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South Asia

Chief of Army Staff (COAS): Operation against terrorists should be expedited

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday directed to launch grand operation against terrorists in south Punjab. According to the ARY News, the army chief said the operation would be carried out after taking the Punjab government into confidence. Chairing a high-level military meeting in Lahore, he said “Operation against terrorists should be expedited” he said. The meeting was briefed on the tragic incident of Mall Road suicide blast attack. As per the report, the meeting decided to launch the crackdown against those banned outfits working with different names. Intelligence-based operations would be escalated and combing operations would be sped.

European complaints against DPRK missile launches

In the early morning of yesterday, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has launched a ballistic missile, another violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, including Resolution 2321 adopted in November 2016.

The DPRK’s repeated disregard of its international obligations is provocative and unacceptable. The DPRK must halt all launches using ballistic missile technology and abandon once and for all its ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, as required by the UN Security Council. We call on the DPRK not to raise tensions further and to re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community, in particular the Six-Party Talks“. That’s what the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) Spokeperson said, from Brussels.
The High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini will speak in the coming days to the Foreign Ministers of international partners to further discuss the international response.

DKPR’s behaviour continues to worry all the international community. Of course, Brussels seems to be so far from Pyongyang, but is a common opinion thet the nuclear tests and, generally speaking, the nuclear proliferation in the northern part of the Korean peninsula constitues a real danger for all countries.

Of course, the game hides some differents and complicated balances: first of all, the role of China, which missiles paradein facts is the only trade partner for the DKPR. Also Putin’s Russia aims to keep the remote control of the region and – despite of the Trump’s russia – fliendly policy – does not like very much the american “temporary” presence in South Korea… and also american missiles and army in the area. Anyway, the Kim’s last launch makes some doubts rise. It is not a secret that one of the Trump’s ideas for the region was to reduce the american military contingent in the peninsula. So, this launch could seriously put in danger all the plans and political efforts to reduce Uncle Sam’s troops.

According to some geopolitical studies, North Korea and South Korea will never fight – directly – one each other. This, because the goals for each contendant in a new war, beetween the two enemies, could cancel each other. The common opinion – extremely summing – is that the DKPR has a strong defensive asset and a very well-motivated army, that could easily face attacks from south also using old planes, cold-war subarines and very obsolete boats. The South Korean Army is well trained and equipped, with new systems, boats and submarines, but her weakness is in the leadership (some units are entirely directed by american officers in charge), in the ideological motivation and, of course, in the potential feeling of loneliness without a clear american guidance and support. And we all know the political scandal that recently hit the Southkorean political leadership. That’s why this missile launch, in an moment while academics started to speculate about a progressive and slow american withdrawal, change the scene of play. Of course, the launch is a muscles demonstrations, but its meaning seems to be changed.

From an european point of view, we can only wait the next days. For sure, since now, the EU has been supporting international efforts to promote peace, stability, denuclearisation and an improvement in the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Since 1998, the EU has been conducting regular political dialogue with the DPRK. The European Community established diplomatic relations in May 2001 and some EU countries have diplomatic relations with the DPRK.  As far as we can read on the official EU institutions’ websites and portals, the EU has been involved in providing assistance to some of the most vulnerable communities in the DPRK since 1195. Current activities are mainly oriented towards support for the agricultural sector and are financed under the Food Security Thematic Programme of the Development Cooperation Instrument.

ISIS’ threat in Indonesia is increasing

BreakingNews @en/South Asia di

Indonesian Military Force (TNI) Commander General Gatot Nurmantyo revealed that the threat of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is increasing in Indonesia. The terrorist group from the Middle East have targeted the Southern Philippines to be the headquarters of the Southeast Asia Region. This area was close to Indonesia, especially Poso in Sulawesi and Tarakan in Kalimantan.

