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The establishment of a communist Shiite state in Afghanistan

image source: Tehran Times

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Given the internationally known Egyptian researcher’s specialization in Chinese and Asian political affairs, specifically the (academic and research studies related to communist and leftist currents and movements around the world, especially connected with China and perhaps the Russia’s ideological stance on them in the first place), as well as my research and academic area of endeavor to internationally study and analysis of the development of communist movements and currents, and leftism waves internationally, and by applying this to the Afghan interior landscapes, after the Taliban movement’s control and trying to analyze the impact of my mentioned above analysis on the intellectually, organizationally and politically dispute between (Da’esh organization “ISIS” in Afghanistan with the leaders of Taliban movement), the Egyptian researcher reached out to an important conclusion, which she will later try to accurately prove it, through the gate of Russian-Chinese-Iranian control over the Afghan interior lands, through spilling over of the (Shiite sectarian and communist ideological game), in view of the intersection of the China, Russia and Iran agenda by spreading the (communist, leftist, nationalist ideologies, then spilling on the Iranian Shiite sectarian), as an attempt to deradicalize the Afghan jihadist movement of the Taliban movement and possibly the Da’esh organization “ISIS”, through (reviving the Afghan Liberation Party) against the ideology of Da’esh organization “ISIS” and Taliban leaders, and searching for the Afghan old leaders of the (Afghani Communist Party) related to China and the old legacy and inheritage of the Soviet “USSR”.

Hence, the Egyptian researcher analyzed that the success of Russia, China and Iran in (establishing and reviving communist ideology and Shiite doctrine) is the (only guarantee) for them at the present time, to confront the influence of Da’esh organization “ISIS” on the one hand, and perhaps to confront the “Taliban insurgency” in the future on the other hand, as the ideological and doctrinal gate is a real guarantee to support – although it requires a relatively long effort to support and study – the feet of the Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians inside Afghanistan.

  Here, we find that the expected American withdrawal from Afghanistan after its failure may have come as a result of very many factors that Washington could not predict or study well, which was met with a kind of (ideological and sectarian propaganda) in the three countries “China, Russia, and Iran”, with the celebration of all means of communication. The official Chinese media, its think tanks and research centers talked about the American failure in Afghanistan in terms of the (failure of the Western liberal-democratic American model and values in the face of Chinese anti-communist propaganda by their victory over the misleading American values ​​of human rights and the dissemination of American liberal democracy), and others.

  Perhaps this was confirmed by the Egyptian researcher during an international meeting as a press interview with me, published in the Iranian famous newspaper of (Tehran Times), on August 27, and then the dialogue of the Russian diplomat “Dmitry Polansky”, who is the current (first permanent deputy of the Russian mission to the United Nations), on August 29,  In the same Iranian newspaper.

  Noting that the Iranian journalist (Mohammed Mazhari), who hosted me and the Russian diplomat at the United Nations “UN” for the interview, is one of the most famous Iranian journalists.

    With my strong belief that Iran has carefully selected and nominated the personalities with whom it conducted the interview, regarding the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, as evidenced by my interview with the (Russian delegate at the current permanent mission to the United Nations), given my closeness to the Chinese side and all of its files in the Middle East, and my extensive study of all  files of interest to the Chinese in the region with its (Russia and Iran allies) from an academic research point of view, as well as for my internationally well-known academic relations with all sides, and my internationally participation on an almost daily basis with American and Western research groups, mainly for discussion and analyzing of all developments related to China, Asia and the world, with my attempts to focus analytically on the effects of any international events on the Middle East and the Arab world, given my affiliation with that region. With the keenness of all concerned international academic parties to provide me on a daily basis with all international publications, writings and analyzes related to China’s relations with the United States of America, and my keenness as an international well-known known Egyptian researcher and academician to academically and analytically understand and express for the views of all parties, with my full acknowledgment, that we are still missing in our Arab world to a clear academic and research role, and the presence of international think tanks in our Arab region is capable of providing our Arab street with various ideas, analyzes and opinion polls that are always neutral and new, about (Chinese, Russian, Iranian, Turkish, Israeli, Asian parties) and others, to see all the analyzes of each of them according to his point of view by focusing on my research areas in Chinese political affairs, balancing with my current attempt to analyze and present these issues to the Egyptian public opinion and the Arab peoples, and analytically add to it to serve our orientations and thought in our relations with the great and regional powers in the region.

  The Egyptian researcher is still believing that – and I think that everyone agrees with me and shares this opinion completely with me – that the post-pandemic (Covid-19) world is in dire need of peaceful initiatives in all aspects, away from the ideas of hegemony, control, dependence and unilateralism, and even away from the logic of alliances and dividing the world on “fighting fronts”, as the Americans did, by dividing the peoples of the world even at the technological level, with the American logic of that (peoples who follow authoritarian digital technology are non-democratic following China, and others adopt liberal democratic digital technology according to the American Western approach), which is inconceivable from my point of view, compared to the supposed role to be entrusted with the great and major powers around the world to serve the developing and poor peoples around the world. And this is the problem that the researcher is trying to study and analysis it academically by deeply research and transfer it to the region, given that everything that happens between the major and regional powers in the world, inevitably affects our Arab region and our peoples, whereas benefits of the region and its future directions, because, as I have mentioned, and I am still rejecting the principle of (dividing the world into alliances and advocating the principles of multilateral cooperation, multilateralism and cooperation among all for a better future for humanity and for all humanity), as a Chinese principle expressed and stressed out by the Comrade “Xi Jinping”, who has always advocated in all his current political speeches.

    Accordingly, the Egyptian researcher will seek to try to trace the effects of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan on the (future and evaluation of the possibility of spreading the communist and leftist ideology of the Chinese Communist Party and spreading the Shiite doctrine on the Iranian model) to de-radicalize the Taliban and ISIS in general, according to the Egyptian researcher’s analytical point of view, and she will also present it  Below, through her analysis, that the (gateway to the Russian-Chinese and Iranian interests in Afghanistan, whether economic or political, begins with spreading the communist ideology and re-establishing it inside Afghanistan, then spreading the Iranian Shiite doctrine through the minority Hazara and Tajik Shiites inside Afghanistan to defuse the extremism of the Taliban movement and the terrorist leaders of ISIS) to protect the interests of the three concerned mainly countries, are: “China, Russia, and Iran”, through the (ideological and sectarian door).

