international terrorism was particularly evident during the events in Syria. The SVR regularly receives a wealth of important information from its partners, which contributes to the successful operation of Russia’s Aerospace Forces in that Arab country. Much of this information comes almost in real time during our joint activities with our partners.

The SVR maintains equally effective anti-terrorist cooperation in other Middle Eastern countries, and also in Southeast Asia.

In spite of our differences on the main international problems, the SVR has still been able to maintain cooperation with the intelligence agencies of the United States and European countries.

Unfortunately, the effectiveness of this interaction is being undermined by the unconstructive and sometimes even adventurous position of our Western, primarily American, partners. While paying lip service to the cross-border nature of the terrorist threat and the importance of joining forces in the fight against it, they often provide the radical groups with money, weapons and political cover, using “moderate” jihadist terrorists in operations to unseat regimes which are not to Washington’s liking.

The SVR believes that the continuing spread of well-trained and war-hardened militants to various parts of the world, the “awakening” of “sleeper” cells that has noticeably accelerated recently in a number of countries, their wider use of hard-to-detect methods of terrorist activity, as well as their increased activity on the Internet means that international terrorism remains a long-term threat and, therefore, necessitates increased cooperation against this evil.

Time itself calls not only for new forms and methods of cooperation, but also for an end to efforts to politicize the problem and use double standards in working out ways of its solution. We hope that our partners who still stick to old dogmas will be wise enough to start interacting honestly and constructively.

The list of the most dangerous challenges also includes illegal migration, arms and drug smuggling, which are all the more important due to their clear link to terrorism.

The uncontrolled influx refugees and huge amounts of “drug money” had until very recently allowed the ISIS jihadists to talk about creating a “World Caliphate.” These problems have a cross-border nature and require consolidated efforts by the intelligence services of various countries.

In recent years, the issue of cybersecurity has emerged as a new problem, with illegal online activity now seen as one of the five most serious global risks, according to the World Economic Forum. The intelligence services’ increased attention to this problem is particularly due to the fact that information and communications technologies are often used to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. The coronavirus pandemic has added a new dimension to this problem, stimulating the growth of terrorist activity on the Internet.

Discussion of this problem with our partners shows that practical interaction here is constrained by the lack of pertinent legislating at both national and international levels. Russia’s efforts to speed up the adoption of legal provisions that would help avoid conflicts in the information space are being blocked by countries seeking to use their technological edge to ensure their dominance in this area and enforce their own “rules.”

The SVR of Russia, like many other intelligence services, is firmly convinced that the only way to radically improve the current state of world affairs is to find a political solution to the crises in various parts of the globe, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa. We all know that flare points, no matter where they are, invariably become a source of challenges and threats.

Back in the early 1990s, when the SVR was outlining its vision of interaction between intelligence services of different countries, the problem of joint crisis management was identified as a key one. Since then, the Service has been making every effort to find solutions to the most complex and long-standing conflicts together with its partners.

Involvement in this process of professionals from the intelligence services, most of whom are sober-minded pragmatists with a deep knowledge of all the ins and outs of the problem at hand, has repeatedly ensured success. In this context, we have every reason to say that interaction by intelligence services in this day and age is becoming an increasingly important element of interstate relations. Suffice it to mention the fact that some formats of interaction to resolve conflicts, developed with the most active participation of the SVR, have been around for many years and proved to be highly efficient.

The activities of Russian intelligence on the partner channel for the release of our compatriots and citizens of other countries who have become hostages or taken prisoner deserve a special mention. The ugly phenomena of sea piracy and human trafficking that still exist in the 21st century underscore the need to increase joint intelligence efforts also in this area.

The time we live in is known as the era of global changes. And with good reason too, because the modern world order is going through a serious crisis. The old centers of power are fading away, making way for new centers of power and bringing about previously unknown challenges and threats that put the whole mankind at risk. This presents a truly strategic challenge to all intelligence services called upon to ensure the security of their countries.

Despite the efforts by the United States and its closest allies to preserve the monocentric world order, more and more people in the intelligence community now realize the need for multi-polarity. This process is long, complex and often contradictory. Firmly convinced that there is no alternative to this, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service is ready to help make our world a safer and fairer place to live in.

From our partner International Affairs

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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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The impact of the Covid-19 on State, Stability, and Globalization

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Many questions have been exposed in the evolution of Covid -19 in the World. This point is very important to see him and explain it because is the same with Peace and war. But his construction isn’t adoptable with the level of all societies.

Seriously, this change is the biological necessity with analytical of science, industrialization and medical, etc. the men are visual by Covid-19 in anything society who the state hasn’t some capacities for all patients in hospitalizes in the world. The war of masks has paralyzed many countries. This battle cemented the level of capacities of states about public health. 

  A lot of studies explain the return of the Nation-State when they compared it with globalization because it can control sovereignty, borders, war, and Peace, etc. The second, she diffused the Markets, bourses, and information, etc. This big mutation is very important to compare it under Covid-19 but this challenge is funded by this pandemic in China. This country will be emplaced the USA country in the future. 

