Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Africa, Problemi militari, Russia

Russia. Dispiegati cacciabombardieri in Libia. La strategia russa in Africa.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-06-03.

2020-06-03__Russia Africa 001

Inizia a delinearsi la strategia di Mr Putin e della Russia per il dominio del Mare Mediterraneo. Dapprima l’intervento militare diretto in Siria, adesso in Libia. Ma il Mediterraneo è solo un elemento di uno scacchiere ben più vasto: l’obiettivo è il dominio dell’Africa.

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«The US has identified over a dozen Russia warplanes in Libya, marking Moscow’s first direct venture into the North African country»

«Experts say it is part of a larger Russian plan to expand its influence in the region»

«US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced earlier this week that Russia had deployed at least 14 warplanes to Libya in support of private military contractors known as the Wagner Group»

«It was the first time Russian armed forces were identified in the North African country. Although the Wagner Group purportedly enjoys Russian state backing, the Kremlin had initially stopped short of deploying official military assets to Libya, despite Moscow’s support for general-turned-warlord Khalifa Haftar»

«For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict»

«neither Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) nor private military contractors could “arm, operate and sustain these fighters without state support — support they are getting from Russia»

«Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya …. The UN said Russia’s Wagner group already has up to 1,200 mercenaries in Libya.»

«Haftar’s LNA has sought to oust the UN-backed government Tripoli in favor of a rival Tobruk-based government. He has received support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and, at one point, even France. …. But Russia remains Haftar’s most committed ally»

«Strengthening the Russian military position in North Africa will undoubtedly provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with a much tighter grip over Europe and possibly even deep-rooted influence and control in the wider MENA region»

«Libya’s energy resources and the presence of several deep-water ports will give Putin the logistical and geo-strategical advantage he is attempting to achieve»

2020-06-03__Russia Africa 002

Sarebbe impossibile dominare il Mediterraneo senza poter disporre di porti con acque sufficientemente profonde da permetterne l’uso a navi da guerra. Ma gli unici porti ‘acquisibili’ al momento sono quelli della Libia.

2020-06-03__Russia Africa 003

«Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport announced in April the first contract to supply assault boats to a country in sub-Saharan Africa»

«Russia is building its path to gain a foothold in Africa and broaden its export map for arms on the continent»

«Currently, it accounts for 49% of total arms exports to Africa, according to the database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)»

«Until now, Algeria remains the biggest recipient of Russian arms in Africa, followed by Egypt, Sudan and Angola …. In the early 2000s, 16 African countries were recipients of Russian arms. Between 2010 and 2019, the figure went up to 21»

«Starting in 2015, Russia started selling arms to oil-rich Angola — mainly fighter aircraft and combat helicopters»

«That same year, Algeria signed another arms deal to buy Russian weapons for $7.5 billion»

«Russia hosted the first-ever Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in 2019 as a way of further identifying cooperation possibilities across the continent. During the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “the strengthening of ties with African countries is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities”»

«This exhibition showed that Russia does not aim to offer disruptive new technologies in arms; instead, it focuses on improving the models that have been demanded the most»

«Russia sees Africa as a key potential partner in the vision for a multipolar world order»

«Less European, less trans-Atlantic and focused more on rising powers and rising regions»

«Despite widespread international condemnation of Mugabe’s regime, Russia stayed on the side of Zimbabwe: together with China, it vetoed the UN’s Security Council resolution for an arms embargo in 2008 and criticized Western sanctions»

«Russia has been scaling up activities in the mining of resources such as coltan, cobalt, gold, and diamonds in several other countries across Africa»

«For example, Algeria alone bought around 200 aircraft items from Russia from 2000 to2019, ranging from transporter helicopters to combat helicopters, bomber and fighter ground aircrafts. Various models of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) that are designed for destroying aircrafts or other missiles have been ordered from Algeria (several orders through 2000-2019), Burkina Faso, Egypt (several orders), Ethiopia, Libya and Morocco. Algeria also ordered tanks (more than 500 items in total), as did Uganda (67 items).»

«Cheap weapons — no questions asked»

«Africa is the continent where Russia can freely push one of the key elements of its exports: weapons. Arms trading accounts for 39% of Russia’s defense industry revenue.»

«Russian arms are good. It is universally recognized. Russian arms are also cheaper. There is no reason why African countries would not want to buy them»

«For example, in 2014, government soldiers in Nigeria were accused of human rights abuses against suspects in the country’s fight against Boko Haram. Afterwards, the US cancelled a shipment of attack helicopters, even though the deal had already been signed. That same year, Nigeria placed an order and received six Mi-35M combat helicopters from Russia»

«from 2009 to 2018, Russia accounted for 31% of Egypt’s imports of major weapons.»

«Russia’s defense industry is secretive; the law does not oblige companies to report on arms exports as such, and usually this information falls under the state’s secrecy laws.»

«China is generally growing as an arms exporter and shows similar patterns as Russia in a way of giving weapons with less political conditions»

* * * * * * *

Fornire armi e sistemi di arma è sicuramente una operazione economica, ma i risvolti politici sono evidenti: i paesi che si dotano di armamenti russi alla fine dipendono dalla Russia.

La chiave del successo è di un semplice banalità.

«Russian arms are good»

«Cheap weapons — no questions asked»

«giving weapons with less political conditions»

Il vizietto di voler imporre la propria Weltanschauung come prerequisito ai commerci sta costando all’occidente il domini mondiale.

*


Russia expands war presence in Libya.

The US has identified over a dozen Russia warplanes in Libya, marking Moscow’s first direct venture into the North African country. Experts say it is part of a larger Russian plan to expand its influence in the region.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced earlier this week that Russia had deployed at least 14 warplanes to Libya in support of private military contractors known as the Wagner Group.

It was the first time Russian armed forces were identified in the North African country. Although the Wagner Group purportedly enjoys Russian state backing, the Kremlin had initially stopped short of deploying official military assets to Libya, despite Moscow’s support for general-turned-warlord Khalifa Haftar.

“For too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict,” said US Army General Stephen Townsend, who leads AFRICOM. “We watched as Russia flew fourth-generation jet fighters to Libya — every step of the way.”

The US general noted that neither Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) nor private military contractors could “arm, operate and sustain these fighters without state support — support they are getting from Russia.

“Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya,” Townsend said.

The UN said Russia’s Wagner group already has up to 1,200 mercenaries in Libya.

Russia’s man

Haftar’s LNA has sought to oust the UN-backed government Tripoli in favor of a rival Tobruk-based government. He has received support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and, at one point, even France.

But Russia remains Haftar’s most committed ally.

Moscow has sought to expand its influence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and supported that mission through military escapades. In Syria, Moscow deployed its armed forces to prop up the Assad regime, a move that has ensured its place as a regional stakeholder.

“Strengthening the Russian military position in North Africa will undoubtedly provide Russian President Vladimir Putin with a much tighter grip over Europe and possibly even deep-rooted influence and control in the wider MENA region,” said Tomas Olivier, a counter-terrorism expert and former senior officer in the Dutch government.

“Libya’s energy resources and the presence of several deep-water ports will give Putin the logistical and geo-strategical advantage he is attempting to achieve,” Olivier added.

Risky business

Although the Russian Defense Ministry has yet to comment on the US allegations, Russian lawmaker Andrei Krasov, a member of the Russian parliament’s Defense Committee, dismissed them as “fake.”

With state-supported paramilitary forces on the ground, the Kremlin maintains the ability to deny direct involvement, yet still has strategic assets in place. That plays into its larger hybrid warfare strategy, which serves to undermine rules and responsibilities in the conflicts it engages with.

But deploying warplanes raises the stakes, making it a highly risky move for Russia, according to Theresa Fallon, director and founder of the Brussels-based Center for Russia Europe Asia Studies.

“Moscow’s supply of aircraft reportedly repainted in Syria for plausible deniability, represents a creeping shift from a proxy war to open support for Haftar,” Fallon said. “If Turkey responds by deploying more aircraft, it is likely that this could turn into another endless, Syria-like conflict.”

Although Russian-Turkish ties have thawed in recent years, the countries back opposing parties in Syria and Libya. Earlier this month, the Turkish government threatened to strike Haftar’s forces if they continued to attack diplomatic missions in Tripoli, where the UN-backed government is based.

“Libya is rich in energy sources, migrants can be leveraged in negotiations with Europe and Russian mercenaries are likely to command a lucrative revenue stream,” Fallon said. “This could turn into one more frozen conflict on which Russia thrives.”

*


Russian arms exports to Africa: Moscow’s long-term strategy.

Along with natural resources, arms exports are a key component of Russia’s economy. In the last two decades, Moscow has managed to deepen its connection with Africa and became the biggest arms supplier on the continent.

Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport announced in April the first contract to supply assault boats to a country in sub-Saharan Africa. The recipient’s identity is concealed. What is known: It marks the first export contract of Russian-made final naval products to this region in the last 20 years. While this news might not have caught much international attention, this new deal adds up to a pattern: Russia is building its path to gain a foothold in Africa and broaden its export map for arms on the continent.

Once a major supplier during the Soviet era, Russia’s role in Africa waned after the collapse of the USSR. But by 2000, Russia had made inroads again, and within the last two decades Russia has managed to become the biggest arms exporter to Africa. Currently, it accounts for 49% of total arms exports to Africa, according to the database of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). 

Since 2000, Russia’s arms exports to Africa have grown significantly. The increases were mainly due to growth in Russia’s arms exports to Algeria.

Russia’s eye on Africa

Until now, Algeria remains the biggest recipient of Russian arms in Africa, followed by Egypt, Sudan and Angola. According to Alexandra Kuimova, a researcher with SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the number of African countries buying Russian arms increased over the last two decades. In the early 2000s, 16 African countries were recipients of Russian arms. Between 2010 and 2019, the figure went up to 21.

Starting in 2015, Russia started selling arms to oil-rich Angola — mainly fighter aircraft and combat helicopters. The Angolan government in Luanda has long maintained strong ties with Moscow, dating back to the USSR. In 1996, Russia forgave 70% of Angola’s $5 billion (€4.56 billion) in debt, which was mainly a result of several export credits the USSR had issued Angola for buying Soviet arms and military equipment. In the new millennium, Russia was a predictable choice for Angola to sign new arms deals — and within the last five years, Angola has become the third-biggest African client for Russian arms after Algeria and Egypt. Luanda’s other suppliers are Bulgaria, Belarus, Italy and China, but their shares are small.

