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Israel-Bhutan peace agreement and its affect on China’s influence

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First: The relationship between (political normalization agreements between Israel and the Emirates and the State of Bhutan or the Kingdom of Happiness) between India and China with the UAE appointment of a “Minister of Emirati Happiness”

Second: Is Israel’s extensive study of the importance, danger and location of (the State of Bhutan or the Kingdom of Happiness) directly between India and China, the only motive for signing a peace agreement with it?, and then persuading the UAE side to bring the idea of ​​“the Minister of Happiness from the State of Bhutan to the Emirates and then later to the countries of the region”?, I am calling it, as: “The theory of Israel’s employment of political psychology functionally” in the Emirates and the region

Third: An analysis of (the content of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s statement to establish a peace agreement with the State of Bhutan) to balance relations between the Indian and Chinese sides in favor of Washington, and its relationship to political normalization and Israeli peace agreements in the Arab Gulf and the Middle East

Fourth: An analysis of the geographical, regional maps and border areas surrounding the state of Bhutan in practice, and an analysis of the danger of its location for Israel to play a role on (the borders facing Afghanistan) to monitor the movements of the Taliban movement, and in (the dividing line between India and China) to reveal the most important movements of China on its borders in China’s Tibet Province for the United States of America

Fifth: Analyzing the dangerous relationship between Israel’s signing of the peace agreement and political normalization with the small Buddhist state of “Bhutan” directly adjacent to the Chinese territory of Tibet in December 2020, and (Washington’s appointment only two months prior to the US special coordinator for human rights in the Chinese Buddhist region of Tibet in October 2020)

    Since Israel signed full diplomatic relations with the state of “Bhutan” between India and China on Saturday, December 12, 2020, it has called it – according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry statement published on their official website – “political normalization” – in the presence of the Israeli ambassador to India “Ron Malka” with his Bhutanese counterpart ambassador in India, “Fitsub Nagimil”, in a ceremony during which the (the alliance between the Israeli and Bhutan sides was confirmed with Indian mediation), to become the “54th country in the history of Bhutanese relations with the world”, with the Israeli side confirming that “there have been secret negotiations for many years between Israel and a state  Bhutan to persuade it to sign an agreement to establish peace and political normalization with Israel”. This is in view of (the policy of the isolationist state of Bhutan of its wn will since its inception and its distance from the idea of ​​conflict, polarization and competition between regional and international powers, and its adoption of the policy of national happiness for its people and its internationally limited relations). Hence, we understand that Bhutan does not have diplomatic relations with China, nor with the United States of America itself.

   The Egyptian researcher was very surprised by the lack of interest of the Arab side in the event, despite its researching, academic and analytical importance to me for a long time, due to my realization of its significance and its danger to the the Asian region and the Middle East security itself and their balances, so, I have profoundly analyzed the following information and inquiries, regarding:

     The reasons for the United States of America appointing a prominent official for the human rights file in the Chinese Buddhist region of Tibet directly facing the state of “Bhutan” in October 2020, just two months before the signing of the peace and political normalization agreement between Israel and Bhutan in December 2020?  As a result of a special strategic security arrangement between Israel and the United States of America, then what is its relationship with Afghanistan, and with the discovery of a spy network, a modern Israeli spy cell, and military bases for Israel in the state of “Azerbaijan” in Central Asia, at the closest border between it and Afghanistan, to spy on the activity of the “Taliban” movement and its armed militias and to monitor  Iran, then what does all this have to do with Israeli political normalization with the countries of the Arab Gulf and the Middle East, especially the United Arab Emirates?

    And that as you will understand from this long analysis, which took me a long time and extended to several whole months, in order to try to read, understand and analyze the entire scene, and research and analyze all its dimensions and fringes, and then  – the Egyptian researcher has been in-depth reading of the geographical, regional and border maps – surrounding the state of “Bhutan” to understand (the reasons for  Determining and choosing the Israeli side of the “State of Bhutan” specifically to sign a peace agreement despite its very small size, its small population of no more than 750,000 people, and its small influence), in view of my in-depth study of that Asian region, and the study of its relationship with China – as a precise focus of my academic specialization in Chinese political affairs  – and even linking Israel’s modern diplomatic relationship with the State of Bhutan, for a deeper future analysis in my research related to studying the impact of the relationship between Israel’s signing of the peace agreement with (the State of Bhutan) between India and China on (Taliban) in Afghanistan and its relationship with the discovery of two Israeli military bases in the State of Azerbaijan to monitor Iran’s movements and its activitie, additionally of the armed Taliban movement in Afghanistan, and the impact of this on the Chinese role and influence in confronting the state of India, and then the impact of all these data and interactions related to the Taliban. Finally, afterwards, the researcher was trying to analyze the impacts of Israeli-Bhutanese peace agreement on “the future of political normalization in the Arab Gulf region and the Middle East, focusing on the UAE side in particular”.