Death toll rises in Baghdad, as IS strikes again

South Asia di
Tension and, especially, violence are mounting in Iraq. As the Armerd Forces’ final offensive on Mosul approaches, IS keeps responding by hitting the nation’s capital city, Baghdad. According to multiple reports, based on information provided by federal police sources, three separate bombings and two suicide attacks killed a total of at least 12 civilians, wounding as many people, between Monday Oct. 3 and Tuesday Oct. 4, in the city centre as well as in Baghdad’s surroundings. These are just the latest episodes in a long run of attacks on the Iraqi capital, which has been continuously struck by bombs and suicide attacks organized by IS’ small groups or so-called “lone wolves” throughout the last two years and a half.
Federico Trastulli

Afghanistan, NATO Resolute support mission status

Defence/South Asia di

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2016 — Afghan forces are performing better this year than last year, and are generally on track with their offensive campaign plan and are on a positive trajectory, the NATO Resolute Support Missiondeputy chief of staff for communications said today.

Army Brig. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland, briefing the Pentagon press corps live via video conference from Kabul, began by offering the deepest sympathies of the command to the families of Army Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, who died Aug. 23 in Helmand province, and to the families of 12 people — seven of them students — who died yesterday in an attack on American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.

Thompson was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated during dismounted operations with his patrol and Afghan counterparts near Lashkar Gah. Officials said the blast wounded another U.S. service member, who is in stable condition, and six Afghan soldiers.

Cleveland said an investigation is being conducted to determine the exact circumstances of the event.

Train, Advise, Assist

The NATO Resolute Support Mission is a train, advise and assist effort that trains Afghans on everything from how to fire a weapon to how to fly an airplane, embeds advisers at multiple levels in the ministries of Defense and Interior, and helps with financial, material, logistics and intelligence assistance.

Resolute Support also trains, advises and assists at the ministry, army, police and the special forces levels, Cleveland said, adding, “We do have the authority under NATO to be able to go out and provide very tactical-level train, advise and assist to our Afghan partners.”

In most cases that takes place on a compound or a forward operating base, and Resolute Support advisers have the authority to go outside the wire to train, advise and assist Afghan partners as they conduct operations, Cleveland said.

“Our role in that, of course, is that we don’t participate, we don’t go on the objective, but we provide the assistance they require,” he said.

On the overall status in Afghanistan, Cleveland said the NATO mission has seen an uptick in fighting over the last month, specifically in Helmand and Kunduz.

“This is the heart of the fighting season,” the general said, “and we have absolutely been expecting that this is really when the Taliban were going to try and make their large push.”

Helmand Operations

Briefly summarizing the 2016 Afghan forces campaign plan, Cleveland said that at the end of March they began in Kunduz, essentially moving to the offense and trying to engage the Taliban.

They had success there and then defended Kunduz City, subsequently turning south and moving their main effort into Helmand, where “again in our view they had success,” the general said.

In central Helmand a U.S.-led train, advise and assist group is based at Camp Shorab, Their focus is to train, advise and assist the 215th Afghan National Army Corps, also based there, Cleveland said.

“Helmand has always been the Taliban’s main effort. It is their prime focus. It is where they invest the most energy,” the general added, noting that the Taliban began the 2016 fighting season with an offensive called Operation Omari in which they said they wanted to hold and seize terrain so they could start developing a sanctuary in Helmand.

Campaign Strategy

Cleveland said: “I would tell you candidly, the fighting was slower than we anticipated in Helmand … we thought the Taliban would launch strikes and attacks earlier but they didn’t start until the end of July. And … really what we’ve seen is, I’d refer to these almost as raids.”

As Cleveland describes it, 15 to 20 Taliban would assault a checkpoint or a district center, a smaller group of Afghan forces at the location would withdraw, the Taliban would loot the place, then the Afghan forces would come back and move them out.

“What we see is the Taliban are not able to hold any specific terrain. Most important is, they are not able to hold any of the population centers and that’s really what the Afghans have built their entire strategy on for this campaign season, is being able to secure key population areas as well as key infrastructure,” the general said.

This is the Taliban’s main effort, he added. Historically, this is where they want to be and they announced it at the beginning of the fighting season. Cleveland noted.

