Iran’s Prosecution of Arab Separatist Highlights Supposed Saudi Ties

“Why does the King of Saudi Arabia send an invitation to a terrorist?”

Iran has a centuries-long history of separatist movements, often backed by foreign powers, including Portugal, Great Britain, and Russia.  Many separatist movements took on an ethnic character, with various minorities—Kurds and Azeris, for example—claiming their own homelands.  Iran’s Arabs, many centered on the towns of Khorramshahr and Ahwaz, also agitated for independence beginning in the first decade of the 20th century.  Saddam Hussein sought to weaponize these sentiments during his 1980 invasion of Iran.  While Iranian Arabs did not defect to Saddam in any substantial numbers, the late Iraqi leader was correct to see the Khuzistan region as rife with discontent.  Iranian Arabs not only chafe at overt discrimination, but also resent the fact that Tehran redistributes Khuzistan’s oil wealth outside the province while Khuzistan remains underdeveloped compared to the rest of Iran.

It is against this backdrop that the Iranian government is particularly sensitive toward ethnic separatist movements in Khuzistan.  The excerpted article by Iran’s official state broadcaster, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, details an investigation into alleged Ahwazi terrorist Habib Asyud (a.k.a. Habib Chaab or Habib Farajullah).  Asyud had lived in Sweden for 14 years but, in October 2020, Iranian intelligence lured him to Turkey and kidnapped him to Iran, where he stands trial for “spreading corruption on earth,” a catch-all capital offense that the Iranian government uses to execute captured oppositionists.

Asyud is openly separatist.  In Sweden, he founded the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (the capital of Khuzistan).  Still, it is not clear if there is any truth to Iran’s accusation that he is responsible for terrorism.  In the excerpted article, the prosecutor reveals evidence that purports to tie Asyud to the Saudi king and suggests that the Saudi King himself directed Arab Struggle Movement attacks on Iranian civilians.  Iranian hardliners will likely use such accusations to undercut any efforts for rapprochement with Saudi Arabia.  Elsewhere, the prosecutor suggests that Asyud also has ties to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service.

The prosecutor also accused Asyud of bombings in Dizful and Abadan, pipeline attacks, and the bombings of various government offices in Ahvaz, suggesting that the Arab Struggle Movement, under the name Harakat al-Nidal, was responsible for a 2018 attack on an Iranian military parade in Ahvaz that killed 30 and injured 70.  The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Iranian trials are not free and fair and the excerpted reports of the trial make it appear to be a show trial.  While Asyud also holds Swedish citizenship, the Iranian government will likely execute him.  However, Tehran will seek to distract from accusations of Iranian-sponsored terrorism by, with false equivalence, accusing European governments of engaging in the same behavior.  Iran has already issued INTERPOL red notices for Iranian Arab dissidents in Europe and the Middle East.


“Hamkari Habib Assoud ba Servis-e Ettela’at-e Arabistan (Habib Assoud cooperates with the Saudi intelligence service),” Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (Iran’s official state broadcaster), 2 February 2022.

Amin Vaziri, the prosecutor’s representative, today unveiled documents regarding Habib Asyud’s cooperation with the Saudi intelligence service. He said, “The elements of this terrorist group went to Saudi Arabia under the guise of Hajj to carry out the plans dictated by the Saudi intelligence service. These plans included actions against innocent citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The next image displayed in court showed Yaqub Nisi meeting with the king of Saudi Arabia. Yaqub Nisi was the spokesman for the terrorist group Harakat al-Nidal, which was responsible for the 4 September 2018 terrorist attack against the Armed Forces, which resulted in the martyrdom of 25 of our innocent compatriots. Can you believe he meet the top official in Saudi Arabia? Later in the court, he showed a picture of the invitation of the King of Saudi Arabia sent to Isa Mehdi al-Fakher.

In response to the display of these images, the prosecutor’s representative said, “Why does the King of Saudi Arabia send an invitation to a terrorist arrested in the Netherlands? Because the plans of the Saudi intelligence service against innocent Iranian citizens.”The prosecutor’s representative also said that Habib Asyud had been under the special support of Sweden all these years and had infiltrated associations, organizations and even charities to recruit and organize people into terrorist groups.

Russia Modifies Short-Range Air Defense Systems To Combat UAVs

9K333 Verba MANPAD.

9K333 Verba MANPAD.

Missile of the 9K333 Verba MANPAD.

Missile of the 9K333 Verba MANPAD.



“Today, the Russian defense industry manufactures two types of anti-UAV weapons – soft-kill (electronic suppression) and hard-kill (physical destruction). According to the manufacturer, the new Pantsir-S1M is capable of operating in both modes.”

