Russian intelligence and the future of Chinese-Russian influence in Israel and the Middle East
The main headlines of the Egyptian researcher future analysis, as follows:
First: Analyzing the reasons for the Russian leaking and handing over the (documents of the Israeli Communist Party archives to the Israeli government in April 2019), analyzing its relationship with China, and explaining the interrelated relations between all
– Second: Does Russia seek to spread the (Communist ideology inside Israel with China), by the assistance of the Israeli Communist Party?
– Third: Analyzing the historical relations between the Israeli communists and the Palestinian communists, and the extent to which China and Russia may benefit from them
– Fourth: The positive principles of the Israeli Communist Party in its relationship with the Arabs and the Palestinian issue, analyzing of how they are used by the Arabs to their advantage with Russian-Chinese assistance
– Fifth: The vision of the Israeli Communist Party is compatible with the Russian and Chinese policies in Syria and the Middle East
– Sixth: The danger of the Russian handing over the documents of the Israeli Communist Party to the archive of the National Library in Israel to reveal the (names of Arab collaborators and recruiters with Israel)
– Seventh: The Russian documents leaked to the Israeli National Library, and the disclosure of (the role of a number of Israeli communists in spying for Russia)
– Eighth: The relationship between (the Sino-Russian alliance in the face of Washington) and determining the Russian timing for leaking documents in favor of Israel, in order to strengthen the influence of Russia and China in the Middle East and Israel
Despite the strangeness of this future analysis of the Egyptian researcher – as an expert in Chinese political affairs, and her doctoral thesis (PhD) was about the “Communist Party of China and its vision towards the political and economic reforms” and the other aspects – so my studies and analyzes extended to more advanced forms, by studying the relations of the Communist Party of China with communist parties around the world, especially within the region of the Middle East and Israel.
My analytical future research was also on the extent of the (future possibility of cooperation between those Arab communist parties and the Israeli Communist Party), especially at their annual meetings in China or Moscow and other international communist events, to which all communist and leftist leaders in the world are invited.
Here, the Egyptian researcher noted the extent to which the Chinese and Russian sides were keen to (invite the Arab communists and their Israeli counterparts to attend these meetings together).
This is despite the fact that the Egyptian researcher has already addressed this question – in fairness to the right and the scientific and research integrity of a number of Arab communists – regarding:
A) What is your view as Arab communists to the Israeli communist?
B) And how you cooperate as Arab communists with the communists of the Israeli Communist Party in the joint international meetings that bring together all these communists in the world, whether in China or Russia, which is keen from time to time to send international invitations to communist leaders from all countries of the world, including the communist Arabs and the Israeli communists?
The expected answer from the Arab communists was their refusal to deal with the Israeli communists for political reasons, and so on. Perhaps the result of the Egyptian researcher’s research on this particular point, which occupied her mind for a while, came through several Arab websites as well, which link a number of Arab communist parties with their Israeli counterparts.
Perhaps the whole matter does not interest many, but it was of research importance for the Egyptian researcher – by virtue of my precise specialization in Chinese and Asian political affairs – and my extensive academic study of the (Communist Party of China and its relationships with the other communist and leftist parties around the world), through the (Committee on External Communications or the Committee on Foreign Relations) of the Communist Party of China.
Some may accuse me, that the subject occupies a space in my thinking, my mind and my analysis too much to try to link (two things that are not the same), by looking only through me (the ideological link that unites the Arab and Israeli communists), without stopping at the other aspects of the political dispute, which is the strongest thing. The effect of this (the ideological consensus on the communist agenda between the Arab communists and Israel).
Up to here, it was just an analytical idea that occupied my mind for a while to study and analyze, and to write a research, concerning:
The history of Communist and leftist movements and currents in the world: focusing on the Middle East region.
But the thing that made the Egyptian researcher to take a new step and look at the whole matter from a completely different and new point of view was that (the small news that the Arab side did not pay enough attention to, neither academically nor in research, nor even singling out any aspect of the discussion for it as a matter of knowledge), which is related to (or more precisely, the significance of Russia handing over documents belonging to the Israeli Communist Party to the (Israeli Foreign Ministry), which it handed over to the archive of the National Library in Israel), in order to preserve and display them despite their historical danger to understand the many paths of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the region, and to understand meaningful historical relations She linked the Arab communists and the Palestinians with the Israelis, and at their head was the well-known Palestinian poet from the Arabs (Arabs of 1948), the poet “Mahmoud Darwish”, who actually belonged to the membership of the Israeli Communist Party, considering his belonging to the Arabs of the interior 48, and their carrying of the Israeli identity that they live within its borders in accordance with the decisions of partition, borders, etc. Although this is not the main point for me research and analysis. Because what worried me is this sudden Russian leak in April 2019 of documents, archives and the nature of the work of the Israeli communists and their relations with the Arabs, the Palestinian cause and the Russian or Soviet intelligence services in the period before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and its disintegration into several states and regions, in a way that worried me on the academic and research level, in view of the fact that my academic and research interests differ from most of my peers, given my interest in tracking and understanding the path of communist and leftist movements in the world, especially the Middle East region, its impacts, and its relations with ruling regimes, …. etc).
Hence, my new thinking and analyzes came to take a path, perhaps more serious, to search for a new analytical point. Therefore, the whole matter came new to the non-specialist reader, whether Arab or Western, and that is evident through my choice of this unfamiliar title for Arabs and perhaps for the Western mentality as well. Which took me longer to understand, and trying to analyz and convey to you, regarding:
(What is Moscow’s relationship with the Israeli Communist Party, the Palestinian cause, Arab leaders, and Palestinian and Arab agents cooperating with Israeli intelligence during the period of the Israeli military rule from 1948 to 1968?).
The known circumstances and facts indicate that Russia handed over (the archive of the Israeli Communist Party to the Israeli National Library, which is affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel) in April 2019.
And perhaps the strange facts of the Russian handover of those Israeli communist documents and placing them in (old bags similar to those old bags in which the Jews traveled in the past to the Hebrew state in Israel when it was established), and Russia handed over the archives of the Israeli Communist Party in those bags, as it was recently reported in April 2019.
The most strangest thing to me, and the biggest question mark for the Egyptian researcher, is what she searched for, to find out what those leaked Russian documents to Israel contain, which include a complete history that was not searched for in the Arab memory, and perhaps the Arab historians themselves did not address it, about:
A) The relationship between the Israeli communists and the Palestinian and Arab communists
B) The names of all Palestinian and Arab agents, traitors, and recruits who collaborated with Israeli intelligence and the internal Israeli Shin Bet during the period of the Israeli military rule of Palestine from 1948 to 1968
C) The names of all the Israeli communist agents who were recruited by the Soviets inside Israel
Although all this archive was placed in the Israeli National Library, which is affiliated with (the Hebrew University of Jerusalem), what stopped the Egyptian researcher also on this situation, is:
A) Why did (the Israeli military censor) intervene to not display the names of traitors, Palestinian agents and Arabs collaborating with Israel) from 1948 to 1968?
B) Why did the names of a number of (prominent Israeli communist figures) cooperating with the KGB leak to the Israeli public, especially with their family extension and the influence of their Israeli children at the present time?
C) Why did it seem to me analytically about the subject, as if it was (Israel’s protection of the reputation of the Palestinian and Arab agents cooperating with it, family and moral, especially with the death of many of them), with the names of (the Israeli communist collaborators with the Soviet intelligence leaked)?
D) And why did the Israeli military censorship deal (with the principle of duality by allowing the concealment of the identity, personality, and reality of a number of Palestinian and Arab personalities cooperating with them for the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948), with the leaking of the names of the communist Israelis recruited by the Soviets during that same period?
E) And the most important thing is also to understand it, is (why did the Russian intelligence wait all those long years to leak and hand those documents to the archives of the Israeli communists and the Palestinian communists) to the Israeli National Library at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem?
F) And is there (an intelligence deal that was concluded between the Israeli intelligence services “Mossad” and the Russian “KGB”) to release those Israeli communist documents in the month of April 2019?
Perhaps those previous questions were what occupied the Egyptian researcher’s mind and thinking the most, to analyze (and try to understand and interpret the views of all concerned parties, such as the Israeli communists and the Russians, and to understand the mentality of the Israeli military censorship, and to understand the most important contents of the Israeli National Library of important documents, and the most important withheld and impermissible information). By circulating and reviewing it inside that Hebrew library)? The most important question for me, as an expert in Chinese political affairs, remains mainly:
The reasons for the lack of Arab and Palestinian interest in the dimensions and circumstances of the issue of the Russian leak of the documents of the Israeli Communist Party, with the presence of other files related to Palestinian and Arab communists? We are also more entitled to see them. And there is also something left, about: Why did Russia so easily abandon this Israeli archive, with everyone simply knowing that these intelligence documents are always kept secret without any attempt to get close to them or to leak them, unless it is about (a future game that Russia plans in the future).
Regarding its relations with the Israelis in the face of the Americans and their areas of influence in view of the tense American-Russian relations) at the present time? Hence, the only logical explanation for me, which prevails over the logical and reasonable vision, is:
The Egyptian researcher analyzed and explained the matter – according to my personal analytical view – as if Russia was providing a service to Israel in the form of old documents that no longer concern Russia and Russian President “Putin” now, in order to wait for a greater service from the Israelis that would benefit Putin and the Russians in confronting the Americans in the Middle East. Especially with that Sino-Russian alliance in the face of Washington?
Perhaps the upcoming years will reveal more about this matter, which the Arab regimes and the Arab media may not have noticed with discussion, opinion and analysis, and no Arab, American, or even Western and Russian articles were written about it, additionally there are no discussion spaces were devoted to it, despite its analytical danger and lack of understanding well, that was the main point mysteries to me.
