“As we move into 2023, the Syrian people remain trapped in a profound humanitarian, political, military, security, economic and human rights crisis of great complexity and almost unimaginable scale,” said Geir Pedersen, UN Special Envoy for Syria…
The phrase Si vis pacem, para bellum is adapted from a statement found in Latin author Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus‘s tract Dē Rē Mīlitārī (fourth or fifth century AD), in which the actual phrasing is Igitur quī dēsīderat pācem, præparet bellum (“Therefore let him who desires peace prepare for war.”). The idea which it conveys also appears in earlier works such as Plato (/ˈpleɪtoʊ/ PLAY-toe; Greek: Πλάτων Plátōn; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC )’s Nomoi (Laws) and the Chinese Shi Ji.[better source needed]
It is a very old document that had talked about a somewhat similar topic:
- The Military Strategy: The Military Strategy continues the previous section’s discussion of civil affairs, analyzes the current state of Zhou, and assesses the prospects of successfully overthrowing the Shang. “Attracting the disaffected weakens the enemy and strengthens the state; employing subterfuge and psychological techniques allows manipulation of the enemy and hastens its demise. The ruler must visibly cultivate his Virtue (德) and embrace government policies that will allow the state to compete for the minds and hearts of the people; the state will thus gain victory without engaging in battle.” This strategy teaches commanders to achieve victory via benevolence and wit, preferably without actually fighting. It teaches commanders to outwit opponents through diplomacy and manipulation.
The price cap – which was agreed by the G7 group of nations, Australia and the EU – came into force on 5 December…
Taiwan will extend mandatory military service from four months to one year, President Tsai Ing-wen has said...
27 Dec, 2022 14:53
Sensitive US military data found on eBay – NYT
German computer enthusiasts reportedly bought gadgets containing information on 2,600 people from Iraq and Afghanistan
FILE PHOTO: An employee scans the eyes of a woman for biometric data at the passport office in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 30, 2021 © AP / Rahmat Gul
A German computer club purchased several biometric capture devices on eBay and found that they still contained fingerprints, iris scans, photographs and descriptions of thousands of people who interacted with the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.
Inspired by a 2021 article on the Taliban seizing similar biometric devices following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Matthias Marx and members of the Chaos Computer Club in Berlin purchased six such devices on eBay, the newspaper reported on Tuesday.
One of these machines – a Secure Electronic Enrollment Kit (SEEK II) that cost Marx $68 – contained scans taken at detention facilities, on patrols, following a roadside bomb attack, and on local staff. The device had last been used near the Afghan city of Kandahar in 2012, and most of the individuals whose data it contained were from Iraq and Afghanistan. Several were considered terrorists by the US.
The SEEK II is a shoebox-sized device, capable of recording fingerprints, iris scans, and photographs. It stores this data on a memory card, allowing soldiers to compile biometric information while on the move and upload it later to a military database.
Had the US military simply removed the device’s memory card, Marx and his team would not have been able to see the personal information of the 2,632 people.
“It was disturbing that they didn’t even try to protect the data,” Marx told the Times. “They didn’t care about the risk, or they ignored the risk.”
After the US withdrew its forces from Afghanistan last August, the Taliban reportedly carried out a wave of reprisal killings. According to Human Rights Watch, the militants targeted, among others, locals who worked for the US-backed Afghan military. The Taliban leadership rejected Human Rights Watch’s claims, describing them as “slander against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”
A second SEEK II, last used in Jordan in 2013, contained the fingerprints and scans of “a small group of US service members,” the Times stated, noting that according to the US military, this information would have been stored during a training session.
The Pentagon said that it is “not able to confirm the authenticity of the alleged data,” and called on the Chaos Computer Club to return the devices to the US. Marx told the Times that he plans on deleting the data after presenting his findings at a hacker event in Berlin this week.
22 Dec, 2022 20:44
US Senate authorizes confiscation of Russian assets
Lawmakers agreed to the measure as part of a $1.7 trillion spending package that doles out an additional $44 billion to Kiev
FILE PHOTO: Senator Lindsey Graham speaks at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona, October 14, 2022 © AFP / Rebecca Noble
The US Senate has greenlit legislation authorizing the administration of President Joe Biden to seize the American assets of Russian officials, businessmen and entities and send the proceeds to Ukraine. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the change in the law would raise “billions of dollars” for Kiev.
