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

Cina e Formosa. Xi ed il trionfo della scuola mandarinica. L’occidente è stato sgominato.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-08-11.

2022-08-10__ China Drills 001

«The exercise demonstrated that blockade in a conflict need not require a constant naval presence offshore»

«L’esercitazione ha dimostrato che il blocco in un conflitto non richiede necessariamente una presenza navale costante al largo»

Cina e Formosa. Report numerico che ne quantizza i rapporti

Gli occidentali non si sono mai peritati di studiare a fondo la storia e la cultura cinese né, tanto meno, la storia e la Weltanschauung della scuola mandarinica. Per non parlare poi di conoscere la lingua cinese. Sono convinti di essere una razza superiore, come quella che i russi fecero sfilare per le strade di Mosca. Sono convinti che tutto il mondo debba parlare inglese e condividere gioiosamente la loro ideologia.

La vittoria arride invece alla Cina ed a Mr Xi, potentemente aiutati dalla ottusa superbia occidentale.

* * * * * * *

Le esercitazioni militari cinesi dimostrano che Pechino non ha bisogno di invadere Taiwan per controllarla, ma può strangolare l’isola autogovernata, tagliandola fuori dal mondo esterno. Le esercitazioni dell’Esercito Popolare di Liberazione (PLA), iniziate ufficialmente giovedì scorso, si sono concentrate su sei zone che hanno essenzialmente circondato Taiwan, limitando l’accesso alle navi e agli aerei civili nell’area, mentre le forze armate hanno condotto esercitazioni a fuoco vivo e lanci di missili. Le sei aree sono state scelte per mostrare come la Cina potrebbe tagliare i porti di Taiwan, attaccare le sue installazioni militari più importanti e tagliare l’accesso alle forze straniere che potrebbero venire in aiuto di Taiwan.

Collegare le sei aree in una linea, come un cappio, con il nodo del cappio proprio in direzione sud-ovest. Il Partito Comunista Cinese considera la democratica Taiwan come un suo territorio, nonostante non l’abbia mai controllata. L’unione di Taiwan con la terraferma è una pietra miliare della politica cinese e il presidente Xi Jinping non ha escluso l’uso della forza per riportare l’isola sotto il controllo di Pechino.

Le aree di esercitazione settentrionali sono riuscite a isolare Taiwan da Okinawa, l’isola dove sia il Giappone che gli Stati Uniti basano ingenti risorse militari. Nelle aree meridionali, il PLA ha dimostrato di poter controllare il Canale di Bashi, unica via di accesso e di uscita dal Mar Cinese Meridionale, ha aggiunto. E nelle zone orientali, le forze cinesi hanno dimostrato che un accurato fuoco missilistico cinese può costringere le navi da guerra straniere ad allontanarsi dalle acque di Taiwan.

Nei giorni precedenti, il PLA ha anche sparato razzi verso piccole isole controllate da Taiwan vicino alla terraferma e ha lanciato missili balistici più lontano, alcuni dei quali hanno sorvolato Taiwan e sono caduti nell’oceano a est dell’isola. Cinque sono caduti nella zona economica esclusiva del Giappone, un messaggio a uno dei principali sostenitori di Taiwan e al governo di Taipei.

Le navi e gli aerei commerciali sono stati avvertiti di non avvicinarsi alle zone di esercitazione, costringendo i trasportatori e le compagnie aeree a organizzare rotte alternative. Il blocco di sei zone ha dimostrato che qualsiasi conquista di Taiwan potrebbe iniziare con una strategia di isolamento. L’esercitazione ha dimostrato che il blocco in un conflitto non richiede necessariamente una presenza navale costante al largo, ma piuttosto il traffico marittimo e aereo può essere scoraggiato da minacce aeree e missilistiche a sostegno di un blocco marittimo.

Le dimensioni, l’estensione geografica e la complessità dell’esercitazione riflettono mesi di pianificazione. Nulla permette di conoscere meglio le reali capacità di un esercito che vederle schierate.

* * * * * * *

«China’s military exercises show Beijing doesn’t need to invade Taiwan to control it — rather it can strangle the self-ruled island, cutting it off from the outside world. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drills, which officially began last Thursday, focused on six zones that essentially encircled Taiwan, restricting access to civilian ships and aircraft in the area, as forces conducted live-fire drills and missile launches. The six areas were chosen to show how China could cut off Taiwan’s ports, attack its most important military installations, and sever access for foreign forces that may come to Taiwan’s aid.