“With its [the “Verba” man-portable anti-aircraft missile system] help, they will try to create an “anti-drone dome” and intercept not only drones, but also precision guided aircraft munitions…”

The accompanying excerpted articles from Russian government news agency TASS and Russian newspaper Ivestiya discuss how existing close-range air defense systems are being modified to defeat small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  According to TASS, the Russian defense industry manufactures soft-kill (electronic suppression) and hard-kill (physical destruction) anti-UAV weapons.  The latest version of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ (VKS) Pantsir self-propelled anti-aircraft gun and missile system is the Pantsir-S1M, which will reportedly be capable of physically destroying UAVs while also electromagnetically interfering with their operation.

The Izvestiya article explains how the Russian Ground Forces intend to physically destroy small UAVs by way of the Verbaman-portable anti-aircraft missile system (MANPAD).  According to Izvestiya, the 9K333 Verba (SA-25), a modernized variant of the 9K38 Igla (SA-18) produced by KB Mashinostroyeniya, has a more sensitive seeker, enabling it to find smaller targets, such as small UAVs.  In addition, the Verba may be used as part of an integrated air defense system and can acquire data from other sensors to facilitate targeting.  Although the Verba has no reported soft-kill capability as with the Pantsir-S1M, this does not mean that the Ground Forces are not pursuing soft-kill capabilities.  Russian Ground Forces’ air defenses usually work closely with, and are close to, electronic warfare units that practice this skill; therefore, adding it to air defense systems is not necessary.


Vasily Kuchushev, “Панцирь-С1М и электромагнитные ружья: Как армия России будет бороться с беспилотниками (Pantsir-S1M and Electromagnetic Weapons: How the Russian Military Will Fight Drones),” TASS (Russian government news agency), 13 December 2021.

It is difficult to imagine a modern army of any state without unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The tactics of their application are constantly being improved.  Already today, there is a concept of using a whole swarm of drones, when one large target can be attacked by hundreds of small and cheap UAVs.  The experience of modern military conflicts in Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh has shown that attacking UAVs are one of the most effective strike weapons. At the same time, small and ultra-small UAVs are actively used not only by the military, but also by terrorists…

According to the chief designer of “Pantsir” Valery Slugin, the anti-drone functions were originally part of the air defense missile system’s concept.  However, at the time the system was created in the mid-90s, they were quite large.  Over time, the dimensions and flight altitude of the UAV decreased, which became a serious problem for most radars.  The main difficulties arose in the detection, tracking and guidance of missiles at such a target.  To intercept smaller drones, the Pantsir’s radar was upgraded.  The new radar can see up to 75 km, and simultaneously detect and track up to 40 targets…

Today, the Russian defense industry manufactures two types of anti-UAV weapons – soft-kill (electronic suppression) and hard-kill (physical destruction). According to the manufacturer, the new Pantsir-S1M is capable of operating in both modes.  With the help of the latest electronic equipment, the Pantsir-S1M can suppress the operation of drone navigation equipment at a distance of 15-18 km.

According to Sergei Mikhailov… the modernized air defense missile system is capable of becoming the basis of tactical air defense.  “On the basis of Pantsir-S1M, an effective modular air defense network can be built, capable of covering military units from small-sized and attack UAVs, high-precision weapons and, of course, military aviation – aircraft and helicopters.  The complex fully complies with modern A2/AD [anti-access and area denial].  (The theory of the formation of air defense, allowing to block the enemy’s access to critical areas)”, – said Sergei Mikhailov.

For the most effective defense against unmanned aerial vehicles in Russia, an echeloned electronic countermeasures system for small-sized UAVs is being developed.  The system provides reliable protection of territories and facilities from both individual drones and their groups, including swarms of drones.

Source: Anton Lavrov, Bogdan Stepovoy, Andrey Fedorov, “Укрыться под «Вербой»: над Белоруссией проверят «антидроновый купол» (Taking Cover Under ‘Verba’: An ‘Anti-Drone Dome’ Will Be Over Belarus),” Ivestiya (large circulation Russian newspaper), 21 January 2022.

Russian and Belarusian troops will be covered from the drones of a potential enemy.  The Verba  man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS) will be used for at the upcoming “Union Resolve-2022” large-scale maneuvers for the first time.  With its help, they will try to create an “anti-drone dome” and intercept not only drones, but also precision guided aircraft munitions…

The crews of these complexes will be distributed over a large area in order to create a protective dome.  In addition to intercepting the drones themselves, they will also experiment with intercepting aviation weapons – guided bombs and missiles…  According to the developers, the new, much more sensitive homing head has dramatically increased the ability to deal with small objects, such as UAVs. Compared with the anti-aircraft systems of the previous generation, the capabilities of the new missile have doubled, especially at a distance of more than three kilometers.  In addition, they can be linked into a single system with long-range air defense systems and receive external target designation [data]…