The situation was similar with Algeria, the largest importer of Russian arms on the African continent. Soviet-era connections allowed Russia to secure its monopoly on arms deals, and Moscow completely wrote off Algeria’s $5.7 billion in debt in 2006. That same year, Algeria signed another arms deal to buy Russian weapons for $7.5 billion.

“Officials in these countries intrinsically look at Moscow from the Soviet-era links and Moscow has been able to maintain its influence. In some cases, like Algeria, it is done by debt release; sometimes by claiming that it will build repair facilities and manufacturing or maintenance facilities,” says Paul Stronski, a senior fellow in the Carnegie Endowment’s Russia and Eurasia Program.

Russia hosted the first-ever Russia-Africa summit in Sochi in 2019 as a way of further identifying cooperation possibilities across the continent. During the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that “the strengthening of ties with African countries is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities”.

Arms deals were at the center of attention at the summit. African delegates were invited to exhibitions of Russian weapons: from subsonic jet trainor Yakovlev Yak-130, the Pantsir missile system, and the Tor-M2KM surface-to-air missile systems to smaller arms including a new Kalashnikov AK-200 series assault rifle. This exhibition showed that Russia does not aim to offer disruptive new technologies in arms; instead, it focuses on improving the models that have been demanded the most. 

Opening new markets in line with geopolitical vision

Russia’s growing interest in Africa is defined by not only economic, but also political and strategic reasons. Russia sees Africa as a key potential partner in the vision for a multipolar world order.

“Less European, less trans-Atlantic and focused more on rising powers and rising regions,” Stronski said. This is where Russia’s ties with countries like Zimbabwe and Sudan have been established, he stressed.

Zimbabwe has been subject to financial sanctions from the West since the early 2000s. The state was reportedly responsible for violence, tortures and killings of the president’s opponents during the era of former President Robert Mugabe. Despite widespread international condemnation of Mugabe’s regime, Russia stayed on the side of Zimbabwe: together with China, it vetoed the UN’s Security Council resolution for an arms embargo in 2008 and criticized Western sanctions. Russia exports a number of both raw and finished materials to Zimbabwe, ranging from wood, wheat and fertilizers to printed materials, railway cars and electronics. Russia, in turn, imports coffee and tobacco from Zimbabwe.

Russian companies are also involved in diamond and gold mining projects in the country. According to Gugu Dube, a researcher at the Transnational Threats and International Crime program in the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, Russia has been scaling up activities in the mining of resources such as coltan, cobalt, gold, and diamonds in several other countries across Africa. In Zimbabwe, Russian companies are also involved in a joint venture of the Darwendale project — mining and smelting one of the world’s largest deposits of platinum group metal — for which production is planned in 2021.

These include aircrafts, missiles, tanks, air defense systems and artillery. For example, Algeria alone bought around 200 aircraft items from Russia from 2000 to2019, ranging from transporter helicopters to combat helicopters, bomber and fighter ground aircrafts. Various models of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) that are designed for destroying aircrafts or other missiles have been ordered from Algeria (several orders through 2000-2019), Burkina Faso, Egypt (several orders), Ethiopia, Libya and Morocco. Algeria also ordered tanks (more than 500 items in total), as did Uganda (67 items).

Cheap weapons — no questions asked

In Russia’s publicly available strategy documents, such as its foreign policy concept or defense doctrine, African states are defined as belonging to an unstable continent and posing an international threat in light of terrorist groups’ activities, particularly in the North African region. Such documents highlight Russia’s aims to expand interaction with Africa by developing beneficial trade and economic relations and supporting regional conflict and crisis prevention.

This ongoing instability feeds a continuous market for arms — and for Russia, Africa represents a major market without a limit in the form of economic sanctions that came from the West after the annexation of Crimea. Africa is the continent where Russia can freely push one of the key elements of its exports: weapons. Arms trading accounts for 39% of Russia’s defense industry revenue.

“Russian arms are good. It is universally recognized. Russian arms are also cheaper. There is no reason why African countries would not want to buy them,” says Irina Filatova, a history professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics and professor emeritus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who specializes in Russo-African history and relations.

In comparison to other big players, arms deals with Russia do not demand political or human rights conditions. In some cases, Russia has managed to fill the gap where European or American suppliers stepped out.

For example, in 2014, government soldiers in Nigeria were accused of human rights abuses against suspects in the country’s fight against Boko Haram. Afterwards, the US cancelled a shipment of attack helicopters, even though the deal had already been signed. That same year, Nigeria placed an order and received six Mi-35M combat helicopters from Russia.

Egypt is a similar case. After a military coup in 2013, the US started cutting military aid and arms supplies to the country. This left Russia (together with France, another leading arms exporter) with an open opportunity; the country quickly intensified arms transfers to Egypt. From 2009 to 2018, Russia accounted for 31% of Egypt’s imports of major weapons.

According to Kuimova, arms deals with Russia generally go fast. If a certain country needs weapons right away and Russia has them, Russia will be able to supply. What also plays in its favor is a lack of pressure from local civil society groups to track weapons sales. Russia’s defense industry is secretive; the law does not oblige companies to report on arms exports as such, and usually this information falls under the state’s secrecy laws. A general lack of data and transparency has created a situation where civil society groups for monitoring arms trading simply do not exist.

Competition for Russia? Growing potential of Chinese arms

For now, Russia seems to be secure in its markets for arms in Africa. However, experts see the potential of China to become a bigger player for arms supplies in Africa. Currently, China accounts for 13% of arms exports to the continent.

“China has improved the quality and quantity of what it sells. They also do reverse-engineered Russian weapons. Since 2014, Russia has shared sensitive military technology as a part of its growing ties with China,” Stronski said.

Kuimova adds that today China is able to produce and offer all kinds of arms. “China is generally growing as an arms exporter and shows similar patterns as Russia in a way of giving weapons with less political conditions,” she explained.

Researcher Filatova does not see China as a threat to Russian arms in Africa, however — in her opinion, the main competitors for Russian arms will remain the same: the US and France. She defines China’s interest in Africa as predominantly economic and says that “Russia’s competition in Africa in that regard is already lost” — because economically, Russia is not able to offer what China can. Moscow instead focuses on natural resources exports and locking down arms deals. For arms importers, switching to other suppliers is costly, so the likelihood is high that Russia can ensure new deals with its arms buyers well into the future.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Cina, Problemi militari, Stati Uniti

Cina alla conquista dell’Oceano Pacifico.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-08-30.

2019-08-26-_ Cina Pacifico

Mr Deng Xiaoping aveva dato chiarissime direttive ed ordini di priorità.

– Prima costruire un solido sistema produttivo che alimenti l’export.

– Poi, allestire delle forze armate in grado di garantire almeno i confini della nazione.

– Indi allacciare a livello mondiale rapporti paritetici bilaterali volti alla costruzione e controllo delle infrastrutture.

– Solo alla fine, con quel che avanzasse, generare un welfare.

Questo indirizzo strategico è semplicemente l’opposto della Weltanschauung occidentale ed è per questo motivo che l’Occidente inizia solo ora a prenderne atto.

«US pre-eminence in the Pacific is no more»

«For a long time experts have been speaking about China’s rapid military modernisation referring to it as “a rising power”. …. But this analysis may be out of date. China is not so much a rising power; it has risen; and in many ways it now challenges the US across a number of military domains.»

«US defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific region “is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis” and that Washington might struggle to defend its allies against China.»

«America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific»

«The report points to Beijing’s extraordinary arsenal of missiles that threaten the key bases of the US and its allies. These installations, it asserts, “could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict”»

«China lacks the “proselytising zeal” – the sense of over-seas mission, that over the twentieth century saw the US strive for global dominance.»

«China is already a superpower to rival the US»

«Dubbed in military-speak, an “anti-access and area denial” approach, China has single-mindedly focused on a range of sensors and weapons systems that it hopes will compel US forces to operate as far away from its own shores as possible»

«China’s goal is in a time of crisis is to deny the US access to the area within the “first island chain” (the South China Sea bounded by a line running from the bottom of Japan, encompassing Taiwan, and passing to the west of the Philippines)»

«President Xi Jinping has decided not just to stand up to President Trump in the ongoing trade war but to take a much more assertive position, whether it be towards the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong or to China’s long-standing claims over Taiwan»

* * * * * * *

La relazione dell’US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in Australia ad una prima lettura sembrerebbe essere impietoso: poi, quando la materia sia sedimentata, appare financo troppo blando.

Se poi si cercasse di integrare queste informazioni con le altre disponibili, il quadro che ne emergerebbe sarebbe quello di un netto ridimensionamento dell’influenza militare americana.

Banche Mondiali. Senza potenza finanziaria non si fa politica estera.

Cina. Controllo strategico del Mar Giallo e del Mare Cinese Orientale.

Dal punto di vista strategico la Cina può contare su solidissimi alleati. Se si considerasse il tasso di fertilità, il Giappone ha 1.42, la Kore del Sud 1.27, Taiwan 1.13 ed Hong Kong 1.2: una generazioni e questi paesi saranno spopolati, e la Cina potrà occuparli serenamente.


Bbc. 201908-25. Is the US still Asia’s only military superpower?

US pre-eminence in the Pacific is no more.

For a long time experts have been speaking about China’s rapid military modernisation referring to it as “a rising power”.

But this analysis may be out of date. China is not so much a rising power; it has risen; and in many ways it now challenges the US across a number of military domains.

This is the conclusion of a new report from the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in Australia.

It warns that US defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific region “is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis” and that Washington might struggle to defend its allies against China.

“America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific”, it notes, “and its capacity to uphold a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain.”

The report points to Beijing’s extraordinary arsenal of missiles that threaten the key bases of the US and its allies. These installations, it asserts, “could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict”.

China is not a global superpower like the United States. Indeed it is doubtful if its military ambitions extend that far (though this too may be changing as it slowly develops a network of ports and bases abroad).

For now its global reach depends much more on the power of its economy. China lacks the “proselytising zeal” – the sense of over-seas mission, that over the twentieth century saw the US strive for global dominance.

It also has nothing like the soft-power pull of the United States – no equivalent to blue jeans, Hollywood or burgers – to encourage people to share its values.