«Connect the six areas in a line, like a noose, with the knot of the noose right in the southwest direction. China’s Communist Party views democratic Taiwan as its territory — despite never having controlled it. Uniting Taiwan with the mainland is a cornerstone of Chinese policy and President Xi Jinping has not ruled out the use of force to bring the island under Beijing’s control»

«The northern exercise areas had successfully sealed off Taiwan from Okinawa, the island where both Japan and the United States base substantial military assets. In the southern areas, the PLA showed it could control the Bashi Channel,  only way to enter and exit the South China Sea, he said. And in the eastern areas, China’s forces showed that accurate Chinese missile fire could force foreign warships to back away from Taiwan’s waters»

«On previous days, the PLA also fired rockets toward small, Taiwan-controlled islands near the mainland, and launched ballistic missiles farther afield, with some flying over Taiwan and falling in the ocean east of the island. Five splashed down in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone — a message to one of Taiwan’s key supporters as well as the government in Taipei»

«Commercial ships and aircraft were warned to stay clear of the exercise zones, forcing shippers and airlines to arrange alternative routes. The blockade of six zones showed that any takeover of Taiwan could begin with an isolation strategy. The exercise demonstrated that blockade in a conflict need not require a constant naval presence offshore, but rather, shipping and air traffic can be deterred by air and missile threats in support of a maritime blockade»

«The size, geographic expanse and complexity of the exercise reflected months of planning. Nothing provides better insights into the actual capability of a military than seeing them deployed»

* * * * * * *


China drills show Beijing is developing the ability to strangle Taiwan, experts say

Seoul, South Korea (CNN). China’s military exercises show Beijing doesn’t need to invade Taiwan to control it — rather it can strangle the self-ruled island, cutting it off from the outside world, Chinese and American analysts say.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drills, which officially began last Thursday, focused on six zones that essentially encircled Taiwan, restricting access to civilian ships and aircraft in the area, as forces conducted live-fire drills and missile launches.

Meng Xiangqing, a professor at the PLA National Defense University, said the six areas were chosen to show how China could cut off Taiwan’s ports, attack its most important military installations, and sever access for foreign forces that may come to Taiwan’s aid.

“Connect the six areas in a line, like a noose, with the knot of the noose right in the southwest direction,” Meng said in an interview with state-run broadcaster CCTV.

China’s Communist Party views democratic Taiwan as its territory — despite never having controlled it. Uniting Taiwan with the mainland is a cornerstone of Chinese policy and President Xi Jinping has not ruled out the use of force to bring the island under Beijing’s control.

Meng noted the northern exercise areas had successfully sealed off Taiwan from Okinawa, the island where both Japan and the United States base substantial military assets. In the southern areas, the PLA showed it could control the Bashi Channel, “the only way to enter and exit the South China Sea,” he said. And in the eastern areas, China’s forces showed that accurate Chinese missile fire could force foreign warships to back away from Taiwan’s waters, he added.

“This is an unprecedented encirclement of Taiwan Island,” Meng said.

And on Monday, China issued a notice to say drills were continuing.

                         A trigger for long-planned exercises

The exercises kicked off after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi angered Beijing by visiting Taipei last week to show her support for democracy on the island.

Beijing flooded the seas and skies around Taiwan with ships and jets — as many as 80 Chinese warplanes and vessels were detected in the Taiwan Strait Sunday, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry.

On previous days, the PLA also fired rockets toward small, Taiwan-controlled islands near the mainland, and launched ballistic missiles farther afield, with some flying over Taiwan and falling in the ocean east of the island. Five splashed down in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone — a message to one of Taiwan’s key supporters as well as the government in Taipei.

A map of the six Chinese exercise areas “clearly plots out where the Chinese think the key operating areas are for their strategic intimidation of Taiwan,” Mick Ryan, an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Australian Army general, wrote on Twitter.

Commercial ships and aircraft were warned to stay clear of the exercise zones, forcing shippers and airlines to arrange alternative routes.

Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center in Hawaii said the blockade of six zones showed that any takeover of Taiwan could begin with an isolation strategy.