  Hence, the Egyptian researcher worked for a long time to analyze the issue of Israel’s signing of the peace agreement with (the State of Bhutan) between India and China through the Israeli embassy in the Indian capital “New Delhi” and with Indian mediation, then asking: (What is the relationship of the file of political normalization between Israel and Bhutan and the United States of America appointment of a prominent official on the file of “human rights” in the Chinese region of Tibet, which is directly opposite the state of Bhutan, and a dispute between Bhutan and China)?, and the reasons for that even though (the state of Bhutan) is very small, as you mentioned, which is also called internationally as “the kingdom or a state of  Happiness”, which is based on (the happiness indicators scale, and the Gross National Product for happiness to measure the Bhutanese productivity), the state of “Bhutan” is the first country in the world to appoint a “Minister of Happiness“.  But the serious question remains here, which is:

   (Does the completely severed relations and the cessation of contacts between the “State of Bhutan” and the People’s Republic of China since 1959 due to the Buddhist minority in the “Tibetan region of China” supported by the Buddhist population and its Buddhist monks in “Bhutan” in the face of China have anything to do with the establishment of official Israeli diplomatic relations with the State of Bhutan  Small, due to the difficulty of Chinese influence in the face of India as an ally of Israel and Washington in the region of South and Southeast Asia)?

   For all these reasons, the Egyptian researcher began a new in-depth study of the map of that Asian region of the state of “Bhutan” and to identify its importance in relation to the “file of Israeli political normalization with the Gulf countries and the Middle East”, by tracing the following main headlines:

First: The relationship between (political normalization agreements between Israel and the Emirates and the State of Bhutan or the Kingdom of Happiness) between India and China with the appointment of the UAE as a “Minister of Emirati Happiness”

   Although some were surprised by the depth of this new research and analytical idea globally, which the Egyptian researcher wounded for the first time, and which is not universally addressed by studying many influences from Asia to the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates, and linking it to the “political normalization agreements between Israel and the Emirates” and the UAE’s appointment of a Minister of Happiness, as a step  For full official diplomatic relations with Israel, as an idea inspired primarily by the “State of Bhutan” between India and China, which is considered the first country in the world to care about happiness, and to set the indicator and the national product of happiness, and to make continuous measurements of the happiness and well-being of its citizens at all times. My analysis is based mainly on the following dimensions:

A serious question jumped in the mind of the Egyptian researcher, related to: “Was political normalization between Israel and the UAE planned before 2016, when the UAE announced the appointment of the Minister of Happiness as a newly created Emirati ministry that was established in the UAE on February 8, 2016?”. The most important tasks of the Minister of State for Happiness, which are: Harmonizing all the plans, programs and policies of the United Arab Emirates to achieve the happiness of society.  The first Emirati minister to hold the position of Minister of Happiness is “Ohoud Khalfan Al Roumi”.  And that previous idea directly was linked by the Egyptian researcher to the (political normalization agreements between Israel and the Emirates), and with the appointment of the UAE before it (Minister of Happiness) as an idea that was mainly studied and inspired and brought forth from the experience model of the “State of Bhutan” known globally as the “Kingdom of Happiness”, and Bhutan was keen to appoint a “Minister of Happiness” and policies based on the happiness index and scale, for decades, and the complete reliance of Bhutan on the national product of happiness and measurements of the happiness of its citizens, given that “Bhutan” was and still is the first country in the world to adopt the happiness index and scale to measure (the Gross National Product of happiness in Bhutan),  And it adopted the designation of “official policies for happiness” in the previous long decades.

Hence, my research and academic understanding came in a deeper and more prolific way, related to answering a question that has always occupied me research and intellectually since the appointment of the UAE as its Minister of Happiness, and Israel worked out (political normalization agreements full diplomatic relations with the Emirates and Bhutan respectively, and the two countries’ attention at the same time itself with happiness on the political and national level), as a deep intellectual occasion for the Egyptian researcher to answer this question that raises her globally and intellectually, which no research or analytical study has previously addressed, namely:

    “(The extent of the relationship between appointing a Minister of Happiness in the UAE with Bhutan, and most importantly, Israel’s relationship with exporting the idea of ​​happiness to the Emiratis before signing the “peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates”, especially with the Israeli announcement of its quest for several years to sign an agreement for peace and political normalization with Bhutan, then recognition  Israel that this was done with an Israeli desire and an Indian mediation between Bhutan and Israel)?”

