International Assessment Report

Artificial Intelligence vs National Security

Artificial Intelligence, or commonly known as AI, is a briskly emerging field of technology. The rapid growth of AI has substantial implications on national security. The potential international competitors include the USA, China, and Russia. Artificial intelligence is highly used in developing applications to cater to a range of military functions. Artificial intelligence has gained its place in the world of research on the grounds of intelligence collection and analysis, logistics, cyber operations, information operations, command and control, and in a variety of semiautonomous and autonomous vehicles. China is the most leading competitor against the USA in developing AI and aims to capture the worldwide leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. China is primarily focused on using AI to make fast and well-informed decisions along with developing various autonomous military vehicles. Russia is more invested in using AI in the field of robotics. AI can acquaint the world with various challenges along with many advantages militarily. AI is capable of carrying out and facilitating autonomous military and combat operations which can introduce a unique form of influence, unpredictability, vulnerability, and manipulation. AI is also expected to bring social transformations of an extraordinary scale. AI’s capabilities may affect, directly or indirectly, the preconditions for peace, nature of conflicts, and insecurities that are often perceived by people and States.

Global Climate Change:

In a comprehensive report released by the “National Security, Military and Intelligence Panel (NSMIP)” of the Center for Climate and Security, experts warn of High-to-Catastrophic threats to security from plausible climate change trajectories – the avoidance of which will require “quickly reducing and phasing out global greenhouse gas emissions.” A near-term scenario of climate change, in which the world warms 1-2°C/1.8-3.6°F over pre-industrial levels by mid-century, would pose ‘High’ to ‘Very High’ security threats. To alleviate the threats posed by global climate change scenarios, a quick reduction of net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions is required. To avoid future disasters and calamities, resilient and climate-proof infrastructure is needed. A warm climate will encourage wildfires and prolonged summers which will have a direct effect on people’s day-to-day life and economic activities. The developed and rapidly emerging countries are likely to suffer less because of their greater coping capacity in comparison to poorer States. The economic activities of poorer States will likely experience setbacks leading to political disruptions.

Indian Homegrown Covid-19 Vaccination Shots:

A nurse displays a vial of AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD vaccine, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign, at a medical centre in Mumbai, India, January 16, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

India gave the nod for emergency use of two vaccines, one developed by Oxford University and UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca, and another by Indian company Bharat Biotech. It is the world’s largest vaccination campaigns, as part of efforts by the populous nation to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control starting with two locally-manufactured shots in the 1st phase more than 300 million people will be vaccinated. Doctors, nurses, and old citizens will receive vaccines firstly. Recently on 4th January, Indian authorities sent 16.5 million vaccines to different parts of the country. Over a 35million doses of various Covid-19 vaccines have been administered around the world and the majority of the COVID-19 vaccines have been snapped by the wealthy states so India is totally dependent on its homegrown vaccine. Ministry of Health claims that Vaccine is safe and no-after effects have been recorded, but according to few news channels some people are allergic to the vaccine. Indian doctors are demanding Oxford-AstraZeneca “Covishield” vaccine to be supplied instead of Covaxin. The residents are dependent on Covishield and demanding to complete the Covaxin trail before injecting it. Around 69% of Indians are in no hurry to get vaccinated, they are waiting for the result on those who got the vaccine shots. People are hoping that homegrown vaccine will help to counter COVID-19 and save lives as India has the world’s second-largest known caseload with more than 10.5m coronavirus infections and over 152,000 deaths so far. Covaxin could be the game-changer for India if the results are satisfying.




International Assesment Report

Indian Farmers Upset on New Agricultural Reforms:

Thousands of Indian farmers filled the streets of Haryana, governed by BJP, and started marching towards New Delhi on November 26th against contemporary agricultural reforms. The protests have been going on since September in Haryana but Indian police force used tear gas, water cannons and barricades to disband the protesters when they tried entering New Delhi in buses and tractors. As per recent agricultural reforms, farmers are now allowed to sell their finished or raw products to anyone at any desired price. The prices will not be fixed by the government under the control of the State. According to BJP the reforms will transform the agriculture sector and will empower millions of farmers by attracting much needed investments. The reforms are said to have an aim of modernizing Indian agricultural sector and to fuel growth. BJP did not take farmers on board because drafting and announcing the reforms, hence the protests broke out. The reforms are anti-farmer because they will leave farmers at the mercy of big corporate houses and private investors.