The amendment was proposed by Graham and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat. It passed unanimously and was added to a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package, which the Senate then passed by 68 votes to 29, comfortably clearing the 60-vote threshold necessary to advance the legislation.
The amendment changes US law to allow the Department of Justice to sell off the assets of “oligarchs…and other sanctioned entities,” Graham explained before the vote. “I expect over time billions of dollars in seized assets will be sent to help Ukraine,” the South Carolina lawmaker wrote on Twitter afterwards.
The Department of Justice has already called on Congress to amend US law so that money confiscated from sanctioned Russians can be given to Ukraine.
Graham and Whitehouse have been among the loudest anti-Russian voices on Capitol Hill, even since before Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in February. Graham traveled to Ukraine in 2016 in a show of support for Kiev as its forces shelled civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk, and in recent months has called for the assassination of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The US has to date sanctioned 1,097 Russian entities and 1,331 individuals, according to data from the Atlantic Council, a think tank funded by NATO and Western arms manufacturers. The total value of the US-held assets belonging to these targets is unclear.
The US and its allies have also frozen assets belonging to the Russian central bank, totaling around $300 billion. However, EU and US officials have thus far found no legal way of seizing these assets, which are mostly made up of foreign currency.
“A large part of our assets have been essentially stolen by specific Western countries,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated in October. “These are absolutely illegal actions, they are contrary to international law.”
The spending bill passed on Thursday will next head to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to be approved by the Democrat-held chamber. A small number of Republicans have vowed to oppose the bill and to punish their fellow GOP lawmakers who vote for it.
Production of 152-mm, 122-mm shells already launched in Ukraine – Danilov
The production of 152-mm and 122-mm shells has already been launched in Ukraine.
The relevant statement was made by National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Secretary Oleksiy Danilov during a nationwide telethon, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“Talking of good news, I can say that we have launched the production of 152-mm and 122-mm shells at our enterprises. Now the production of mines and other goods will start. This refers to thousands of units, which is already an industrial scale,” Danilov told.
Danilov did not confirm that Ukraine would soon receive the Patriot surface-to-air missile systems but expressed confidence that support from partners would be increasing.
“The Patriot missile systems are a complex matter. As the war started, we asked for closing our sky. Sadly, they did not agree to close our sky. We have been closing it with our own lives, unfortunately. Now, the position is changing. As we receive the Patriot missile systems, society will immediately know about this. We are open and do not hide anything,” Danilov noted.
A reminder that, according to the mass media, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is finalizing plans to send the Patriot missile systems to Ukraine.
Sandu: Ukraine defending Moldova’s freedom
President Maia Sandu of Moldova, who visited the United States last week, said that Ukraine, which is repelling Russian aggression, is also defending Moldova’s freedom, although risks to her country remain.
The president said this in an interview with CNN, Ukrinform reports.
“Ukraine defends today its own freedom, but it also defends Moldova’s freedom. We are very grateful to the brave Ukrainians, but risks are still there. Even though there is no military threat to Moldova these days, thanks to Ukraine, we are facing a hybrid war, there are attempts by Russia to destabilize the situation in Moldova,” she said.Read also: Russia orchestrating protests in Moldova – Interior Ministry
Sandu noted that the components of a hybrid war are Russian propaganda, as well as the use of energy resources as a weapon. According to her, Gazprom reduced gas supplies to Moldova by 60%, despite the valid contract and the high price stipulated in it, which Chisinau is paying.
She pointed to the fact that certain corrupt groups in Moldova, together with pro-Russian political forces supported by Russia, organized protests with the aim of destabilizing the country.
According to her, Moldovans have been fighting for democracy for years. At the same time, Moldova continues to be a fragile democracy, she added, noting that its goal is to strengthen democratic institutions and processes, as was promised to the people.
Memo. Sandu was in Washington last week, where she met with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and other high-ranking officials. She also received the Madeleine Albright Award for her tireless efforts to promote democracy.