The Verba complex is capable of hitting aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and drones at altitudes from 10 to 4500 meters and at a distance of up to 6 kilometers.  MANPADS received a missile with a unique three-spectral homing head, which sees targets in the ultraviolet, near and mid-infrared ranges.  It is capable of distinguishing an airplane or helicopter from a thermal decoy on approach and choosing the right target…For the first time, the [command-and-control system] set includes a ‘Garmon’ portable radar, which, depending on the modification, monitors the airspace within a radius of 40-80 kilometers… two types of radars have been developed.  The first one is lightweight, and can not only be transported by motor vehicles or armored vehicles, but also carried.  The second is mounted, as a rule, on a tracked chassis and has higher target detection characteristics.  The Barnaul-T automated tactical air defense complex integrates the Verba into the overall air defense system and can use information about air targets coming from other, more powerful radars.  It allows you to create a scenario for the actions of anti-aircraft gunners, allocate targets based on capabilities, positions, combat readiness and the state of ammunition…

Image Information:

Image: 9K333 Verba MANPAD.
Source: Vitaly Kuzmin,
Attribution: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Image: Missile of the 9K333 Verba MANPAD.
Source: Vitaly Kuzmin,
Attribution: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Image: Pantsir-SM.
Source: Vitaly Kuzmin,
Attribution: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Iranian Authorities Arrest Alleged Deputy Leader of Royalist Terrorist Group

Jamshid Sharmahd, after his August 2020 arrest.

Jamshid Sharmahd, after his August 2020 arrest.

“Tondar is one of the counterrevolutionary groups in which supporters of the Pahlavi regime are active.”

While the broader Iranian population may not be revolutionary, Iranians have increasingly come out into the streets to protest government abuses and declining living standards.  Although nearly three-quarters of Iran’s current population was born after the Islamic Revolution and has no direct experience with the shah’s regime, photos of pro-monarchy graffiti and videos of pro-shah chants increasingly circulate on social media from inside Iran.

It is against this backdrop that the trial of a suspect called “Masmatos,” accused of being a member of royalist terror group “Tondar,” becomes important.  In the excerpted article from news media outlet Fars News Agency, the Iranian prosecutor announces the arrest and accuses Tondar of responsibility for the 2008 bombing of a popular Shi’ite congregation hall in Shiraz that reportedly killed 14 people and injured more than 200 others.  The article also accuses Tondar of attempted attacks ranging from a bomb plot against the Sivand Dam, trying to use “cyanide bombs” at the Tehran International Book Fair, and an explosion at the shrine of Imam Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Revolution who died in 1989.

After the Shiraz bombing, Iranian security forces arrested two suspects, Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour.  Iran accused them of royalist links and subsequently tried and executed them in 2010.  Iranian security forces claim to have arrested Tondar leader Jamshid Sharmahd in August 2020; he is still in the custody of the Iranian intelligence service.  The Iranian press identifies the mysterious “Masmatos” as the second-in-command of Tondar’s military wing and says he also had knowledge of the assassination plot against Iranian nuclear physicist Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who died in a bombing outside his home in 2010.  At the time, the Iranian government attributed that bombing alternately to Israel and to the Mujahedin al-Khalq, an organization that frequently conducts terrorism inside Iran.

The fact that the Iranian government is now seeking to reattribute past attacks to proponents of the past monarchy may reflect the government’s desire to tarnish the image of the monarchy for a new generation of Iranians.  At the same time, the fact that the late shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi, the most recognizable opposition figure among Iranians, lives in the United States likely means the Iranian government will use “Tondar” to accuse the United States of being a state sponsor of terror in order to negate U.S. accusations of Iranian state terror sponsorship.


“Nafar-e Devvom Shakheh Nizami Goruhaj-e ‘Tondar’ Dastgir Shod (Number Two Person in the Military Branch of the ‘Tondar’ Gang Arrested),” Fars News Agency (news media outlet with close ties to Iran’s defense and security establishment), 2 February 2022.

… The number two member of the military branch of the Tondar [Thunder] group was arrested by anonymous soldiers of Imam al-Zaman [in this context: elite intelligence forces]. The man, identified as “Masmatos” was detained by the intelligence forces. Tondar is one of the opposition and counterrevolutionary groups in which supporters of the Pahlavi regime are active. Some experts believe this group was founded in the first decade of the 21st century or, more specifically, 2005. The more precise name of this group is the Royal Society of Iran. According to available information, Fathollah Manouchehri (also known as Foroud Fouladvand) was the leader of the group in the first years of its establishment up until 2007, after which Jamshid Shahrmad took over the group’s leadership.

On Saturday, 1 August 2020, news broke that the Ministry of Intelligence had arrested Jamshid Shahrmad, the leader of the Tondar terrorist group. Tondar was responsible for many crimes, such as the bombing of the Sayyid al-Shohada Hosseiniyah in Shiraz, a bloody incident in which many innocent people were martyred, as well as the attempt to blow up the Sivand dam in Shiraz. Masmatos was also the first person to publish the news of the assassination of nuclear scientist Martyr Ali Mohammadi.

Image Information:

Image: Jamshid Sharmahd, after his August 2020 arrest.
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency,

Wagner’s Questionable Operations in Africa

The arrival of Russian military equipment, including these BRDM-2 armored vehicles, along with members of the Wagner Group helped prevent a rebel army from taking the Central African Republic’s capital in 2021.