Pro-Western Victory in Moldova:

Russia has been trying to keep Moldova in its sphere to have more influence if any security crises or political disorder unravels. Recent presidential elections in Moldova have shaken the idea of Russian regional supremacy. Maia Sandu, a former prime minister and an ex-World Bank economist and Pro-Western, had a sweeping victory in presidential elections against Igor Dondon, a Pro-Russian. Moldova has joined Belarus and Kyrgyzstan and has discredited the leaders that are backed by Moscow. Dondon is claimed to have kept a carefree attitude towards controlling the deadly outbreak of COVID-19 in Moldova. Dondon is also accused of practicing corrupt politics which is why the people of Moldova tilted towards Sandu. Sandu will have to fight a battle against ill and corrupt practices in Moldovan politics along with finding common grounds with both Russia, as she did not criticize Russia at any point during her presidential campaign, and the west.

Ethiopia: Steps Away From “Full-Scale” Humanitarian Crisis

Nearly thirty years later, after putting an end to a 17 year long civil war, Ethiopia is steps away from entering into another catastrophic conflict that has the propensity to extirpate the progress of the past three decades. The conflict has already turned Ethiopians against the Ethiopians and can result in a full-fledged civil war if the differences between the government and Tigrayan are not resolved. There’s a possibility that if the fighting between the government, led by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the Tigrayan nationalists continue, it would have far reaching implications, extending the arc of conflict to the fragile Horn of Africa, mount tensions in Eastern Mediterranean, East Africa and Middle East. The region can have strong repercussions as countries like Somalia and Eritrea are already entangled in conflicts. The prolonged hostilities can spoil the hopes of a two year peace agreement with the neighboring country Eritrea. A country of 11 million people could destabilize due to the differences between the federal government and the nationalists, instigating a humanitarian crisis and aggravating the already existing ethnic divisions. The people of Ethiopia are facing grave challenges due to the fighting because if the confrontation continues a famine likely haunts the nation and many have already started migrating to the neighboring country. The neighboring countries can experience a huge influx of refugees from Ethiopia, posing new challenges to their frail economy and stability. The region can become more volatile due to the tensions between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, latter has failed to find common grounds on the yearlong dispute of the controversial dam that Ethiopia has been building on the Blue Nile River. Since the country has mobilized armed forces against their own people, danger of protracted lethal conflict is augmenting. Tigray’s and the Eritrean leader Isaias Afwerki, who has strong affiliation with the Tigrayan nationalists can exploit the conflict for their regional ambitions and draw countries with them who are trying to compete for gaining influence in the Horn of Africa.

Palestine to Restore Coordination with Israel

Palestine is facing devastating effects economically, after announcing to boycott Israel six months ago. In the recent days, the Palestinian Authority planned to restore relations with Israel where would be given the opportunity to discuss important matters such as financial, health and political issues. Restoration of the relations is important for peace and development reasons, but more than that due to the pandemic, Palestinian economy has been hit hard. If the relations are reestablished, Palestine will receive $890 million tax transfer money from Israel For long term effects, the leadership on both sides must remain committed to their objectives. On the other hand, if Israel does not give up its annexation ambitions, reaching a peaceful agreement on the “two state solution” would be unworkable. Coordination is crucial for both countries in the time of coronavirus because there are thousands of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and tens of thousands of Palestinians commute daily to Israel for work purposes. Only with coordination the governments will be able to spread the virus. The lives of Palestinians and Israeli citizens are interconnected, therefore, fighting against the deadly Coronavirus alone will be impossible. Restoring relations with Israel, will also pave way for recommencing contact between the new Biden Administrations and the Palestinians. Due to recent geopolitical shift in the region, which was a result of normalization of relations between Israel and other Arab countries, it is paramount for Palestinian Authority to resume relations with Israel.

Nigeria: Protests against police violence in Lagos

What initiated as peaceful youth-led protests in Lagos, Nigeria’s financial center, against police violence have now turned brutally violent. Protests started on October 7, 2020 when tens of thousands of people turned up in streets across Nigeria and demanded to dissolve one of the Nigerian police units called Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). SARS is extensively accused of extra-judicial killings, blackmail and torture. In response to protests SARS was disbanded on October 11th and was immediately taken over by Special Weapons and Tactics Team. Authorities have asked all personnel to report to the police headquarters in Abuja for debriefing, medical and psychological assessment. Despite the disbandment protests continued and soon government authorities started using extensive force against the protesters using water cannon, tear gas and live ammunition in Lekki district. As per eye witnesses more than 20 armed soldiers arrived at the toll gate in Lekki and opened fire, which killed at least 10 protestors, and were seen to remove the bodies from the scene. It has been reported that as protestors stormed in police facilities, 2000 inmates from two prisons have escaped in Benin City in southern Nigeria. A live video of protestors removing bullets and crying for help was streamed live on Instagram by DJ Switch. The videos of excessive use of force and death of protestors due to live ammunition in Lagos have caught the attention of Amnesty International and the organization will be investigating the killings. In response to protests and unrest, Lagos, a home to 21 million people, has been put under an indefinite 24 hour curfew and police chief has ordered the deployment of anti-riot forces to handle the increased attacks on police facilities.