Bearing in mind as I have mentioned that the country (Bhutan) is the first country in the world to adopt the (national happiness index to measure the gross national product), and it was the first to formulate the idea and policy of (gross national happiness) in 1971. The fourth king of the Kingdom of Bhutan, his name is “Jigme Singhai Wang chuck”, who stressed that “the total national happiness of Bhutan is more important than the gross domestic product”. This concept means that:

“Sustainable development should not be linked only to economic indicators of well-being as a measure of progress”

   Since then, the concept of “gross national happiness” has influenced the entirety of Bhutan’s economically, socially, culturally, intellectually, touristic and planning policies, while also dominating the imagination of others outside its borders, prompting the United Nations and some countries and those interested to study the unique Bhutanese experience to learn from it.

The strange paradox of the Egyptian researcher is that Bhutan prevented the entry of television sets, the Internet, and telephones into the country until 1999, with the aim of (protecting traditional culture from external influences).  The Bhutanese authorities have also imposed a pedestrian day every Thursday, with the aim of preventing traffic in cities and protecting humans and the environment. It derives its energy from its surroundings, including: (rivers, valleys, lakes and landscapes), so you find that Bhutan is a small country, and one of the cleanest countries in the world, and the number of cars in it does not exceed a car, all its streets are about 200 cars only, and it has countless waterfalls and rivers  One of the strangest and rarest animals in the world lives in Bhutan, the takin animal, which is of the cow family, and the penalty for hunting it may reach the death penalty even for visiting foreigners.

What caught the Egyptian researcher with great interest, is “their link between the areas and priorities” indicators and measures of achieving happiness in the Emirati concept in a manner similar to the basis for the state of Bhutan, mainly represented in (nine areas for measuring the percentage of gross national happiness), which are, as follows:

  Mental health, physical health, education, time use, cultural diversity, adaptability, good governance, community vitality, environmental diversity and adaptability, and standards of living

   According to the “Gross National Happiness Index” in Bhutan, it was found that 42% of the population of Bhutan was “happy“, while 50% felt “almost happy“, and 8% of the people felt “completely happy“.

The Egyptian researcher also linked with interest the statements of UAE officials and officials in Bhutan about their common priorities for happiness, emphasizing the following:

  That their country had developed a system for measuring progress, which was not only useful for policy making, but would also motivate the government, NGOs and the private sector to increase their “gross national happiness rate and ratios”.

   In this context, Business Week magazine ranked Bhutan (as the happiest country in Asia, and the eighth happiest country in the world), citing a global survey conducted by (University of Leicester) in Britain, called (The World Happiness Map Survey).

Perhaps the Egyptian researcher presented this new and extensive idea in our Arab world and our region about happiness and the happiness index, then he linked it to the state of “Bhutan” in the first place, as the first country in the world that adopted and adopted those policies for measuring the welfare rates of its citizens, and so on, and to here, the matter has nothing to do with this problem or crisis, but my analysis came through (what is the connection between a common idea between the Emirates and Bhutan, which is happiness, and then its relationship later to Israel’s signing of peace agreements and political normalization with the two countries, especially after a period of the UAE’s announcement of appointing a “Minister of Happiness” in it, as an idea inspired mainly by the country of Bhutan).  This is what made me, as a researcher and political analyst specialized in Chinese and Asian political affairs, look at the event from a different angle “politically, psychologically, psychologically, strategically and securityly”, meaning:

  (The extent of the importance of psychological preparation for the Arab citizen and his feeling of happiness and his value and well-being in his country, before accepting the idea of ​​peace or normalization with the Israeli side despite the Arab rejection of it, especially the Gulf in the first place).

I know in advance that (I am willing to propose a new global idea that has not been discussed or circulated and analyzed globally before, but the whole matter has stopped me, not with the aim of attacking or prejudice against the policies of one country or another because that did not really concern me when adopting and presenting this new analytical idea in the Arab world  And globally), as much as it has occupied me as an Egyptian and Arab researcher specializing in Chinese and Asian political affairs for many years.  On what I started, especially from specialists in “political psychology“, regarding:

  (Is putting the happiness index and measure as a concept and a political position in the state an ideal prelude when concluding peace agreements between Arab parties and Israel)? Rather, it remains the most dangerous and most important, regarding: (the relationship between the common link between the Emirates and Bhutan, which is “happiness” and the agreements of political normalization, as the Israeli side is calling it or peace agreements, as it is called in the Gulf and the Middle East)?

   Based on the previous analysis, this brings me to another comprehensive level of analysis and is clearer to me that the (Psychologists) and not politics or strategic experts and academics this time, because it is more related to their understanding and vision of the idea, and the extent of the depth of what I presented and their analysis of it from their research angle, which is:

  (Is Israel’s choice of countries based on happiness indicators and with ministers of happiness, such as: Bhutan and the Emirates having a primarily maximum significance for Israel, politically and psychologically, in order to start normalization? Then, was the idea of ​​appointing an emirati minister of happiness an Israeli idea primarily by its experts to export the happiness of the state of Bhutan to the UAE or adopt the same idea specifically as a “psychological prelude” to pave the way for the acceptance of Israel among the people of the region and the Gulf?)