“The exercise demonstrated that blockade in a conflict need not require a constant naval presence offshore, but rather, shipping and air traffic can be deterred by air and missile threats in support of a maritime blockade,” Schuster said.

“The exercise … suggests Beijing would first isolate Taiwan and resort to air and missile strikes in hopes of breaking Taipei’s political will. A costly invasion probably is a last resort,” Schuster said.

                         What could come next

Schuster said much of what Beijing demonstrated had long been in the works. The drills coincided with standard military exercises on the PLA’s training calendar, but he said Pelosi’s visit allowed China to make a bigger statement.

“The size, geographic expanse and complexity of the exercise reflected months of planning,” he said. “This exercise marks the latest escalation in China’s expanding military exercise and Taiwan-intimidation campaign.”

He said he expects the PLA will continue to put pressure on Taiwan, and could also send a message to Japan with more drills to the north of the island.

New exercises are also likely in the South China Sea, the 1.3 million square miles of water, almost all of which China claims as its sovereign territory, where Beijing has built up military fortifications on contested islands, Schuster said.

While continuing exercises will allow the PLA to refine its tactics and operations, they also can provide an opportunity for adversaries to learn about the modern Chinese military, experts say.

“Nothing provides better insights into the actual capability of a military than seeing them deployed,” Ryan, the former Australian Army general, wrote on Twitter.

With last week’s drills, Xi had to demonstrate he would not waver on his commitment to bringing Taiwan under Beijing’s control, Schuster said. Pelosi’s visit to the island posed a direct threat to that by presenting an alternative vision of democracy.

“(Pelosi) leads the democratically elected branch that originates America’s government funding and economic policies. Her position and role makes her commitment to Taiwan’s security particularly significant,” Schuster said.

“Unable to bully her, Xi had to demonstrate China’s power — diplomatic, economic and military,” he said.

While the military exercises gave Xi strong visuals to support his resolve, China also hit Pelosi and the US government with a range of sanctions.

The measures include the cancellation of future phone calls and meetings between Chinese and US military leaders and the suspension of cooperation on matters including the repatriation of illegal immigrants, legal assistance on criminal matters and the combat of transnational crimes. Talks on climate change were also suspended.

Beijing also announced measures targeting Pelosi and members of her immediate family.

“The goal is intimidation via the application of all elements of Chinese power,” Schuster said.

Pubblicato in: Logistica, Problemi militari

Ukraina. Mappe delle ferrovie e dei gasdotti. Necessarie per capire le strategie.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-06-10.

Ukraine Railways 001

Sarebbe ben difficile comprendere la strategia dei russi senza avere ben presente le carte geografiche, delle ferrovie e dei gasdotti.

I loro punti di snodo e concentrazione hanno grande rilevanza strategica. Bloccati questi, il sistema si blocca e collassa.

Sarebbe suggeribile analizzarle con grande attenzione.

Ukraine Railways 002

Ukraine Railways 003

Ukraine Gas Pipelines 001

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari

Gruppo Wagner. La entità che non esiste ma agisce. Figlio negletto mai riconosciuto.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-02-24.

Ciuffolotto Siberiano 001

«Ufficialmente il gruppo Wagner non esiste»

«Non c’è una sede, una registrazione, un organigramma»

«La presenza di questo piccolo esercito di contractor russi, molti dei quali si sono fatti le ossa nel Donbass ucraino al fianco dei separatisti, è però segnalata in sempre più scenari di crisi: Siria, Libia, Repubblica Centrafricana, Mali, per citare solo i più caldi»

«È formato da ex poliziotti ed ex militari ed è ritenuta riconducibile a Evgheni Prigozhin, un potente uomo d’affari»

«Wagner è ritenuta riconducibile a Evgheni Prigozhin, potente uomo d’affari soprannominato “lo chef di Putin” per le sue attività nel settore del catering e la sua vicinanza al presidente russo»

«E, come altre compagnie militari private russe di fama minore, Wagner è un elemento importante della strategia internazionale russa, sebbene il Cremlino neghi qualsiasi relazione»

«Mosca ha accusato gli occidentali di “isteria” in seguito alla doppia tornata di sanzioni inflitta nel 2020 a Prigozhin per le attività di Wagner in Africa»

«E Putin commentò le informazioni sulla presenza della “Compagnia” in Cirenaica affermando che “se anche ci fossero mercenari russi in Libia, questi non sono pagati dalla Russia e non rappresentano la Russia”»