International Assesment Report

 

United States Elections: Domestic and Foreign Policy Implications

Joe Biden has become the 46th President of the United States of America. People who have voted in favor of Biden are clear about their domestic and foreign policy views. Most of the people support the involvement of the US in other countries but worried about the other counties taking advantage of the US. 

It is clear that Biden will hold the white house and as like any other American President his top priority will be “America First” only the characteristics and approaches will be different with the same motive. Joe Biden will be backing international re-engagement, but his voters still clearly want him to prioritize domestic issues, but it is still to witness if he will continue the Trump’s isolationist and protectionist policies. The best guide to any President foreign policy is to understand his psychology and disposition, not to study his management formal policy documents and actions. Ex- president Donald Trump’s administration picked fights with the country’s long-standing allies and friends and walked away from multiple agreements, international scientific and environmental agreements, and organizations that include, the 2015 Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal, the United Nations’ science and education agency UNESCO, and in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO). It is expected of President Joe Biden that he will change the situation of the US and unite the Americans again by removing the superiority of Black and White restore trust in truth, in evidence, in science, and in other institutions of democracy, and begin the urgent task of rebuilding the United States reputation in the world by making favorable relation with different countries.

Israel: Peace agreements with Muslim Countries

To normalize the diplomatic relations, the government of the State of Israel and the government of United Arab Emirates have reached an agreement titled “Abraham Accord.” Within the region, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt have overtly welcomed the Abraham Accord and USA has been an active player in designing and reaching peace deals. 

Saudi Arabia has remained silent, whereas States including Iran, Turkey and Qatar have opposed the accord. Recently, Sudan has reached an agreement with Israeli government as well. The growing and coagulating coalition between Israel and Muslim States have been precluded by Palestinian leaders. Palestinians have been calling it a betrayal but these accords can be utilized in resolving a long-standing issue between Israel and Palestine. If analyzed closely, UAE claims to have helped Palestine in halting the annexation and on the other side the accord has great economic implications for UAE and Israel. Israel’s trade with Jordan and Egypt never grew but with UAE the case will be dissimilar. While Israel will have access to a confederation of whopping seven emirates, UAE will have access to USA’s weaponry including F-35 combat planes. These accords with Muslim States will not only encourage the acceptance of Israel’s existence but also to regularize the diplomatic ties.

Iran Nuclear Agreement with USA: Current Status

Since U.S ex-president Donald Trump unanimously pulled United States of America out of the Iran nuclear deal, The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in 2018, other signatories including Germany, France, United Kingdom, China and Russia have been trying to recoup the agreement to restraint Iran’s capability to resuscitate a nuclear weapon program.

Despite the deal being pulled out, Iran has kept the verboten uranium enrichment activity going while keeping the doors for the deal reversal open. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action provided Iran with some relief in economic sanctions. As the ex-president Trump’s administration ended the deal, it pushed Iran into unfathomable multi-year inertia, devalued its currency by 60% in May 2020, swollen inflation and discouraged foreign investors to invest in Iran causing a loss of multibillion dollars in revenue, exclusively from oil export. This economic compression is already causing the Iranian regime to decide between its survivals, or continuing nuclear ambitions. Iran has collapsed from 3.7% growth in the deal’s second year to a negative growth of 7.6% in 2019. Now that Joe Biden has won the U.S. elections, there is a possibility that he will prefer not to get enmeshed in solving Middle East issues and might stay flexible towards Iran. Upon being given no relief, Iranian regime can be driven to a decision where the Iranian government can be forced to commit to end nuclear ambitions. Terrorism, human rights violation and foreign aggression.

French President Sponsors Islamophobia

Muslims all over the world are outraged by the statements made by French president, Emmanuel Macron earlier this October. The statements came after a French teacher, Samuel Paty was beheaded in the broad day light near his school on October 16. The teacher was killed after he had displayed the caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to his students.