Second: Is Israel’s extensive study of the importance, danger and location of (the State of Bhutan or the Kingdom of Happiness) between India and China directly, the only motive for signing a peace agreement with it, and then persuading the UAE side to bring the idea of ​​“Minister of Happiness from the State of Bhutan to the Emirates and then later to the countries of the region”?, I am calling it the “theory of Israel’s employment of political psychology” functionally in the Emirates and the region

    When the Egyptian researcher analyzes this new and profound point for the first time globally regarding the UAE’s import of the Minister of Happiness as an idea from the very small “state of Bhutan” between the borders of China and India, and its relationship to Israel’s signing of the peace agreement or normalization, according to the term that has been in circulation in the Arabs for many years, as an introductory introduction to the agreement  Peace or normalization between the Israeli and Emirati sides. Hence, the Egyptian researcher understood this point, as follows:

On a personal level, this matter occupied my thinking as a political analyst on this issue from a different psychological angle, that the appointment of “a minister of happiness in the Emirates and then the signing by Israel, mediated by India, of a peace agreement with the state of Bhutan”, may have come as a deep psychological introduction and precedent to acceptance. Psychologically political normalization between the Emiratis and the Israelis, as a “new Israeli employment of what is known to me as a professor of political science for political psychology and its functional applications, happiness lies in its income and its gross national product”, but rather in its overall management of its internal and external conditions and when setting its policies, as I will explain.

This was withdrawn by the Egyptian researcher by analyzing another indicator that is more dangerous than the (political aspect), given that (the State of Bhutan) does not fully establish diplomatic relations with the State of China and has cut diplomatic relations with it until this moment since 1959, due to the sympathy of the State of Bhutan with the Chinese Buddhist majority located in (Tibet) and directly facing the border with the state of “Bhutan”, as well as the sympathy of (Bhutan Buddhist monks) with their views in the region of Tibet, and their support for the “Dalai Lama”, whom China considers in the rule of the rebels.

The (Bhutan State) also refuses to establish diplomatic relations with the United States of America and Russia, and, as we mentioned, it rejects absolutely any relations with China, because it desires to live in (happiness and harmony among its Bhutanese people), away from the conflicts of the surrounding regional powers and the competition of major powers.  international, such as the United States of America.  But on the other hand, Bhutan has very limited relations with a number of countries in the world, led by (the State of India), and here came the keenness of (Israel) as the Egyptian researcher followed for several years to appoint the Israeli ambassador to India as an ambassador (not residing in the State of Bhutan), and with the Arab side not being completely interested in looking at or thinking about (the State of Bhutan) in view of its very small size and low impact in its surroundings.

Hence, the Egyptian researcher has been preoccupied for several years, considering the importance and danger of the Bhutan site – for which she will single out a separate part – to ensure the Israeli influence and penetration on the two (Indian and Chinese fronts), and its relationship with Afghanistan and political normalization in the Middle East after that, and even remains the most dangerous for the researcher  The Egyptian, and related (reasons for Israel’s establishment of relations with the very small state of Bhutan, which has severed its relations with China since 1959), due to the accusation of (the State of Bhutan) to China of violating the rights of the Tibetan minority in the Chinese territory of Tibet, which has intertwined with the Buddhist majority in the state of Bhutan, as I have explained.

 On the other hand, the Egyptian researcher discussed a lot, and stopped to understand the importance of “Israel’s work for full diplomatic relations with the very small state of Bhutan, despite the presence of an Israeli ambassador who is not resident in Bhutan to the State of India”. It became clear to me that “the state of Bhutan has a great intelligence importance for the country”.  For Israel, which I have studied well, given that it is located in a dangerous middle area between China and India, and Bhutan’s complete severing of diplomatic relations since the fifties with the State of China, gives it a great additional importance and advantage for the Israeli side, ally of India and Washington, by ensuring (the inability to influence the State of Israel).  Bhutan was identified by China as a large country with influence in the region, and after the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, it became clear to me – by referring to the geographical and border maps surrounding Bhutan – the extent (the danger, sensitivity and depth of Bhutan’s borders also with Afghanistan, and its intelligence importance for Israel), and that is considered, according to my analysis of the danger of this small Asian country, it is:

“An Israeli intelligence maneuver to get between all the competing and competing Asian fronts through “a very small country, no one in the Arab world and the Middle East is fully aware of its importance to Israel”

Hence, we understand from this analytical part (the extent of the danger and political sensitivity of Bhutan in relation to Israel), and that Israel did not choose it randomly to sign a peace agreement or political normalization, but when I dig deep and understand what I have reached by studying, research and deep analysis for a long time to try to understand the reasons for Israel’s choice of Bhutan in order to establish a comprehensive peace with it, and even the (Israeli side was not satisfied with the Israeli ambassador in India as a non-resident ambassador also for the small state of Bhutan, and Israel’s request  India’s mediation with its friendly Bhutan to accept political normalization with it).