  Here, the Egyptian researcher will develop a major analysis consisting of (several basic points to explain the interests of China and its allies in Afghanistan), and then my comprehensive analysis of how to preserve those interests through the dissemination of “communist ideology and Shiite sectarianism” to ensure their survival in Afghanistan and the exercise of a great regional role and influence.

    What is noticeable here is that China is seeking to achieve several strategies in Afghanistan, the most important of which are: (fighting terrorism and expanding investments), as Beijing wants to achieve several major main goals in cooperation with its allies (Russia and Iran), and by subsequent planning that achieving those interests is done (ideologically and doctrinally). The Egyptian researcher will also analyze this, as follows:

 1) China, with the help and support of Russia and Iran, wants it to prevent any contact between the “Taliban movement” and the Islamic militants of the China’s Uyghur minority who seek independence from China), who belong to the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement”, and who are accused of belonging to the Taliban activists in Afghanistan.

 2) China seeks to expand its relations with the Taliban movement, and to integrate it into its global project of the Belt and Road, mainly through the Pakistani and Iranian gates.

 3) Beijing views Afghanistan as the (main link between the Central Asian republics close to Russia, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) “CPEC”, as Afghanistan is a short-cut way to link (Central Asia and South Asia, and then between China and the Middle East), and Afghanistan is a gateway to the Arabian Sea.

 4) China is trying to make a strategic partnership with both Pakistan and Afghanistan to form what is known as the “Pamir Mountain Range”, which aims to establish a (new Silk Road linking the Caucasus with western China).

 5) China considers (Pamir Mountains) as a strategic trade route linking the (city of Kashgar in the Xinjiang region of China to the city of Kokand in Uzbekistan on the Northern Silk Road).

 6) Beijing continues its security relations with the help of Pakistan and Russia, and Iranian monitoring of the situation with the leaders of the (Taliban movement) to control the movements of Uyghur extremists belonging to the (East Turkistan Movement) and their extensions inside Afghanistan and the Middle East.

 7) Beijing seeks to deepen security relations with Taliban leaders to preserve their interests. For example, Beijing invited representatives of the Taliban to visit it twice, during June and September 2019, to hold talks with Chinese officials, with the Egyptian researcher noting that this visit came during the American presence and the presence of the “NATO forces” inside Afghanistan.

 8) Also, as it was rumored, China has a military base in Afghanistan, located in the (Wakhan Corridor mountain range) in Afghanistan, in order to protect China geographically and geopolitically from the movement of extremist elements from the Taliban and Turkistan Uyghurs to and from Afghanistan and the “Xinjiang” region in China, where it participates  China crossed its border with Afghanistan through (Wakhan Corridor).

 9) China is also trying to support its influence in Afghanistan to monitor all those (regional powers surrounding Afghanistan), which have close relations or competition with China.

 10) China seeks, through its proximity to Afghanistan and Taliban leaders, to (protect its investments with Pakistan), in particular the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) “CPEC”, and the Pakistani port of Gwadar), as well as its proximity to its strategic ally of (Iran).

  11) China’s presence in Afghanistan can be close to the (State of Tajikistan), and its investments, especially after “Tajikistan” has been joined the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

 12) China oscillates between opening up to the Taliban movement or supporting the anti-alliance against it, as China feared the (Taliban) after seizing power in the capital Kabul in 1996, and China also supported its ally Iran after the (Taliban movement) killed eight Iranian diplomats in the (city of  Mazar-i-Sharif) of Afghanistan in 1998.

 13) China sought to support Tehran in proximity to the (anti-Taliban Northern Alliance) prior to the 2001, whereas the USA led an invasion against Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.

 14) There are Iranian attempts to convince its ally, China, that Iran’s Shiite minority in Afghanistan is the key and China’s eye of the Taliban leaders, through the (Hazara and Tajik Shiite minority) in Afghanistan.

 15) China fears the rise of Da’esh organization “ISIS”, and the joining of more than five thousand Uyghur fighters to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq “ISIS”, and fears that they will target China’s interests, so China developed a (security rapprochement strategy) from the Taliban movement to serve its interests in striking the “ISIS” and its extremist elements who joined these terrorist and extremist groups.

 16) China, with the help and support of its ally Iran, is seeking to “secure their extended borders with Afghanistan and establish a buffer zone”, extending from the (province of Helmand in southern Afghanistan to the province of Kunduz in the north of the country), especially with the Taliban’s control of large parts of the provinces of (Helmand and Kunduz).

 17) Also, China tends to believe that the (threat of the Taliban movement is less than the threat posed by “ISIS”), which is also present in Afghanistan.

18) The most dangerous thing for China after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan remains that it has a role in the (future of Afghanistan), through openness to all its components and forces, including, the “Taliban movement”, given the movement’s continued strength and effectiveness in the (internal Afghan balances), especially that shift of the major factor after the (Taliban’s control of more than 90% of the Afghan territorial lands after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan).

 19) The most dangerous thing for the Egyptian researcher remains, with the existence of some security links for several years between the (Taliban leaders and the governments of China and Iran), as a part of (security relations and regional understandings), and to complement this important point, this explains the reasons for the (Taliban’s condemnation of the killing of the Iranian general “Qassem Soleimani”, as  the commander of the Quds Force in Iraq), who was previously accused by the US administration of supporting the Taliban movement financially and logistically.

 20) China’s motives in Afghanistan range from (fighting terrorism and containing the Taliban with the help and support of its ally the Russian bear), and this appeared after the invasion led by the United States of America, with praise from Russia and China, and the assertion of the Russian President (Vladimir Putin) that:

“Washington bore the burden of fighting terrorism at Afghanistan, and now we should make a campaign to purge Afghanistan from the quagmire of terrorism to the end”

 21) And the most dangerous thing that drew the attention of the Egyptian researcher, is that despite the (Chinese-Russian agreement) on the threat of the “Taliban movement”, as a serious terrorist threat, Russia, with Chinese support, was playing a major role in (fighting the Taliban) as a corridor to supply American forces in its war  Against the Taliban in Afghanistan from 2009-2015, with assurances of Russia’s contribution and support to Washington with several (military helicopters) in this effort against the terrorist leaders of the Taliban, with Chinese support for the Russian side in this context.

 22) But the major transformation in the (relationship between Russia, China and the Taliban movement) has turned into something like a (security alliance) between the aforementioned parties, due to the emergence of the threat of (ISIS).