This is with the acknowledgment and acknowledgment by the Egyptian researcher (by deliberately the Russian and Israeli intelligence together by announcing explicitly in April 2019 the Russian release or delivery of those Israeli communist documents for the benefit of the archive of the Israeli National Library of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel), and even publishing the news on the matter in small spaces piece of paper in Israeli and Russian newspapers or websites specific to the 1948 Arabs in Israel, without analyzing it, explaining it, or so on, which attracted me greatly to try to analyze it and link it in the future with (the Russian influence in confronting Washington in the Middle East by using the Israelis as a pressure card against their ally Washington).
– Here, the Egyptian researcher can analyze the following main elements:
– First: Analyzing the reasons for the Russian leaking and handing over the (documents of the Israeli Communist Party archives to the Israeli government in April 2019), analyzing its relationship with China, and explaining the interrelated relations between all
It brought together strong old relationships between the Israeli Communist Party and the Russian authorities, which prompted the Israeli communists of Russian origin (Ashkenazi Jews) to leak intelligence, secret and dangerous documents to the Soviet side at the time before the fall and disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In view of the circumstances and facts of the mentioned analysis, which at the time sparked my curiosity to follow and study the subject and question specialists around the world, especially the communists among the elderly, and because I am a well-known Egyptian researcher specializing in Chinese political affairs and intensively studied of the Chinese Communist Party and its relationship with communist parties around the world – the incomprehensible news came to me what I read by chance, and perhaps not to arouse the attention and curiosity of many Arabs about the conditions, reasons and the facts of the Russian handover the (archive of the Israeli Communist Party) to the Israeli side, and my question about:
(How important is this matter for the Chinese side, given the alliance and the close Russian and Chinese relationships).
Following this, it became clear to the Egyptian researcher that a number of Israeli Communist Party leaders had secretly transferred all the documents of the Israeli Communist Party from inside Israel to Moscow in 1977, especially with the “fears of the Israeli communists of the Likud party’s victory in the Israeli elections in 1977, and the formation of the Likud leader “Menachem Begin” to the Israeli government”.
The official in the (Israeli National Library), whose name is “Yaron Seheish”, confirmed, saying:
“He received a call from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to inform him of the arrival of “materials for you from Moscow”
The employees of the (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs) assured those in charge of the (Israeli National Library) and its officials, that “Suhaish”, as the responsible for the (National Library in Israel), must bring a large car to take these materials coming to them from Russia, so “Suhish” sent a commercial vehicle led by (Matan Barzilai), as the Israeli director of the archives department in the Israeli National library.
The Israeli responsible in the Israeli library (Suhaish), added that:
“This Russian archive arrived at the Israeli National Library, which is located at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in May 2015, and was placed inside old bags, “like the ones carried by the (Jewish refugees) who arrived in the state of Israel in the fifties, and that he was terrified when saw it”
– The Egyptian researcher perhaps here tries to link between:
A) The timing of the Russian handover of those documents to the Israeli side.
B) And whether this was done, in coordination with China, and Russia’s alliance.
C) With the Egyptian researcher’s development and analysis of an ideological attempt for the Russian-Chinese intellectual rapprochement with the Israeli communists.
C) The most important thing remains the extent to which the Chinese and the Russians are able to pass their policies inside Israel itself and in the region through the Israeli communists.
The researcher analyzes this, with the possibility and facilitation of Russia and China’s rapprochement with the Israeli side through (the section on communist ideology and doctrine that differs with the extremist secular and religious currents in Israeli society).
Ultimately, it will facilitate the presentation and transmission of the Russian and Chinese vision and policies.
– Second: Does Russia seek to spread the (communist ideology inside Israel with China) by the help and assistance of the Israeli Communist Party?
The most dangerous question in this context remains, about the extent of Russia’s desire to spread communism in Israel by leaking old documents belonging to the Israeli Communist Party at the expense of American liberal values, and the extent to which Israel accepts them, and the most dangerous and even deeper analysis here:
“Is the Israeli Communist Party able to facilitate the task of Russia and China in internally infiltrating within Israeli society and spreading communist ideology at the expense of American liberalism?”
Perhaps this is the most dangerous proposition from the Egyptian researcher’s point of view, with the growing “national feelings”based on the communist (Chinese and Russian) heritage, and the revival of the world’s respect for their ancient civilization based on the (communist heritage), as well as the growing popular feeling in China and Russia, that their two countries deserve a place Better on a global level in the face of liberal American and Western values.
In addition to a common Chinese-Russian desire for the necessity of (supporting the theory of “authoritarian democracy”, according to some specific special characteristics of each country in its relationship with the society in every state around the world), and the resistance of China and Russia to the West and the Americans idea of exporting “global liberal values”, in conjunction with the growing Chinese and Russian suspicion Towards the “Arab Spring revolutions”, and their belief that they were motivated by a Western American motive to export the values of Western freedom and democracy in the face of the spread of communist ideology led by China in the world with Russian assistance.
The continuous confrontation with America and the West has led to a growing conviction in China and Russia that they need to deepen relations with each other, especially in the Middle East, and relations with Israel, an ally of Washington, for these reasons:
A) Israel is a window for both China and Russia towards Washington to ease its pressure towards them.
B) Or, on the other hand, the possibility of (the Russian-Chinese bonding with the Israelis) to embarrass Washington to break its influence in the Middle East.
There is a widespread belief about the Chinese and Russians that (the policy of limiting the rise and alliance of China and Russia through the United States of America will be through the Middle East), and its many files, such as:
The Iranian nuclear file, the Belt and Road Initiative, the Russian and then Chinese intervention in Syria, and others.
It is noted that during (the first annual meeting in the Chinese People’s Parliament) in May 2021, the Chinese Foreign Minister (Wang Yi), confirmed that:
1) Russia has supported China, and the two countries will “stand shoulder to shoulder against US attempts to hold Beijing responsible for the consequences of the coronavirus”.
2) And the (Chinese-Russian double challenge to Western and American hegemony) emerged through the “disengagement from the US dollar” plan, the implementation of which is directly supervised by the Chinese and Russian presidents.
3) Leaders in Russia and China feel that it is time to end (or at least relax) US global hegemony.
Hence, we find the attempts of Russia and China to penetrate the Middle East and create various interests.
Therefore, Russia’s move to leak the old documents to the Israeli Communist Party with the acceptance of China, as an effective weapon that can serve their interests inside Israel and in the Middle East, through a long-term plan to (restrict the American liberal influence and its values) on the states of the region, as an attempt to confront the spread of liberalism in the face of the communist ideology supported by Russia and China as an alternative to Washington’s values.
Therefore, the step (the rapprochement with the Israeli Communist Party, in particular, by handing over old documents of its own), is a carefully studied Chinese-Russian move to embarrass Washington, through the (rapprochement with the Israeli communists as a key to penetration into Israel, Washington’s ally, and then the ease of the flow of their alliance with the rest of the countries in the region). Through the communist and leftist intellectual agenda through activating the communist and leftist movements in the Middle East as a suitable alternative to confront Washington’s liberal intellectual and cultural agenda.
Perhaps this explains to the Egyptian researcher the reasons for Russia and China to host a number of international conferences of communist and leftist gatherings around the world, giving special importance to the Israeli Communist Party, opening different channels of cooperation with it and constantly inviting its members and leaders to both Beijing and Moscow.
In 2020, the commander of the US Central Command, Major General (Kenneth McKenzie), has said that:
“The Middle East has become an arena of conflict between major powers, as China seeks to use its weight to build a long-term strategic bridgehead, while Russia deploys scant but highly concentrated military capabilities to obstruct the United States in the Middle East”
Hence, the previous analysis about Russia and China’s endeavor to penetrate through a communist intellectual agenda and spread the communist ideology through the gateway of the Israeli communists in the first place, then the communists and the Arab leftists, may be a (long-term key), but it may bear fruit in the long run.
In the same context, we can find that the Russian-Chinese intervention in the Middle East is trying to show (tactical flexibility) while trying to develop (a clear strategic vision for Russian cooperation with China).
Therefore, Russia’s move to hand over communist documents of interest to the Israelis should not consider Russia and China’s policies in the region from the point of view of (filling the ideological vacuum that Washington may have left upon the gradual withdrawal from the region), but also based on (mainly Chinese and Russian internal popular national interactions). It is based on the desire to (revitalize Sino-Russian nationalism), to raise it to the level of “great powers” once again, and to strengthen the nationalist sentiments of the citizens of Russia and China globally, in Israel and the Middle East, in the face of American and Western liberal ideology, and their supporting values for imposing a specific agenda and orientations on them. , and on the Israeli interior and various countries of the Middle East.
Therefore, the Russian-Chinese joint thinking in handing over old private documents of interest to the communists of Israel – according to the interpretation of the Egyptian researcher – came as an important, long-term ideological step for soft penetration into the Israeli strategic depth through a different intellectual gateway to counterbalance or perhaps confront the liberal American influence, and prevent its spread globally and restrict it in Inside Israel and in the countries of the Middle East through the Israeli communists and the Arabs.
– Third: The historical relations between the Israeli communists and the Palestinian communists, and the extent to which China and Russia can benefit from them
This Communist party of Israel arose under the leadership of the Israeli Communist (Mikons), under the name (the Palestinian Communist Party) after the Soviet Union announced its support for (the project to divide Palestine and establish two states on its lands), and a representative of the Communist Party was included at the time as an MP in the Knesset or Parliament, after announcing the establishment of Israel. His name turned into the “Israeli Communist Party”, and he was joined by members of the “Arab Communists” who had called themselves the “National Liberation League” before the establishment of Israel, as well as a number of Jewish communists themselves.