    Hence, I think that perhaps my research and analytical approach to understanding the importance and danger of this event analytically in the previous way, may have prompted me to think differently about the matter, and then try to transfer it in this new form to the Arab region and Western intellectual and research centers – to adopt the idea and the possibility of studying it together given that it is a new idea to the academic analysis and community that has not been touched upon before – and this may be what may move me to another part of this analysis, to identify the geographical importance, borders and regional sensitivity of the neighboring and surrounding countries of Bhuta in a practical way, especially China, and its proximity to the “Indo-Pacific” region from the ocean side  India, which are the countries of interest in the “new AUKUS defense agreement led by the United States of America with Australia and Britain to counter China’s security and maritime influence in Asia”.

Third: An analysis of (the content of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s statement to establish a peace agreement with the State of Bhutan) to balance relations between the Indian and Chinese sides in favor of Washington, and its impact on political normalization and Israeli peace agreements in the Arab Gulf States and the Middle East

     The most important thing that caught the attention of the Egyptian researcher about less than a year ago, specifically in December 2020, was what she read from a statement on the “Twitter website” of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which it mentioned a text:

“Israel and the Kingdom of Bhutan have signed an agreement to establish full diplomatic relations between them, and this step represents an important development in the course of Israeli-Asian relations”

   Accordingly, the Egyptian researcher tried to trace this important historical event for the Hebrew state, and analyze the content of the statements of Israeli military intelligence men, state officials and Israeli politicians, as follows:

The celebration of the Israeli media, including the website of the “Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper”, emphasized that:

“The Israeli-Bhutanese agreement was signed in the Indian capital, New Delhi, in the presence of the Israeli ambassador to India (Ron Malka) and the Bhutanese ambassador to India (Stop Namgyel)”

The former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed this, saying:

“I welcome the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Bhutan, which is another fruit of the peace agreements”

Here, we find that “Netanyahu” intentionally added, in a statement issued by his office, regarding the new relationship with Bhutan, to a sentence that stopped the researcher analytically, namely:

“We are in contact with other countries that want to establish diplomatic relations with us”

Perhaps what stopped the Egyptian researcher in this context is that – the Israeli newspapers tried to approach in a very simplified and brief way – and by the way, it was ambiguous to me, research and academic, to explaining the importance of the state of Bhutan as a small Buddhist kingdom, and that it is located on an area of ​​40 square kilometers at the eastern edge of the Himalayas on (the border with India and the Tibet Autonomous Region in China), its population does not exceed 750,000 people.

Also, when I read analytically the Jerusalem Post’s comment on the new peace agreement between Israel and Bhutan came, the “Hebrew newspaper’s ambiguous statement to me), said that:

“The Israeli agreement with Bhutan has nothing to do with the normalization agreements that were reached during the last four months with American mediation between Israel and four Arab countries, namely: (UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco)”

The matter increased a research and analytical ambiguity for me, with the assertion of the “Israeli Jerusalem Post” newspaper on:

“The insignificance of the state of Bhutan, and its isolation, and that it pursues a policy of isolation from the world”

Perhaps my interpretation was that it was an Israeli intelligence attempt, which the researcher interpreted as “an Israeli attempt to divert attention away from the importance and danger of the state of Bhutan”, which is what the statement of the Israeli “Jerusalem newspaper” explicitly stated:

“There is no enmity between Bhutan and Israel, but the former pursues an isolationist policy with the countries of the world, in order to avoid external influences”

The important matter remains for the Egyptian researcher, which it has omitted and avoided mentioning all the Israeli statements that (Bhutan cut diplomatic relations with China because of Bhutan’s accusations of China infiltrating the Buddhist-majority province of Tibet near Bhutan).

As the assertion of all the Hebrew newspapers was dull, general and ambiguous to me analytically, with a quick reference, that the state (Bhutan) generally only establishes official diplomatic relations with (only 53 countries) around the world, and this does not include the United States, Britain, France and Russia.

Also, according to my in-depth reading about (the possibility of establishing future relations between China and Bhutan), it became clear to me that this is impossible, according to the strict Buddhist traditions of Bhutan, which (rejects any relations that it may have with China), especially with the “increased warning” of Buddhist monks to China, and their accusation of China explicitly that it violated the rights of Buddhists, so the final decision of Bhutan was to close its border with Beijing after accusing them of China’s invasion of Tibet in 1959, and Bhutan’s view that “the Chinese province of Tibet is an inseparable part of the Buddhist state of Bhutan”.