«consentire alla Russia di estendere la sua influenza geopolitica e ripristinare gli accordi ottenuti prima della caduta dell’Unione Sovietica»

«La Russia non fa domande su democrazia e diritti umani»

«presenza di compagnie militari private russe in Sudan, Sud Sudan, Libia, Repubblica Centrafricana, Madagascar e Stati Uniti, Mozambico, Botswana, Burundi, Ciad, Comore, Repubblica Democratica del Congo, Congo, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Zimbabwe»

«Le compagnie militari private contribuiscono a portare a termine le vendite di armi»

«Un’efficacia solo parziale che ha però una sua logica»

«Se un Paese come la Repubblica Centrafricana li impiega per addestrare le sue truppe, è nel loro interesse fondamentale svolgere il loro compito quel tanto che basta per continuare ad essere impiegati»

* * * * * * *

Ogni grande nazione dispone di una sua propria intelligence e di gruppi armati a questa riconducibili.

Queste entità svolgono una lunga serie di compiti che gli stati non potrebbero certo patrocinare pubblicamente.

Nei fatti, questo è il power that be. Prezioso figlio negletto mai riconosciuto.

* * * * * * *


Chi sono i mercenari di Wagner, l’esercito dei contractor russi.

Un piccolo esercito che ufficialmente non esiste ma la cui presenza è però segnalata in diversi scenari di crisi come la Siria, la Libia, la Repubblica Centraficana e il Mali. È formato da ex poliziotti ed ex militari ed è ritenuta riconducibile a Evgheni Prigozhin, un potente uomo d’affari .

* * * * * * *

Ufficialmente il gruppo Wagner non esiste. Non c’è una sede, una registrazione, un organigramma. La presenza di questo piccolo esercito di contractor russi, molti dei quali si sono fatti le ossa nel Donbass ucraino al fianco dei separatisti, è però segnalata in sempre più scenari di crisi: Siria, Libia, Repubblica Centrafricana, Mali, per citare solo i più caldi.

Chiamata semplicemente “Compagnia” dagli ex poliziotti ed ex militari che la compongono, Wagner è ritenuta riconducibile a Evgheni Prigozhin, potente uomo d’affari soprannominato “lo chef di Putin” per le sue attività nel settore del catering e la sua vicinanza al presidente russo.

E, come altre compagnie militari private russe di fama minore, Wagner è un elemento importante della strategia internazionale russa, sebbene il Cremlino neghi qualsiasi relazione.

Mosca ha accusato gli occidentali di “isteria” in seguito alla doppia tornata di sanzioni inflitta nel 2020 a Prigozhin per le attività di Wagner in Africa. E Putin commentò le informazioni sulla presenza della “Compagnia” in Cirenaica affermando che “se anche ci fossero mercenari russi in Libia, questi non sono pagati dalla Russia e non rappresentano la Russia”.

Gli analisti occidentali sono di tutt’altro avviso e ritengono che i contractor mantengano relazioni strette con esercito e servizi segreti russi in modo da consentire a Mosca di perseguire alcuni interessi senza dover rispondere delle proprie azioni.

L’obiettivo, secondo Catrina Doxee del Center for Strategic and International Studies (Csis) di Washington, è “consentire alla Russia di estendere la sua influenza geopolitica e ripristinare gli accordi ottenuti prima della caduta dell’Unione Sovietica”.

“C’è una politica africana della Russia, soprattutto nella tradizionale zona di influenza francese”, conferma Djallil Lounnas, ricercatore presso l’Università marocchina di Al Akhawayn.

“La Russia non fa domande su democrazia e diritti umani”, osserva Lounnas, e ciò renderebbe formazioni come Wagner l’interlocutore ideale delle autocrazie del continente. I contractor della ‘Compagnia’ sono infatti spesso accusati di abusi e violazioni dei diritti umani. In particolare, l’Onu sta indagando su un’operazione delle forze armate centrafricane e degli uomini di Wagner, diretta contro i ribelli, nella quale, lo scorso gennaio, avrebbero perso la vita almeno 30 civili.

Il Csis, tra il 2016 e il 2021, ha trovato “prove evidenti” della presenza di compagnie militari private russe in Sudan, Sud Sudan, Libia, Repubblica Centrafricana, Madagascar e Stati Uniti, Mozambico.