The arrival of Russian military equipment, including these BRDM-2 armored vehicles, along with members of the Wagner Group helped prevent a rebel army from taking the Central African Republic’s capital in 2021.

“If no one else can provide it, African countries may continue to turn to the likes of Wagner…”

In 2021, Russia’s Wagner Group, a Kremlin-linked private military force, made a significant difference in the Central African Republic (CAR) when somewhere between 1,200 and 2,000 of its mercenaries, aided by 300 Rwandan soldiers, prevented rebels from capturing CAR’s capital, Bangui.  Wagner’s success was initially lauded by much of CAR’s populace, but as the accompanying excerpted article from South African Institute for Security Studies notes, those feelings of appreciation for restoring security have morphed into anger as Wagner has been accused of human rights abuses against civilians.  As the article states, Wagner has a mixed record in several African nations, including Libya, Sudan, and Mozambique.

In addition to the Wagner Group’s human rights record, people are asking questions about how the organization is paid.  As the article notes, no one has seen a contract between Wagner and CAR, leading to allegations that lucrative mining deals are the paramilitary force’s method of payment.  Further muddying the waters is the government of Mali, which denies the presence of the Wagner Group, claiming instead that it only has Russian instructors on its soil.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Wagner Group does not care that it is supporting undemocratic regimes.  This is particularly obvious in Mali, where Wagner did not arrive until after Colonel Assimi Goïta’s coup.  Still, as the article points out, despite the anguish of Western countries over Wagner’s involvement in Africa and the backlash of some African nations over the deplorable human rights abuses committed by the organization, there is grudging acceptance that in some beleaguered nations, Wagner has helped stabilize the situation by driving off terrorists.


Peter Fabricius, “Wagner’s Dubious Operatics in CAR and beyond, Institute for Security Studies (South African think tank), 21 Jan 2022.

Russia has established a strong military presence in the Central African Republic (CAR) over the past four years, clandestinely using dubious actors like the military company Wagner, which is allegedly close to President Vladimir Putin. Wagner has become the deniable vanguard of a major Russian push into Africa, many analysts believe.

France has threatened to completely withdraw military support to Mali. Sweden has already announced its exit from the European force Takuba because of Wagner’s arrival. Such decisions are difficult because they may further weaken the fight against the common enemy – violent extremism.

But Wagner’s growing presence on the continent also poses some difficult questions to the international community, including the West. The problem is not only about democracy but also stability and security. If no one else can provide it, African countries may continue to turn to the likes of Wagner – though it’s too soon to judge its overall effectiveness either.

He says complicating any analysis or comparison is that Russia’s involvement in the CAR and elsewhere in Africa is probably more covert, so it’s hard to know just where it is and what it’s doing. (There are rumours that Russia has its eyes on Burkina Faso, for example.)

Image Information:

Image: The arrival of Russian military equipment, including these BRDM-2 armored vehicles, along with members of the Wagner Group helped prevent a rebel army from taking the Central African Republic’s capital in 2021.
Source: UN Security Council/Wikimedia Commons,
Attribution: Public Domain

China Deepens Information Security Cooperation with Central Asian Neighbors

Shanghai Cooperation Organization logo.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization logo.

“… in the future, information security cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation organization should proceed from a strategic and long-term perspective, improve its position, strengthen its capabilities, expand its horizons, and promote the development of regional and global network governance in a more benign and orderly direction.”

2021 marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).  The SCO, a multilateral association of China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan with four additional observer states, was created to ensure security and maintain stability across Eurasia.

While its focus was initially on traditional counterterror military and police operations, there has been a steady expansion of emphasis on cyber and information security cooperation.  The excerpted article published on the website of the China Institute of International Studies,, provides an outline of the development of this cooperation and China’s future plans.  Written before the outbreak of political violence in Kazakhstan in January 2022, the article provides a snapshot of how China regards its international cooperation efforts in security spheres, and more generally, influence on its neighbors.  SCO members have signed joint documents on information security likening the potential disruptive capabilities of information technologies to weapons of mass destruction.  As such, they emphasize the need to better grasp these technologies to adequately address what the SCO refers to as the “three forces”—terrorists, separatists, and extremists. 

The full article also highlights the role of cyber exercises in China’s engagement with the SCO over the past decade.  Were it not for the pandemic, the fourth iteration of biennial cyberterrorism exercises would have been held in Xiamen, Fujian Province in December.  The first exercise was held in 2015, with subsequent exercises in 2017 and 2019.  These exercises involved capture the flag, cyber forensic investigations and collaborative intelligence collection exercises, identifying terror organizations’ methods of recruiting members, identifying affiliated individuals, and carrying out coordinated arrests.