Based on the Egyptian researcher’s presentation of simple excerpts from all these Israeli statements and statements, she fully understood, as I indicated during the previous points, the extent to which “all Israeli statements deliberately indicate or avoid mentioning a lot about the small state of Bhutan, and its importance as an important regional balance area between China and India”.  Rather, all the statements of the Hebrew newspapers intended for an important matter that caught my attention analytically, which is all Israeli statements, including the official statement issued by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself and published deliberately on the famous “Twitter social networking site” to underestimate the importance of the state of Bhutan, and deliberately emphasize that it is a small country, additionally “it has deliberately concealed all the facts related to its relationship with China, and Bhutan’s close friendship with India, as an ally and closest partner to Israel and the United States of America in confronting China”.

Likewise, the Egyptian researcher noted with great interest the deliberate and omission of all these facts in Bhutan by Israeli statements (to not draw the attention of the world, especially the countries of the Middle East), despite my previous reading of statements related to prominent Israeli officials publicly published, in which they confirmed that “Israel deliberately establishes formal diplomatic relations and peace with countries that it deems of great importance to the interests of the Hebrew state”.

This confirms my previous analytical idea of ​​the danger, location and importance of Bhutan for Israel, and the reasons why “the Israeli side is not satisfied with the Israeli ambassador in India, as a non-resident representative of the State of Israel in Bhutan, who is present as a full ambassador performing his duties in India”.

I also analytically stopped, as a last matter, in a way that should not be neglected, about: “Israeli statements and newspapers deliberately refer to Israel’s explicit request for mediation by India to help it make a peace agreement with the state of Bhutan”, and the Israelis deliberately mentioned the reasons for this, despite “the presence of more impimportant and influential neighbors to India from Bhutan itself”.

   Finally, and based on my in-depth analysis of the content of Israeli speeches, statements and statements about the state of Bhutan, in my opinion and according to my understanding of the general scene according to Israel and its security and strategic relationship with India as an ally of Washington as well, that there is a link between what happened with regard to the location and importance of the state of Bhutan for China, as well as the great importance of Bhutan  , given that it has not had any relations with China for many years.  These are all matters (which were omitted by all the previously mentioned Israeli statements and statements), in a deliberate attempt that the Egyptian researcher read, according to her understanding, that (the state of Bhutan, perhaps is the main winning card for Israel in Asia, given that it is any Bhutan country also is the only country that has a relationship with a state the only one in the Middle East, which is Israel, for the time being).

Fourth: An analysis of the geographical, regional maps and border areas surrounding the state of Bhutan in practice, and an analysis of the danger of its location for Israel to play a role on (the borders facing Afghanistan) to monitor the movements of the Taliban movement, and in (the dividing line between India and China) to reveal the most important movements of China on its borders in China’s Tibet Province for the United States of America

   Perhaps the Egyptian researcher has been preoccupied for a very long time, following the signing of the “peace agreement or political normalization between Israel and the State of Bhutan” in December 2020, with a thorough and objective reading of the danger and importance of the very small “Bhutan” state through “reading and analyzing the maps and the surrounding geographical and regional area, and the most important human and natural resources in Bhutan”, the researcher was very surprised given the remoteness of the entire Arab and Islamic world and its lack of awareness of the danger of this very small country, whose population does not exceed only 750,000 people, but its borders on that (the line directly between India and China and the presence of heights in it to reveal both  From China and Afghanistan together), perhaps the most plausible reason for the Egyptian researcher, especially when (I brought political, geographical and natural maps to study the nature and analysis of the importance of the state of Bhutan, and gradually began a long time ago to study its importance and danger).

                                                                                                         By studying the maps of the Bhutanese state, the Egyptian researcher realized that it was definitely not a coincidence, but rather to establish certain political and institutional arrangements, and most importantly security, which she deeply analyzed that “Israel’s request for mediation by India to help it make an agreement for political, strategic and economic rapprochement with the state of Bhutan was not a normal request with linking the official Israeli-Bhutanese peace statement to the term “political normalization” in the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s statement on the same pattern as the recent normalization or peace agreements with the Arab and Gulf sides, especially the UAE).

    What caught my eye, as I analytically mentioned, and intellectually and researchly occupied me, is the adoption of the “UAE” as the first country in the whole region to set an indicator to measure and increase the awareness, proportions and equipment of well-being and happiness of the Emirati people (as is the case in the state of Bhutan), by designating the (Emirates Minister of Happiness) for the first time in its history and the whole region, and then Israel signed in December 2020 a statement of “political normalization” with Bhutan, mediated by India and an official Israeli request, despite its very small size and small population, as well as its different lifestyle, depending heavily on (indicators and measurements of Happiness and raising the level and awareness of happiness among the Bhutanese people, and primarily caring for the human being, his well-being, his rights, nature, water and the environment), and other such natural and environmental elements.