Secondo altre fonti, all’elenco dei Paesi africani coinvolti nella rete dei mercenari di Mosca si aggiungono poi Botswana, Burundi, Ciad, Comore, Repubblica Democratica del Congo, Congo, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Zimbabwe. E, ovviamente, il Mali, dove agirebbero 800 uomini di Wagner, sebbene la giunta militare al potere ne abbia negato il reclutamento.

Il presidente francese, Emmanuel Macron, ha accusato gli uomini di Wagner nel Paese del Sahel di avere “intenti predatori”. I mercenari “vengono essenzialmente per proteggere i loro interessi economici e la giunta stessa”, ha detto Macron nel giorno dell’annuncio del ritiro delle forze francesi dal Mali – li considera i migliori alleati per proteggere il proprio potere”.

Le compagnie militari private contribuiscono a portare a termine le vendite di armi, sostiene Doxsee, proteggono i leader locali e garantiscono la sicurezza di siti minerari molto redditizi. I clienti “sono soprattutto Paesi con grandi riserve di risorse naturali, minerali ed energetiche” delle quali non sono in grado di garantire la sicurezza in autonomia, spiega ancora la ricercatrice.

I risultati sul campo del gruppo Wagner non sarebbero però sempre all’altezza. In Libia i mercenari russi sostennero l’offensiva su Tripoli sferrata nell’estate del 2020 dal generale Khalifa Haftar ma finirono per soccombere alle milizie filoturche intervenute in soccorso del governo di unità nazionale di Fayez al-Serraj. In Mozambico i contractor di Wagner finirono per arretrare di fronte all’avanzata dell’Isis per poi essere sostituiti da reparti sudafricani.

“Non avevano esperienza del terreno incontrato” e non comunicavano con le truppe locali “per questioni di lingua e diffidenza reciproca”, spiega ancora Doxsee.

“Erano i più economici ma non avevano la capacità di avere successo”, prosegue la ricercatrice, enumerando “un numero considerevole di fallimenti”.

Un’efficacia solo parziale che ha però una sua logica. “Se un Paese come la Repubblica Centrafricana li impiega per addestrare le sue truppe, è nel loro interesse fondamentale svolgere il loro compito quel tanto che basta per continuare ad essere impiegati”, conclude Doxsee. “Se riuscissero a risolvere il conflitto, non sarebbero più necessari”.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Materie Prime, Problemi militari, Problemia Energetici

Biden. La via per la Elettricità passa per le inquinanti Miniere.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-03-07.

2021-03-04__ Biden Elettricità e Miniere 001

«To go electric, America needs more mines. Can it build them?»

«Last September, in the arid hills of northern Nevada, a cluster of flowers found nowhere else on earth died mysteriously overnight»

«Conservationists were quick to suspect Ioneer Ltd, an Australian firm that wants to mine the lithium that lies beneath the flowers for use in electric vehicle (EV) batteries»

«The clash of environmental priorities underpinning the battle over Tiehm’s buckwheat – conservation vs. green energy – is a microcosm of a much larger political quandary for the new administration of President Joe Biden, who has made big promises to environmentalists as well as labor groups and others who stand to benefit by boosting mining»

«But that aim could conflict with his promises to hasten the electrification of vehicles and to reduce the country’s dependence on China for rare earths, lithium and other minerals needed for EV batteries»

«The administration has called the reliance on China a national security threat»

«You can’t have green energy without mining, …. That’s just the reality»

«Rare earth magnets are used to make a range of consumer electronics as well as precision-guided missiles and other weapons»

«Demand for metals used in EV batteries is expected to rise sharply as automakers including Tesla Inc, BMW and General Motors plan major expansions of EV production»

«Biden has promised to convert the entire U.S. government fleet – about 640,000 vehicles – to EVs. That plan alone could require a 12-fold increase in U.S. lithium production by 2030»

«In Nevada, the Department of Wildlife worries that the lithium mines planned by Lithium Americas and others would harm trout, deer and pronghorn habitats»

«The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that thirsty squirrels may have gnawed the roots of more than 17,000 flowers for water amid a drought in the state»

* * * * * * *

Terre Rare. Chi le controlla, controlla il mondo. Piaccia o meno, è la Cina.