  Many discussions and conflicts after Covid-19 had been remarked with these countries during the commercial war but the Coronavirus has had his direction to the Third War. Why the nature of This impact for this mutation? It seriously questions when the Coronavirus posed these challengers on all states but they haven’t a solution against this new epidemic ravaged millions of persons.    

International security is menaced when the nation-state hasn’t a solution for public health. This point is the same when the big states like the USA or China disputed this situation with them but without international law protected like conflicts who the power definition hasn’t another conception laid the Coronavuris and here impact under stability and security.

  Simultaneously, I consider the epidemic of Coronavirus like a new serious factor about International Relations if we integers it among challengers biological and environment to explain the level of states and their difficulties face the Globalization.

  The International System is in crisis when the dominant American doesn’t relation with many states like China or Russia during Coronavirus, but the cooperation international isn’t the same conception about International Cooperation because the world lives in this moment with the Risks of a pandemic. Negatively, this way is the same vision as in war why the cooperation among states doesn’t participate in the Globalization.

 Thus the limit of strategic vision during globalization encouraged the return of the nation-state because the Covid-19 is an exam of all states to take their responsibility forthe destiny of their societies. Nobody thinks this pandemic choc and his consequently on many sectors and activities.

  During Covid-19, the International Anarchic is concerted after but without stability in the International Relations.Does this stability do her as a concept or practice? The complexity in International Relations is necessary or evolution who the Covid-19 accelerate these processes but he has anything possibility of changing other themes like State, Security, Communication, Integration, Development, and Democracy, etc.

New Realism doesn’t take this point in changing of International Relations because the political level of states is influenced by Economic Crisis. This one is developing the Commercial War between Beijing and Washington. 

The Union European has been fragile during the Covid-19 especially since Italy and Serbia face the bavettes. This dangerous situation of Coronavirus explains the fragility of Union Europe. Globalization had been created by the European Union but this one hasn’t the power to save its identity and money existences during this crisis epidemic.

 In Balkan, The European Union doesn’t take a strategic position about the Civil War between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This left about 300 people dead on September 27, 2020.Atthis moment, the Peace isn’t funded in the surrounding territories face the central regions, especially during the Covid-19 and American election.

 This upheaval epidemic in the XXI Century doesn’t usually challenge if the public health is a dangerous situation in the big states who the politics modern have many experiences of developing hospitably, Research and Industrialization, etc. In Italy, for example, the person’s burn a flag of Union European and emplace it by the China Republic. We are from this ambiguous and weakened passage.

  This conceptualizing of statism in Europe and America during the Covid-19 can be developed the notion of public politics of governments in the World. This one is very important for Nation-state to develop it by theory politics. Because is characterized by the new power of states and not by Globalization.

International Relations are developing by this level of states when we take the Foreign policy of state who reflecting his image clearly or not participating in an international environment. 

The nature of Covid-19 isn’t compactable with institutes against it because the fundaments of there are basing on the War in the International Relations and Anarchy in the International System.

  Consequently, the Nation-State hasn’t many solutions to opposite it because this one is very fundamentally influenced by Globalization for three or fortune decades. But the question who can pose it is: Where is the World moving in the light of what it has passed and what is coming from it? The term Security is very important but it’s not globally when we take it in the other angles of Development, Dialogue, and Research, etc.

 The Nation-State is needed very well of Security or Dialogue with all factors in every society. The Security is consequently of the level of development and changing it when isn’t demined by State and society. The World is changing by his volunteer or by his Violence? 

Why the nature of this epidemic on a lot of actors of bureaucratic management on governments, but this only context is favorable to explosive at least conceptualization like nation-State, Security and Globalization and others. This situation isn’t the same in the past but is the product of their evolution. Maybe the solution isn’t definitive but approximately relative.

Finally, what’s the link between Sciences on practical policies? But all the concepts bring to this kind of crisis. The world is changing but without guarantee of all states and public politics and International relations. The shock is varied and multiple of all humanity in this history cycle during the XXI e centuries.

  This evolution isn’t positive because the states haven’t only strategic vision but the great means who the question of legitimacy posed a problem about democratic of peace. Simultaneously, this way is corrected by ideas, values, and sciences. If the states don’t occupy from representative popularity election, the result is minimally about institutes and policies.             

  This vision can’t global system that the management of administration, economic, and commercial needs many rationally position and efficacy about the treatment of society’s problems.

  In order of Covid-19, the World take another direction without seriously guarantee to participate by all states and organizations. In opposite to Covid-19, humanity observed a big difference between the past and present. This point is clarifying the nature of this crisis of Health, Communication, and Medicine.

  I wait as Researcher in International Relations, the third War Covid-19 between China and USA, but the commercial economic domineer their relations beyond this epidemic. This changing of the deal is very challenging for multiple operations but without solutions.  This mutation of deployment gravity center between states to societies is very dangerous in the World. The Died is a big challenger of humanity but the renovation doesn’t a common fundament of all structures by injection of money during the economic crisis.