 23) We find here joint Russian-Chinese fears of the threat of ISIS spreading to the (Chinese Muslim region of Xinjiang, and the Central Asian republics close to Russia’s borders and were part of the historical legacy of the Soviet Union), so both Russia and China will be the (supporters to the Taliban movement in the face of Da’esh organization “ISIS”).

 24) Also, the (tense relations of China and Russia with the United States of America and the West), especially because of issues of trade competition or because of the increase in their military sales as Chinese and Russian-made weapons to anti-Western regimes and Washington, or because of those economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the West on Moscow after its decision  The 2014 annexation of Crimea, and China’s support for Russia in this direction, all led to an increase in the rapprochement between Russia, China and the leaders of the Taliban movement.

 25) The Egyptian researcher believes that (Russia and China) are now playing within the (theory of exchanging roles with the United States after its withdrawal in Afghanistan).

 26) We also find the (Chinese-Russian alliance to find security solutions for Taliban leaders), through China’s agreement to host Moscow (two international conferences) that include leaders from the Taliban movement to discuss and explain the (current Afghan peace process), and Taliban leaders were invited, as well as parties from the Afghan jointly supervised by Sino-Russian.

 27) Perhaps the very dangerous thing, on which the Egyptian researcher stopped a lot, is the accusations made by the American media, specifically, on July 2020 against the (Russian Military Intelligence Unit, with the Chinese support for it), by offering secret rewards to Taliban leaders, to encourage (armed extremists). Taliban to kill US and “NATO forces” stationed in Afghanistan.

 28) We find here, despite the Russian and Chinese denials of the authenticity of these reports, but this has contributed to shedding light on mysterious Chinese-Russian dealings in Afghanistan, according to the American description of them.

 29) We find that China and Russia have major interests after the withdrawal of the United States of America from Afghanistan in order to achieve the (strategy of containing the Taliban movement), especially because the (Taliban movement) is located, intertwined and intersected on the thorny, which is intertwined and linked with the important borders of both China and Russia, which are considered as their sphere of influence in a chain of mountain corridor and the Khan for China or in the Central Asian republics for Russia), and the use of the Taliban movement in the face of the Americans to prove and confirm their influence as the superpowers in the world.

 30) The most dangerous relationship, which the Egyptian researcher has analytically observed, remains with China’s attempt to (ideologically) infiltrate the Afghan lands by promoting the failure of the (liberal model and Western American democratic rule, and seeking to revive and activate the Afghan leftist and communist ideological propaganda at home with the help of revolutionary movements that are ideologically close to China), especially the (Afghan Liberation Party and the old Afghan Communist Party leaders), who are closely related to the Chinese old leaders as well.

 31) The Egyptian researcher paused a lot, as a new advanced analytical aspect of it, and as a future outlook on the relationship between the speech of Chinese President (Xi Jinping) at the (Central Conference on National Affairs in Beijing) on ​​Saturday, August 28, 2021, and Beijing’s ideological attempt for communist, intellectual and revolutionary rapprochement with  Leaders of (Afghan Liberation Party) opposed to the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan’s rule, despite the agreement of their agendas on the need to confront Washington and “NATO leaders” in Afghanistan.

 32) Where the speech of Chinese President (Xi Jinping), who is also serving as a (General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China) at the (Central Conference on National Affairs), on Saturday, August 28, 2021, whose sessions are held for two days in the capital (Beijing) to discuss  Chinese Minority Affairs, by calling for:

“Strengthening and Improving the Work of the Communist Party of China in National Affairs”

  – As President Xi’s statement has focused on:

“The urgent need to consolidate a sense of belonging to the Chinese nation and adopt approaches with Chinese characteristics in dealing with national issues, promote high-quality development of the work of the Communist Party on national affairs in the coming years, and accelerate modernization in ethnic minority areas, concurrent with the need to improve the rule of law in the “Ethnic Minority Affairs” to prevent potential dangers and threats facing these groups, stress the importance of ethnic unity as the basis for China’s unified development, and call upon all the people of the entire Chinese nation to work together towards the goal of building a modern socialist country”

 33) Here, the Egyptian researcher will make a greater leap to link between the speech of the Chinese President, Comrade “Xi Jinping”, and the communist ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, and what the Egyptian researcher analyzed and highlighted as the most important words of Comrade “Xi Jinping” in the (Central Conference for National Affairs) on  Saturday, August 28, 2021 in the capital of Beijing, and achieving:

“Chinese ideological rapprochement with the old senior and central leaderships of the Communist Party of Afghanistan” (Maoist), which mainly called (People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan), then, the establishment of the “Afghan National Army”

 34) With the Egyptian researcher’s attempt to trace the roots of the founding of the (Afghan People’s Democratic Party) and its relationship with China and Russia as well through (the ideological, not the economic, gateway), it became clear that there are old ideological communist links between the Afghan communists and the ancient Chinese communists.

35) Rather, the Egyptian researcher analyzed another matter, related to the same (the Russian left and communist ideological game of rapprochement with the old communists of Afghanistan and the revival of their old ties with the Soviet legacy), through the (Afghan Communist Party), which was initially established in 1965 in Afghanistan, with a great support from the Soviet Union, neighboring Afghanistan at the time.

 36) The ties on which Russia is based ideologically with the help of China to revive the old communist and leftist revolutionary ideological hopes in Afghanistan remains the help of the Afghan Communist Party, led by the communist (Mohammed Daoud Khan) with Soviet help for him at the time, in the coup against his cousin (Muhammad Zahir Shah), who founded the (Republic of Afghanistan), however, shortly after the communist coup in Afghanistan, (Daoud Khan) became against the Afghan Communist Party itself, therefore, the Afghan government pursued the Afghan communists at that time, and worked to cut their relations with the Soviet Union in 1987.

36) Perhaps the Egyptian researcher has analyzed something dangerous that no international study has addressed, related to the (Sino-Russian communist ideological future in Afghanistan to revitalize their future roles as a matter of reviving the old nationalist and revolutionary communist projects), through the revival of the (Afghan Communist Party).  Reviving and establishing the (Afghan National Army) and increasing and supporting their influence in Afghanistan militarily and economically, but through (the communist ideological portal), and with the return of the Egyptian researcher to the history of communism and leftism in Afghanistan, she found that the Afghan National Army fought against the former Afghan government and was able to depose the president  (Mohammed Daoud Khan) from the presidency, and founding the (Democratic Republic of Afghanistan).