Taken together, China appears to be equipping its neighbors with the tools to carry out both traditional counterterrorism operations using modern technologies, and improving their ability to counter dissent or any threat to social stability.  The 2018 SCO Qingdao Summit announced the desire to expand SCO far beyond its original size and remit.  As repeated in official readouts at the time, the meeting “marked a new start as the SCO began to transform from an organization of mainly landlocked Central Asian countries to one of regional cooperation between coastal and hinterland countries.”  Cybersecurity and information cooperation—especially with an emphasis on public security, counterterrorism and internal control—will continue to be a springboard for deepening and expanding the impact of the organization.  As Central Asian countries react to the fallout from recent political upheaval in Kazakhstan, China is likely to double down on the promotion of these tools.


Deng Hao [邓浩], Li Tianyi [李天毅], “上合组织信息安全合作:进展、挑战与未来路径(SCO Information Security Cooperation: Progress, Challenges, and Future Path),” (Website of the China Institute of International Studies, a directly-affiliated research institute or think tank for the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs), 24 September 2021.


This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (hereinafter referred to as the “Shanghai Cooperation Organization”). Security cooperation has always been the top priority of the SCO cooperation and is the biggest highlight of the SCO’s two decades of development. In the past 20 years, Central Asia, the core area of ​​the SCO, has not been rendered chaotic (lit. “Middle Easternized” [被中东化]) and has always maintained a stable overall situation. The effective security cooperation of the SCO has contributed greatly to this. Over the past 20 years, the economy of the SCO has generally improved. The economic aggregates and per capita GDP growth of its member countries have both been higher than the world average. The security provided by the SCO has contributed a lot. Information security cooperation is the “rising star” of the SCO’s security cooperation and a new force for the SCO’s security cooperation. It plays an increasingly important role in maintaining regional security and stability. The SCO is standing at a new starting point in the history of the third decade, and maintaining information security faces new challenges and pressures. In the future, the SCO information security cooperation should further strengthen the sense of a community of shared future, continuously enhance the ability to respond to information security threats, increase international cooperation, and strive to build a peaceful, safe, fair and open information space.

The SCO information security cooperation started in 2005. Over the past 16 years, the SCO’s information security cooperation has continued to expand from consensus to action and has made positive progress, showing great potential and good prospects…

In the Declaration of the Fifth Astana Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2005, the heads of member states proposed for the first time the prevention of information terrorism. This is the first time that the SCO has raised the issue of information security in an official cooperation document. This opened the prelude to the SCO’s information security cooperation. The SCO’s security cooperation has begun to expand from the traditional field to cyberspace.

On June 15, 2006, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the SCO, the heads of the SCO member states held the sixth summit, which further clarified the need to maintain information security and jointly deal with the military, political, criminal, and terrorism they are facing… It was also at this summit that the heads of member states signed the first special document on information security cooperation-the “Statement of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on International Information Security.” The statement expressed concern about the use of information and communication technology to damage personal, social, and national security, and believed that information security threats would bring serious political, socio-economic consequences to countries and regions and the world, and trigger the instability of societies in various countries, which may cause It is a worldwide disaster equivalent to the use of weapons of mass destruction…

On September 13, 2013, the SCO held the 13th Bishkek Summit of Heads of State. The declaration adopted at the meeting clearly stated that it is necessary to build a peaceful, safe, fair and open information space based on the principles of respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs and advocate the formulation of a unified information space national code of conduct. This is a new understanding of member states on national information security cooperation. The Dushanbe Declaration of the 14th SCO Heads of State Summit in 2014 further stated that member states support the right of all countries to manage the Internet on an equal basis and support and guarantee their respective sovereign rights to Internet security. This has further improved the SCO’s position on international information security issues.

On June 9, 2017, the heads of state of the member states signed the “Statement of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Joint Fighting against International Terrorism” at the 15th SCO Summit in Astana. They believed that comprehensive measures should be taken to combat terrorism, particularly the spread of ideology and extremism, through the prevention of the use of the Internet and other propaganda to incite terrorism and extremism, and conduct recruitment activities.

On October 11, 2020, at the 20th Moscow Summit, the heads of the member states signed the “Statement of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Heads of State Council on Ensuring Cooperation in the Field of International Information Security” and the “Shanghai Cooperation Organization… The Statement on Combating the Spread of Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism… calling on the international community to work closely in the information field to jointly build a community with a shared future in cyberspace…

In order to effectively carry out information security cooperation, the SCO has gradually established and continuously improved corresponding cooperation mechanisms and systems in the course of practice, which has provided the necessary means and legal guarantees for the SCO’s information security cooperation.

In terms of mechanism construction, regional anti-terrorist agencies are the primary support of the SCO’s information security cooperation. This institution is one of the two permanent institutions of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Since its establishment in 2004, it has been committed to promoting coordination and cooperation among member states in combating the “three forces” (terrorists, separatists, and extremists)…

At the 20th SCO Moscow Summit in 2020, President Xi Jinping the future, cooperation within the SCO should proceed from a strategic and long-term perspective, improve its position, strengthen its capabilities, expand its horizons, and promote the development of regional and global network governance in a more benign and orderly direction.

Image Information:

Image: Shanghai Cooperation Organization logo.
Source: Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,
Attribution: Fair Use

Russian Motorized Rifle Divisions To Gain an Electronic Warfare Battalion

RB-341V Leer-3 with Orlan-10 UAV.