Indeed according to many indices Washington’s raw military punch still greatly out-weighs that of Beijing. Washington’s nuclear arsenal (and indeed Moscow’s) is significantly larger than that available to Beijing.

The US still retains a technological edge in key areas like intelligence collection; ballistic missile defence; and the latest generation warplanes. The US can also rely upon a deeply entrenched network of alliances both in Asia and through Nato in Europe.

China has nothing like this kind of alliance system. But it is fast eroding Washington’s technical edge. And in any case what matters to China is Asia and what it sees in expansive terms as its own back-yard. Two key factors – focus and proximity – mean that in Asia, China is already a superpower to rival the US.

China has studied US capabilities and warfighting and has come up with an effective strategy to mitigate the traditional sources of US military power, not least the US Navy’s powerful carrier battle groups, the central element of Washington’s ability to project military force.

Dubbed in military-speak, an “anti-access and area denial” approach, China has single-mindedly focused on a range of sensors and weapons systems that it hopes will compel US forces to operate as far away from its own shores as possible.

At the outset this was inherently a defensive posture. But increasingly analysts see China’s capabilities as enabling it to seize the initiative, confident that it can deter and cope with any likely US response.

“Chinese counter-intervention systems,” the Australian study notes, “have undermined America’s ability to project power into the Indo-pacific, raising the risk that China could use limited force to achieve a fait accompli victory before America can respond, challenging US security guarantees in the process.”

China’s goal is in a time of crisis is to deny the US access to the area within the “first island chain” (the South China Sea bounded by a line running from the bottom of Japan, encompassing Taiwan, and passing to the west of the Philippines).

But it also seeks to restrict access to the outer “second island chain” with weapons that can reach as far as the US bases on Guam. This overall strategy can be bolstered by Chinese land-based aircraft and missiles.

Of course, it is not as if the Pentagon is unaware of the China challenge. After decades of counter-insurgency warfare the US military is being re-structured and re-equipped for renewed big-power competition. In the Cold War the focus was the Soviet Union. Today it is largely China.

However the Sydney University report questions whether Washington is sufficiently focused on the task in hand. It says that “an outdated superpower mindset in the (US) foreign policy establishment is likely to limit Washington’s ability to scale back other global commitments or to make the strategic trade-offs required to succeed in the Indo-Pacific.”

Money is going into new weaponry and research. But the task is huge.

“America has an atrophying force that is not sufficiently ready, equipped or postured for great power competition” and the report warns that a back-log of simultaneous modernisation priorities “will likely outstrip its budget capacity.”

It is a sobering document written by a prestigious institution from one of Washington’s closest allies in the region.

China clearly feels empowered – you can see this from the tone of its recently published defence white paper.

President Xi Jinping has decided not just to stand up to President Trump in the ongoing trade war but to take a much more assertive position, whether it be towards the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong or to China’s long-standing claims over Taiwan.

China’s military rise to match its growing economic muscle was inevitable. But some analysts fear that President Trump has made a difficult situation worse.

Many in the US feel it was time to stand-up to China on trade – but the way the US is going about it leads several experts to fear that Washington may simply lose the trade war.

Overall the Trump Administration’s foreign policy often lacks a clear strategic aspect and is prone to the whims of the Presidential twitter feed and bizarre distractions like his apparent desire to purchase Greenland.

In contrast China knows exactly where it wants to go and it has the strategy and the means to get there. Indeed, for all intents and purposes, it may have already arrived.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Stati Uniti

Turkia. In arrivo la seconda consegna di S-400.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-08-28.

Dardanelli 001

«The S-400 is a massive upgrade to the S-300, its predecessor which was recently sent to Syria.

Because of its capabilities, several countries including China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India and Qatar have said they are willing to buy the S-400.

Almost every government that announced it was planning to buy the system was threatened with some kind of diplomatic retaliation from the US, NATO or adversaries.

The reason for this blowback, according to several experts Al Jazeera interviewed, is not only because the S-400 is technologically advanced, it also poses a potential risk for long-standing alliances. ….

The S-400 is among the most advanced air defence systems available, on par with the best the West has to offer, …. Its radars and other sensors, as well as its missiles, cover an extensive area – the radar has a range of at least 600km for surveillance, and its missiles have ranges of up to 400km, ….

It’s precise and it manages to track a very large number of potential targets, including stealth targets. ….

It’s intended to be a one-size-fits-all missile system. It can be configured with long-range, semi long-range, medium-range and even short-range weapons systems, depending on how the individual user wishes to configure the S-400 ….

Turkey, a NATO member ….

The US Department of State has said Chinese purchases of SU-35 aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missiles breached the CAATSA, only weeks after it said India might be subject to sanctions if it continues with purchasing the system. 

However, India decided earlier this week to buy the weapons system.

“India places top priority on ties with Russia. In today’s fast-changing world, our relationship assumes heightened importance,” India Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russia President Vladimir Putin after they signed the $5bn deal.» [Fonte]

* * *

Non si può prendere a calci nei denti la gente e poi sperare che venga anche a ringraziare.

I rapporti tra stati dovrebbero essere paritetici: nessuno ha il diritto di fare la morale agli altri.

Mr Xi e Mr Putin questo lo sanno più che bene.


Aljazeera. 2019-08-26. Turkey to receive second batch of S-400 missile system this week

Ankara has gone ahead with its purchase of the Russian defence system despite threats of US sanctions.

*

Turkey will receive the second batch of the Russian S-400 missile system on Tuesday, Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar has said.

Ankara received its first supply of S-400 missiles in July, despite a warning by the United States about possible sanctions. The acquisition of the highly-advanced air defence system has led to a standoff between Turkey and its NATO allies, especially the US.

Deliveries of the system are set to continue until April 2020.

The modular S-400 is seen as one of the most advanced missile systems in the world, capable of tracking several targets simultaneously and ready to be fired within minutes. 

The US has repeatedly said that the Russian system is incompatible with NATO systems and is a threat to the hi-tech F-35 fighter jets, which Turkey is also planning to buy.

Washington has said Turkey will not be allowed to participate in the F-35 programme because of the Turkey-Russia deal.

The US has strongly urged Turkey to pull back from the deal – the first such move between a NATO member and Russia – warning Ankara that it will face economic sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act if it goes ahead with the purchase, reportedly costing more than $2bn.

So far, however, Ankara has refused to give in to US pressure, insisting that choosing which defence equipment to buy is a matter of national sovereignty.

Sanctions would mark a new low in the already tense relations between Turkey and the US.

Last year, the US imposed sanctions on Turkey over the detention of an American pastor, triggering a Turkish currency crisis. The sanctions were later lifted upon the pastor’s release. 

The deal with Russia has also raised concerns in Western circles that Turkey is drifting closer to Moscow’s sphere of influence.

According to analysts, these purchases form more than just a military threat to the US.

They are about countering Russia’s involvement in global conflicts, but also about maintaining long-standing US diplomatic relations and preventing Russia from receiving hard currency for its equipment, the analysts told Al Jazeera last year.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Russia

Russia. Proibito ai militari l’uso del telefonino.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-02-23.

Gufo_019__

Nell’immaginario collettivo il lavoro di intelligence è spesso raffigurato nei termini delle missioni di James Bond.

Nulla di più differente.

La corretta lettura dei media e le intercettazioni telefoniche sono una fonte incredibile di informazioni.

Di norma, anche le password più gelosamente custodite viaggiano poi con stupefacente facilità su media e conversazioni. Cosa questa che facilita in modo sostanziale il lavoro dello spionaggio elettronico.

L’imbecillità umana rasenta sempre l’incredibile: gli esseri umani son ben più fessi di quanto vogliano ammettere.

Un esempio?

Fitness app Strava lights up staff at military bases

«Security concerns have been raised after a fitness tracking firm showed the exercise routes of military personnel in bases around the world.

Online fitness tracker Strava has published a “heatmap” showing the paths its users log as they run or cycle.

It appears to show the structure of foreign military bases in countries including Syria and Afghanistan as soldiers move around them.

The US military was examining the heatmap, a spokesman said.

How does Strava work?

San Francisco-based Strava provides an app that uses a mobile phone’s GPS to track a subscriber’s exercise activity.

It uses the collected data, as well as that from fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone, to enable people to check their own performances and compare them with others.

It says it has 27 million users around the world.»

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Lo spionaggio avverso può così facilmente seguire persona per persona, militare per militare.

Poi, il clou è quando i soldati usano i loro telefonici quando siano in azione.

È una vera manna dal cielo per gli avversari, che non sono poi così sprovvidi come si vorrebbe fa credere.

* * * * * * *

«Russia’s parliament has voted to ban soldiers from using smartphones while on duty, after their social media use raised issues of national security»

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«The bill forbids military personnel from using a phone with the ability to take pictures, record videos and access the internet»

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«Soldiers also cannot write about the military or talk to journalists»

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«More than 400 of 450 lawmakers in Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, backed the law on Tuesday »

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«Phones with basic calling and messaging facilities could still be used, but tablets and laptops would also subject to the new ban»

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«Soldiers’ social media data has allowed open-source journalism sites like Bellingcat to expose secret military activity by Russian forces, sometimes in real time»

* * * * * * *

A parere di molti, le comunicazioni smartphone di soldati russi intercettate dagli occidentali altro non erano che controinformazioni artatamente propalate dai servizi segreti russi.


Bbc. 2019-02-20. Russia bans smartphones for soldiers over social media fears

Russia’s parliament has voted to ban soldiers from using smartphones while on duty, after their social media use raised issues of national security.

The bill forbids military personnel from using a phone with the ability to take pictures, record videos and access the internet.

Soldiers also cannot write about the military or talk to journalists.

More than 400 of 450 lawmakers in Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma, backed the law on Tuesday.

Phones with basic calling and messaging facilities could still be used, but tablets and laptops would also subject to the new ban.

Soldiers’ social media data has allowed open-source journalism sites like Bellingcat to expose secret military activity by Russian forces, sometimes in real time.

The bill must now be considered by the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, before being signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

Why is there a ban?

Russian officials said the move was necessary to protect military information from foreign intelligence services.

In recent years, social media posts by servicemen have revealed Russia’s military presence in eastern Ukraine and Syria, sometimes contradicting the government’s official claim of not having troops there.

Since 2017, Russian soldiers have been warned against sharing any information online, including selfies.

Russia is not the first country to take steps to introduce stricter digital practices for military personnel following security issues.