We find that the crisis between (the Israeli communists and the Palestinian communists) reached its climax when the split occurred in the ranks of the Israeli Communist Party in 1965, when the Israeli Communist “Felner”, who is the (head of the Israeli Jewish Front of the Communist Party), announced with his comrades the establishment of the new communist list, which is called (Rakah).
The Israeli Communist Party was unable to maintain its position as a result of this split, which was followed by the withdrawal of many members from it, and their joining new leftist frameworks and parties, such as the (Moked Movement and the Chile List).
The (leftist Rakah movement) renamed the Israeli Communist Party name again in the mid-1980s.
The Israeli Communist Party won the (First Knesset elections) in 1949. It won (four seats) in the Knesset, and in 1955, the Israeli Communist Party won (six seats in the Knesset), and in 1969, it obtained (only one seat in the Israeli Knesset).
The Communist Party was represented in the (Histadrut General Organization) and its union and organizational institutions.
In the mid-1970s, the (Rakah movement) was able to establish the (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), as a framework that includes within it several allied Arab and Jewish forces, in order to contest the local and parliamentary elections in Israel.
Perhaps what caught the Egyptian researcher’s attention here, in a different way, is about:
(Can China and Russia benefit historically from the rapprochement between the Israeli communists and the Palestinian communists, especially during the “first period” of the establishment of the Israeli Communist Party?)
Rather, how can the Russian-Chinese build on it in the future, by promoting the revival of nationalism and the (nationalist feelings) that bind the communists together, and the promotion of communist principles that mean the possibility of “dissolving political differences and conflicts on the basis of communist ideology and ideology”
The Egyptian researcher can analyze this matter in another direction, which is represented in the Russian and Chinese benefiting from the (limited seats of the Israeli Communist Party members in the Israeli Knesset, through their ideological support) as a long-term strategic plan to mainly serve the interests of China and Russia within the Israeli depth itself, especially with that historical experience of the Israeli communist leaders and Arab communists in 1948, who have been participating in the actual elections inside Israel, and they have been actually obtaining a number of seats, albeit limited, within the parliament or the (Israeli Knesset) itself.
So, The Egyptian researcher believes that the Russian-Chinese penetration in the Middle East, and while recognizing the complexity and intertwining of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Sino-Russian promotion of different cases of (peaceful coexistence between Arab communists and Israelis, is a new and dangerous matter that no one has ever noticed), especially from those who have never belonged to communist thought and leftist ideology, or to those academics who study communist and leftist movements and currents around the world, especially in the Middle East.
What the Egyptian researcher remembers in this context and has already referred to, is the affiliation of the late well-known Palestinian poet “Mahmoud Darwish” to the Israeli Communist Party, as he was from the 1948 Arabs, who maintained an Israeli identity and lived within the same Israeli society, and it was and still is very popular in all Arab circles. And the Palestinians themselves.
Here, we find that the relationship of the Arab communists with the Palestinians, and specifically the Arabs of 1948, was very close. He was one of the most important affiliates, as the late Palestinian poet (Mahmoud Darwish) as I have mentioned has worked in the press of the Israeli Communist Party itself, such as: (Al-Ittihad and Al-Jadeed newspapers).
Which later became the supervisor of its editor, as he participated in the editing of (Al-Fajr newspaper) also with its communist ideas and affiliations.
We find here that the relationship between the Israeli communists and the Palestinians is very strong – even if it was marred by some crises, as I mentioned, due to differences in views regarding the (Nasser era at Cairo) and others, or with regard to the (properties of Jews in Egypt and the Arab countries) and others, and it goes back to the period of the establishment of the Palestinian Communist Party itself, which was founded at the beginning of the year. The period of the twenties, specifically in 1919, and it was formed from the remnants of (the union of members of the National Liberation League in Israel and the Communist Party of Land-Israel), as an anti-Zionist party that calls for a (two-state solution) for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
– Perhaps the most prominent points of convergence and participation between the Israeli communists and the Palestinian communists are:
A) Openness to all progressive ideas in humanity and the struggle for them.
B) With the affirmation of the communists of Israel and Palestine on the need to support and respect the issues and rights of workers, raise their standard of living.
C) Development of Israeli state for the benefit of all Jewish and Arab populations without any discrimination between the two parties, and stand firmly against cases of (racism, national extremism and social reaction) that call for the separation of everything that is Arab, Jewish or Israeli.
Hence the rapprochement between the Israeli communists and the Palestinians through their presence in one party – I mean the 1948 Arab communists – in order to defend the civil equality between Palestinians and Israelis, and to call for respecting the idea of (nationalism) for Arab citizens of Israel and recognizing them as a national minority.
As for (How can China and Russia take advantage of the Israeli Communist Party to advance their interests)?
This is due to the Egyptian researcher to an academic research that she has already published several years ago, entitled:
(The impact of Chinese labor in Israel on Arab national security)
The idea of this research in a nutshell is due to the presence of thousands of Chinese workers in Israel, which the statistics of the early 2000s estimated to more than 23 thousand of the Chinese workers inside Israel, working mainly in the field of construction, and most of them without official residence papers, which resulted in wasting their rights as a result of lacking of legitimate accommodation, so they’re not receiving fair salaries and a reasonable standard of living in Israel.
Hence, China and Russia can also benefit together from (the ideas of the Israeli Communist Party regarding foreign and immigrant workers inside Israel, and giving them their rights).
Where the constitution of the Israeli Communist Party stipulates (respect and protection for labor immigrants and foreign workers), and to guarantee them just laws that guarantee their rights with respect and equality.
Hence, the Egyptian researcher believes that China and Russia can take advantage of this Israeli communist proposal to protect the rights of their citizens working inside Israel and protect their rights according to fair conditions advocated by the Israeli Communist Party. Russia and China agree with them to protect the rights and interests of their countries and their citizens inside Israel itself.
Of course, the Egyptian researcher analyzes the matter as a provocation to the American side and the extremist Jewish elements in their dealings with those non-Jewish foreign workers, especially those of Chinese and Russian nationalities, as well as the rest of the Asian workers that are widely spread within Israeli society.
– Fourth: The positive principles of the Israeli Communist Party in its relationship with the Arabs and the Palestinian issue, analyzing of how they are can be beneficial used by the Arabs to their advantage with the Russian-Chinese assistance
The Egyptian researcher found that there are a number of positive principles adopted by the “Israeli Communist Party” that are completely different from the rest of the other Israeli parties, which serve the Palestinian cause and the Arab-Israeli conflict file from a positive perspective, through a number of the following principles of the Israeli Communist Party, which are:
1) The Israeli Communist Party raises the principle that both the (Zionism in Israel serve imperialism, hegemony and unipolarity).
2) The idea of gathering (the Jewish diaspora) from around the world and calling them to Israel is unsuccessful and is rejected by the Israeli Communist Party.
3) The idea of the Communist Party in Israel about the necessity of establishing a socialist system in Israeli society based on (class struggle, not religious conflict), is an idea that serves the Palestinian cause and the conflict over the identity of the state.
4) The support of the Israeli Communist Party to grant the Arabs in Israel a kind of (self-recognition) until the separation between Israel and the Arabs.
5) The party expresses its strong opposition to the policy of the Israeli government, such as: the (military rule and strengthening of the Israeli army).
Through the previous proposition, which theoretically serves to some extent the Palestinian and Arab cause in its conflict relationship with Israel, given the rejection of (the Israeli communist ideology of American imperialism, hegemony and unipolarity from Washington), and this is what converges (China and Russia in opposing the American unilateralism in its relations with the region) and the world).
Therefore, the Egyptian researcher imagines that this may be (the appropriate main entrance for both China and Russia to re-publish communist ideology in the face of American liberalism and values), which created a large gap between the Arabs and Palestinians with Israel, and even between the same social classes on both sides.
Israeli communism here serves the Palestinian matter and the file of Arab-Israeli conflict by rejecting the Israeli military tendency and doctrine and the recruitment of Israeli youth into the army. It rejects as well the (Zionism) as an agenda that serves the interests of certain groups. It also refuses to gather the Jews of the whole world in Israel, and this is the same key to solving the complex relationship between Palestinians and Israelis from during (Russia and China’s attempt to rapprochement with the Israeli communists, and Russia’s leakage of the old documents of interest to them that they had demanded for many years ago), the Russian release of them now carries a deep meaning in “confronting the influence of Washington itself inside Israel, and searching historically for the awakening and revival of national and patriotic feelings”. For the Arabs and the Palestinians, which in this previous way converge positively with the communist ideology adopted by China and its ruling Communist Party, and Russia is now paving the way for creating a good atmosphere of rapprochement with the communists of Israel).
And the strangest thing for the Egyptian researcher remains, is “Washington’s lack of attention to this proposition, nor its intellectual and research centers have discussed this proposition or that complex hypothesis before”, regarding Russia’s handing over the documents of the Israeli communists, and China’s relationship with that, and the extent to which China and Russia together benefit from the common Israeli communist principles with Legitimate Arab and Palestinian demands to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in the face of US support for non-communist Israeli politicians.
Can Russia and China take advantage of this, and create a state of controversy globally and in the Middle East over the convergence of Israeli communist principles in favor of the Palestinian and Arab cause itself, and in the face of American and Israeli policies?
Hence, I have asked everyone to analyze the whole matter, which no one noticed in the Middle East as a whole, and was not dealt with by study, interest and analysis by any American, Western or even Israeli research or paper, with the presence of the (China-Israel Studies Program) in the Israel National Security Institute (INSS), which is one of the most powerful research programs known globally on China, but there’s not paradoxically any paper or a scientific research study has dealt or analytically studied this matter before.