RB-341V Leer-3 with Orlan-10 UAV.

Orlan-10 UAV of the RB-341V Leer-3.

Orlan-10 UAV of the RB-341V Leer-3.

“According to Colonel General Alexander Zhuravlyov, the battalion’s addition to the division ‘will protect significant sites, increase the reconnaissance capabilities of the formation, and reduce the time it takes to obtain necessary information.’”

“The [electronic warfare] battalions will be equipped with Zhitel, Leyer-3 and Borisoglebsk-2 electronic warfare systems can conduct electronic intelligence and suppress the operation of communication and navigation systems…”

“There is no doubt that the use of the Leer-3 system not only severed communications between the combat groups and their foreign controllers, but also provided Kazakh security forces their geolocation data… The loss of a unified command and control by the terrorists and their inability to coordinate actions led to a completely natural result – the elimination of combat groups…”

Traditionally, Russian motorized rifle divisions and brigades each have an organic electronic warfare (EW) company.  However, according to the excerpted articles from Russian newspaper Izvestiya and state-owned news agency Radio Sputnik, future motorized rifle divisions will have their EW company upsized to an EW battalion.  According to Radio Sputnik, Colonel General Alexander Zhuravlyov, the commander of the Western Military District, stated that this change “will significantly increase the reconnaissance capabilities of the formation and reduce the time it takes to obtain necessary information.”  Izvestiya notes that these new battalions will be equipped with the R-330Zh Zhitel jammer, the Borisoglebsk-2 EW suite, and the RB-341V Leer-3 EW/unmanned aerial system (UAS).  Although EW companies already have the Zhitel and Borisoglebsk-2, the RB-341V Leer-3 will be a new capability at the brigade/division echelon.  Previously, only the echelons above the maneuver brigade/division had this system.  It is important to note that, aside from the RB-341V Leer-3 and more kit, these EW battalions will most likely closely resemble the EW companies from which they are derived, maintaining their tactical focus.  This means that the EW battalions found in the motorized rifle divisions are far different from the EW battalions found at the Combined Arms Army level in terms of purpose, structure, and equipment, which includes the Palantin, Krasukha-S4, etc., as this type of an EW battalion has more of an operational focus.

The accompanying excerpted article from the weekly military and defense-focused newspaper Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer discusses the value of the RB-341V Leer-3 to security forces during the recent unrest in Kazakhstan.  According to the article, “There is no doubt that the use of the Leer-3 system not only severed communications between the combat groups and their foreign controllers, but also provided Kazakh security forces their geolocation data.”  The inclusion of the RB-341V Leer-3 in more numerous, lower-level, tactical units show the importance Russia places on cell phones in modern warfare.  The RB-341V Leer-3 is not just envisaged to do cell phone jamming and geolocation, but also to influence the population by way of sending short message service (SMS) and audio messages, and eventually, even digital files.


“Россия усилила радиоэлектронную борьбу на границе с Украиной (Russia has stepped up electronic warfare on the border with Ukraine),” Radio Sputnik (state-owned news agency, news website platform and radio broadcast service), 25 January 2022.

Russia’s Western Military District (WMD) has deployed a new battalion of electronic warfare systems in Belgorod Region, which borders on Ukraine, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on 25 January.

“A separate electronic warfare battalion became part of the Vislenskaya [3rd] Motorized Rifle Division of the Western Military District. Subdivisions of the new military unit are deployed in Belgorod Region,” the Western Military District said…According to Colonel General Alexander Zhuravlyov, the battalion’s addition to the division “will protect significant sites, increase the reconnaissance capabilities of the formation, and reduce the time it takes to obtain necessary information”…

Source: Bogdan Stepovoy, Roman Kretsul, Andrey Fedorov, “Ценность помех: в Западном округе создают батальоны радиоэлектронной борьбы (The Value of Jamming: Electronic Warfare Battalions Are Being Created in The Western Military District),” Izvestiya (large circulation Russian newspaper), 2 February 2022.

Electronic warfare battalions will be formed as part of several divisions of the Western Military District. The new units will protect troops, socially significant sites, and industrial facilities from strikes by precision-guided munitions. The battalions are equipped with complexes capable of suppressing enemy GPS systems, communications and navigation. The first such military unit was formed in Belgorodskaya Province and became part of the 3rd Guards Motorized Rifle Division. Experts note that this is an effective defense along the Russian border…

The battalions will be equipped with Zhitel, Leyer-3 and Borisoglebsk-2 electronic warfare systems can conduct electronic intelligence and suppress the operation of communication and navigation systems, military expert Aleksey Leonkov told Izvestiya…

“Operating as part of a division, the systems can carry out reconnaissance and jam sources of communication and control, as well as transmit the coordinates of aviation and artillery targets for strikes,” said Leonkov. “Each of them has its own specialization. The R-330Zh Zhitel jammer is designed to detect, find and jam signals and satellite communication stations, as well as navigation systems, including GPS. Such actions prevent UAVs, cruise missiles and other PGM from orienting themselves on the ground when striking… The Leyer-3 complex includes three Orlan-10 drones, which are used to jam cellular GSM communications… The main task of “Borisoglebsk-2” is the detection and suppression of various communication channels, including radio navigation systems.