US military security concerns were raised when a fitness tracking firm showed the exercise routes of military personnel in bases around the world – including in Syria and Afghanistan during conflict time.

US soldiers are still allowed to use social media, but must follow guidelines.

Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Asiatica, Problemi militari, Russia

Russia. Putin militarizza le isole Kurili.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-12-20.

Kurili 002

Sarebbe sufficiente dare un’occhiata alla carta geografica.

Il Mare di Okhotsk è delimitato a nord dalle rive siberiane orientali, ad est dalla Penisola di Kamchacta che si protende verso sud per quasi mille kilometri, mentre ad ovest l’Isola di Sakhalin è disposta da nord a sud per quasi ottocento kilometri. Lo sbocco verso il mare libero dell’Oceano Pacifico è bloccato dalla catena di Isole Kurili. Chi abbia il controllo militare delle Kurili governa gli accessi al mare di Okhotsk.

Qualche nota aggiuntiva.

L’Isola di Sakhalin è ricchissima di giacimenti minerari: oro, argento, titanio, ferro e carbone. Negli ultimi anni sono stati individuati giacimenti di petrolio e gas naturale, che sembrerebbero essere tra i maggiori del mondo.

Le isole Kurili furono occupate dai russi negli ultimi giorni della seconda guerra mondiale e, finita la guerra, tutti i giapponesi abitanti nell’Isola di Sakhalin, quattrocentomila circa, furono deportati, mossa questa che si dimostrò essere lungimirante.

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Se questi sono gli elementi geopolitici locoregionali, si dovrebbero considerare anche molti altri elementi internazionali. Anche se il Mare di Okhotsk è racchiuso prevalentemente da coste russe, attraverso gli Stretti Kurili potrebbe essere raggiunto da flotte di altre nazioni. È del tutto comprensibile che una simile opzione risulti essere sgradita ai russi.

Ecco quindi che Mr Putin ha deciso di rafforzare in modo significativo la presenza militare russa nelle Kurili.

«Russia said on Monday it had built new barracks for troops on a disputed chain of islands near Japan and would build more facilities for armored vehicles, a move likely to anger Tokyo after it urged Moscow to reduce its military activity there»

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«The announcement, from the Ministry of Defence, said Moscow planned to shift troops into four housing complexes on two of the four disputed islands, known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, next week»

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«Tokyo says it is concerned by what it regards as an unhelpful Russian military build-up on the islands – which has included warplane, missile defense and other deployments. Moscow, meanwhile, says it is perturbed by Japan’s roll-out of the Aegis Ashore U.S. missile system»

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«In the meantime, Moscow is fortifying the islands»

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«The Defence Ministry said on Monday it wanted troops and their families to move into the two new housing complexes on one of the four islands, Iturup (Etorofu in Japan), and into two others on the island of Kunashir (Kunashiri in Japan), on Dec. 25»

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Nota.

Questa fotografia delle Kurili illustra benissimo la mentalità russa, che accetta e non rinnega il proprio passato.

Kurili 003


Reuters. 2018-12-17. Russia to move troops into new barracks on disputed islands near Japan

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia said on Monday it had built new barracks for troops on a disputed chain of islands near Japan and would build more facilities for armored vehicles, a move likely to anger Tokyo after it urged Moscow to reduce its military activity there.

The announcement, from the Ministry of Defence, said Moscow planned to shift troops into four housing complexes on two of the four disputed islands, known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, next week.

The news came after the Kremlin said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might visit Russia on Jan. 21 as the two countries step up a push to defuse the territorial dispute to allow them to sign a World War Two peace treaty, something the disagreement over the Pacific islands has long prevented.

There was no immediate reaction from Japan. Tokyo said in July it had asked Russia to reduce its military activity on the islands, a plea Moscow dismissed as unhelpful megaphone diplomacy at the time.

Soviet forces seized the four islands at the end of World War Two and Moscow and Tokyo both claim sovereignty over them. Diplomats on both sides have spoken of the possibility of reviving a Soviet-era draft agreement that envisaged returning two of the four islands as part of a peace deal.

President Vladimir Putin and Abe have held numerous face-to-face meetings to try to make progress.

But tensions have remained high. Tokyo says it is concerned by what it regards as an unhelpful Russian military build-up on the islands – which has included warplane, missile defense and other deployments. Moscow, meanwhile, says it is perturbed by Japan’s roll-out of the Aegis Ashore U.S. missile system.

Russian politicians say they fear Japan might agree to deploy U.S. missile facilities on the islands if it ever got any of them back and that Moscow could only countenance a deal if it received a cast-iron guarantee that ruled out such a scenario.

In the meantime, Moscow is fortifying the islands.

The Defence Ministry said on Monday it wanted troops and their families to move into the two new housing complexes on one of the four islands, Iturup (Etorofu in Japan), and into two others on the island of Kunashir (Kunashiri in Japan), on Dec. 25.

It said troops were moved into two such similar facilities last year with three more barracks planned for 2019.

“Also on both islands we have modern and heated storage facilities for weapons and armored vehicles,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that more such facilities were planned.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Senza categoria, Unione Europea

Germania quasi senza esercito. 95 carri armati efficienti.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-03-26.

Animali_che_Ridono__006_Muli

Si constata come dopo dodici anni di cancellierato di Frau Merkel, e svariati anni di Mrs Ursula von der Leyen come Ministressa della Difesa, le forze armate tedesche siano state disintegrate in modo quasi perfetto e totale: sono state efficienti quasi quanto l’Armata Rossa di vecchia memoria.

Se questo fatto preoccupa, e molto, gli alleati della Nato, Stati Uniti in testa, esso rende invece felice il cuore di Mr Putin, che è riuscito ad ottenere questo grandioso risultato senza sparare un colpo e spendere un copeco. Quando si tratta del Ministero della Difesa altrui Mr Putin è un fervente liberal e propugnatore del femminismo più drastico.

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More than half of the German’s Leopard 2 main battle tanks are unfit for service

«More than half of the Leopard 2 main battle tanks of the Bundeswehr are not operational. According to the Defence Ministry report, of the 244 Leopard 2 battle tanks were only 95 ready for use.

The report has been published by Focus magazine.

The German army has been well known in the past for its ability to deploy well-trained and maintained tank formations against the enemy, but this belief seems to be fading. Only 95 out of the Bundeswehr’s 244 Leopard 2 main battle tanks are combat-ready, Funke media group has learnt from a Defense Ministry report.

Some 53 tanks have been disarmed, seven are being used for testing, while 89 vehicles are “conditionally operational” as they cannot be repaired without critical spare parts. The Defense Ministry report especially highlights multiple cases in which “unavailability of the required spare parts would be detrimental.”»

The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and 12 other European countries, as well as several non-European nations, including Canada (Leopard 2A4M CAN), Chile, Indonesia, Singapore and Turkey.»

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Ma per essere sicura di aver dispiegato tutto il suo effetto distruttivo, Mrs Ursula von der Leyen ha aggiunto:

Germania, ministro Difesa: “Arruoleremo rifugiati nell’esercito”

«Berlino prosegue nella politica delle porte aperte e dell’integrazione dei profughi. La Germania programma di reclutare rifugiati nelle Forze armate della Repubblica federale. E’ stato il ministro della Difesa Ursula von der Leyen a comunicarlo in una intervista alla Frankfurter Allgemeine am Sonntag»

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Il Leopard 2 ha cinquanta anni sulle spalle e li dimostra tutti. Con novantacinque carri armati in servizio non è nemmeno possibile addestrare il personale.  Se poi il personale fosse composto di rifugiati dalla Siria, come auspica la Ministressa, forse sarebbe anche meglio non addestrarlo. Non sempre infatti i mercenari hanno grande spirito combattivo e non sempre sarebbero felici di andare a morire in battaglia per gratificare chi li paga, ed anche male.

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Di questi giorni la Commissione Militare del Bundestag ha rilasciato un report che conferma appieno i dubbi più pessimistici sullo stato della Bundeswehr.

Germany’s lack of military readiness ‘dramatic,’ says Bundeswehr commissioner

«The German parliament’s military commissioner has published a report sharply critical of Germany’s combat-readiness. The problem comes amid the country’s increasing involvement in military missions abroad.

Germany’s military has deteriorated in recent years amid budget cuts and poor management, according to a report published on Tuesday by Parliamentary Armed Forces Commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels.

The call on politicians to double-down on reforms and increase funding came in the same week a Defense Ministry paper revealed German soldiers did not have enough protective vests, winter clothing or tents to adequately take part in a major NATO mission.

What’s wrong with the Bundeswehr?

– Bartels pointed to “big gaps” in personnel and equipment. At the end of 2017, no submarines and none of the air force’s 14 large transport planes were available for deployment due to repairs.

– Other equipment, including fighter jets, tanks and ships, was outdated and in some cases not fully operational because of bad planning or a lack of spare parts. Some air force pilots were unable to train because too many aircraft were being repaired.

– Soldiers have experienced increasing levels of stress and there was a lack adequate leadership due to some 21,000 vacant officer posts.

– The report said the government needed to pursue reforms “with greater urgency” and increase defense spending.

– A lack of funding and inefficient management structures and planning were behind the problems. Germany has cut defense spending since the end of the Cold War. In 2017, it spent about 1.2 percent of its economic production in 2017 on the armed forces, which is below the 2 percent target recommended by the NATO alliance.

Bundeswehr Chief of Staff reacts: Volker Wieker defended the military, saying “no complaints have come to my ear either in Germany or from our allies.” He did however admit that combat-readiness needed to be improve.

Bad timing: Bartels, a member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), said the meager state of the military was particularly bad because Germany has committed more troops to NATO and missions in Mali and Iraq. “Tasks for which there are supposed to be additional people and equipment in future are already upon us”, he said.

Germany’s spending promise: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD have committed to improving the Bundeswehr’s equipment and increasing defense spending to meet NATO targets in their coalition deal. SPD rank-and-file are currently voting on whether to accept the agreement and form a new government.

Two-percent-goal controversial: On Monday, the parliamentary leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Alexander Dobrindt, said it would be a “mistake” if Germany failed to meet NATO’s two-percent-goal by 2024. Acting SPD leader Andrea Nahles later said the coalition agreement only referred to a “target range” for defense spending, “but did not explicitly name the two-percent-goal.”