– Fifth: The vision of the Israeli Communist Party is compatible with the Russian and Chinese policies in Syria and the Middle East
The Israeli Communist Party gained strength in the Arab and Palestinian community in the mid-fifties, but major crises swept the Communist Party in Israel, due to the background of supporting or opposing the positions of the late Egyptian President (Gamal Abdel Nasser), so two currents or trends began to appear, as following:
A) The first trend: It included in its majority the Israeli Jews, led by (Mikonis and Sneh).
The incompatibility of supporters of this Israeli communist movement, and their opposition to a number of (Nasserist policies) during that era, appeared.
B) The second trend: It is an (Arab nationalist trend) that was included in the majority Arabs, led by (Meir Filner and Tawfiq Tubi).
This trend was one of (supporters of the Nasserist socialist decisions) in its entirety, and their view that it is a plurality of extension to them that serves the interests of the communists and the Palestinian and Arab leftists.
On the other hand, the Egyptian researcher found that there are a number of the most prominent modern and contemporary joint positive positions of the Israeli Communist Party, including the 1948 Arabs in Israel, which are almost compatible with (the long-term Chinese and Russian vision inside Israel and the Middle East in general), especially regarding (The current crisis in Syria, and the joint Russian and then Chinese intervention in Syria in light of the Israeli presence already present in the Golan Heights).
This is what decisions and principles were presented by (the Central Committee of the Israeli Communist Party), and were already focused on in its comprehensive statement by the Central Committee of the Israeli Communist Party, on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at the 13th regular meeting in (the city of Haifa).
A (comprehensive political statement) was presented in which it addressed all of the general issues, whether inside Israel or in the region in general, which the Egyptian researcher found to have consensus and a common vision with the Chinese and Russian sides, and may serve their interests in the long run, such as:
1) Warning of the Israeli Communist Party against the continuation of the aggressive policy that denies the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and is supported by the United States.
2) The Israeli Communist Party explicitly declares its rejection of the colonial scheme that perpetuates the (American hegemony, imperialism and unilateralism), called the “Deal of the Century” to completely eliminate the Palestinian cause by liquidating its components, the issue of Jerusalem, and the refugees.
3) The Central Committee of the Israeli Communist Party rejected the Israeli politicians’ imposition of plans (settlement, Judaization of Jerusalem, and the elimination of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people).
4) Warning the Israeli communist leaders of the danger of a war in the region because of the policy practiced by the Israeli government on (Syria), under the pretext or pretext (limiting the Iranian presence) there.
The Egyptian researcher believes that this proposal and that Israeli communist vision serve the Chinese-Russian agenda in the face of the same American and Israeli policies inside Syria, given the consensus and partnership between China and Russia with Iran, which China crowned during the month of March 2021, with the signing of the (strategic partnership) agreement. With the Iranian side for 25 years.
5) The Israeli communist statement touched on its strong rejection of the (Israeli nationalism) law, stressing its quest to bring it down, through (the joint Jewish-Arab struggle built on militant foundations).
6) The Central Committee of the Israeli Communist Party warned of the so-called American concepts under different names derived from the commercial and capitalist world, and in this context falls the decision (transferring the American embassy to Jerusalem).
This may serve the Chinese and Russian proposals regarding the necessity of solving this problem, with what was previously proposed and written about by the Egyptian researcher, about (the Chinese deal of the century versus its American counterpart), which was supported by the Palestinian side as soon as it was presented, although its features were not yet clear in light of the change of the administration (Trump) and the advent of the administration of the current president (Joe Biden), who has not yet clarified his position on it in great detail.
7) The Israeli Communist Party’s rejection of the political position of the Israeli and American government in support of stopping the aid provided to the UNRWA, which aims to seek the settlement of Palestinian refugees, end the refugee file permanently, and close the office of (the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington), with the rejection of the Israeli communist leaders To displace (the town of Khan al-Ahmar) in Jerusalem.
8) The Central Committee of the Israeli Communist Party also confirmed that the “Israeli Nationality Law” is directed primarily against the Palestinian Arab national minority in Israel, with the aim of (liquidating the Palestinian cause), as this minority constitutes a fundamental force for defending the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
9) We find that the Central Committee of the Israeli Communist Party has also condemned the repeated Israeli attacks against Syria, which led to (the occurrence of fatal mistakes), represented by Israel’s mistaken downing of a Russian plane and the killing of 15 Russian soldiers, with the Israeli communist warning that the continuation of these Israeli military attacks might eventually lead to the risk of sliding into a large-scale (regional war).
10) All leaders and cadres of the Central Committee of the Israeli Communist Party raised slogans of support for Gaza, and adopted the “Think in Gaza” campaign, which included all branches of the party and the fronts of the Communist Party in Israel.
Perhaps the idea of “supporting Gaza” was supported by the Chinese leadership, especially during the period of the Israeli war on Gaza, and the Egyptian side intervened to end the dispute, and the Chinese Foreign Minister (Wang Yi) invited the Palestinian and Israeli sides during the month of May 2021 to visit (Beijing) to bring their views closer and stop Israeli aggression, and discussions and dialogue under Chinese supervision.
– Sixth: The danger of the Russian handing over the documents of the Israeli Communist Party to the archive of the National Library of Israel to reveal (names of Arab collaborators with Israel)
The danger of this Russian archive comes in that it reveals (the former Soviet Union’s support for the establishment of the Hebrew state in Israel), as well as (the most dangerous from my point of view as an Egyptian and Arab researcher), in that this Russian release of those documents for the benefit of the Israeli archive reveals (the names of all Arab agents and collaborators, especially from communist and leftist movements in favor of Israel).
Perhaps we find until this moment when looking at this Russian archive in Israel, the Israeli side was keen to (hide the names of Palestinian and Arab agents with the Israeli side from the moments of the establishment of the Hebrew state in 1948 until the outbreak of the war of attrition during the period of the late President “Gamal Abdel Nasser” in June of the year in 1967).
When the Egyptian researcher thoroughly researched in order to (to know the names of all the Arab agents cooperating with the Israeli intelligence from the moment of the establishment and establishment of Israel in 1948 until the war of attrition in June 1967), the result of her research came, as follows:
1) Some Arabic names have already appeared in (the Israeli police archive, referred to by symbols), in Israel’s awareness of the sensitivity of this issue in Arab society today. Especially with the presence of sons, relatives and extended families even for the relatives of the deceased Palestinian and Arab clients with the Israeli side during that period.
2) The researcher found that the (Israeli Military Censorship) has crossed out and deleted the Arabic names of collaborators with Israel from the (Israeli National Library Archive) when they reviewed them by about half, and replaced them with the initials of their names or referred to them with symbols only.
3) On the size of (the phenomenon of Arab collaborators, especially Palestinians, with the Israeli security authorities during the period of the Israeli military rule), and upon the establishment of the Hebrew state and the moments of consolidation and consolidation of the newly emerging state in Israel, the Egyptian researcher was surprised, and through the archives of the Israeli National Library, and those old Russian documents, that it found that there is an average of ten Palestinian collaborators in each village, which is a relatively large number that the Egyptian researcher did not believe.
4) The Egyptian researcher also found that, in return – and perhaps in fairness to the right – the Russian documents and those stories in the archive of the Israeli National Library contained the stories of a number of steadfast Palestinians who refused to cooperate with Israel, and who were subjected to great harm and suffering as a result of the circumstances of that “abnormal emergence of the State of Israel”, as everyone knows.
5) It is also clear from these Russian documents the tendency of the Arab and Palestinian community to suspect and doubt each other about the extent of cooperation with the Israelis, and this is due – according to the interpretation of the Egyptian researcher – perhaps as a result of a deliberate action by the Israeli intelligence, which aspired to sow doubt among the Arabs and Palestinians with each other from during the recruitment of agents and traitors from the Arab side.
6) The Egyptian researcher also examined the importance of those Russian documents, which were recently released and handed over to Israel by Russia, and which are actually in the archives (the National Library in Israel), with regard to the secrets of the emergence of communism and leftist movements in Israel at the moments of the establishment of the Hebrew state, and during the period of military rule The Israelis in Palestine indicated that about 10% of the Israelis were interested in these Russian documents, and most of them were from the Zionist left movements.
7) By searching the Egyptian researcher about the extent of (the accuracy of those Russian documents leaked to Israel about communism and the Israeli leftism during that period), the Egyptian researcher found that there are indeed a number of Hebrew writings and a series of books issued about (agents in the occupied territories in 1967), and they were documented In actual books and research by a number of Israeli strategic analysts and experts, based on the “Israeli intelligence archives, Mossad, and personal interviews with former Arab collaborators”.
8) We find the keenness of the majority of Israeli writers, when dealing with the phenomenon (recruitment of Palestinian and Arab agents) for the period prior to and the years immediately following the establishment and establishment of Israel, to their emphasis on (the emergence of employment as a natural phenomenon for different peoples under occupation), as happened from Algeria to Vietnam.
The Egyptian researcher explained that point in particular, and analyzed it within the framework of (an Israeli national), as an attempt to justify and encourage the recruitment of Arabs with them, and perhaps – according to the interpretation of the Egyptian researcher as well – this may come within the framework of (the Israeli propaganda plan that today is stronger and does not need these Arab agents, or perhaps to question the loyalties of certain Palestinian and Arab families by declining agents and traitors among them with the army and the Israeli side from 1948 to 1967) and possibly beyond.
9) While a number of other Israeli analysts refer to (the phenomenon of Jews collaborating with the German Nazis against their own Jewish brothers inside the Nazi concentration camps led by Hitler), despite the knowledge of these German Jews at the time that that slander would lead to the killing of their fellow Jews and their own religion.