Afghan Air Force

Cleveland acknowledged the NATO Resolute Support Mission probably started late with the Afghan Air Force, but said now they are developing as quickly as possible, with eight A-29 Super Tucano aircraft that they’re using around the country to conduct close-air support.

The Afghan Air Force also has 23 operational MD-530 helicopters and received five more today. Cleveland said they’re using the helicopters in Helmand.

The general added that for about two weeks in Helmand the U.S. forces, under authorities given by President Barack Obama in mid-June, were conducting “a lot of” strikes.

“But since then, what you’ve really seen is the bulk of the strikes and the bulk of the air support is coming from the Afghans,” the general said.

“When we think about these new authorities, in many ways they are also a bridge to an Afghan capability to get their air force further developed, further integrated, further having the ability to use what they refer to as their Afghan Tactical Air Controllers, or ATACs,” he said, “and then being able to plot deliberate targets.”

Cleveland added, “So in our view they are making progress. They absolutely have a way to go, but often times when you hear about air strikes in Helmand or in Kunduz, it’s going to be Afghan air strikes with us coming in and providing some additional assistance as needed.”

Hot Spot – The Crisis Areas

Americas/Asia @en/South Asia di

There are several crisis areas in the world. The events shown below talk about many wars and clashes in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.




8 policemen were killed on Sunday May 8 during an attack on a checkpoint close to Helwan police station. Islamic State and “Popular Resistance” movement claimed responsibility.


Two cross-borders operations for Turkish forces. The first one against PKK in Iraq, the second one against Daesh in Syria. This one was conducted by 20 special forces team which killed about 55 jihadists. While other 63 were killed at the beginning of May, after Turkish airstrikes in Northern Syria.


As in Iraq, U.S. and coalition military is continuing to fight ISIS in Syria. Particularly, U.S Department of Defense disclosed that “attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight strikes in Syria:

— Near Manbij, two strikes destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL fighting position.

— Near Mar’a, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.

— Near Palmyra, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

— Near Waleed, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL storage facility and an ISIL bed-down location, and damaged another storage facility and bed-down location. “

More than 70 killed after fighting between regular army and rebels in Aleppo on May 6. As reported by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 30 of them were soldiers, while over 40 Nusra Front militants.

On Thursday May 5, 12 people killed after a terrorist attack close to an army conscription office east of Homs. Here, the same day, ISIS positions were bombed Russian, and Syrian airplanes.

About 30 people were killed in an air assault on a refugee camp near Sarmada. This attack were not claimed, but it’s probably by Russian or Syrian airplanes.


On Thursday May 5, Islamic State militants attacked some village between Sirte and Misurata: 5 people were killed.

As already foretold by international press, General Khalifa Haftar began attacking on Daesh in Sirte on May 4. He’s determined to continue despite Fayez Serraj wants to suspend every attack.


Regular army offensive against Kachin independence army positions on Wednesday May 4. At least 5 people killed and several casualties, including women.


U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Iraq yesterday, “ Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported on May 8.

Iraqi security forces and al Hashed al Sha’bi militia killed 25 ISIS jihadist on May 7. “The security forces conducted proactive operations that targeted the headquarters and gatherings of ISIS in the areas of al-Hur and Zebin al-Hanshl in the vicinity of al-Ameriyat (18 km south of Fallujah), resulting in the death of 25 ISIS elements.” the commander of the 1st brigade within al-Hashed al-Sha’bi militia in al-Ameriyat, Abbas al-Issawi, said in a statement obtained by

An U.S soldier killed after ISIS attack on Peshmerga defense near Mosul at the beginning of May, as the international coalition spokesman Steve Warren announced said on Thursday. but “The Peshmerga forces managed to kill 60 members of ISIS and destructed three car bombs, as well as tightening their grip on the region,” he ended. While at least 100 civilians escaped from ISIS territory in Kirkuk.

On May 1, two Samawah explosions killed about 40 people and at least 86 casualties.


3 people killed following clashes between Ukrainian army and rebels, despite the ceasefire.