Allies expect more: Some of Germany’s NATO allies have repeatedly criticized alliance members who fail to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. US President Donald Trump raised the criticism at a NATO summit in 2017 and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said those countries that do not meet the NATO target threaten the alliance’s “unity.”»

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«Soldiers have experienced increasing levels of stress and there was a lack adequate leadership due to some 21,000 vacant officer posts.»

Poniamoci adesso una domanda seria: per quale potenza straniera lavorano Frau Merkel e Mr Ursula von der Leyen?

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Cina, Medio Oriente, Problemi militari

Arabia Saudita. Potrebbe sviluppare armamenti atomici.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-03-21.

bomba_atomica_

مبررات القنبلة النووية السعودية


Saudi Crown Prince slams ‘harmful’ Iran for sheltering Osama bin Laden’s son [Full Video]

«Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s highly-anticipated interview on CBS’s 60 minutes aired on Sunday night in which the young royal spoke on a wide-range of topics, including the link between al-Qaeda and Iran.

The television interview, the first in which he is addressing an American audience, was broadcast two days before the crown prince’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington.

Co-host of CBS This Morning Norah O’Donnell bagged the exclusive interview, in which the crown prince said the son of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is being supported by Iran. 

“Unfortunately, Iran is playing a harmful role. The Iranian regime is based on pure ideology. Many of the Al-Qaeda operatives are protected in Iran and it refuses to surrender them to justice, and continues to refuse to extradite them to the United States. This includes the son of Osama bin Laden, the new leader of Al-Qaeda. He lives in Iran and works out of Iran. He is supported by Iran,” Prince Mohammed said.

He also said that Saudi Arabia would build its own nuclear capabilities “immediately” if Iran develops a bomb.»

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Allo stato attuale della scienza e della tecnica, qualsiasi paese che abbia qualche ragionevole disponibilità economica è in grado di progettare e costruire un ordigno nucleare.

Se entrare nel novero delle superpotenze atomiche richiederebbe molto tempo ed investimenti mastodontici, perché ordigni atomici senza adeguati vettori e tutto il relativo supporto logistico sarebbero virtualmente inutili, arrivare ad avere un qualche armamento atomico ad uso locoregionale è diventato accessibile a molti.

Nel Medio Oriente l’Iran sta cercando di sviluppare una sua bomba atomica. Si dice, ma non esiste al momento alcuna conferma ufficiale, che Israele abbia da tempo simili armi.

L’iniziativa iraniana è comprensibile, ma occorre prendere atto che altera i già labili equilibri locoregionali.

Sono quasi millequattrocento anni che gli arabi odiano gli iraniani e tutti i loro vicini, adeguatamente ricambiati.

Sunniti, sciiti e wahabiti si odiano cordialmente ed al di là delle buone maniere diplomatiche, se potessero si sterminerebbero dal primo all’ultimo.

Poi, quasi che non fosse sufficiente, oltre a detestarsi per motivi politici e religiosi, è in corso una lotta all’ultimo sangue per il controllo dei bacini idrici e dei campi petroliferi.

Studiare il Medio Oriente è cosa desolante: ma siccome al peggio non c’è mai limite, si dovrebbero anche considerare le ambizioni politiche, economiche e militari delle superpotenze, che di fatto si stanno fronteggiando in quella regione in una lotta all’ultimo sangue.

Arabia Saudita. Un progetto da 500 miliardi.

Cina ed Africa. Una politica di rapporti internazionali paritetici.

Merkel. Una gran brutta figuraccia in Arabia Saudita.

L’Unione economica eurasiatica accoglierà l’Iran dal febbraio 2018.

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«Saudi Arabia held talks with China around six months ago to establish a nuclear infrastructure for peaceful purposes»

Se un cinico constatasse come solo una guerra distruttiva e massacrante potrebbe, forse, risolvere la situazione attuale, verosimilmente direbbe un qualcosa non molto lontano dalla verità.

Sotto queste considerazioni risulta chiaro il messaggio lanciato dal Principe Ereditario Mohammed bin Salman:

«Saudi Arabia will develop nuclear weapons if Iran builds a nuclear bomb».

Sempre una persona cinica ma raziocinante arriverebbe a concludere che l’unico modo di conservare uno straccetto di pace, nome pomposo per una realtà ove la gente non si ammazzi su scala industriale, sarebbe quella di cercare di mantenere equilibri politici e militari in termini ragionevolmente accettabili.

Infine, cinico o disincantato, si dovrebbe ammettere come i trattati siano meri pezzi di carta, che valgono solo ed esclusivamente se supportati a garantiti da eserciti pronti, agguerriti, e soprattutto in equilibrio.


Al Arabiya. 2018-03-19. Saudi nuclear bomb justifications.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dropped a bombshell when he said Saudi Arabia will develop nuclear weapons if Iran builds a nuclear bomb. Before this week, Saudi Arabia’s strategy was either based on not letting Iran develop nuclear weapons, via international negotiations and pressure, or depending on the international community – which we know is not reliable – to deter it.

Saudi policy has now changed. Prince Mohammed bin Salman chose CBS to announce the kingdom’s new policy before meeting with US President Donald Trump. His statements had tangible consequences in Washington whose stances are usually divided. The crown prince’s task to convince legislators in the Congress and the different political powers in Washington will be difficult.

Washington’s approval to let Saudi Arabia develop nuclear weapons is almost impossible especially that some countries, like Israel, oppose this. However, the prince linked this to Iran’s attempt to build its own nuclear weapons. This resembles the Pakistani scenario with India.

Deterrence

The new Saudi policy conveys to the Europeans and the Americans, particularly those who seem lenient towards Iran, that they must understand that Riyadh will not settle with any guarantees if Iran develops its nuclear weapons and that it will do the same within the context of balance of deterrence.

First of all, we must ask, is Saudi Arabia capable of building a nuclear bomb?

No one can confirm that. However, the kingdom does have scientific competencies. This year, it will set up projects related to reactors, factories and infrastructure to develop its nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes. What distinguishes Saudi Arabia from Iran here is that it has uranium in its desert. Therefore, the kingdom does not need to buy it, and it has actually adopted a plan to extract it for development projects that are part of Vision 2030.

The second question is how will Saudi Arabia confront international opposition and possible political risks?

I do not think Riyadh will take this step to develop nuclear weapons without the approval of the concerned superpowers which cannot ignore the fact that Iran targets Saudi Arabia and that the former has reached an advanced stage of readiness to build nuclear weapons. If Tehran decided to enrich uranium and resume its nuclear project for military purposes, the crown prince’s statement will thus be justified.

Those who oppose the crown prince are not just in Iran but also in Washington itself. US Senator Ed Markey, also member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, immediately responded to the prince’s statements and said: “Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has confirmed what many have long suspected—nuclear energy in Saudi Arabia is about more than just electrical power, it’s about geopolitical power,” adding: “The United States must not compromise on nonproliferation standards in any 123 agreement it concludes with Saudi Arabia.” Opponents have noted that Saudi Arabia refuses to sign the “gold standard” or the “123 agreement” which guarantees that it does not enrich uranium and does not reproduce plutonium.

It’s worth noting that a week before the crown prince kicked off his tour in the US, the kingdom announced that it approved its national policy of the atomic energy program and confirmed its commitment to international agreements and the principle of transparency while emphasizing the program aims to serve peaceful purposes. The prince’s recent statements ahead of his travel to Washington prepared everyone there to understand that keeping silent and being lenient with Iran, thus allowing it to produce nuclear weapons, will mean that Saudi Arabia will do the same and possess a nuclear bomb. His statements may be looked at from two angles. The first one is that Saudi Arabia does not intend to develop nuclear weapons if Iran commits not to, and the second one is that the prince is warning of being lenient with Tehran because he will thus develop nuclear weapons to defend his country and create “a balance of terror.”
Everyone takes Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s statements seriously. In addition to announcing its national policy of the atomic energy program, Saudi Arabia held talks with China around six months ago to establish a nuclear infrastructure for peaceful purposes. This will probably be among the topics he will address in Washington. Discussing these matters will not be easy due to all those skeptics who doubt Saudi Arabia’s aims and intentions. These skeptics have two choices, to either work seriously to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons – in this case Saudi Arabia and the world will not sense nuclear threats – or approve Saudi Arabia’s right of readiness to possess weapons like Iran’s. Iran is headed by an extremist fascist and religious regime which may use any nuclear weapons it builds to attack its rivals. Even if it does not directly use these weapons, it will exploit them to blackmail the region and the world and it will threaten to use them to achieve its expansive activities it’s currently endeavoring.

 

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Stati Uniti

Usa. Marines. Abbassati ulteriormente gli standard fisici.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-03-08.

2018-02-29__Marines__001

Lo United States Marine Corps era stato un corpo leggendario nella storia civile e militare americana.

Il suo motto trae origine dal famoso discorso di Re Enrico V ad Agincourt Pas de Calais: “The Few, The Proud, “I pochi, gli orgogliosi“.

«Lo United States Marine Corps (in sigla USMC, anche conosciuto in italiano come “Corpo dei Marines” o semplicemente “Marines” o “Fanteria anfibia di Marina”) è una delle Forze Armate degli Stati Uniti dʼAmerica.

Anche se nei primi anni dalla fondazione si occupava quasi esclusivamente di sicurezza sulle navi e di operazioni anfibie, il Corpo dei Marines ha avuto unʼevoluzione tale da fargli assumere molteplici ruoli, che ne fanno un caso a parte nellʼapparato militare degli Stati Uniti.

Con 182.000 militari in servizio e 38.500 nella Riserva (dati 2017) il Corpo dei Marines è la seconda più piccola forza armata degli USA e solo la Guardia Costiera, dipendente dal Dipartimento per la Sicurezza Interna, ha un organico numericamente inferiore. Il Corpo però supera in dimensioni le forze armate di quasi tutti i principali paesi: è più grande, ad esempio dellʼEsercito del Regno Unito. Il Corpo dei Marines costituisce la Fanteria di Marina, cioè un corpo autonomo, anche se si appoggia largamente alla US Navy, specializzato nelle operazioni anfibie e nelle operazioni in veste di “expeditionary force”.» [Fonte]

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Nonostante che gli Stati Uniti abbiano una popolazione superiore ai 310 milioni, le forze armate americane fanno fatica a trovare i volontari per riempire i ranghi di un esercito ridotto all’osso. Se sicuramente vi sono problemi riguardo gli emolumenti, altrettanto sicuramente è in corso un processo di continuo degrado della figura del militare nell’attuale contesto sociale americano. Oramai le forze armate americane hanno un numero di cognome di origine sassone inferiore alla metà degli organici.