Source: Vitaly Orlov, “«Леер» спас казахстан от сползания в пропасть (‘Leer’ Saved Kazakhstan from Sliding into the Abyss),” Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer (weekly newspaper focusing on military and defense industry complex issues), 25 January 2022.

On January 12, the Vietnamese edition of Soha published information about the use of Leer-3 electronic warfare systems by the CSTO peacekeeping contingent in Kazakhstan. According to the authors, this capability was one of the decisive factors in ensuring the successful outcome of the counter-terrorist operation of the Kazakh security forces.  “There is no doubt that the use of the Leer-3 system not only severed communications between the combat groups and their foreign controllers, but also provided Kazakh security forces their geolocation data” the report says. The loss of a unified command and control by the terrorists and their inability to coordinate actions led to a completely natural result – the elimination of combat groups…

New drones capable of replacing cell towers have successfully passed the combat test program on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic and have been officially adopted by the Russian Armed Forces. They have the ability to send audio and SMS messages to subscribers, and in the near future it is planned to add the ability to transfer video files. Since 2015, the drones that were part of the Leer complex have successfully suppressed base stations, but could not effectively resist 3G and 4G networks, which in turn created certain difficulties when interacting with smartphones. In modernized drones, these problems are solved. They “jam” the base stations, taking their place and becoming their virtual twins.

According to Denis Kuskov, CEO of the analytics company Telecom Daily, the “fake base station” created by the drone, unnoticed by the user, intercepts traffic and connection control, depriving him of the ability to connect to another base station. An operator controlling an unmanned aerial vehicle as part of the RB-341V Leer-3 gets the opportunity to generate calls and SMS messages to all subscribers within its coverage area…

Image Information:

Image: RB-341V Leer-3 with Orlan-10 UAV.
Source: Vitaly Kuzmin,
Attribution: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Image: Orlan-10 UAV of the RB-341V Leer-3.
Source: Vitaly Kuzmin,
Attribution: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Russian Invasion of Ukraine Detrimental to Turkey

Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“… conflict… poses a significant risk to the Turkish defense industry.”

The accompanying articles highlight that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses significant risks to Turkey’s already troubled economy, energy security, and defense industry regardless of Turkey’s position in this conflict as it balances its NATO obligations with its relations with Russia.  According to the first article from globally read security news site al-Monitor, the war will have crippling consequences for the Turkish economy since Russia is Turkey’s key economic partner in many sectors, including tourism, construction, and energy.  The second article from anti-Turkish government daily Sözcü states that sanctions targeting the Russian banking system will negatively impact Russian projects in Turkey, including the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant that Turkey contracted to a Russian company for development.  The war in Ukraine will also make trade routes in the region insecure and negatively impact Turkey’s economic interests and trade with other countries in the region.  Furthermore, according to the Sözcü article, the war will likely disrupt the flow of natural gas to Turkey, leading to an energy crisis since Russia is the largest natural gas supplier to Turkish markets.  The two countries have nearly completed the construction of two natural gas pipelines carrying Russian natural gas to Turkey and some European countries.

The third article from independent Turkish news agency Anka Haber Ajansı highlights that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will also have significant implications for the Turkish defense industry.  Defense cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey is significantly larger than Turkey’s widely reported TB-2 drone export to Ukraine.  Ukraine’s two major firms in aviation engine and manufacturing, Ukrainian Motor Sich and Ivchenko Progress, a Ukrainian state-owned company, provide engines for the Turkish defense company Baykar’s Bayraktar Akıncı drone and the Turkish Aerospace Industries’ T929 ATAK 2 attack helicopter.  Turkey is also building a MilGem-class corvette for the Ukrainian navy, which the article notes, is one of the biggest exports for the Turkey’s defense industry.  The article points out that the conflict will hinder Turkey’s ability to sustain the supply of subsystems and products to its defense industry from Ukraine.


Amberin Zaman,“Russian invasion of Ukraine would spell more economic turbulence for Turkey,”al-Monitor (a globally read security news site with regionally based reporting),07 February 2022.

War would bring Turkey under intense pressure from its Western allies to join putative sanctions against Russia, a critical trading partner and supplier of natural gas. Turkey will do its best to remain neutral, as signaled anew by Erdogan in comments to reporters en route home from Kyiv.

Ukraine has bought at least 20 drones from Turkey since 2018 and has used one only once in combat against Russian-backed separatists in Donbas in October 2021, eliciting growls from Moscow.

However, Turkey’s worries go beyond having to balance its NATO commitments with Russia, a key economic partner and since 2016 security partner in Syria. An actual war could have crippling consequences for Turkey’s battered economy.