Cina. Export terre rare -16%. Industrie militari i crisi.

U.S. military firms likely to face China rare earth restrictions: Global Times

Usa, Cina e Terre Rare. Ora interviene anche il Pentagono.

Terre rare. Novità rilevanti per il disprosio.

Guerra fredda sino-americana. Cina medita restrizioni alla esportazione delle terre rare.

*

Cina. Sta investendo massicciamente in Bolivia e Columbia. La guerra del Litio.

Il problema sembrerebbe non avere al momento soluzioni degne di nota.

Gli Stati Uniti non hanno miniere di litio e di terre rare in grado di soddisfare le loro esigenze militari e civili.

Di conseguenza sono obbligati a dipendere dall’approvvigionamento dall’estero.

Gli ecologisti mettono poi la ciliegina sulla torta.

Ma questa dipendenza non si estingue nel pagare un prezzo più o meno alto. Il disporre di litio e terre rare è anche, e soprattutto, una potente leva politica, con la quale gli Stati Uniti non possono scherzare più di tanto.

*


To go electric, America needs more mines. Can it build them?

Last September, in the arid hills of northern Nevada, a cluster of flowers found nowhere else on earth died mysteriously overnight.

Conservationists were quick to suspect ioneer Ltd, an Australian firm that wants to mine the lithium that lies beneath the flowers for use in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

One conservation group alleged in a lawsuit that the flowers, known as Tiehm’s buckwheat, were “dug up and destroyed.” The rare plant posed a problem for ioneer because U.S. officials may soon add it to the Endangered Species List, which could scuttle the mining project.

Ioneer denies harming the flowers. Their cause of death remains hotly debated – as does the fate of the lithium mine.

The clash of environmental priorities underpinning the battle over Tiehm’s buckwheat – conservation vs. green energy – is a microcosm of a much larger political quandary for the new administration of President Joe Biden, who has made big promises to environmentalists as well as labor groups and others who stand to benefit by boosting mining.

To please conservationists, Biden has vowed to set aside at least 30% of U.S. federal land and coastal areas for conservation, triple current levels.

But that aim could conflict with his promises to hasten the electrification of vehicles and to reduce the country’s dependence on China for rare earths, lithium and other minerals needed for EV batteries. The administration has called the reliance on China a national security threat.

The administration will be forced into hard choices that anger one constituency or another.

“You can’t have green energy without mining,” Mark Senti, chief executive of Florida-based rare earth magnet company Advanced Magnet Lab Inc. “That’s just the reality.”

Rare earth magnets are used to make a range of consumer electronics as well as precision-guided missiles and other weapons.

Two sources familiar with White House deliberations on domestic mining told Reuters that Biden plans to allow mines that produce EV metals to be developed under existing environmental standards, rather than face a tightened process that would apply to mining for other materials, such as coal.

Biden is open to allowing more mines on federal land, the sources said, but won’t give the industry carte blanche to dig everywhere. That will likely mean approval of mines for rare earths and lithium, though certain copper projects – including a proposed Arizona copper mine from Rio Tinto Plc opposed by Native Americans – are likely to face extra scrutiny, the sources said.

The White House declined to comment for this article.

                         DIGGING NEEDED

Demand for metals used in EV batteries is expected to rise sharply as automakers including Tesla Inc, BMW and General Motors plan major expansions of EV production. California, the biggest U.S. vehicle market, aims to entirely ban fossil fuel-powered engines by 2035.

Biden has promised to convert the entire U.S. government fleet – about 640,000 vehicles – to EVs. That plan alone could require a 12-fold increase in U.S. lithium production by 2030, according to Benchmark Minerals Intelligence, as well as increases in output of domestic copper, nickel and cobalt. Federal land is teeming with many of these EV metals, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“There is no way there’s enough raw materials being produced right now to start replacing millions of gasoline-powered motor vehicles with EVs,” said Lewis Black, CEO of Almonty Industries Inc, which mines the hardening metal tungsten in Portugal and South Korea.

Despite that shortage, proposed U.S. mines from Rio Tinto Ltd, BHP Group Ltd, Antofagasta Plc, Lithium Americas Corp, Glencore Plc and others are drawing stiff opposition from conservation groups. The projects would supply enough lithium for more than 5 million EV batteries and enough copper for more than 10,000 EVs each year.