 37) The Russian and Chinese leaders have also taken an increasing interest in (Afghan Liberation Party), which is largely present in Afghanistan, has leftist revolutionary ideas, and a political agenda that converges with the Taliban movement, such as: the expulsion of the Americans and “NATO forces” from Afghan lands, but (Hizb ut Tahrir Al-Afghani) has an anti-Taliban ideology, in its extremism and its extremist approach.

 38) Hence, the Chinese and Russian leaders began to pay more attention to (Afghan Liberation Party), starting in 2015, especially its secret network of relations with (the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, Iran and the Shiite minority of Hazara and Tajik in Afghanistan, close to Tehran), as a guarantee for them to be inside Afghanistan, after the success of (Afghan Liberation Party) to infiltrate many (Afghan youth organizations), and that it operates as a (civil wing of many Shiite groups), including the (Lebanese armed group Hezbollah).

 39) What the Egyptian researcher stopped at a lot and as a (future insight) to her, is her search for the hidden and underlying reasons behind the silence and negativity of the Afghan government during and throughout the presence of the American forces and “NATO” inside Afghanistan, and the silence of the legitimate government of Afghanistan, which basically enjoys the confidence of the Americans and the international community regarding the activity of  (Afghan Liberation Party), which adopted a largely negative approach in dealing with (Afghan Liberation Party), which sparked widespread criticism in some Afghan political circles during the period of the Americans and “NATO” control over the Afghan lands themselves.

 40) Hence, the Egyptian researcher found that the (lack of the seriousness of Afghan officials’ dealing with the Afghan Liberation Party, and their failure to take it seriously), confirms her theory of the (Sino-Russian rapprochement with the (Afghan Liberation Party), perhaps with the help of the same legitimate Afghan government supported by the US and internationally) and their support for it. This led to the growing influence enjoyed by the Afghan Liberation Party in (rural and urban areas) inhabited by a majority of Sunnis, despite the presence of large Shiite elements linked to “Tehran and the Lebanese Shiite group of Hezbollah”.

41) It became clear here to the Egyptian researcher, that (Afghan Liberation Party) inevitably and certainly constitutes a great threat to any upcoming Afghan regime and affects even the influence of the “Taliban movement”, which controls large parts of the country, due to the party’s acquisition mainly of the attention of foreign actors in the Afghan state, and it was headed by China and Russia, without anyone paying attention to that with highlighting, studying, researching and analyzing.

 42) When the Egyptian researcher studied the origins of the “Afghan Liberation Party”, it became clear to her that it is an (unofficial party), since it began to work (unofficially) in opposition to the US-backed Afghan government since 2003.  And he set his ultimate goal in “overthrowing the Afghan government, which is backed mainly by the United States”.

43) In order to achieve the Chinese, Russian and also Iranian ideology in the face of Washington, the Egyptian researcher analyzed the modus operandi of the “Afghan Liberation Party”, which consists of several (various stages), which are as follows:

  – First: The Afghan Liberation Party is trying to mobilize the population to cooperate with it, by spreading anti-state propaganda, and working to achieve this by publishing books, magazines, periodicals and brochures on its official website.

 – Second: The party is trying to penetrate society through mosques, universities, and religious schools in Afghanistan.

 – Third: Hizb ut-Tahrir’s goal is to overthrow the Afghan government backed by the United States (mainly peacefully) during the political process.  Although he relied on peaceful efforts at the beginning, but he believes that if all these peaceful steps fail, he intends to use force or violent jihad to overthrow the former legitimate Afghan government led by (Hamid Karzai and then Ashraf Ghani).

– Fourth: Hizb ut-Tahrir believes that (ISIS) has distorted the Afghan people’s perceptions of what the (Islamic State) should look like, in agreement with (Russian, Chinese and Iranian orientations), due to (ISIS) intense focus on violence and brute force.

  Here, we can find that (Da’esh Organization) or “ISIS” – according to the Afghan Liberation Party – is heavily influenced by outsiders, because it has no ideological basis to rely on.

   Through this comprehensive analysis of the Egyptian researcher, it becomes clear the presence, linkage and intersection of (communist and leftist ideology in the relationship of China and Russia with Afghanistan and the leaders of the Taliban movement inside the Afghan interior landscape itself).

    The Egyptian researcher also analyzed the pattern and intensity of Russian and Chinese dependence on the (Hazara and Tajik Shiite minority in Afghanistan, supported mainly by Tehran), in the face of the Taliban movement, both before and after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as the existence of a kind of (secret coordination of the leaders of the Afghan Liberation Party of the Shiite sect with Iran and the Shiite Hazara minority supported by Tehran in the Afghan interior, while seeking to penetrate areas of work and the presence of the Sunni majority in Afghanistan).

  The Egyptian researcher’s analyzes remain of the text and content of the last speech of Chinese President “Xi Jinping” at the “Chinese National Minorities Conference in Beijing” at the end of August 2021, with an analysis of the connotations of his words and the depth of meanings said by Comrade “Xi Jinping’s speech”, by emphasizing the need to revive  Chinese national projects, the great Chinese nation, and the Chinese dream to exist around the world and protect its influence and borders through the gateway of ethnic and national minorities in the Chinese state, which prompted the Egyptian researcher, in a previous and comprehensive manner, to analyze the (ideological relations between the Afghan communists, especially the old ones, with the old leaders of the Chinese Communist party as well as the Russian side, given their intertwined relations with the old legacy of the Soviets and their support for the Afghan Communists).

  The new and final analysis of the Egyptian researcher remains emphasizing the agenda of both the (Afghan Liberation Party and the old Afghan National Democratic People’s Communist Party), by reviving the work of the (Afghan National Army), which may coincide with the future Chinese, Russian and Iranian efforts to have a permanent and continuous presence inside Afghanistan.

   Therefore, the final outcome of the future game for the Egyptian researcher remains the (ideological game), in view of the agenda of China, Russia and Iran to spread (communist leftist, nationalist ideological agenda and then Shiite sectarian), as an attempt to (de-radicalize Afghani jihadist movement of the Taliban) and perhaps the Da’esh organization (ISIS), through the (revival of the Afghan Liberation Party against the ideology of ISIS and the Taliban and the Afghan Communist Party).

  From here, the Egyptian researcher found that the success of Russia, China and Iran in (establishing and reviving communist ideology and Shiite doctrine) is the only guarantee for them to confront the influence of ISIS and possibly the Taliban rebellion in the future, and a real guarantee to entrench the Russian, Chinese and Iranian feet inside the Afghan interior landscape.

Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit

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An Underdeveloped Discipline: Open-Source Intelligence and How It Can Better Assist the U.S. Intelligence Community

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Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) is defined by noted intelligence specialists Mark Lowenthal and Robert M. Clark as being, “information that is publicly available to anyone through legal means, including request, observation, or purchase, that is subsequently acquired, vetted, and analyzed in order to fulfill an intelligence requirement”. The U.S. Naval War College further defines OSINT as coming from, “print or electronic form including radio, television, newspapers, journals, the internet, and videos, graphics, and drawings”. Basically, OSINT is the collection of information from a variety of public sources, including social media profiles and accounts, television broadcasts, and internet searches.

Historically, OSINT has been utilized by the U.S. since the 1940s, when the United States created the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) which had the sole goal (until the 1990s) of, “primarily monitoring and translating foreign-press sources,” and contributing significantly during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It was also during this time that the FBIS transformed itself from a purely interpretation agency into one that could adequately utilize the advances made by, “personal computing, large-capacity digital storage, capable search engines, and broadband communication networks”. In 2005, the FBIS was placed under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and renamed the Open Source Center, with control being given to the CIA.

OSINT compliments the other intelligence disciplines very well. Due to OSINT’s ability to be more in touch with public data (as opposed to information that is more gleaned from interrogations, interviews with defectors or captured enemies or from clandestine wiretaps and electronic intrusions), it allows policymakers and intelligence analysts the ability to see the wider picture of the information gleaned. In Lowenthal’s own book, he mentions how policymakers (including the Assistant Secretary of Defense and one of the former Directors of National Intelligence (DNI)) enjoyed looking at OSINT first and using it as a “starting point… [to fill] the outer edges of the jigsaw puzzle”.

Given the 21stcentury and the public’s increased reliance upon technology, there are also times when information can only be gleaned from open source intelligence methods. Because “Terrorist movements rely essentially on the use of open sources… to recruit and provide virtual training and conduct their operations using encryption techniques… OSINT can be valuable [in] providing fast coordination among officials at all levels without clearances”. Intelligence agencies could be able to outright avoid or, at a minimum, be able to prepare a defense or place forces and units on high alert for an imminent attack.

In a King’s College-London research paper discussing OSINT’s potential for the 21stcentury, the author notes, “OSINT sharing among intelligence services, non-government organizations and international organizations could shape timely and comprehensive responses [to international crises or regime changes in rogue states like Darfur or Burma],” as well as providing further information on a country’s new government or personnel in power. This has been exemplified best during the rise of Kim Jong-Un in North Korea and during the 2011 Arab Spring and 2010 earthquake that rocked Haiti. However, this does not mean that OSINT is a superior discipline than other forms such as SIGINT and HUMINT, as they are subject to limitations as well. According to the Federation of American Scientists, “Open source intelligence does have limitations. Often articles in military or scientific journals represent a theoretical or desired capability rather than an actual capability. Censorship may also limit the publication of key data needed to arrive at a full understanding of an adversary’s actions, or the press may be used as part of a conscious deception effort”.

There is also a limit to the effectiveness of OSINT within the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), not because it is technically limited, but limited by the desire of the IC to see OSINT as a full-fledged discipline. Robert Ashley and Neil Wiley, the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and a former Principal Executive within the ODNI respectively, covered this in a July article for DefenseOne, stating “…the production of OSINT is not regarded as a unique intelligence discipline but as research incident to all-source analysis or as a media production service… OSINT, on the other hand, remains a distributed activity that functions more like a collection of cottage industries. While OSINT has pockets of excellence, intelligence community OSINT production is largely initiative based, minimally integrated, and has little in the way of common guidance, standards, and tradecraft… The intelligence community must make OSINT a true intelligence discipline on par with the traditional functional disciplines, replete with leadership and authority that enables the OSINT enterprise to govern itself and establish a brand that instills faith and trust in open source information”. This apprehensiveness by the IC to OSINT capabilities has been well documented by other journalists.

Some contributors, including one writing for The Hill, has commented that “the use of artificial intelligence and rapid data analytics can mitigate these risks by tipping expert analysts on changes in key information, enabling the rapid identification of apparent “outliers” and pattern anomalies. Such human-machine teaming exploits the strengths of both and offers a path to understanding and even protocols for how trusted open-source intelligence can be created by employing traditional tradecraft of verifying and validating sourcing prior to making the intelligence insights available for broad consumption”. Many knowledgeable and experienced persons within the Intelligence Community, either coming from the uniformed intelligence services or civilian foreign intelligence agencies, recognize the need for better OSINT capabilities as a whole and have also suggested ways in which potential security risks or flaws can be avoided in making this discipline an even more effective piece of the intelligence gathering framework.

OSINT is incredibly beneficial for gathering information that cannot always be gathered through more commonly thought of espionage methods (e.g., HUMINT, SIGINT). The discipline allows for information on previously unknown players or new and developing events to become known and allows policymakers to be briefed more competently on a topic as well as providing analysts and operators a preliminary understanding of the region, the culture, the politics, and current nature of a developing or changing state. However, the greatest hurdle in making use of OSINT is in changing the culture and the way in which the discipline is currently seen by the U.S. Intelligence Community. This remains the biggest struggle in effectively coordinating and utilizing the intelligence discipline within various national security organizations.

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Online Radicalization in India

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Radicalization, is a gradual process of developing extremist beliefs, emotions, and behaviours at individual, group or mass public levels. Besides varied groups, it enjoys patronization, covertly and even overtly from some states. To elicit change in behavior, beliefs, ideology, and willingness, from the target-group, even employment of violent means is justified. Despite recording a declination in terror casualties, the 2019 edition of the Global Terrorism Index claims an increase in the number of terrorism-affected countries. With internet assuming a pivotal role in simplifying and revolutionizing the communication network and process, the change in peoples’ lives is evident. Notably, out of EU’s 84 %, daily internet using population, 81%, access it from home (Eurostat, 2012, RAND Paper pg xi). It signifies important changes in society and extremists elements, being its integral part, internet’ role, as a tool of radicalization, cannot be gainsaid. Following disruption of physical and geographical barriers, the radicalized groups are using the advancement in digital technology:  to propagate their ideologies; solicit funding; collecting informations; planning/coordinating terror attacks; establishing inter/intra-group communication-networks; recruitment, training and media propaganda to attain global attention.  