The Egyptian researcher also explained that, as an Israeli attempt to underestimate the value of treason, labor and recruitment from an Israeli point of view, to encourage other future generations of these Arabs to the idea of conscription itself and to pave the way that German Jews during the era of (Nazism and Hitler) in Germany had betrayed some of them also to Jews like themselves and their followers.
10) While some questioned the intentions of the Russian documents, and some of the archives in that Israeli National Library and the extent to which it was used to strike and reduce the moral aspect of Arab and Palestinian youth through (destroying the history of their fathers and grandfathers, and even the future of their generations, sons and families as well).
11) While other analysts saw that revealing the facts, even if they are “a dirty laundry for the workers, traitors, and Palestinian and Arab recruits”, is a necessity to draw lessons, reform and learn from the past, provided that those documents and ancient Israeli archival studies are objective and not malicious.
– Seventh: The leaked Russian documents to the Israeli National Library, and the disclosure of (the role of a number of Israeli communists in spying for Russia)
The Egyptian researcher found in these Russian leaked documents in favor of Israel a (rich material for identifying the most prominent roles of the communist Israeli agents), who worked for the Russian intelligence.
The list of “Israelis” who spied for the Russian intelligence service “KGB” included some prominent Israeli members of the Israeli Communist Party, who were recruited from the Russians, and their professions were ranging from:
Members of the Israeli Knesset, army officers, officials in the “Shin Bet security service”, workers in the field of military industries, journalists, rabbis, prominent clerics, and foreign diplomats also worked in Israel during the period of the Israeli military rule in Palestine from (1948-1968).
At the same time, the British intelligence revealed these Russian documents related to the Russian recruitment of “the most prominent communist Israelis during the period of the Israeli military rule in Palestine”.
By following up on the Russian list of communist Israelis collaborating with him, it was found that the most prominent name in this Russian list is the most prominent leader of the Israeli Communist Party, and his name is (Moshe Sneh), and he headed the leadership of the Zionist armed “Hagana” organization, before the actual establishment of Israel in 1948, then a leftist Israeli Knesset member from the “Mabam” party, and then about the Israeli recruitment of (Maki), and he is one of the former leaders of the “Israeli Communist Party”.
According to those Russian leaked documents to Israel, the leader of the Israeli Communist Party, called (Moshe Sneh) had provided the Soviets with information about (Israeli foreign policy), and he was (the source of the information transferred by the Soviet embassy in Tel Aviv to Moscow), in 1952, about:
“Israel tends to strengthen its relations with the United States of America on the acount of Russia”
The old Russian documents, with reference to a former “KGB” official, indicated that:
“The Soviet Union supported the establishment of “Israel”, because I believe that this Israeli new state will be affiliated with the Soviet bloc and not with the Western bloc or Washington”
But the minister and former Knesset member, called “Ephraim Moshe Sneh”, was angry at Russia’s documents, denying that his father (Moshe Sneh) was a spy for the Soviets, and said that:
“There is no basis for that, because his father’s relationship with the Soviets was public and everyone knew about it, and he did not pass on classified information”
According to the Russian documents, the Israeli Communist “Yaakov Riftin”, who was a Knesset member from the (left-wing Israeli Mapam party) between the period of (1949-1965), was a Russian intelligence recruiter “KGB spy”, and the Russian reports accused the left-wing Israeli “Jacob Riftin” of handing over some important permanently secret documents to the Soviets. But, his son (Giora) denied everything that was mentioned in these Russian documents about his father.
The leaked Russian documents also mentioned the name of the former Knesset member, whose name is (Eleazar Granot), also from the (Mapam party), knowing that (Grannot) was a member of the (Foreign and Security Committee of the Israeli Knesset and General Secretary of the Israeli Mapam Party).
Defending his father in the face of the Russian leaks, the son of (Grannot), said that:
“His father was meeting with Soviet diplomats, but he could not see classified information”
At the same time, the Russian documents mentioned the names of “other Israeli spies who worked for the Russians”, including a member of the leadership of the “Hashomer Hatzair” movement, and he is also one of the founders of the “Water Authority in Israel”, called “Jacob Vardy”, who was a member of the Central Committee of the Israeli Communist Party, and was able to recruit his companion, called (Shlomo Shamli).
Russian documents indicated that the “KGB” had recruited (Samuel Mukhtai), who was working as an Israeli engineer in the (Israeli military aerospace industries) as a spy.
But, the Israeli Communist “Mukhthai” has denied the Russian charges against him. The Russian documents also mentioned to the name of (Gregory Lundin), who worked in the development of the “Israeli Merkava tank”, and was imprisoned in 1988 after being convicted of spying for Russia.
The Russian documents mentioned another pseudonym for an Israeli spy, knownas “Bejan,” and described him as:
“A Russian engineer who had been implanted in the “Israeli army” and revealed many military secrets in favor of Russia”
These Russian documents also mentioned to the name of the official in the “Israeli Foreign Ministry” and the economic expert (Ze’ev Avni), who was arrested by “Israel” in 1956, and was convicted of spying for the Soviets and imprisoned. Russia’s documents say that the Israeli agent (Zeev Avni) had handed over to the head of the “KGB branch” in “Belgrade” some codes of “Israeli communications” in Europe and information about the most prominent (Mossad agents in Europe).
The documents included the names of Israeli journalists, including “Aviva Stan” from the “Haolam Hazeh” magazine. It turned out that another journalist, mentioned by the Russian documents, was a “double spy”, working for the “KGB and the Israeli Shin Bet” at the same time.
The Russian documents indicated that the (KGB) had recruited an officer in the “Israeli army” with the rank of major general and an official in the “Counter-espionage Division in the Shin Bet”, known by his nickname “Mlinka”, and the Russian documents did not specifically mention his name.
The Russian documents mentioned a pseudonym for an Israeli spy, called “Bejan”, and described him as:
“A Russian engineer was implanted in the “Israeli army” and revealed many military secrets for the Russians against the interests of Israel”
The Russian documents pointed out that the recruitment of spies for the Russian intelligence “KGB” was not always by the Soviets, but rather a number of intelligence services from countries in the Soviet camp participated in the recruitment of Israeli spies.
– Eighth: The relationship between (the Sino-Russian alliance in the face of Washington) and determining the Russian timing for leaking documents in favor of Israel, in order to strengthen the influence of Russia and China in the Middle East and Israel
The most important thing that came to the mind of the Egyptian researcher was the relationship between Russia’s leakage of a number of documents in favor of Israel and its national library, and the common Russian and Chinese desire together to strengthen their alliance together and their bilateral axis in the Middle East, with (the Russian-Chinese maintaining at the same time strong and strategic relations with Israel, Washington’s ally in the Middle East. This was the most important future analytical problem that might come to mind, regarding: (How can China and Russia softly penetrate the Israeli strategic depth through these leaked Russian documents to Israel)?
Because the clear goal of the Russian leak of the documents of the Israeli Communist Party to the archive of the National Library in Israel is (to get closer to Israel), and since the United States of America is the Russian-Chinese goal and each axis tries to contain and encircle the influence of the other, the question remains, regarding:
(The future goal of the joint Russian-Chinese rapprochement with Israel in confronting the United States of America in the Middle East)
This explains why Beijing and Moscow were comfortable with the (Trump administration’s) decisions to withdraw troops and reduce the US presence in the Middle East.
Perhaps this explains to the Egyptian researcher the secret of the Russian-Chinese keenness to invite the Israeli and Arab communists, including the communists of Palestine, to all major political forums in them.
We find that in the centenary celebration of the ruling Communist Party of China, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of its establishment, the “CPC” invited large delegations, including the Israeli communists, and the Palestinian left-wing Popular Struggle Front, to participate in the work of (the summit of the Communist Party of China and the world political parties). On the occasion of the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China on July 1, 2021.
The members of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, have been expressing their special thanks from the Chinese President (Xi Jinping), as the “General Secretary” of the Communist Party of China and President of the People’s Republic of China, were keen to host all communist comrades around the world, and to host them on the occasion of the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. The (Communist Party of China), with the invitation of Israeli and Arab communist delegations to meet their communist counterparts in Beijing, and to listen to them, and the communist leaders in Beijing were keen to thank the communists of the world from the general Chinese people who are friendly to them and the Chinese nation, and to all the comrades in the central committees of the communist and leftist parties and the political offices of those communist and leftist parties, including:
The Israeli communists, and leftists, the communists of the (Palestinian Popular Struggle Front) and the other Arab communists without separating them by China) on the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, which constitutes a global communist occasion, and celebrating it globally by inviting communists around the world to celebrate with the Chinese side, with the giving some words and speeches by the Israeli and Arab communists about the distinguished position of the (Communist Party of China) on the international and national arenas.
The explanation of the matter came according to the analysis of the Egyptian researcher, that the Chinese and Russian keenness to communicate and meet with the Israeli communists, and then invite the Palestinian and Arab communists with them as well, as well as (linking the step of the Russian handover the old documents of the Israeli Communist Party in 2019, in light of the rapprochement between China and Russia and the alliance between them, which Washington worries), that it is an expression of a major Sino-Russian move to revive “the nationalist sentiments of communists around the world and link them to China”.
This explains the reasons for Russia and China’s calls for the large number delegations of members of the political bureaus and central committees of the Communist and Left fronts to meet with their counterparts in the Communist Party of China. Then inviting them to the work of (the summit of the Communist Party of China and global political parties), which carried the slogan of the (happiness of the people is the responsibility of communist political parties), which is the slogan raised by the (Communist Party of China) “CPC”, on the occasion of the (first centenary) of its founding, with China’s keen to invite more than (500 Communist and Left Political Parties around the World) to share and participate with them in this occasion, including:
(The Israeli Communist Party, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, and all of the Arab communist and leftist parties as well).