Between April 30 and May 1, AAF bombed militants in eastern Nangarhar province killing about 60 of them, while ANSF killed at least 65 jihadists during raids in Khash Rod district of Nimroz, Badakhshan province, Qads district of Badghis and in Deh Yak and Gilan districts of Ghazni province, as reported by the Ministry of Defense.

Saudi Arabia

Daesh militants killed a Saudi soldier during a battle in the western Taif region on May 7. Two assailants opened fire on a police station before retreating to the mountain village of Thaqeef where the soldier was killed.


The strategic interests of China and the US collide

Over the past decade China has grown enormously, redefining its role in economic and geopolitical level and assuming the characteristics of a true global power. Despite the great changes and the fast pace that has marked them, the Beijing strategic imperatives continue to be the same, at least in part.

On top of the list is still the maintenance of internal unity in regions where prevails the Han ethnic group, located mainly along the two major rivers, the Yellow and the Yangtze. These territories are home to the bulk of China’s population and the main sectors of industry and national agriculture. Keeping the unity in this macro-areas is vital to ensure the cohesion of the Asian giant and to consolidate the role of the Communist Party of China as the hegemonic force. The goal is not easy, though. Uniformity is only theoretical, since the majority ethnic group in the country differs internally through cultural, social and economic articulations that complicate the search for a balance. The economic slowdown also contributes to make the picture even more complex.

Another key challenge concerns the control of the buffer regions, those more remote, inhabited in the past by nomadic populations, and characterized, for a long time, from poorly defined borders. Over the centuries the China of the Han fought with its neighbors, finally being able to integrate many peripheral regions, from Manchuria to Mongolia, passing through Xinjiang, Tibet and Yunnan. Today these areas are of strategic importance to Beijing and help make the country the power that is, but pose multiple challenges for the central government in terms of cohesion and ethnic policies.

The third link in the chain of priorities refers to the protection of the coasts, which cover about 18,000 kilometers from Vietnam to North Korea. For much of its history China has relied heavily on the inner dimensions and land trade routes to grab the necessary resources, paying little attention to the seas. For a long time, then, China did not want to have a powerful naval force, focusing on the defense of the coast from the ground and developing alternative navigation systems, through a complex network of internal channels. Today the situation has changed considerably, and China is strengthening its military fleet. In these waters, however, the distance with the American adversary is still considerable and defense policies still focus on strengthening coastal defenses.

Alongside these three historical imperatives, the economic growth of the past decade has revealed a fourth strategic objective: the defense of trade routes, resources and markets from foreign interference. Today China imports much as exports, is no longer independent as before. The foreign trade has become vital, as well as external investment to acquire technology and know-how. The affirmation of this new paradigm sought greater military, financial and policy presence internationally and has led inevitably to a more direct confrontation with the US and its strategic interests.

The US, on the external level, consider as vital the control of the oceans and the containment of emerging powers, China in the first place. Beijing, for its part, believes that its economic stability may be jeopardized by the American dominance on the seas and trade routes and is strengthening the fleet to increase the weight of his presence.

The strategic interests of the two powers collide and from the outcome of the battle will depend the future geopolitical order. The main game now is in the South China Sea where China claims ownership of some archipelagos to extend its control over the area and limit US hegemony on the southern Asia seas. The US sees this expansionist policy as a threat to freedom of navigation and as a signal of excessive aggression on the part of a rising power, more and more difficult to contain. Both countries have their own reasons and both are pushed by the imperative defense of their strategic interests.

The opposition has now extended also to the field of international finance. Thanks to the dollar power and to the influence that this guarantees in international markets, the US has always been able to dictate the rules of the international economy, relegating China to a secondary role. To break the system, China is pushing for the creation of an alternative trading and international finances system and shall seek to increase its role in the World Bank and other international financial institutions.

Ultimately, the crucial interests of China and the United States are entering in conflict at different levels, both militarily and economically, and none of the contenders can simply wait for the other making his moves. The risk of waiting would be likely to exceed the cost of action. The outcome of the battle is not yet predictable and we do not know how the current strategies will evolve. What is certain is that one of the contenders, if not both, will have to give up part of its strategic objectives.


Luca Marchesini

Luca Marchesini
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