               Indian Context

In recent times, India has witnessed an exponential growth in radicalization-linked Incidents, which apparently belies the official figures of approximate 80-100 cases. The radicalization threat to India is not only from homegrown groups but from cross-border groups of Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as global groups like IS. Significantly, Indian radicalized groups are exploiting domestic grievances and their success to an extent, can mainly be attributed to support from Pakistani state, Jihadist groups from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Gulf-employment boom for Indian Muslims has also facilitated radicalization, including online, of Indian Muslims. A close look at the modus operandi of these attacks reveals the involvement of local or ‘homegrown’ terrorists. AQIS formed (2016) ‘Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’ in Kashmir with a media wing ‘al-Hurr’.

IS announced its foray into Kashmir in 2016 as part of its Khorasan branch. In December 2017 IS in its Telegram channel used hashtag ‘Wilayat Kashmir’ wherein Kashmiri militants stated their allegiance with IS. IS’ online English Magazine ‘Dabiq’ (Jan. 2016) claimed training of fighters in Bangladesh and Pakistan for attacks from western and Eastern borders into India.Though there are isolated cases of ISIS influence in India, the trend is on the rise. Presently, ISIS and its offshoots through online process are engaged in spreading bases in 12 Indian states. Apart from southern states like Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu — where the Iran and Syria-based terrorist outfit penetrated years ago — investigating agencies have found their links in states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir as well. The Sunni jihadists’ group is now “most active” in these states across the country.

               Undermining Indian Threat

Significantly, undermining the radicalization issue, a section of intelligentsia citing lesser number of Indian Muslims joining al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, Syria and Middle East, argue that Indian Muslim community does not support radicalism-linked violence unlike regional/Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Maldives. They underscore the negligible number of Indian Muslims, outside J&K, who supports separatist movements. Additionally, al- Qaeda and IS who follows the ‘Salafi-Wahabi’ ideological movement, vehemently oppose ‘Hanafi school’ of Sunni Islam, followed by Indian Muslims. Moreover, Indian Muslims follows a moderate version even being followers of the Sunni Ahle-Hadeeth (the broader ideology from which Salafi-Wahhabi movement emanates). This doctrinal difference led to the failure of Wahhabi groups online propaganda.  

               Radicalisation Strategies/methods: Indian vs global players

India is already confronting the online jihadist radicalization of global jihadist organisations, including al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), formed in September 2014 and Islamic State (IS). However, several indigenous and regional groups such as Indian Mujahideen (IM), JeM, LeT, the Taliban and other online vernacular publications, including Pakistan’s Urdu newspaper ‘Al-Qalam’, also play their role in online radicalisation.

Indian jihadist groups use a variety of social media apps, best suited for their goals. Separatists and extremists in Kashmir, for coordination and communication, simply create WhatsApp groups and communicate the date, time and place for carrying out mass protests or stone pelting. Pakistan-based terror groups instead of online learning of Islam consider it mandatory that a Muslim radical follows a revered religious cleric. They select people manually to verify their background instead of online correspondence. Only after their induction, they communicate online with him. However, the IS, in the backdrop of recent defeats, unlike Kashmiri separatist groups and Pak-based jihadist mercenaries, runs its global movement entirely online through magazines and pamphlets. The al-Qaeda’s you tube channels ‘Ansar AQIS’ and ‘Al Firdaws’, once having over 25,000 subscriptions, are now banned. Its online magazines are Nawai Afghan and Statements are in Urdu, English, Arabic, Bangla and Tamil. Its blocked Twitter accounts, ‘Ansarul Islam’ and ‘Abna_ul_Islam_media’, had a following of over 1,300 while its Telegram accounts are believed to have over 500 members.

               Adoption of online platforms and technology

Initially, Kashmir based ‘Jaish-E-Mohammad’ (JeM) distributed audio cassettes of Masood Azhar’s speeches across India but it joined Internet platform during the year 2003–04 and started circulating downloadable materials through anonymous links and emails. Subsequently, it started its weekly e-newspaper, Al-Qalam, followed by a chat group on Yahoo. Importantly, following enhanced international pressure on Pak government after 26/11, to act against terrorist groups, JeM gradually shifted from mainstream online platform to social media sites, blogs and forums.   

 Indian Mujahideen’s splinter group ‘Ansar-ul-Tawhid’ the first officially affiliated terror group to the ISIS tried to maintain its presence on ‘Skype’, ‘WeChat’ and ‘JustPaste’. IS and its affiliates emerged as the most tech-savvy jihadist group. They took several measures to generate new accounts after repeated suspension of their accounts by governments.  An account called as ‘Baqiya Shoutout’ was one such measure. It stressed upon efforts to re-establish their network of followers through ‘reverse shout-out’ instead of opening a new account easily.

Pakistan-backed terrorist groups in India are increasingly becoming  technology savvy. For instance, LeT before carrying out terrorist attacks in 2008 in Mumbai, used Google Earth to understand the targeted locations.

IS members have been following strict security measures like keeping off their Global Positioning System (GPS) locations and use virtual private network (VPN),  to maintain anonymity. Earlier they were downloading Hola VPN or a similar programme from a mobile device or Web browser to select an Internet Protocol (IP) address for a country outside the US, and bypass email or phone verification.

Rise of radicalization in southern India

Southern states of India have witnessed a rise in  radicalization activities during the past 1-2 years. A substantial number of Diaspora in the Gulf countries belongs to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Several Indian Muslims in Gulf countries have fallen prey to radicalization due to the ultra-conservative forms of Islam or their remittances have been misused to spread radical thoughts. One Shafi Armar@ Yusuf-al-Hindi from Karnataka emerged as the main online IS recruiter for India.  It is evident in the number of raids and arrests made in the region particularly after the Easter bomb attacks (April, 21, 2019) in Sri Lanka. The perpetrators were suspected to have been indoctrinated, radicalised and trained in the Tamil Nadu. Further probe revealed that the mastermind of the attacks, Zahran Hashim had travelled to India and maintained virtual links with radicalised youth in South India. Importantly, IS, while claiming responsibility for the attacks, issued statements not only in English and Arabic but also in South Indian languages viz. Malayalam and Tamil. It proved the existence of individuals fluent in South Indian languages in IS linked groups in the region. Similarly, AQIS’ affiliate in South India ‘Base Movement’ issued several threatening letters to media publications for insulting Islam.