Nel 2012 le forze armate americane aprirono i reclutamenti al personale femminile anche nel corpo dei marines. Scelta apprezzata come consistente progresso sociale da parte dei liberal e delle femministe, mal vista da parte dei militari professionisti.

I Marines aprono le porte anche alle donne. Da settembre corsi di tre mesi e prove durissime

«Sarà perché è tradizionalmente un corpo di “duri” o perché i suoi 200 mila componenti sono preparati a intervenire ovunque come forza d’intervento rapido specializzata anche in operazioni anti guerriglia ma il Corpo dei Marines statunitensi è tradizionalmente la forza armata più refrattaria ai cambiamenti sociali e al “politically correct”.

Fecero scalpore alcuni anni or sono, quando a Washington si cominciò a discutere dell’abolizione della formula “don’t ask, don’t tell” relativa all’arruolamento degli omosessuali, le dichiarazioni di alcuni alti ufficiali contrari alla presenza di gay dichiarati tra i ranghi dei marines. Forse anche per questo l’apertura alle donne dell’Infantry Officer Course (IOC)nella grande base di Quantico (Virginia) ha ottenuto grande visibilità sui media americani e un reportage esclusivo del New York Times.

Si tratta di uno dei corsi più duri delle forze armate statunitensi destinati a selezionare tra i giovani tenenti quanti hanno le capacità fisiche, tecniche, caratteriali e mentali per diventare comandanti dei plotoni di fanteria del Corpo dei Marines.

Per intenderci quei reparti che negli ultimi anni sono riusciti a sgominare i miliziani di al-Qaeda nella provincia irachena di al-Anbar e a strappare al controllo talebano buona parte della provincia afghana di Helmand. Anche per questo l’IOC, 86 giorni di prove durissime e altamente selettive, è uno degli ultimi baluardi della formazione militare riservata finora ai soli uomini, ma da settembre verrà aperto a titolo sperimentale anche alle donne in base alla politica obamiana che nel febbraio scorso ha visto il Pentagono aprire alle donne soldato anche i ruoli più duri e difficili, dal combattimento all’imbarco sui sottomarini, con una stima di 14 mila posti di lavoro in più per le donne. Iniziative simili sono in atto anche in Gran Bretagna e Australia mentre l’Italia non ha mai posto limiti all’impiego delle donne anche nei compiti più duri anche se finora nessuna presenza femminile è stata registrata nelle forze speciali.

L’Infantry Officer Course coinvolge circa 400 ufficiali in quattro corsi all’anno nei quali almeno il 25 per cento dei candidati non ce la fa a superare tutte le prove o subisce infortuni. A Quantico non si aspettano un’esplosione di domande da parte dei tenenti di sesso femminile anche perché gli standard richiesti non verranno abbassati e le donne nel Corpo sono appena il 6 per cento, più bassa rispetto alle altre forze armate statunitensi dove la percentuale media è del 14 per cento mentre le donne in uniforme negli Stati Uniti sono circa 200 mila.»

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Il problema della presenza femminile nelle forze armate è ampio, ed esula lo scopo di questo articolo.

Qui interessa mettere in evidenza un solo fattore.

Le femmine hanno tipicamente una struttura fisica meno forte e robusta dei maschi. È il motivo per cui alle Olimpiadi si mantengono distinte le gare maschili da quelle femminili: è un problema di massa muscolare. È il motivo per cui le quadre di calcio sono maschili e femminili, non miste.

Il punto di riferimento dovrebbe essere più che quello di teorie sociali e politiche il confronto con il personale e relativo addestramento delle forze analoghe di potenze militari potenzialmente avversarie. La resistenza fisica è fondamentale: chi non sappia reggere gli sforzi richiesti è solo carne da cannone. Cede per stanchezza.

Per esempio, la normale fanteria russa, non i corpi speciali, esegue tipicamente una grande manovra estiva ed una invernale. Per una settimana marcia di quaranta kilometri al giorno affardellati con circa 50 kg di armamenti, quindi una giornata di esercitazioni a fuoco particolarmente realistiche, quindi altri sette giorni di marcia indietro, sempre 40 kilometri al giorno. Di estate a +40°C, di inverno a -40°C. Sono tests che richiedono fisici perfetti e molto ben allenati.

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Le forze armate americane sono state costrette invece a ridurre in modo sostanziale i requisiti fisici per l’ammissione al corso ufficiali.

«- “Pass infantry officer physical standards requirements, including a 15 km hike with 105 lbs in 3 hours.”

– “Cross a 56” wall unassisted in 30 seconds.”

– “Conduct a ground casualty evacuation (214 lbs. dummy) in 54 seconds.”

– “Lift a MK-19 heavy machine gun (77 lbs.) overhead, and rush 300 meters to an objective in 3 minutes 56 seconds.”»

Si noti che:

– una libbra internazionale equivale a 453.59237 grammi.

– 105 libbre equivalgono a 47.627 kilogrammi.

– 214 libbre equivalgono a 97.068 kilogrammi.

– 77 libbre equivalgono a 34.927 kilogrammi.

Una marcia di 15 km con 47 kg di fardello da compiersi in tre ore è prova davvero ridicola per un corpo di élite. Si pensi solo alla prova dei russi.

Eppure….

«Only 35 women have attempted the course, and only five of those have attended the IOC after the job field was opened to women»

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«only one unnamed female Marine has successfully completed the course»

* * * * * * * *

Solo una femmina è riuscita a terminare il corso di addestramento,

pur avendo ridotto in modo consistente il livello richiesto.

Tra le molte possibili, una considerazione apparirebbe essere evidente.

Una cosa sono le sfilate e le parate militari, un’altra invece i combattimenti in zone operative. Zone dove ti sparano addosso, per intendersi. Lì il nemico non da certo il tempo per riposarsi.

Se messi in opposizione a forze armate reclutate ed addestrate come quelle russe, gli attuali marines americani non avrebbero nemmeno la forza fisica di portarsi dietro ed imbracciare le armi sofisticate delle quali sono dotati: creperebbero di fatica prima ancora che sotto il fuoco nemico.

«alla politica obamiana che nel febbraio scorso ha visto il Pentagono aprire alle donne soldato»


The Washington Times. 2018-02-18. Marine Corps again lowers requirements for Infantry Officer Course

Brig. Gen. Jason Q. Bohm: ‘The course is as hard as it’s ever been’

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The Marine Corps is on the defensive for a second time this month over changes to its famous Infantry Officer Course (IOC).

Military communities were abuzz in early February when officials confirmed that successfully completing the Combat Endurance Test (CET) — the rigorous first stage of IOC — would no longer be a requirement for passing the 13-week course.

The Corps answered criticism on Feb. 7, but found itself in the same position this week as new standards for IOC’s training hikes were revealed. 

The course previously required a Marine to complete nine hikes, of which six would be evaluated more carefully and passage required on five of the six. The new standard evaluates just three of the Marine’s hikes, though he must pass all three, Marine Corps Times reported Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Jason Q. Bohm, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Training Command, told the newspaper that changes were made to better reflect operational reality.

“Technically what we have done is we have modified graduation requirements, but we actually tie our requirements now more to the T&R [Marine infantry training and readiness manual] standards,” he said. “The course is as hard as it’s ever been. We did not do away with any training events.”

Marine Corps Times noted that only one unnamed female Marine has successfully completed the course, although officials have countered that most IOC failures are men.

“Only 35 women have attempted the course, and only five of those have attended the IOC after the job field was opened to women,” the newspaper reported.

Marine officers who graduate IOC moving forward will:

– Participate in a total of nine hikes while passing three evaluations.

– Conduct CET.

– Conduct 6 tactical field exercises.

– “Pass infantry officer physical standards requirements, including a 15 km hike with 105 lbs in 3 hours.”

– “Cross a 56” wall unassisted in 30 seconds.”

– “Conduct a ground casualty evacuation (214 lbs. dummy) in 54 seconds.”

– “Lift a MK-19 heavy machine gun (77 lbs.) overhead, and rush 300 meters to an objective in 3 minutes 56 seconds.”

“[The change] was not about lowering attrition, it was about making students more successful to complete the course,” Brig. Gen. Bohm added, the newspaper reported.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari

L’America potrebbe non sopravvivere ad un attacco al grid.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-2-28.

Views Of A Dynergy Inc. Power Plant Ahead of Earns Reports

Il termine sassone blackout indica una interruzione del servizio di corrente elettrica.

Nel mondo occidentale una sospensione di questa tipologia di servizio potrebbe dapprima generare un consistente chaos, quindi una paralisi a livello nazionale. Tutte le reti ad alta tensione sono infatti interconnesse e la corrente immessa nel sistema secondo necessità. Per un qualsiasi malfunzionamento, le reti si staccano automaticamente, generando blackout a valle.

A seguito riportiamo le cronache di alcuni blackout per chiarire meglio il problema.

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2006-11-05. Energia: mezza Europa al buio per blackout

«Tutta l’Europa occidentale – compresa l’Italia – per un totale di 10 milioni di persone, è stata colpita sabato sera da blackout elettrici, originati in Germania, dove si è lamentata un’improvvisa diminuzione della produzione di energia. Secondo il gestore della rete francese Rte, i circa 5 milioni di utenze lasciate al buio in Francia corrispondono a circa il 10% della popolazione francese. Il black-out è cominciato in Francia alle 21 circa. Secondo la fonte, le utenze francesi sono state «progressivamente rialimentate tra le 22,30 e le 23». In particolare sono stati colpiti i dipartimenti Rodano, Isere, Loira, Ain e Saona e Loira. In Germania – Paese all’origine del blocco – è stata colpita soprattutto la zona di Colonia, nel land della Renania del Nord-Westfalia. È stato colpito per breve tempo anche l’aeroporto di Colonia, ma l’entrata in funzione dei generatori ha permesso la ripresa dell’attività. Colpiti anche Belgio (ma non Bruxelles) e Spagna, dove ci sono stati blackout nelle regioni di Madrid, Catalogna, Valencia e Castiglia-La Mancia. Fonti della Rete elettrica della Spagna (Ree) hanno precisato che l’incidente ha provocato una reazione a catena con la perdita totale di 2.500 megawatt. Secondo la Ree, la corrente è mancata dalle 22,05 alle 22,40.