   Therefore, the Egyptian researcher realized the importance and danger of the “State of Bhutan”, for Israel, and perhaps for its ally Washington, and of course, the state of “India”, an ally of Israel, in facilitating the process of political normalization with the Bhutanese side, due to the friendship between them, given the location of “Bhutan” on the highest mountainous region in the world, and it can  both (China and Afghanistan) were revealed through its chain of heights very easily, and from here we can (by reading and analyzing Bhutanese maps, realize how dangerous the location of that very small country is in monitoring the movements of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and revealing the highest regions of China with ease), according to my reading to the indications of the sensitive areas surrounding the state of “Bhutan” by referring to the geographical and regional maps and the surrounding border area, as follows:

The state of “Bhutan” is the highest country in height above sea level, where the average height of the land in “Bhutan” is more than three kilometers above sea level, making it (the highest in the world), followed by the country of “Nepal“, in which the summit is located Mount Everest.

The sensitive location of Bhutan, as it is bordered by China from two directions for (north and east), and India is bordered by (south and west).

Here, we find that the highlands of the state of “Bhutan” can detect China very easily, given that the heights of “Bhutan” directly face the heights of the “Tibet Plateau as the highest region in China”, with an altitude of more than 1500 meters above sea level, and the summit of Everest is located on  its heights, knowing that the reason for the dispute between the “state of Bhutan and China” and the reason for the severing of relations between them since 1959 is the dispute over “the borders of the Chinese territory of Tibet and its intertwining with the state of Bhutan”, as well as, of course, the most important thing, which is “the ethnic and national intersection of the Buddhist minority in Chinese Tibet”, and the Buddhist majority in Bhutan,” which caused a sharp dispute between the Chinese and Bhutan sides.

We note here the occurrence of the state of “Bhutan” in the face of the heights and mountains surrounding Afghanistan, which constitute about 75% of the area of ​​Afghanistan, and the average height of the lands in Afghanistan is about 49% of the country, in addition to the high level of Afghanistan in the face of the heights of “Bhutan” with a height of up to  to about 2026 meters above sea level.

Here, we find that (the Hindu Kush highlands are the highest mountainous group in Afghanistan) and is an extension of the Himalayas, directly facing the small state of “Bhutan”, knowing that the “state of Bhutan” is sometimes called in some ancient sources and references that the researcher referred to as “the kingdom of the isolated Himalayas”, which is thus in the same extensions and borders of the sensitive geographical areas surrounding Afghanistan.

It is very close to “Afghanistan and the state of Bhutan, which is sometimes called the small kingdom in South Asia”, with an area estimated at 46,500 square kilometers directly between (China and India), and its location on (directly the southern slopes of the Himalayas) made it higher level of the mountains range region in the whole world, and the most dangerous for me analytically, research and academically is “the seriousness of Bhutan’s position in the US-Chinese conflict and polarization in the Indo-Pacific region”, given (the location of the state of Bhutan is only hundreds of miles from the shore of the Indian Ocean).

 Perhaps what caught my attention in research is what I have seen on Indian websites, with the announcement by the (Indian Army) in the month of April 2020, about (the Indian army has sent separate military medical teams to deploy in the countries of India’s regional neighbors), which are mainly (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan) countries, with the aim of helping these countries enhance their capabilities to deal with the increasing cases of the Corona virus.  And the danger of this matter for me, analytically, is (India deliberately deploying teams from the medical army, not the civilian, and pushing them into the heart of the two states of Bhutan and Afghanistan together), which refers to (an Indian move to Afghanistan through Bhutan).

    Through the previous detailed analysis, of the importance of the state of “Bhutan” directly on the border between India and China, as well as its location in the highest region of a chain of heights in the whole world (it confirms indirect confrontation with the state of Afghanistan across its neighboring regional and geographical borders), we will immediately realize the importance of choosing the State of Bhutan “as an ideal country for the agreement of (political normalization between Israel and Bhutan and linking it to the Emirates and the Minister of Happiness on both the Bhutan and Emirati sides).  Its head (China, India, Afghanistan, the Indian Ocean region).

Fifth: Analyzing the dangerous relationship between Israel’s signing of the peace agreement and political normalization with the small Buddhist state of “Bhutan” directly adjacent to the Chinese territory of Tibet in December 2020, and (Washington’s appointment only two months prior to the US special coordinator for human rights in the Chinese Buddhist region of Tibet in October 2020)

      What most stopped the Egyptian researcher was the (link between the appointment of the United States of America to an American official on the human rights file in the Chinese Buddhist region of Tibet in October 2020, and Israel’s signing, just two months later, of the peace agreement and politicalization with Bhutan, normal China in December 2020), which is the Chinese territory directly adjacent to the state of “Bhutan”.