Russian troops conducting offensive actions in four directions – General Staff
Russian troops are focusing efforts on conducting offensive actions in four directions, such as Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Zaporizhzhia.
The relevant statement was made by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
In other directions, Russian invaders are trying to restrain the actions of Ukraine’s Defense Forces.
Over the past day, Russian troops have launched six missile strikes, including four on civil infrastructure in the Donetsk region’s Kostiantynivka. The enemy shelled the city of Kherson with multiple launch rocket systems.
In such directions as Volyn, Polissia, Siverskyi and Slobozhanskyi, the situation remained rather unchanged. No signs of enemy offensive groupings being formed were detected.
Separate Belarusian and Russian units are remaining in the areas bordering with Ukraine. Over the past day, the enemy has launched mortar and artillery strikes near the Sumy region’s Seredyna-Buda and Riasne, and the Kharkiv region’s Strilecha, Starytsia, Ohirtseve, Hatyshche, Volohivka, Okhrimivka, Chuhunivka, Ambarne, Dvorichna and Kamianka.
In the Kupiansk direction, Russian occupiers opened fire on the Kharkiv region’s Kyslivka, Kotliarivka, Tabaivka and Berestove, and the Luhansk region’s Stelmakhivka.
In the Lyman direction, the enemy struck the Donetsk region’s Terny, Yampolivka and Torske.
In the Bakhmut direction, Russian invaders used tanks, mortars, cannon and rocket artillery to shell about 20 settlements, including the Donetsk region’s Verkhnokamianske, Spirne, Bilohorivka, Vesele, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Chasiv Yar and Druzhba.
In the Avdiivka direction, Russian occupiers opened fire on the Donetsk region’s Zalizne, New York, Berdychi, Avdiivka, Opytne, Vodiane, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka and Marinka.
In the Novopavlivka direction, the Donetsk region’s Vuhledar, Bohoiavlenka, Novoukrainka and Prechystivka came under enemy fire.
In the Zaporizhzhia direction, Russian troops shelled the Donetsk region’s Vremivka and the Zaporizhzhia region’s Zelene Pole, Novopil, Novodarivka, Malynivka, Huliaipole, Dorozhnianka, Huliaipilske, Charivne, Bilohiria, Mala Tokmachka and Orikhiv.
In the Kherson direction, Russian occupiers struck settlements in the Kherson region and the city of Kherson with cannon and rocket artillery. Casualties among civilians were reported, and civil infrastructure was damaged.
Russian invaders continue to loot civil infrastructure objects in the temporarily occupied areas of the Kherson region. As of December 11, 2022, they stole equipment from local agricultural enterprises in Rubanivka.
In Crimea’s Mizhvodne and Chornomorske, Russian occupation authorities intensified administrative , police and counter-intelligence measures.
Meanwhile, Russian troops continue to suffer losses. Over 100 enemy soldiers with injuries of various severity levels are remaining in a local hospital in the Luhansk region’s Kreminna.
In order to replenish personnel losses and re-staff the units of the 1st Army Corps, women are being called up for mobilization. Twenty-eight women have already been drafted and sent for training by the Kalinin District Military Commissariat in the city of Donetsk.
Over the past day, Ukrainian air forces have launched four strikes on enemy personnel, ammunition and military equipment clusters. Ukraine’s missile and artillery units hit two Russian command posts and four personnel clusters.
Ukraine Army eliminates about 95,260 enemy troops
Russia has already lost about 95,260 troops in Ukraine (+500 over the past day).
The relevant statement was made by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
Between February 24, 2022 and December 13, 2022, the enemy’s total combat losses included also 2,966 tanks, 5,930 armored fighting vehicles (+2 over the past day), 1,931 artillery systems (+2), 404 multiple launch rocket systems (+7), 211 anti-aircraft warfare systems, 281 aircraft, 264 helicopters, 4,549 motor vehicles and fuel tanks (+5), 16 warships/boats, 1,617 unmanned aerial vehicles, 170 special equipment units (+1). A total of 592 enemy cruise missiles were shot down.
The data are yet to be updated.
A reminder that, on December 12, 2022, the Armed Forces of Ukraine repelled enemy attacks near 16 settlements.