This issue has taken the Egyptian researcher’s analysis far about this Sino-Russian ideological rapprochement, primarily with the Israeli communists in the first place, to help them penetrate the Israeli internal depth by bringing about rapprochement with them by leaking old communist documents to the Israeli communists, which may come to achieve common Sino-Russian interests, which will become more clearer in all its features during the coming period in the light of the Chinese and Russian alliance in the face of American influence and American and Western liberal values.
The Failures of Russian Intelligence in the Ukraine War and the Perils of Confirmation Bias
The Russian invasion of Ukraine defied many expectations, not least the Kremlin’s. Prior to the ‘special military operation’ launched by President Vladimir Putin last February, the Russian government expected minimal organised military resistance from the Ukrainians. A quick victory was assured, much like the 2014 annexation of Crimea but on a grander scale, with the decapitation of the Ukrainian government as a likely result. Yet, more than one year later, Ukraine remains very much in the fight, in defiance of Russian expectations. Evidently, the Russian military and political elite launched the invasion based on flawed assumptions. The question now, is what role did Russia’s intelligence services play in forming these false assumptions and why did they go unchallenged?
Much of the blame may rest on Putin himself according to a paper published in The British Journal of Politics and International Relations in December last year. Before the invasion, it was widely assumed that the Russian President’s ability to use strategic intelligence was virtually unrivalled on the world stage. Unlike other world leaders, Putin possesses a professional background in intelligence, having been both an officer in the KGB and director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), between 1998 and 1999. Russia’s swift and surprising annexation of Crimea and ability to disrupt targets with hybrid warfare was further evidence of Putin’s strategic acumen. However, the events leading up to and during the war in Ukraine cast the Russian President in a different light, as a deeply flawed intelligence manager and consumer.
One issue highlighted by the paper’s authors is that intelligence agencies within authoritarian regimes are blindsided by ‘a frequent inability to accept dissenting judgements as being offered in good faith.’ This appears to have been true of the Russian intelligence agencies prior to the invasion of Ukraine. Instead of offering their primary intelligence customer an intellectually honest assessment of the situation in Ukraine, the intelligence services appear to have disseminated intelligence that merely confirmed his biases. As explained by a group of experts in May last year, ‘Putin believes Ukraine is or ought to be Russian and whatever passed for intelligence preparation for the invasion may have confirmed this in his mind… We can infer that Russian intelligence services supported Putin’s view of Ukraine as a state ready to be absorbed.’
Ultimately, the officers of Russia’s intelligence agencies, be it the FSB, Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), or Main Intelligence Directorate (GU), are dependent on Putin for their advancement, prosperity, and survival. This encourages a culture whereby the intelligence services compete for his approval, which is far from useful in terms of generating dispassionate and unbiased intelligence products. Years before the invasion, in 2017, Professor Brian D. Taylor argued that independent thinkers had largely left the Russian intelligence services, the implication being that they were now staffed by individuals who were content to conform with the dominant viewpoint. This has led to the formation of an institutional culture compromised by groupthink.
A very public example of the Russian intelligence community’s hesitancy to speak truth to power came in February 2022, when Director of the SVR Sergey Naryshkin was humiliated by Putin during a televised meeting of the Security Council. When questioned whether Russia should recognise the two self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, Naryshkin suggested giving the West one final chance to return to the Minsk agreements. This was evidently not what Putin wanted to hear and he pressed a now visibly nervous and stuttering Naryshkin until the latter agreed that it would be the right course of action for Russia to recognise the two breakaway republics. Of course, this was a clear example of political theatre, but it does not bode well that Putin was willing to publicly humiliate one of his intelligence chiefs. Whilst it is not known what goes on behind close doors, there has been increasing scrutiny of Putin’s behaviour which suggests that the Russian leader has put an unhealthy amount of distance between himself and his top officials.
This is not to say that Putin micromanages the intelligence services or that he predetermines every decision without any recourse to their advice. Indeed, the intelligence services wield a tremendous amount of influence over high-level decision making. The problem is more so that the intelligence services are institutionally incentivised to say what they think Putin wants to hear. His views on Ukraine were well-publicised before the invasion, and no doubt senior intelligence officials would have been familiar with his frame of mind. His dismissal of there being a legitimate sense of Ukrainian nationalism and a belief that Ukrainians would be willing to join Russia and reject Western moral decadence and degradation were hardly secrets. For the intelligence services competing to win approval, there would have been few incentives to contradict this official narrative. Russian intelligence preparation for the invasion therefore likely served to confirm the Russian President’s biases.
There is some evidence to the contrary. According to US intelligence documents leaked in April, the FSB accused Russia’s Ministry of Defence of underreporting Russian casualties in Ukraine. Allegedly, the FSB was critical of the Ministry of Defence for failing to record the losses suffered by the Russian National Guard, the Wagner Group, or fighters under the command of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. The FSB’s casualty estimates were reportedly roughly double those given by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in December. This does indicate a willingness to break bad news and contradict the official narrative. However, in this particular case, the FSB stands to enhance its own standing with Putin by undermining the Russian Ministry of Defence, thus fitting the broader pattern of institutional rivalry.
Naturally, much remains unknown about the activities and procedures of the Russian intelligence services prior to and after the invasion of Ukraine. What the available evidence does suggest however, is that Russia’s intelligence services are burdened by political considerations and biases which interfere with their ability to plan, direct, collect, process, analyse, and disseminate valid and useful intelligence. The Russian President bears much of the blame for the creation of a professional culture which does nor prioritise the truth as the highest good. Consequently, Russia initiated its invasion of Ukraine based on faulty assumptions and was unable to forecast the Ukrainian reaction with much accuracy.
Iran Threat to National Security 2023
The annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for 2023, identified Iran as the third greatest national security threat to the United States, after China and Russia. As those two countries have been covered in other reports, this paper will focus on the Iran threat, evaluating it within the framework of a PMESII analysis. PMESII is an acronym used in military and intelligence services which analyses threat countries across six dimensions: Political, Military, Economic, Social, Infrastructure, and Information.
1. Political: This dimension examines political systems, governance structures, institutions, and decision-making within a country, as well as the effectiveness of these systems and institutions. It also considers the stability or instability of the government.
The Islamic Republic of Iran (Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran), formerly known as Persia, has a population of around 88 million, and is located in Western Asia, bordering on Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. The country is a theocratic republic, with a Shia Islamic legal framework.
Iran regularly holds elections, but the quality of democracy is limited because of the influence of the Guardian Council, an unelected body with the power to disqualify candidates on religious grounds. Iran has a president who is elected by the people, but the president is only the head of government, not the head of state. As head of government, the president oversees the operations and implementation of government. True executive power rests in the head of state, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Supreme Leader controls numerous unelected institutions, including the security forces and the judiciary, which are used to suppress dissent and to restrict civil liberties.
Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, the Supreme Leader has always been an Ayatollah. The founder of the Islamic Republic was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who maintained the title of Supreme Leader until his death in 1989. He was succeeded by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current Supreme Leader.
The Supreme Leader presides over the Guardian Council, which interprets legislation and elections to determine if they are consistent with the principles of Islam and the Iranian Constitution. The Guardian Council has twelve members, six of whom are appointed by the Supreme Leader. The remaining six are nominated by the Judiciary and approved by the Parliament (Majlis).
In terms of political rights, Freedom House assigns Iran a score of 4 out of 40 and civil liberties 10 out of 60. Citizens have the right to form political parties, but those parties must be loyal to the current government. Change is unlikely to come within the existing governmental framework because of the influence of the unelected bodies. In 2021, for example, the former vice president Jahangiri, was disqualified from running for president because he was determined to be a reformist.
The government is largely dominated by men from the Shiite Muslim majority. Women hold some appointed positions, but generally not powerful ones. In the parliament, five seats are reserved for recognized non-Muslim minority groups: Jews, Armenian Christians, Assyrian and Chaldean Christians, and Zoroastrians. However, members of these groups would generally not be appointed to high-level government posts.
Corruption is rife in Iran. Transparency International assigns Iran a score of 25/100 for corruption, whereby a lower score denotes higher levels of corruption. Iran ranks 147th out of 180 nations. Much of this corruption is attributable to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) which is above scrutiny in practice, and is protected from criticism by the media and civil society.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a military/paramilitary organization with vast political and economic power. The IRGC was formed immediately after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, tasked with safeguarding the principles of the Islamic Republic and protecting the country’s sovereignty. Under the direct control of the Supreme Leader, the IRGC controls large sectors of the economy helping fund Tehran’s activities. The IRGC also provides military assistance to entities beyond Iran’s borders, as it has done for various groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen.
The group’s mandate includes defending the nation against external threats and maintaining internal security. The IRGC is also assigned the duty of preserving the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary ideals and ensuring compliance with Islamic principles. Additionally, it has significant influence on Iran’s foreign policy, including supporting regional proxies and paramilitary groups, by providing training, weapons, and logistics. On the economic front, the IRGC is involved in a broad array of businesses, including construction, infrastructure development, energy, telecommunications, and others. It owns and operates numerous conglomerates and companies which augment the groups financing and influence.
2. Military: The military dimension of PMESII assess a country’s military strength. It is not comprehensive, however, as it mostly considers personnel and hardware. It does not consider alliances, overseas bases, or the quality of equipment or quality and experience of personnel. All of this will be covered in greater detail in a separate report.
The U.S. ranks first in global firepower. Iran ranks 17th. The U.S. population is 337 million, compared to Iran’s 88 million. The U.S. is the world’s number-two nuclear power. While it is widely suspected that Iran is working on a nuclear weapons program, to date, it seems they do not possess any nuclear weapons.