Mining companies insist that federal lands can still be protected while the U.S. boosts output of minerals needed to accelerate the EV transition.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump and the mining industry “pushed the narrative that we need to mine everywhere and undercut environmental safeguards in order to build more batteries,” said Drew McConville of The Wilderness Society, a conservation group. “We have confidence that the Biden administration is going to see through that false narrative.”

Earthworks and other environmental groups are now lobbying automakers to only buy metals from mines deemed environmentally friendly by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), a nonprofit group. BMW, Ford Motor Co and Daimler have agreed to abide by IRMA guidelines, and other automakers may follow suit.

                         PROJECTS AT RISK

Biden has not weighed in on two controversial copper mine projects in Minnesota’s environmentally-sensitive Boundary Waters region from PolyMet Mining Corp and Antofagasta Plc’s Twin Metals subsidiary.

Tom Vilsack – the secretary of agriculture, the department that oversees the Boundary Waters – has in the past opposed the Twin Metals project, arguing that it threatened wilderness and marshlands.

Deb Haaland, the new secretary of interior, the department that controls most federal land, previously voted for a bill that would have banned copper sulfide mining in northern Minnesota. That bill, authored by U.S. Representative Betty McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, will be reintroduced this month, her aides told Reuters.

Conservationists nonetheless remain concerned that the appeal of copper for EVs and other renewable energy devices may help the mines ultimately get approved.

“If these were coal mines, I’d feel much more comfortable knowing they wouldn’t be approved,” said Pete Marshall of Friends of the Boundary Waters.

                         WORRIES ABOUT WILDLIFE, SACRED GROUNDS, FLOWERS

In Arizona, Biden promised Native Americans – whose votes helped him win the battleground state – that they would have a “seat at the table” if he defeated Trump. Many Native Americans are worried that Rio Tinto’s Resolution proposed copper mine would destroy sacred sites considered home to religious deities.

On Monday afternoon, Biden administration officials blocked a land swap Rio needs to build the mine. Trump officials had previously approved that land swap.

Other controversial projects include Idaho’s Stibnite proposed mine, from John Paulson-backed Perpetua Resources Corp, which is under fresh scrutiny by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staff over fears it would pollute Native American fishing grounds. The mine would produce gold and antimony, used to make alloys for EV batteries.

In Nevada, the Department of Wildlife worries that the lithium mines planned by Lithium Americas and others would harm trout, deer and pronghorn habitats. The Lithium Americas mine received federal approval last month, but ranchers have sued the U.S. government to reverse that decision.

“Renewable energy and electric cars aren’t green if they destroy an important habitat and drive wildlife extinct,” said Kelly Fuller, of the Western Watersheds Project, which opposes the Lithium Americas project.

In Nevada, the death of the Tiehm’s buckwheat flowers at ioneer’s proposed mine site remains a point of contention. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that thirsty squirrels may have gnawed the roots of more than 17,000 flowers for water amid a drought in the state.

The Center for Biological Diversity, which opposes the mine, said there was evidence that humans destroyed the flowers. “The targeted nature of the damage, combined with the lack of feces, pawprints, hoofprints, or other evidence of wildlife suggest human involvement,” the group said in a court filing.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is now set to rule this summer on whether the flower is an endangered species – a designation that would prevent development on much of the land ioneer is trying to mine.

Ioneer has hired scientists to move the flowers to a new site, though it’s unclear if that process will succeed. “We can extract this lithium and also save this flower,” said James Calaway, ioneer’s chairman.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Cina, Geopolitica Europea, Problemi militari

Serbia. Compra i missili terra-aria FK-3 della Cina.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-08-08.

Serbia__001

«Serbia, which hopes to join the European Union, declared military neutrality in 2006 and joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, though it does not seek full membership in the Western defence alliance»

«Serbia’s military is loosely based on former Soviet technology and in recent years Belgrade has procured MiG-29 fighter jets and missiles, helicopters, tanks and armoured personnel carriers from Russia»

«In late June, Serbia’s air force received six CH-92A combat drones armed with laser-guided missiles, the first such deployment of Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles in Europe»

«China has invested billions of euros in the Balkan country, mainly in soft loans, infrastructure and energy projects»

«Serbia has bought a new generation of medium-range, radar-guided surface-to-air missiles from China in a new sign of deepening cooperation between Beijing and Belgrade»