IS is trying to recruit people from rural India by circulating the online material in vernacular languages. It is distributing material in numerous languages, including Malayalam and Tamil, which Al Qaeda were previously ignoring in favour of Urdu. IS-linked Keralite followers in their propaganda, cited radical pro-Hindutva, organisations such as the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) and other right-wing Hindu organisations to motivate youth for joining the IS.  Similarly, Anti-Muslim incidents such as the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 are still being used to fuel their propaganda. IS sympathisers also support the need to oppose Hindu Deities to gather support.

               Radicalization: Similarities/Distinctions in North and South

Despite few similarities, the radicalisation process in J&K is somewhat different from the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Gujarat. Both the regions have witnessed a planned radicalization process through Internet/social media for propagating extremist ideologies and subverting the vulnerable youth. Both the areas faced the hard-line Salafi/Wahhabi ideology, propagated by the extremist Islamic clerics and madrasas indulged in manipulating the religion of Islam. Hence, in this context it can be aptly claimed that terror activities in India have cooperation of elements from both the regions, despite their distinct means and objectives. Elements from both regions to an extent sympathise to the cause of bringing India under the Sharia Law. Hence, the possibility of cooperation in such elements cannot be ruled out particularly in facilitation of logistics, ammunitions and other requisite equipment.

It is pertinent to note that while radicalisation in Jammu and Kashmir is directly linked to the proxy-war, sponsored by the Pakistan state, the growth of radicalisation in West and South India owes its roots to the spread of IS ideology, promotion of Sharia rule and establishment of Caliphate. Precisely for this reason, while radicalised local Kashmiris unite to join Pakistan-backed terror groups to fight for ‘Azadi’ or other fabricated local issues, the locals in south rather remain isolated cases.

               Impact of Radicalisation

The impact of global jihad on radicalization is quite visible in West and South India. Majority of the radicalised people, arrested in West and South India, were in fact proceeding to to join IS in Syria and Iraq. It included the group of 22 people from a Kerala’s family, who travelled (June 2016) to Afghanistan via Iran. There obvious motivation was to migrate from Dar-ul-Harb (house of war) to Dar-ul-Islam (house of peace/Islam/Deen).

While comparing the ground impact of radicalization in terms of number of cases of local militants in J&K as well as IS sympathisers in West and South India, it becomes clear that radicalisation was spread more in J&K, owing to Pak-sponsored logistical and financial support. Significantly, despite hosting the third largest Muslim population, the number of Indian sympathisers to terror outfits, particularly in West and South India is very small as compared to the western countries. Main reasons attributed to this, include – religious and cultural pluralism; traditionally practice of moderate Islamic belief-systems; progressive educational and economic standards; and equal socio-economic and political safeguards for the Indian Muslims in the Indian Constitution.

               Challenges Ahead

Apart from varied challenges, including Pak-sponsored anti-India activities, regional, local and political challenges, media wings of global jihadi outfits continue to pose further challenges to Indian security agencies. While IS through its media wing, ‘Al Isabah’ has been circulating (through social media sites) Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s speeches and videos after translating them into Urdu, Hindi, and Tamil for Indian youth (Rajkumar 2015), AQIS too have been using its media wing for the very purpose through its offshoots in India.  Some of the challenges, inter alia include –

Islam/Cleric Factor Clerics continue to play a crucial role in influencing the minds of Muslim youth by exploiting the religion of Islam. A majority of 127 arrested IS sympathizers from across India recently revealed that they were following speeches of controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). Zakir has taken refuge in Malaysia because of warrants against him by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches. A Perpetrator of Dhaka bomb blasts in July 2016 that killed several people confessed that he was influenced by Naik’s messages. Earlier, IRF had organised ‘peace conferences’ in Mumbai between 2007 and 2011 in which Zakir attempted to convert people and incite terrorist acts. Thus, clerics and preachers who sbverts the Muslim minds towards extremism, remain a challenge for India.

Propaganda Machinery – The online uploading of young militant photographs, flaunting Kalashnikov rifles became the popular means of declaration of youth intent against government forces. Their narrative of “us versus them” narrative is clearly communicated, creating groundswell of support for terrorism.In its second edition (March 2020) of its propaganda magazine ‘Sawt al-Hind’ (Voice of Hind/India) IS, citing an old propaganda message from a deceased (2018) Kashmiri IS terrorist, Abu Hamza al-Kashmiri @ Abdul Rehman, called upon Taliban apostates and fighters to defect to IS.  In the first edition (Feb. 2020) the magazine, eulogized Huzaifa al-Bakistani (killed in 2019), asking Indian Muslims to rally to IS in the name of Islam in the aftermath of the 2020 Delhi riots. Meanwhile, a Muslim couple arrested by Delhi Police for inciting anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment) Bill protests, were found very active on social media. They would call Indian Muslims to unite against the Indian government against the CAA legislation. During 2017 Kashmir unrest, National Investigation Agency (NIA) identified 79 WhatsApp groups (with administrators based in Pakistan), having 6,386 phone numbers, to crowd source boys for stone pelting. Of these, around 1,000 numbers were found active in Pakistan and Gulf nations and the remaining 5,386 numbers were found active in Kashmir Valley.

Deep fakes/Fake news – Another challenge for India is spread of misinformation and disinformation through deep fakes by Pakistan. Usage of deepfakes, in manipulating the speeches of local political leaders to spread hate among the youth and society was done to large extent.

India’s Counter Measures

To prevent youth straying towards extremism, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has established a Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Radicalisation Division (CT-CR) to help states, security agencies and communities.

Various states, including Kerala, Maharashtra and Telangana have set up their own de-radicalisation programmes.  While in Maharashtra family and community plays an important role, in Kerala clerics cleanse the poisoned  minds of youth with a new narrative. A holistic programme for community outreach including healthcare, clergies and financial stability is being employed by the Indian armed forces. An operation in Kerala named Kerala state police’ ‘Operation Pigeon’ succeeded in thwarting radicalization of 350 youths to the propaganda of organizations such as Islamic State, Indian Mujahideen (IM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) via social media monitoring. In Telangana, outreach programs have been developed by local officers like Rema Rajeshwari to fight the menace of fake news in around 400 villages of the state.

In Kashmir the government resorts to internet curfews to control the e-jihad. While state-owned BNSL network, used by the administration and security forces, remains operational 3G and 4G networks and social media apps remain suspended during internet curfews.