The number of active-duty troops is1.39 million for the U.S. and 575,000 for Iran. Additionally, Iran has about 90,000 paramilitary personnel. Comparing the defense budgets, the U.S. spends $762 billion and Iran $25 billion.
Aircraft – US 13,300 to Iran’s 541
fighter aircraft -1,914 to 196
Transports – 962 to 86
Helicopters – 5,584 to 126
Attack helicopters – 983 to 12
Tanks – 5,500 to 4,071
Armored vehicles – 303,553 to 69,685
Self-propelled artillery – 1,000 to 580
Towed artillery – 1,339 to 2050
Ships – 484 to Iran’s 101
Aircraft carriers – 11 to 0
Helicopter carriers – 9 to 0
Submarines – 68 to 19
Destroyers – 82 to 0
Frigates 0 to 7
3. Economic: Wars are costly to wage. Existing assets have to be deployed, possibly overseas, which is expensive. Factories need to begin churning out exhaustible resources, such as ammunition and artillery shells, as well as replacement vehicles, planes and ships. Uniforms and weapons for new recruits must also be produced en masse. Wars are generally funded by debt, with governments issuing war bonds. The ability to sell those bonds and the interest rate the government has to pay is determined by the nation’s creditworthiness, its economic condition before the war, and whether or not the country is under sanctions. The Ukraine War has underscored the power of sanctions and their ability to prevent dollars from flowing into a country deemed the aggressor. Iran would be incapable of levying meaningful sanctions against the U.S. The U.S., by contrast would be able to bring sanctions against Iran. China would most likely help Iran bypass sanctions, but in the end, the U.S. would be able to reduce the amount of money flowing into Iran, while Iran would not be able to do the same to the U.S.
The size of the potential pool of soldiers is important, as is the number of workers available to produce war materials. The U.S. labor force consists of 163 million workers, while Iran’s comprises only 28 million.
Iran holds foreign currency reserves valued at $21.4 billion, while the U.S. holds about $37.5 billion. Roughly 60% of foreign currency reserves around the world are held in U.S. dollars. The U.S. does not hold as much foreign reserves as countries such as China and Japan, but this is because the U.S. government has access to more-or-less unlimited quantities of U.S. dollars.
Basic Indicators for Iran
GDP = $352.2
GDP Per capita = $5344.96
Inflation rate = 43.3%
Unemployment = 9.7%
Corruption and mismanagement, including price controls and subsidies, weigh heavily on the Iran’s economy. The reliance on oil as well as government domination of numerous industrial sectors further inhibit Iran’s development. There is also a significant brain drain as many of the most qualified people flee the country, in search of a better life abroad.
The Heritage Foundation assigns Iran an overall economic freedom score of 42.2 out of 100, making it the 169th freest country in the world. For business freedom Iran scored 38.9 out of 100, labor freedom of 50.7, monetary freedom of 40.6 and financial freedom of 10.
Investment in new businesses, as well as economic development in general, are directly correlated with the protection of property rights and enforcement of contracts. For property rights, Iran scored 25/100, judicial effectiveness 26/100, and for government integrity 20/100.
4. Social: The social dimension looks at societal and demographic elements, including social unrest, ethnic or religious tensions, and social cohesion which might weaken a country’s ability to fight a war.
Ethnicities: Persians 61% of the population, Kurds (10%), Lurs (6%), and Balochs (2%), Azerbaijanis (16%), Arabs (2%), Turkmens and Turkic tribes (2%), followed by a small number each of Armenians, Assyrians, and Georgians.
Religion: Islam is the official religion, accounting for roughly 99.4% of the population. Shi’a Muslim (89%) and Sunni (10%). The remaining 1% is composed of Christian, Zoroastrian, Baha’i and Jewish. Christians are the largest minority religion with 250,000 to 370,000 followers, mostly of Armenian origin.
The government punishes Shi’a Muslims who they believe have failed to uphold Islamic values, while Sunnis, Christians, Jews, and other non-Muslims have all been victims of repression. Some religious minorities are effectively banned, such as Baha’i and unrecognized Christian groups. Baha’i members have been persecuted, jailed, and banned from attending university.
The Iranian constitution allows freedom of assembly, as long as gatherings are not “detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.” Given the state’s interpretation of detrimental, there is effectively no freedom of assembly in Iran. Protests and unauthorized gatherings are generally met with brutal force. In 2022, the government used lethal force to suppress protests against water shortages and poor living conditions in several provinces. Human rights leaders and labor rights advocates have been arrested or punished on an arbitrary basis. Activists can even be arrested without a warrant. The lawyers who defend them can also face jail time.
5. Infrastructure: an analysis of critical systems, such as transportation networks, energy systems, telecommunications, and industrial facilities can help to determine a county’s vulnerabilities, resilience, and potential risks.
The United States has 13,513 airports while Iran has 319. The U.S. has 35 ports, but Iran only 4. In oil production, the U.S. also leads with 18,000,000bbl, compared to Iran’s 3,450,000bbl.
Proven oil reserves – U.S. 50,000,000,000bbl, Iran 210,000,000,000bbl
Natural Gas Production – US 967,144,362,000bbl, Iran 237,561,415,000bbl
Coal Production – 495,130,000bbl, Iran 2,783,000bbl
6. Information: The information dimension analyzes the flow of information, as well as the communication systems, and media within a country. This analysis helps to understand how public opinion is formed and how propaganda and disinformation are disseminated.
In Iran, there is little media freedom either on or off line. Newspapers and other media are heavily censored, and the government directs journalists as to which stories to cover and which to avoid. Critics and opponents of the government are never given a platform. Many foreign websites, including news sites and social media, are blocked. Satellite dishes are illegal, and the police have actually raided homes, confiscating dishes. Persian language journalists working abroad have had their families threatened if the state did not approve of their reporting.
Reporters without Borders Ranks Iran as 177th least free country out of 180. Television is controlled by the state, and Persian language TV broadcasts from outside of the country are jammed. State television often airs confessions extracted from political prisoners by way of torture. Over the past two years, there has been a particular crackdown on journalists with an increased number of arrests and imprisonments. In one case a journalist was sentences to 90 lashes for allegedly making false news reports. The Islamic Republic has been known to target for kidnapping Iranian journalists operating abroad, as nearly happened to journalist Masih Alinejad in July 2021.
Academia is also not free and contains a great deal of indoctrination. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei warned that universities should not become centers for political activities. Students and professors have been jailed for speaking out against the regime or studying or teaching material which the state disapproved of.
Digital communication is monitored by state intelligence agencies. At the same time, the Iranian government utilizes online platforms and social media to disseminate propaganda and to influence the public. To this end, troll farms have been utilized, creating fake accounts and manipulating online discourse to support Tehran’s narratives. State sponsored cyber hacking is another way that Tehran controls the information space. And while the government has access to the most modern technology, the country suffers from a massive urban/rural divide, with much of the rural population unable to access the internet.
Online activism is illegal. And, the government is looking for ways to make accessing forbidden content even more difficult. In July of last year, the parliament began considering criminalizing the use and distribution of virtual private networks (VPNs) and requiring internet users to verify their legal identities. In January, 2023, it was announced that the unauthorized sale of VPNS would be banned.
International Information Security in US-Russian Bilateral Relations
There have been periods of convergence and cooldown in U.S.-Russian relations on issues pertaining to international information security (IIS), the latter being witnessed by us today.
Moscow remains open to dialogue, advocating the rules of responsible conduct for governments, with a view to boosting peaceful development of the ICT environment, both globally and bilaterally. However, Washington is betting on maintaining its leadership and deterrence of Russia in cyberspace, so reaching agreements in the near future seems rather unlikely.
Amid a complex geopolitical environment, communication between the two countries needs to be maintained for managing contradictions and reducing the risk of escalation in cyberspace. Today, bilateral interaction takes place on the platform of the UN Open-ended Working Group on the Safe Use of ICTs (OEWG), which was established at the initiative of Russia. Informal diplomacy of the expert community, business representatives and NGOs can play an important role in determining possible areas of cooperation between the two nations in the long term.
Cybersecurity as a foreign policy priority for Russia and the U.S.
In 1998, Russia turned to the United States with a proposal to sign a bilateral agreement focused on preventing the militarization of the information space. Washington did not endorse Moscow’s peacemaking initiative, willing to keep a free hand in the military use of ICT. In the same year, Russia proposed this issue to the UNGA, which became the starting point of the UN negotiation process on IIS. Since then, at the initiative of the Russian side, a resolution on “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” has been annually adopted at the UNGA. Six groups of government experts were convened to discuss this problem, and four of them managed to pass the final reports.
The most important result of Russia’s diplomatic efforts was the adoption of 13 rules of responsible behavior of states in the global ICT environment, which were outlined in the 2018 UNGA resolution. These include: non-use of force or threat of force in the ICT environment, respect for state sovereignty, peaceful resolution of disputes, inadmissibility of unproven accusations of cyberattacks, etc.
In the early 2000s, this topic, largely due to the efforts of Russian diplomats, entered the agenda of most global and regional forums, including the SCO, CSTO, BRICS and others. IIS is currently one of the key topics.
According to complex expert ratings, Russia and the U.S. (along with China) are the leading cyber powers as of today. Therefore, their relations in the field of cyber security bear critical importance for the whole international community. Russia supports digital multipolarity and peaceful development of the ICT environment, while the United States seeks to preserve its leadership and sees Russia and China among its main strategic rivals in information and real geopolitics. The U.S. National Security Strategy of October 2022 considers deterring Russia and China, including in cyberspace, as one of the national security priorities.