      It came as a surprise when the United States of America appointed “Robert Destroc”, the American official, as responsible for (the human rights file in the Chinese Buddhist region of Tibet), in October 2020, who previously held the position of (US Assistant Secretary  of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor) during the era of former President Trump’s administration, and the United States of America announced that “Robert Destro” would take the additional position that had been vacant since the beginning of the presidency of former President “Trump” in 2017. Hence, the Egyptian researcher began to analyze this American step and its relationship to the agreement of political normalization and peace between Israel and the State of Bhutan, as follows:

The researcher personally considered that the step of appointing the United States of America to a prominent official for (the human rights file in the Chinese region of Tibet, which is directly adjacent to Bhutan) is a deliberate American provocation to China, and one of the latest stages and levels of escalation and tension between the Chinese and American sides, a move that has of course provoked anger  And criticism of China and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However, the Egyptian researcher stopped at Washington’s move to appoint a senior human rights official as the US special coordinator for issues related to (Human Rights in Tibet in October 2020), but what made me look at the matter from a different analytical angle is “Israel’s speeding up after that American step directly with less than less than two months to sign the peace and normalization agreement with “Bhutan”. It seemed to me research and analysis, as if it were:

  “Deliberate security, political, and intelligence agreement and coordination between Israel and the United States of America regarding their joint cooperation in the Chinese regions of Tibet and the Buddhist state of Bhutan directly adjacent to Tibet”

This was accompanied by what the former US Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo) announced during the administration of former President “Trump”, that “Robert Destro”, who was holding the position of (US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor), during the era of the former president’s administration Trump will take the additional position, which has been vacant since the beginning of the Trump presidency, in 2017. With “Pompeo” confirming in a statement that “Destro” will work to achieve:

“Leading U.S. efforts to promote dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama or his Buddhist representatives, protect the unique Buddhist religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of Tibetans, and press for respect for their human rights”

We find that (China has refused, until this moment to deal continuously with that American coordinator for Tibet affairs), considering Washington’s behavior as a blatant interference in its internal affairs.

China was not satisfied with this, but at the same time lodged a protest with the United States, following a meeting held between the Special Coordinator for Tibet Issues (Robert Destro) and the leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile “Lobsang Sangai”. Beijing called on Washington to refrain from supporting the anti-separatists for China.  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman “Zhao Lijian” said, in an explicit threat and response to Washington, stressing that:

   “The affairs of Tibet are limited to China’s internal affairs, interference from outside is unacceptable, and the appointment of the so-called Special Coordinator for Tibet in the United States constitutes a political move to interfere in the internal affairs of the People’s Republic of China and undermine the development and stability of Tibet”

The official spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry “Zhao Lijian” also indicated that:

  “China firmly opposes and never recognizes this, and we have made solemn representations to the United States”

Here, “Zhao Lijian”, as the official spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, made a very clear criticism of the American administration, in which he verbatim said:

   “The so-called Tibetan government-in-exile is a political separatist organization that pursues unrealistic dreams of Tibetan independence, and this organization violates China’s constitution and legislation, and has not been recognized by any country in the world”

Also, China issued another statement through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which it toughened its tone against Washington, in which it said in text:

    “We also oppose any contact with the so-called leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile “Lopsang Sangai” by officials of other countries, as Destro, after meeting with this man, violated the obligations and strategic position of the American side that the United States neither supported the independence of Tibet nor recognizes the “Tibetan government-in-exile”, hence we call on the United States to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, undermining the development and stability of Tibet, and refrain from providing any support to separatist forces”

All official Chinese statements came through the official government newspapers and media, stressing that “China will take all necessary measures to preserve its own interests”.

And mainly because of these American provocations, relations between the United States and China have fallen to their lowest level in decades, due to a group of issues primarily related to “the blatant American interference in China’s affairs”.

     Based on my previous connection and analysis of the (relationship between Israel and the United States of America in Bhutan and the Chinese Buddhist region of Tibet), my academic research and analysis of those successive events between America and Israel came in a completely different way, that:

  It seems as if the matter came out of the context of being just a blatant American interference in China’s affairs, especially with my complete focus on the history of the American provocation to China in the Tibetan region, despite the existence of that Tibetan problem or crisis with China for decades, but “Washington suddenly remembered to appoint its own envoy to manage the human rights file in the Tibet region, and then Israel signed a peace agreement two months later with the Buddhist state of Bhutan, which is directly adjacent to Tibet”, which has completely severed its relations with China since 1959, suggests that there is something secret and mysterious behind the scenes that is not understood between the American and Israeli sides.

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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