Prognosis

India certainly needs a strong national counter- Radicalisation policy which would factor in a range of factors than jobs, poverty or education because radicalization in fact has affected even well educated, rich and prosperous families. Instead of focusing on IS returnees from abroad, the policy must take care of those who never travelled abroad but still remain a potential threat due to their vulnerability to radicalization.

Of course, India would be better served if deep fakes/fake news and online propaganda is effectively countered digitally as well as through social awakening measures and on ground action by the government agencies. It is imperative that the major stakeholders i.e. government, educational institutions, civil society organisations, media and intellectuals play a pro-active role in pushing their narrative amongst youth and society. The focus should apparently be on prevention rather than controlling the radicalisation narrative of the vested interests.

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Is Deterrence in Cyberspace Possible?

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Soon after the Internet was founded, half of the world’s population (16 million) in 1996 had been connected to Internet data traffic. Gradually, the Internet began to grow and with more users, it contributed to the 4 trillion global economies in 2016 (Nye, 2016). Today, high-speed Internet, cutting-edge technologies and gadgets, and increasing cross-border Internet data traffic are considered an element of globalization. Deterrence seems traditional and obsolete strategy, but the developed countries rely on cyberspace domains to remain in the global digitization. No matter how advanced they are, there still exist vulnerabilities. There are modern problems in the modern world. Such reliance on the Internet also threatens to blow up the dynamics of international insecurity. To understand and explore the topic it is a must for one to understand what cyberspace and deterrence are? According to Oxford dictionary;

 “Cyberspace is the internet considered as an imaginary space without a physical location in which communication over computer networks takes place (OXFORD University Press)”

For readers to understand the term ‘deterrence’; Collins dictionary has best explained it as;

“Deterrence is the prevention of something, especially war or crime, by having something such as weapons or punishment to use as a threat e.g. Nuclear Weapons (Deterrence Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary).

The purpose of referring to the definition is to make it easy to discern and distinguish between deterrence in International Relations (IR) and International Cyber Security (ICS). Deterrence in cyberspace is different and difficult than that of during the Cold War. The topic of deterrence was important during Cold Wat for both politicians and academia. The context in both dimensions (IR and ICS) is similar and aims to prevent from happening something. Cyberspace deterrence refers to preventing crime and I completely agree with the fact that deterrence is possible in Cyberspace. Fischer (2019) quotes the study of (Quinlan, 2004) that there is no state that can be undeterrable.

To begin with, cyber threats are looming in different sectors inclusive of espionage, disruption of the democratic process and sabotaging the political arena, and war. Whereas international law is still unclear about these sectors as to which category they fall in. I would validate my affirmation (that deterrence is possible in Cyberspace) with the given network attacks listed by Pentagon (Fung, 2013). Millions of cyber-attacks are reported on a daily basis. The Pentagon reported 10 million cyberspace intrusions, most of which are disruptive, costly, and annoying. The level of severity rises to such a critical level that it is considered a threat to national security, so professional strategic assistance is needed to deal with it[1]. The past events show a perpetual threat that has the ability to interrupt societies, economies, and government functioning.

The cyberspace attacks were administered and portrayal of deterrence had been publicized as follows (Fung, 2013);

  1. The internet service was in a continuous disruption for several weeks after a dispute with Russia in 2007.
  2. Georgian defense communications were interrupted in 2008 after the Russian invasion of Georgia.   
  3. More than 1000 centrifuges in Iran were destroyed via the STUXNET virus in 2010. The attacks were attributed to Israel and the United States of America.
  4. In response to STUXNET virus attacks, Iran also launched a retaliatory attack on U.S financial institutions in 2012 and 2013.
  5. Similarly in 2012, some 30,000 computers had been destroyed with a virus called SHAMOON in Saudi Aramco Corporation. Iran was held responsible for these attacks.
  6. North Korea was accused of penetrating South Korean data and machines in 2014, thus interrupting their networks in 2014.
  7. A hybrid war was reported between Russia and Ukraine in 2015 that left Ukraine without electricity for almost six hours.
  8. Most critical scandal, which is still in the limelight call WikiLeaks released distressing and humiliating emails by Russian Intelligence at the time of the U.S presidential campaigns in 2016.

While such incidents may be considered a failure of deterrence, this does not mean that deterrence is impossible. Every system has some flaws that are exposed at some point. At this point, in some cases a relatively low level of deterrence was used to threaten national security, however, the attacks were quite minor in fulfilling the theme affecting national security. Nye (2016:51) in his study talks about the audience whose attribution could facilitate deterrence. (I). intelligence agencies should make sure highest safeguarding against escalation by third parties, and governments can also be certain and count on intelligence agencies’ sources. (II). the deterring party should not be taken easy, as I stated (above) about the lingering loopholes and flaws in the systems, hence, governments shall not perceive the intelligence forsaken.  (III). lastly, it is a political matter whether international and domestic audiences need to be persuaded or not, and what chunk of information should be disclosed.

The mechanisms which are used and helpful against cyberspace adversary actions are as follows (Fischer, 2019);

  1. Deterrence by denial means, the actions by the adversary are denied that they failed to succeed in their goals and objectives. It is more like retaliating a cyberattack.
  2. Threat of punishment offers severe outcomes in form of penalties and inflicting high costs on the attacker that would outweigh the anticipated benefits if the attack takes place.
  3. Deterrence by Entanglement has the features and works on a principle of shared, interconnected, and dependent vulnerabilities. The purpose of entanglement is to embolden and reassure the behavior as a responsible state with mutual interests.
  4. Normative taboos function with strong values and norms, wherein the reputation of an aggressor is at stake besides having a soft image in the eyes of the international community (this phenomenon includes rational factors because hard power is used against the weaker state). The deterrence of the international system works even without having any credible resilience.

Apparently, the mechanisms of deterrence are also effective in cyber realms. These realms are self-explaining the comprehensive understanding and the possibility of deterrence in cyberspace. The four mechanisms (denial, punishment, entanglement, and normative taboos) are also feasible to apply deterrence in the cyber world. Factually, of many security strategies, cyber deterrence by using four domains could be a versatile possibility. Conclusively, as far as the world is advancing in technological innovations, cyberspace intrusions would not stop alike the topic of deterrence in the digital world.


[1] An updated list of cyberspace intrusions from 2003 till 2021 is available at (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2021).

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