Secondo il ministero regionale dell’Energia del Nordreno-Vestfalia un contributo al blackout è stato dato anche dagli impianti di produzione dell’energia eolica. Quanta più corrente viene immessa dagli impianti eolici, tanto più va ridotta la quota proveniente da altre fonti, …. Sabato c’è stata una forte immissione di corrente elettrica eolica, ma sembra che non sia stata adeguatamente ridotta quella di altre fonti.»

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2003-09-28. Black-out in Italia del 2003

«Il black-out del sistema elettrico italiano del 28 settembre 2003 fu il più importante incidente di tale genere nella storia del Paese. Ebbe inizio alle 3:30 locali di domenica 28 settembre 2003 e interessò tutta l’Italia continentale e peninsulare e la Sicilia. ….

L’incidente fu dovuto ad una serie di eventi scatenati dalla scarica verso terra tramite un albero eccessivamente vicino della linea svizzera ad altissima tensione Lavorgo-Mettlen alle ore 03:01. Il carico si redistribuì automaticamente sulle altre linee, che a loro volta andarono oltre i limiti di sicurezza e si aprirono. In particolare l’unica altra linea da cui l’Italia importa corrente elettrica dalla Svizzera, tramite il passo del San Bernardino: l’allungamento dei conduttori per dilatazione termica causata da correnti elevate determinò l’apertura degli interruttori di protezione e non risultò possibile reinserirla.

In quel momento, l’Italia stava importando dall’estero il 25% del carico totale.

Alle 3:11 gli operatori svizzeri ETRANS chiesero agli operatori italiani di rientrare nei carichi contrattualizzati, rimuovendo i circa 300 MW di sovraconsumo. L’operazione venne eseguita dal gestore della rete italiana GRTN alle 3:21, secondo gli svizzeri troppo lentamente, ed inoltre nei minuti successivi la richiesta di corrente elettrica tornò nuovamente ad aumentare.

A partire dalle 3:25, tutte le linee ad alta portata Svizzera-Italia si aprirono in successione, alcune per sovraccarico, altre per scarica a terra. Il transito proveniente dall’Europa venne ripartito pertanto sulle linee di collegamento con la Francia, che però anch’esse a loro volta andarono in sovraccarico e si aprirono.

In seguito a questo calo della potenza disponibile, nel sistema elettrico italiano iniziarono forti instabilità di tensione, seguite da progressiva perdita di passo: la frequenza nominale di rete di 50 Hz prese a scendere, attivando le diverse protezioni previste dal Piano Difesa del GRTN: ….

Si innescò così una reazione a catena che nel giro di circa 2 minuti e 30 secondi mandò fuori uso l’intero sistema elettrico italiano.»

*

Blackout di 11 ore all’aeroporto di Atlanta, caos ai gate e 1000 voli cancellati

«Gigantesco black-out nell’aeroporto più trafficato del mondo, quello della città americana di Atlanta, nello Stato della Georgia, e per 11 ore è stato il caos. Decine di migliaia di persone sono rimaste al buio, oltre 1000 i voli bloccati a terra, molti dirottati, schermi «muti», la sicurezza affidata alla buona sorte. Nella tarda notte locale, all’alba italiana, la luce elettrica è tornata all’aeroporto Hartsfield-Jackson. Ma ci vorranno ore prima che la situazione torni alla normalità. 

Il calo di tensione, come informano le autorità aeroportuali, è iniziato alle 19 ora italiana di domenica. Lo scalo dovrebbe tornare a pieno regime alle 12 italiane di oggi, lunedì. La Georgia Power, che fornisce l’energia elettrica all’aeroporto, ha detto che a causare il danno è stato probabilmente un incendio all’impianto elettrico sotterraneo, che potrebbe essere stato generato da un corto circuito.»

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Queste cronache ci rendono edotti su di un fatto usualmente ben poco valutato. Il grid, ossia la rete di distribuzione dell’energia elettrica, è un network molto delicato. Basta un intoppo apparentemente ridicolo, un albero troppo vicino ad una linea sovraccarica, per determinare un blackout a livello nazionale, da cui la nazione emerge dopo alcuni giorni di intenso lavoro. Il danno è smisurato rispetto la causa efficiente scatenante.

*

Bene.

Adesso pensiamo invece alla concreta possibilità di un attacco militare ben pianificato alla rete di distribuzione.

Per una nazione come l’Italia sarebbe sufficiente una decina di sabotatori che facessero saltare ciascuno tre o quatto tralicci di alta tensione contigui, scaglionando i sabotaggi nel tempo. Non solo si resterebbe senza corrente per illuminazione e lavorazione industriale, ma anche tutte le telecomunicazioni sarebbero azzerate: le colonnine dei cellulari sono infatti in gran parte alimentate a rete ed i cellulari hanno batterie ricaricabili. Dieci giorni senza corrente elettrica porterebbero la nazione alla fame: si tenga presente che anche le pompe di benzina funzionano se alimentate dalla corrente elettrica. In pochi giorni i mezzi di trasporto sarebbero bloccati per mancanza di carburante.

L’intera nazione risulterebbe essere bloccata e precipitata in una terrificante confusione per decine di giorni.

Sicuramente i militari dispongono di una loro propria rete elettrica. Ma non ci si dovrebbe fare poi troppo affidamento. Anche perché i gruppi elettrogeni hanno una autonomia di funzionamento alquanto limitata, e sono ben poche le unità militare che ne sono dotate.

*

Pensiamo adesso ad un attacco in grande stile.

Trump. Contro la Korea del Nord potrebbe usare le bombe Champs.

Bombe Champs sono presenti negli arsenali di tutte le potenze militari. Ma si tenga presente che anche un modestissimo cruise che colpisca una centrale di trasformazione potrebbe arrecare danni inenarrabili.

Il blackout sarebbe generalizzato e potrebbe durare mesi.

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Se è vero che il grande incubo è la guerra termonucleare, il blocco del grid non sarebbe poi molto da meno.

Non a caso paesi come la Russia e la Cina hanno progettato la propria rete distributiva in modo che fosse in grado di sopportare un certo numero simultaneo di interruzioni locali di servizio.


Bloomberg. 2017-12-24. Can America’s Power Grid Survive an Electromagnetic Attack?

The threat of nuclear war with North Korea has raised the stakes when it comes to defending against EMPs.

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Last month, federal agencies and utility executives held GridEx IV, a biennial event where officials responsible for hundreds of local utilities game out scenarios in which North America’s power grid could fail. Potential calamities both physical and cyber are reviewed, with participant responses analyzed to better prepare for any future attack.

This year, the event took on an added urgency given growing concern with a weapon straight out of the Cold War: an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, emanating from a nuclear blast—specifically, one delivered by a North Korean missile or satellite detonated miles above the Earth. Though GridEx IV didn’t pose this exact scenario, industry experts concede there’s no clear plan to deal with it.

An EMP could damage electronic circuits over large areas, depending on the configuration of the weapon and how high it was detonated, though there’s disagreement over how effective such a tactic would be. Scientists also emphasize that a nuclear bomb that hits a ground target is much more worrisome. Nevertheless, with North Korea’s increasingly successful missile and warhead tests in mind, Congress moved to renew funding for the Commission to Assess the Threat to the U.S. from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

In September, the commission’s top officials warned lawmakers that the threat of an EMP attack from a rogue nation “becomes one of the few ways that such a country could inflict devastating damage to the U.S.”

GridEx IV participants said the use of an EMP, however improbable, has been very much on their radar. Lisa Barton, executive vice president of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co.’s transmission unit, said the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry research arm, was analyzing the risk. An EPRI report published this week emphasized that widespread damage was indeed possible from such an attack.

“It’s certainly more about North Korea now,” said Rob Manning, vice president of transmission and distribution infrastructure for EPRI. “In the past it was more about multiple potential threats.”

The new challenge comes as the industry grapples with a host of costs tied to keeping the lights on in extreme weather, and bouncing back when there’s an outage. In the past five years, Superstorm Sandy, tornadoes, hurricanes and intense cold have all tested grids in unprecedented fashion. Regulators are seeking ways to improve reliability and resiliency, including a potential multibillion dollar payout to coal and nuclear generators to keep plants online as grids add gas, wind and solar.

John Norden, director of operations at ISO New England Inc., which manages a grid serving six states, said the industry is unprepared for a full-scale electromagnetic attack. The power industry doesn’t really have any standards or tools to handle “black sky events’’ such as an extreme cyber or EMP attack, or even conventional war, Norden said at a recent conference.




“I don’t think we have an illusion we will prevent it. That’s really the government’s job”


GridEx IV involved 6,300 participants from 450 organizations, including utilities, government agencies, financial services firms, telecommunications companies, and gas, water and supply chain industries, said Kimberly Mielcarek of the North American Electric Reliability Corp., a non-profit that develops standards for grid reliability and oversees the excercise. Cybersecurity has grown to rival physical infrastructure attacks as a focus of the event, and a new scenario introduced this year involved false reports, or “fake news.” But the best experience utilities have had in preparing for an EMP is tied to a natural phenomenon: solar flares.

While astronomers can see solar events, such as a coronal mass ejection, they don’t have a true picture of its magnitude until it’s about 90 minutes from Earth. The U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center will issue solar storm warnings in anticipation of these events. Grids are alerted to dangerous solar activity and geomagnetic storm watches are called. But with so little time to react, hardening networks ahead of time is more practical.

PJM Interconnection LLC, operator of the power grid serving one-fifth of America’s population, has a lot of experience protecting systems against solar activity. PJM has also been working with transmission owners to protect against other threats, many of which have two specific characteristics: low probability and high potential for catastrophe, said Mike Bryson, vice president of operations for the Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based operator. An EMP is one of them.

Power companies have made a few moves to protect against electromagnetic interference. Some grid operators and transmission infrastructure owners are putting in place so-called Faraday enclosures, shields of conductive material used to protect electronic equipment and facilities. Utilities have also started stockpiling spare parts to replace any that are damaged by an EMP event, storms or other disasters.

“I don’t think we have an illusion we will prevent it,” Bryson said in an interview. “That’s really the government’s job.”