The priority nature of international information security for Russia is enshrined in a number of strategic planning documents, such as the Fundamentals of Russia’s National Policy in International Information Security 2021, National Security Strategy 2021, and others. According to these documents, Russia pursues a policy towards shaping a peaceful and stable ICT environment and an inauguration of the IIS regime.
The U.S. has long been wary of Russia’s proposals, seeing them as an attempt to limit the development of ICT and challenge American leadership. In April 2022, the United States issued a Declaration for the Future of the Internet, proposing to fight for freedom of information transfer, and naming authoritarian states Russia and China as antagonists of the free Internet.
However, vulnerability to cyber threats has repeatedly prompted the U.S. to seek bilateral agreements with Russia.
In 2013, on the sidelines of the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, a Joint Statement of the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of America on a New Field of Cooperation in Confidence Building. It included three documents stipulating the establishment of direct lines of communication between Moscow and Washington to prevent any escalation of cyber incidents, to promote the exchange of information between national security supervisors, as well as to establish incident and emergency response teams. A special working group was supposed to foster such cooperation. However, as a result of the general chill in the relations between Russia and the Collective West after Russia’s reunification with Crimea in 2014, Washington suspended its participation. A direct line of communication was used in October 2016, when President Obama contacted Moscow in view of hacking attacks on U.S. political institutions on the eve of the U.S. presidential election. The conflict was frozen, but it was an important precedent that attested to the importance of responding to various incidents or emergencies and the importance of communication channels between the two countries.
It was much more difficult for Donald Trump to collaborate in this area due to allegations of his ties to “Russian hackers,” which is why discussions on this issue did not result in practical agreements. In July 2017, during a meeting with Trump in Hamburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to step up engagement in cyberspace. Initially, the head of the White House publicly expressed support for the initiative, backtracking later due to the pressure from the U.S. Congress. During the 2018 meeting between the two leaders in Helsinki, Russia offered cooperation in preventing cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, but Washington rejected that initiative as well.
Collaboration between Russia and the United States to promote information security in historical perspective
The dynamics of negotiations changed under Joe Biden. On September 25, 2020, President Vladimir Putin proposed a project called to normalize U.S.-Russian relations in cyberspace, which included an exchange of “guarantees of non-interference in domestic affairs, such as election campaigns, using the ICT leverage.” The initiative followed a growing number of accusations by various U.S. political forces that Russia had deliberately interfered in the U.S. elections. Moscow has always denied and still denies the very possibility of such interference. The U.S. did not support the proposal, but Russia’s efforts bore fruit later. During the meeting of Putin and Biden on June 16, 2021, the two leaders reached an agreement on cooperation in fighting cybercrime. Besides, a joint U.S.-Russian resolution on international information security was proposed and subsequently adopted as a follow-up to the agreements at the UNGA level.
In 2022, the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from cyber agreements reached in 2021 under the pretext of Russia’s special military operation (SSO) in Ukraine, embarking upon the path of aggressive unilateral action. As Oleg Syromolotov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, points out, Washington is supporting Ukraine’s IT army, including for attacks on critical information infrastructure. At present, the largest number of cyberattacks on Russian territory comes from the United States, NATO member states and Ukraine.
Thus, in the short term, the U.S. is not willing to engage in dialogue with Russia as an equal partner, while Moscow will not accept any interactions imposed on it from a position of power. Moreover, as was noted by Andrey Krutskikh, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cooperation in the Field of Information Security, “statements about the need to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia sidetrack any opportunity for dialogue.”
Problems of reconciling the approaches of the two nations to IIS
This situation in bilateral relations is far from new. We can draw parallels with the crises of the Cold War, when the parties saw the need for dialogue in the face of acute mutual contradictions. Today, interaction on cyber issues is carried out on the OEWG platform. During the Cold War, the UN performed the same functions in the area of strategic stability as the OEWG does today in cyber policy and IIS.
In addition to the OEWG, the UN Special Committee on Combating the Criminal Use of ICTs, also established at Russia’s initiative, successfully follows through with its effort.
Despite the fact that Western states have repeatedly tried to divert the OEWG’s discussions—away from the mandated issues of designing rules of responsible conduct for state actors in the ICT environment to the discussion of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine—the platform has maintained its importance, with Western nations, along with Russia and its partners, actively participating in the proceedings of the platform.
Moreover, there has been a shift in the U.S. position on the regulation of the global ICT environment. The U.S. officially declares the need to develop rules for the behavior of state actors in the information space. Thus, the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy defined the development of rules of responsible conduct for states in cyberspace as one of its goals in 2022. U.S. support for the UN dialogue is related to the fact that the U.S. is becoming more vulnerable in the midst of multipolar digital world order.
Thus, Moscow’s and Washington’s approaches to a potential cybersecurity dialogue at the UN level may seem to be complementary on many issues. No reconciling is to be expected, however. The U.S. and its allies seek to “hijack the agenda” in global forums, orienting the global community towards their own initiatives. As for the rules of responsible conduct for state actors—the area of cooperation traditionally supported by Russia—the U.S. took a stand in favor of the French draft resolution of the UNGA “Program of action to advance responsible State behavior in the use of information and communications technologies in the context of international security” in 2022. This program, as conceived by its authors, should become a permanent UN institutional mechanism for discussing issues related to countering global threats in the field of ICT. It is suggested that the French project should be launched once the OEWG mandate expires in 2025.
The document presents a number of propositions that coincide with Russia’s stance on IIS and that our country has been proactively promoting over the past 20 years. In particular, there is an emphasis on the priority role of the UN in the process of negotiations on those issues. It is also recognized that, taking the specifics of ICT into account, new binding norms might be adopted in the future, and the significance of the results already achieved within the framework of the UN GGE on IIS is also pointed out. The discrepancy has to do with the longer-term prospects of cooperation. In the long run, Russia advocates for an international convention on IIS under the auspices of the UN, while the West insists on non-binding voluntary norms, conditioning the rapid obsolescence of any document on the speed of technological advancement. Non-binding norms are insufficient to deal with the increasing intensity and danger of threats to IIS, and this explains why the Russian vision is backed by many states. In 2023, Russia submitted its draft resolution “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” to the UNGA, which was backed at the General Assembly.
Besides, there are contradictions in the area of combating the criminal use of ICTs. The United States supports the 2001 Budapest Convention, which makes it possible to combat cybercrime without regard for state sovereignty and, in fact, assumes extraterritorial extension of the right of the strongest in this area. Russia, for its part, supports the adoption of a UN Convention, stemming from the principle of inviolability of state sovereignty in combating the criminal use of ICT. At the same time, successful discussions on the draft convention proposed by Russia show support for the Russian vision of IIS, focused on the respect for state sovereignty, equal partnership and formation of international regimes on the basis of legally-binding agreements.
Meanwhile, U.S. initiatives have, for the most part, a limited number of supporters. For example, about 60 states have joined the Declaration for the Future of the Internet. As was noted in the report Confronting Reality in Cyberspace: Foreign Policy for a Fragmented Internet co-authored by Nathaniel Fick, Head of the State Department’s Bureau of Digital Policy and Cyberspace, norms are better used for rallying allies than for managing the behavior of competitors. Washington’s approach is not widely supported around the world, and only its closest allies are willing to sign on to it. Many nations support Russian initiatives, or back both Russian and Western approaches, as they try to avoid politicization in this area.
At the same time, the U.S. expert community, traditionally having a serious influence on foreign policy, is getting tired of anti-Russian rhetoric. In particular, the authoritative political scientist John Mearsheimer argues in his article published by Foreign Affairs in 2022 in favor of dialogue between Washington and Moscow as it could prevent further escalation between the nuclear superpowers. Another prominent realist, Stephen Waltz, published an article following a similar logic. Cyberspace experts pay more attention to the need for dialogue and parity with China, than with Russia, although some publications are devoted to the necessity of dialogue between superpowers in order to prevent global “cyber disorder.” Similar ideas are expressed in the European expert community, including among SIPRI experts. Russian experts and politicians have repeatedly stated that Russia is ready to cooperate on the condition of equal partnership.
Yet, given the modern-day circumstances, no political force in Washington can support cyber negotiations with Russia as anti-Russian sentiments are very strong in the American society. Be that as it may, from practical perspectives, the U.S. is still interested in cooperation to de-escalate incidents and combat cybercrime, as Biden’s representatives have repeatedly stated before. Thus, one should not expect deeper cooperation and new documents adopted, but the U.S. will probably seek to preserve the existing channels of communication instead of tearing relations completely. Drawing an analogy with the Cold War, one can argue that cybersecurity is becoming part of a new strategic stability equation in bilateral relations, despite Washington’s unwillingness to openly admit it, as it insists on maintaining its leadership in this area.
With bilateral ties severed through Washington’s fault, the UN’s OEWG still serves as a channel of communication, which is especially important in promoting information security, where misattribution of a cyber incident can lead to escalation. The prospect of new bilateral agreements on information security signed looks rather unlikely in the foreseeable future; and the most important task is to maintain the level of ties and relations that have been achieved so far.
Despite growing tensions in the international arena, there have been no major cyber clashes between cyber powers. This suggests that states view the use of cyber weapons as one of the “red lines”, being well aware that crossing them could lead to an unwanted escalation. Thus, the IIS in bilateral relations confirms is the best evidence that it belongs to a larger network of strategic stability relationships.
Even the crisis in U.S.-Russian relations, following the launch of Russia’s operation in Ukraine, did not see any changes in the activities of the UN platforms—the dialogue remained intact. The OEWG, as a negotiating platform on international information security, has passed the test in a rough environment, having proven the relevance of such platforms as well as Russia’s global initiatives. In the long run, informal channels of communication will be important, including expert, academic and business meetings, where the search for ways to develop bilateral relations in the cyber space will be possible.
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