These caricatures were shown to the students in a class of freedom of expression and were previously published in a French satirical magazine. The French officials have associated the killing to Islam and Muslims were accused for igniting separatism and hatred. Since the news has spread to the Muslims countries, social media is crammed with criticism on Macron. Muslims are showing their reaction on social media by trending the hashtag #BoycottFrenchProdcuts. These hashtags were so common in Arab countries, that the local trade associations have declared to boycott the products that are French made. The French President, who is a critique of Islam has been a facing severe counterattack from the Muslim world. Tayyib Erdogan, Turkish president questioned the mental stability of his counterpart. Other countries that have strongly condemned the French president’s remarks include Pakistan, Jordan, Iran, Libya, Kuwait, Egypt, and Qatar. As a national leader there can be several reasons for issuing statements deliberately that are clearly anti-Muslim and can result into strong reactions from the targeted community. One motive for such statements can be that the French president wants to move towards stricter immigration policies, which also suggests the intensifying French nationalism. France is a country where the world’s third largest Jewish population lives, who have also faced anti-Semitism from the French people. Many Jews have migrated to Israel but those that still reside in France report facing anti-Semitism regularly. These exclusionary policies and statements do not only give birth to robust nationalism but are a way to marginalize the minority group in the country. The promotion of abhorrence for a certain community, on the basis of their beliefs and religion can be precarious for the peace of a society since it can endorse radicalization. The statements given by the French president are likely to foster islamophia amongst the non-Muslim French population.

Lebanon and Israel Talk over Maritime Dispute

In recent months, Lebanon will become the third Arab country to initiate talks with Israel. The representatives of each side will hold public talks, negotiating an agreement over a maritime border claimed by both states.

Although Lebanon and Israel are longstanding foes, with cooperation and mediation of the United States, the countries took a first major step towards mutual benefit. The talks to negotiate and resolve the maritime dispute is mediated for years by the United States, which has also been successful in brokering a deal for two Gulf States with Israel. The conflict over the sea border had hampered the exploration of oil and gas reserves neighboring the disputed line. Due to good economic condition and technological advancement, Israel for years has been pumping large volumes of gas from the offshore fields. On the other hand, Lebanon has been facing a serious economic crisis since its civil war (1975-1990), and is now looking for foreign investors and donors to help explore and utilize energy resources from its own waters. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, financial meltdown compounded. The situation further deteriorated with the explosion that caused a havoc of Beirut, killing approximately 200 people. The round of negotiation talks between Lebanon and Israel are hosted by the United Nations, which has also been monitoring the land boundary since the withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon in 2000. The talks will focus on discussing the 330- square mile patch of the Mediterranean Sea that has rich reserves of natural gas. This is the area that both states claim, thus making it a disputed territory. If both adversaries are able to resolve the dispute, it will have a momentous effect on the two states, as well for the peace of the overall region. Furthermore, this deal would be significant for the battered Lebanese economy. This would strengthen the energy alliance of Eastern Mediterranean, backed by the US. However, the talks will not be similar to the one that Israel held with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Israeli Energy Minister had said, “This isn’t a negotiation for peace and normalization.” Thus, the talks will not likely blossom into an agreement of normalization of relationships. In the future, the negotiating teams will be discussing only the disputed territory between the economic zones of both states, not peace. Nevertheless, even an economic agreement would mean that both states would not be losing billions of dollars each year anymore.

USA-Afghanistan: Intensified violence in response to Peace Talks

The United States signed an agreement this year with the Taliban pledging to extract all American forces from Afghanistan. The agreement revolves around the condition posed by the USA that the Taliban should provide reassurance regarding Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups that they will not use Afghan territory to carry out any terror attacks or activities.

Jettisoning Al-Qaeda and ousting the Taliban regime, which has been providing safe haven to Al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan were the basis of USA’s invasion in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda and Taliban are still closely joint and still carry out military and training actions, agreement has not altered that. Over the years, Al Qaeda’s capability and strength has weakened in carrying out terror activities against the West but Al Qaeda’s resilience cannot be ignored because they killed Husam Abd al-Rauf, a high ranking Egyptian al-Qaeda member, in an operation in Ghazni province just last week. Taliban have averred that they will honor the agreement with the USA and prevent insurgents from carrying out terror activities. The maiden issues of ceasefire and power-sharing agreement have still not been deliberated to reach some conclusion. The Afghan peace process has already been delayed and losing its impetus because violence in Afghanistan has intensified in recent weeks. If the American forces are withdrawn before reaching any compact agreement, there is a possibility that violence will intensify even more. It can even encourage extremist groups to sharpen their nails and they can transform into an international terror threat again.