During the Cold War, a blast and EMP high over the U.S., either on its own or as a prelude to a first strike by the Soviet Union, was seen as a very real threat. But back then, priority was given to hardening military infrastructure to maintain the promise of retaliation. Duke Energy Corp., one of the country’s largest utility owners, has been working with EPRI to study its threat to civilian infrastructure. Lee Mazzocchi, Duke’s senior vice president of grid solutions, said “we really want to use science and research to validate if and how much an EMP threat there could be.”

Jon Rogers, a scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, has been studying the threat since the 1990s. The lab has been looking at how automated control systems could help systems recover. Rogers noted that the grid already has lightning surge arrestors to protect against strikes, which could potentially be useful in case of an EMP. “There are open questions,” he said.

“Back in the Cold War, we worried about massive exchanges at the time with the Soviet bloc,” Rogers said. “There seems to be reduced concern about that and increased concern about a single or smaller surges and what that could mean.” Targeted attacks on specific elements of infrastructure are seen as more likely, including “using an EMP without going nuclear,” added Jeff Engle, vice president of government and legal affairs for United Data Technologies, a security services firm.

“EMP technology itself has been advancing with devices becoming smaller, more effective,” said Engle, who declined to give specific examples. Along these lines, the industry’s stance has been to prepare for less-intense EMPs from irregular lightning strikes, solar flares—and possibly localized attacks.

For EMPs resulting from nuclear blasts, the Edison Electric Institute, an industry group, said the possible effects aren’t fully understood and proposed fixes remain unproven and impractical. 

“Other sectors of the economy likely will be affected by a nuclear EMP attack, including other critical infrastructure sectors upon which the electric sector depends,” the group said in a 2015 paper titled Electromagnetic Pulses (EMPs): Myths vs. Facts. “It makes little sense to protect the electric grid while ignoring these other critical infrastructure sectors.”

Still, the EPRI report paints a picture that’s hard to ignore. Simulations showed that detonating a nuclear weapon about 250 miles above the Earth using a 1.4 megaton bomb, almost 100 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima, would likely collapse voltage regionally, affecting several states but not the entire eastern or western networks. “None of the scenarios that were evaluated resulted in a nationwide grid collapse,” the report stated. Recovery time from a high-altitude EMP would depend on equipment damage, something the EPRI said it plans to study next year and “develop cost-effective options for mitigating.”

Richard Mroz, president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, warned the cost of preventing widespread failures from an EMP would “be astronomical.” Placing transformers or a substations in shielded cages would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, he said, while protecting critical assets on a distribution system like New Jersey’s could reach into the billions of dollars.

“Managing that kind of threat right now—no one really has the resources to do that,” Mroz said. 

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Unione Europea

Francia. Macron vara per la difesa un piano da 295 miliardi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-02-19.

Parigi. Arco di Trionfo, 001

I paesi dell’Unione Europea per decenni hanno eseguito investimenti minimi nel settore della difesa.

Al momento attuale i loro eserciti sono fatiscenti: organici ridotti al minimo di sopravvivenza ed armamenti in gran parte obsoleti.

La Francia di Mr Macron sembrerebbe essere stata la prima nazione europea a semtire l’esigenza di adeguare le proprie forze armate ai nuovi compiti.

«La nuova legge di programmazione militare 2019-2025 ha l’ambizione di ricucire i rapporti tra l’Armée francese e il presidente Emmanuel Macron che ora intende anche lanciare un servizio nazionale universale, obbligatorio, della durata di tre-sei mesi»

*

«Seimila soldati in più, dei quali 1.500 destinati alla cybersicurezza e un budget complessivo, per l’intero periodo, portato a 295 miliardi»

*

«Il bilancio annuale della difesa salirà quindi dai attuali 34,2 miliardi previsti per il 2018 a 44 miliardi nel 2023, con un incremento del 35,8% rispetto al 2017, e si porterà a 50 miliardi nel 2025»

*

«Il progetto prevede l’assunzione di 6mila effettivi (3mila entro il 2023), interrompendo una tendenza alla riduzione degli occupati (-60mila tra 2005 e 2015). Circa 1.500 saranno destinati alla cyberdifesa e l’informatica, sulla quale la Francia intende moltiplicare gli sforzi, altri 1.500 all’intelligence.»

*

«Sul piano più convenzionale, si prevede il varo di una nuova portaerei – la Charles de Gaulle, attiva dal 2001, è spesso ferma per riparazioni e oggi per ristrutturazioni – entro il 2025 oltre a quattro sottomarini barracuda e tre fregate multimissione. Saranno operativi 28 nuovi caccia Rafale, mentre 55 Mirage 2000 della Dassault saranno modernizzati. I nuovi aerei cisterna saranno consegnati nel 2023 e non più nel 2025»

*

«Alla dissuasione nucleare saranno destinati 37 miliardi da oggi al 2025: dovrebbe essere lanciato un programma per la costruzione di sottomarini di terza generazione e un altro per un nuovo missile nucleare aerotrasportato.»

* * * * * * *

Questo progetto militare sembrerebbe voler coprire due differenti aspetti: sia l’efficienza delle forze armate sia riportare allo stato dell’arte l’industria bellica francese.

Sono due componenti complementari e simbiotiche, da lungo tempo trascurate.


Sole 24 Ore. 2018-02-15. Francia, 300 miliardi per la difesa

Una nuova portaerei. Un maggior potere di dissuasione nucleare, per garantire l’«autonomia strategica» della Francia, senza dimenticare però la volontà di collaborare più strettamente con alcuni partner europei, tra i quali anche l’Italia. Seimila soldati in più, dei quali 1.500 destinati alla cybersicurezza e un budget complessivo, per l’intero periodo, portato a 295 miliardi. La nuova legge di programmazione militare 2019-2025 ha l’ambizione di ricucire i rapporti tra l’Armée francese e il presidente Emmanuel Macron che ora intende anche lanciare un servizio nazionale universale, obbligatorio, della durata di tre-sei mesi, che potrà anche svolgersi nelle forze armate.

Un bilancio in espansione

Il bilancio annuale della difesa salirà quindi dai attuali 34,2 miliardi previsti per il 2018 a 44 miliardi nel 2023, con un incremento del 35,8% rispetto al 2017, e si porterà a 50 miliardi nel 2025. Il progetto prevede l’assunzione di 6mila effettivi (3mila entro il 2023), interrompendo una tendenza alla riduzione degli occupati (-60mila tra 2005 e 2015). Circa 1.500 saranno destinati alla cyberdifesa e l’informatica, sulla quale la Francia intende moltiplicare gli sforzi, altri 1.500 all’intelligence. Insieme alla legge di programmazione, il consiglio dei ministri ha varato anche una nuova dottrina in questo settore: gli attacchi informatici degli altri stati, per spionaggio e sabotaggio, e la diffusione di virus sembrano essere i rischi considerati più gravi.

Al nucleare 37 miliardi

Sul piano più convenzionale, si prevede il varo di una nuova portaerei – la Charles de Gaulle, attiva dal 2001, è spesso ferma per riparazioni e oggi per ristrutturazioni – entro il 2025 oltre a quattro sottomarini barracuda e tre fregate multimissione. Saranno operativi 28 nuovi caccia Rafale, mentre 55 Mirage 2000 della Dassault saranno modernizzati. I nuovi aerei cisterna saranno consegnati nel 2023 e non più nel 2025. Sarà inoltre rilanciato il programma Scorpion per i blindati di medie dimensioni (Griffon e Jaguar). Parigi vuole inoltre lanciare nuovi satelliti artificiali per la sorveglianza esoatmosferica. Alla dissuasione nucleare saranno destinati 37 miliardi da oggi al 2025: dovrebbe essere lanciato un programma per la costruzione di sottomarini di terza generazione e un altro per un nuovo missile nucleare aerotrasportato.

Collaborazione con l’Italia

La legge – che sarà esaminata dall’Assemblée Nationale dal 12 marzo e dal Senato a maggio – non dimentica il progetto di difesa europea, che Macron aveva rilanciato a settembre nel suo discorso alla Sorbona. Viene riconfermata l’intenzione di approfondire i legami con un gruppo inizialmente ristretto di Paesi: la Germania innanzitutto, con la quale la Francia ha dato vita alla Brigata francotedesca forte di circa 6mila effettivi. Saranno però cercate «sistematicamente» opportunità di cooperazione più strette nel settore spaziale, «in particolare con italiani e tedeschi». Il nostro paese sarà coinvolto, insieme a Germania e Spagna, nel programma per il drone europeo Male (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) – sul quale dovrebbe essere coinvolta la Leonardo – e nel progetto della nave di supporto logistico (con funzioni di cisterna) Flotlog, per il quale era stata avviata una collaborazione con Fincantieri. Più in generale, il documento del ministro delle Forze armate segnala l’interesse ad approfondire le relazioni bilaterali con Italia e Spagna.

La leadership francese

È innegabile l’interesse della presidenza Macron di confermare e rafforzare la leadership, in Europa, delle forze armate francesi, presenti peraltro anche all’estero e in diversi territori d’oltremare. L’idea è quella di dare alla Francia un ruolo catalizzatore, se non organizzativo nelle coalizioni di cui fa parte attraverso la sua superiorità produttiva e tecnologica. Il settore comprende in Francia 10 grandi gruppi, 4mila imprese piccole medie e “di dimensioni intermedie” (le Eti) e 200mila lavoratori nell’indotto. Altre 27mila imprese hanno tra i loro clienti le Forze armate. Verrà quindi creato un Defence Lab , una piattaforma per sostenere le innovazioni tecnologiche, affianco al Def’invest che si occupa del consolidamento le imprese strategiche.

Ricucire i rapporti

La legge intende anche ricucire i rapporti tra il presidente e i militari. Erano iniziati decisamente male. Il 13 luglio, alla vigilia della festa nazionale, Macron aveva annunciato per il 2017 tagli alle spese per 850 milioni di euro, la maggior riduzione subita dai ministeri francesi, per rispettare il tetto del 3% per il deficit pubblico. Il capo di Stato maggiore Pierre de Villiers, al grido di «Non mi farò baiser così» (“baisier”, in francese, significare molto più che “baciare”) dette le dimissioni. Il presidente aveva però anche promesso di portare le spese militari al 2% del pil, come chiesto dalla Nato, dall’1,78% del 2017. La legge proposta dalla ministra delle Forze Armate Florence Parly ha proprio questa ambizione, anche se l’obiettivo – per rispettare i vincoli europei – viene programmato per il 2025, dopo la fine del quinquennato presidenziale.