   What’s the final solution? This question is very important to pose because History is removed by cycle but the volunteer and consciousness are a common culture. Nobody can answer this orientation about this occupation of humanity. In this perspective, the World is in crisis by their states? We can thinkabout it. But this crisis is multidisciplinary, horizontal, and vertical.

 International Relations have funded on war who the peace is their ideal of politics. This point is contradictory between states and societies. Their relation is based on Security, Stability, and Sovereignty. The Nation-State is seriously needed more treatment in his territory if he takes it as sovereignty like the principal of it. Globalization has been changing the direction if she opposite with Nation-State.

 This contradictory building of conceptualization posed very difficulties than practice because it’s very important for Researchers in International Relations. Many centers in the world talking about this challenge but this fragility structure is the level of this construction of institutes and their policies.

 The Covid-19 like natural danger posed a big problem on humanity who the man is veritably in front of his hearth in hospital: Philosophical point or limit of modernity? What’s the lied with themes’ if the remedy isn’t non-existent. From this question, we can attach a big good consideration for this limitation of several sectors and activities of each State face his population.   

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Technological Competition and National Security. The War Begins

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The COVID-19 epidemic has given a powerful boost to information and communication technologies. The economic blow dealt by global lockdowns has been reduced thanks to remote platforms. Already-existing ecosystems of financial transactions, electronic document management, data storage, etc. have mitigated the shock emanating from the rupture of usual communications. It would seem that the pandemic should have consolidated the world community in the development and implementation of new technologies for the common good. In fact, in 2020, the competition between the largest technology leaders has only intensified. COVID-19 is hardly a direct cause of increased competition. However, it was in 2020 that it reached a fundamentally new level.

The main opponents in the technology race today are China and the United States. The telecommunications industry is at the forefront of this competition. At the same time, it should be seen in the context of the new Cold War between Beijing and Washington. The US proceeds from the premise that China is an increasingly serious threat. During the presidency of Donald Trump, containment of the PRC became a key priority of White House foreign policy. The situation is unlikely to change seriously with the Joe Biden administration. Key provisions of the “United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China” recently published by the White House will remain relevant for the new administration.

The problems emanating from Chinese telecoms began with relatively minor episodes during the Obama presidency. On April 1, 2015, the President of the United States imposed a state of emergency over threats to national security in the digital environment, prompted by a hacker attack and theft of the data of more than 4 million US government employees. The Americans linked the actions of the hackers with the government structures of the PRC, although China wasn’t mentioned specifically in the state of emergency decree.

The next wake-up call was the investigation by the US Treasury and Department of Commerce of the Chinese company ZTE. It was suspected of supplying equipment with American components to Iran. As a result, the company agreed to pay significant fines to American regulators (a $100.8 million penalty was levied by the Treasury Department and a $1.4 billion fine was levied by the Trade Department). The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei also had Iran-related problems. On December 1, 2018, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the behest of the United States. In the US, she is accused of providing HSBC bank with misleading information in an attempt to circumvent US sanctions against Iran. Huawei viewed the arrest as a politically motivated attack on the company. Huawei is still under heavy pressure from American regulators and legislators. The U.S. Defense Budget Act of 2018 and 2019 restricted US defence and government agencies from obtaining supplies from Huawei. Similar restrictions were extended to ZTE. But that was only just the beginning.

On May 15, 2019, President Trump declared a state of emergency over threats to US national security in the telecommunications sector, and the same day Huawei was subject to US Department of Commerce sanctions. They significantly limited the opportunity of American companies to supply components to Huawei. Later, the restrictions were expanded. Since May 2020, the sanctions began to apply to Huawei semiconductors manufactured overseas using US technology or US software, and the list of Huawei subsidiaries subject to sanctions was expanded. In parallel, the Americans have worked with their allies, not without success, convincing them to stop using Huawei equipment in the most advanced areas (such as 5G technologies), citing the threat of PRC espionage. Among the results is the UK’s abandonment of the Chinese company’s equipment for 5G networks in connection with US sanctions.

In addition to Huawei and ZTE, other Chinese companies also had problems. In August, the list was expanded to include the WeChat messenger and TikTok, a video service. Donald Trump banned their use in the United States in separate executive orders, which noted that both services allow the collection of information about users, their location and online activity. This information can be used for blackmail, espionage, censorship, disinformation, etc. However, the White House did not provide examples of such actions by Chinese companies. Interestingly, a month and a half after Trump’s decision, the Alliance of WeChat Users in the United States succeeded in lifting the ban on WeChat in California’s Northern District Court, and in October 2020, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s Federal District Court suspended enforcement of the TikTok order.

In China, restrictions on telecommunications have also been in place for quite some time. However, they are of a different nature and are related to information limitations rather than technology. The country has a ‘Golden Shield’ project that restricts access to a number of foreign websites and filters out politically inappropriate information. In China, it is difficult or impossible to use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp and a number of other services. However, their Chinese counterparts are functioning quite successfully.

Obviously, the politically motivated technology war is just beginning. National security interests will increasingly influence the competition between technology platforms in a wide variety of areas. On both sides of the barricades, businesses will have to cope with growing political risks.

From our partner RIAC

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