«Jugoimport SDPR said it made 163 import deals with 31 countries for $620.3 million in 2019. The weapons purchases included armed drones from China and Europe’s first known purchase of the FK-3»

*

Il “NATO Military Liaison Office” (NATO MLO) di Belgrado si colloca nel contesto della organizzazione di Comando e Controllo del JFC di Napoli con lo scopo principale di agevolare la cooperazione tra la NATO e le Forze Armate Serbe nell’ambito del “Partnership for Peace programme” dell’EAPC della NATO (Consiglio di partenariato euro-atlantico della NATO) del 2006 e delle Riforme nel settore della Difesa serba.

Nei confronti della Nato, la posizione della Serbia è ibrida. Vi aderisce per le missioni di pace, ma non fa formalmente parte della alleanza.

Questa posizione è stata ribadita anche di recente.

La Serbia ribadisce il no alla NATO.

«La scelta di neutralità militare della Serbia, che non intende aderire alla Nato né ad altre alleanze militari, è stata ribadita dal ministro della difesa Aleksandar Vulin.

«Finché sarà (il presidente) Aleksandar Vucic a guidare il Paese, e finché sarò io il ministro della difesa, la Serbia non sarà membro della Nato né aderirà ad altre alleanze militari», ha detto Vulin, che è leader del Movimento dei socialisti, una forza politica che fa parte della coalizione di governo.

Parlando a una manifestazione elettorale a Pozarevac, est di Belgrado, in vista delle elezioni del 21 giugno, il ministro della difesa è tornato a puntare il dito contro i bombardamenti aerei condotti dalla Nato nella primavera 1999 sulla Serbia di Slobodan Milosevic, raid che posero fine alla guerra del Kosovo.

«Nella giornata di oggi di 21 anni fa la Nato attuò uno dei crimini più efferati contro la popolazione civile. Sul ponte di Varvarin furono uccise donne, bambini, i più bravi studenti di matematica, furono uccisi i nostri figli», ha affermato Vulin. La Serbia, ha aggiunto, non cesserà mai di cercare le responsabilità, non dimenticherà mai né gli assassini né le loro vittime».»

A quell’epoca taluni ritenevano di essere i padroni del mondo, ma i sebi sono gente coriacea, con una ottima memoria.

«La Serbia …. non dimenticherà mai né gli assassini né le loro vittime»

Non desta quindi stupore che adesso la Serbia prosegua ad adottare armamenti difensivi russi e cinesi, che, tra l’altro, funzionano bene ed hanno bassi costi di acquisto e di manutenzione.

Però il problema politico ed umano rimane anche se ben pochi hanno voglia di parlarne.

*


Serbian purchase of missile defence system shows ties deepening with China.

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia has bought a new generation of medium-range, radar-guided surface-to-air missiles from China in a new sign of deepening cooperation between Beijing and Belgrade.

The purchase of the FK-3 missile defence system was included in state-run arms company Jugoimport SDPR’s annual report, submitted to the state Business Registers Agency last week and seen by Reuters.

Jugoimport SDPR said it made 163 import deals with 31 countries for $620.3 million in 2019. The weapons purchases included armed drones from China and Europe’s first known purchase of the FK-3.

“The biggest part of imports is related to the modernisation of MIG-29 planes, the procurement of drone systems, … (and) air-defence system FK-3,” it said.

Beijing sees Serbia as part of its One Belt, One Road initiative, which is aimed at opening new foreign trade links for Chinese companies.

In 2018, the Jugoimport SDPR made 162 import deals with 32 countries, worth $482.7 million, including purchases of Russian-made helicopter gunships and transport helicopters.

China has invested billions of euros in the Balkan country, mainly in soft loans, infrastructure and energy projects.

In late June, Serbia’s air force received six CH-92A combat drones armed with laser-guided missiles, the first such deployment of Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles in Europe.

Serbia, which hopes to join the European Union, declared military neutrality in 2006 and joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, though it does not seek full membership in the Western defence alliance.

Serbia’s military is loosely based on former Soviet technology and in recent years Belgrade has procured MiG-29 fighter jets and missiles, helicopters, tanks and armoured personnel carriers from Russia.

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.

*

«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.»

*

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»

*

«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»

* * * * * * *

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.