In Ukraine, Turkey’s flourishing defense cooperation would likely suffer in a Russian attack as well.

Recent deals between Turkey and Ukraine include the supply of gas turbines for Turkish-designed naval vessels by Ukraine’s Zorya Mashproekt. Ukraine has ordered four of the MilGem class corvettes for itself.

Tourism, which Erdogan is banking on to help with an economic recovery ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections that are scheduled to be held by 2023, is also at risk.

… At best, Turkey can provide the two sides with “an optional diplomatic channel of communication” through which their respective messages are relayed.

Source: Dünya Taşlardan,“Rusya-Ukrayna krizi Türkiye’yi nasıl etkiler? (How does the Russia-Ukraine crisis affect Turkey?),”Sözcü (an anti-Turkish government daily),22 January 2022.

A possible war may involve significant losses for Turkey. First of all, if there is a war situation in the Black Sea, it will be difficult for tourists to come from both Russia and Ukraine this summer. Another problem is that Turkey meets most of its wheat needs from Russia and Ukraine. Since the war situation will also affect these imports, there may be rapid price hikes in food products…

In case of war, natural gas pipelines such as TurkStream and BlueStream in the Black Sea, which seem to be an important source of income for Russia, may also be attacked. Such a case may lead to a natural gas crisis in Turkey. By inviting both the Ukrainian and Russian presidents to Turkey, Turkey is actually signaling that it will remain neutral in this crisis with its mediation offer…

Turkey does not recognize and does not implement the sanctions imposed by the USA and EU countries on Russia. In this sense, we can say that there is an understanding and cooperation between the two countries. Although Turkey may not implement the Russian sanctions, especially the sanctions that would be applied in the banking system will negatively affect the Russian projects in Turkey. The construction of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant may be delayed.

Since there will be no dollar circulation, Russia may have to pause its projects. Again, as the Black Sea will become a war zone, the use of commercial roads will be difficult, which will be reflected in the prices.

Source: Arda Mevlütoğlu,“Turkey – Ukraine Defense Cooperation In Russia’s Crosshairs?,”Anka Haber Ajansı (an independent Turkish news agency based in Ankara),06 February 2022.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky signed several agreements on Feb. 3, during Erdogan’s visit to Kyiv. The deals included a free trade agreement and a pact on cooperation in advanced technologies, aviation, and space…

Turkey’s sale of armed drones to Ukraine has come under harsh criticism by Russia. The TB2, however, is not the only subject of the rapidly enhancing defense industry cooperation between Kyiv and Ankara. Ukraine has become a preferred supplier for Turkey, especially for engines. A potential conflict, therefore, poses a significant risk to the Turkish defense industry…

Ukraine has two major firms in aviation engine design and manufacturing, Motor Sich and Ivchenko Progress…

The Bayraktar TB2’s manufacturer, Baykar Savunma. has developed a strategic reconnaissance/surveillance and strike drone that is designated Bayraktar Akinci. The Akinci can be powered by various types of turboprop engines, among them the Ivchenko Progress AI-450T… Baykar Savunma signed another deal with Motor Sich for the MS500 engine for the Akinci drone.

The drones are not the only area of engine procurement from Ukraine. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TA) signed a contract with Motor Sich for the TV3-117 turboshaft engines last June for use with the prototypes of the T929 ATAK 2 next-generation attack helicopter project. The Ukrainian company is also offering the same engine for the T925 10-ton class general-purpose helicopter project of TA.

Marine gas turbine specialist Zorya Mashproekt has become a candidate for supplying gas turbines for Turkish-designed naval vessels, mainly for the MilGem class corvettes… The MilGem sale to the Ukrainian Navy is one of the biggest defense exports of the Turkish defense industry…

An armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine poses a major risk for sustaining the supply of subsystems and products to Turkey. The level of risk depends on the scale of the conflict.

In a limited-scale conflict scenario, where the clashes occur in and around the Donbas region, there is a lower risk of Ukrainian defense industry facilities being targeted by Russian armed forces…

The second scenario is a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces. This scenario is the worst for Turkey and the region. In such a case, defense industry facilities as well as strategic industrial and infrastructure elements would be primary targets for the Russian military. The destruction of manufacturing facilities as well as the loss of skilled personnel would deal a devastating blow to the Ukrainian defense industry as well as to Turkish defense projects.

There may definitely be other scenarios involving intervention by external actors, diplomatic resolution, or various types of armed conflict. However, one thing is certain: a conflict of any type or scale would be a worst-case scenario for Turkey.

Image Information:

Image: Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
]Source: Russian Presidential Executive Office,, via Wikimedia,, Files from
|Attribution: CC-BY-4.0 | Russia photographs taken on 2020-03-05

Latest Russian Population Figures Show Continued Declines

“… I believe that their results are unreliable, not trustworthy. The current census is generally taken out of thin air…”

Recent data regarding Russian population trends are again a cause for concern.  The first excerpt from the independent, pro-business source RBC,analyzes recent population data from the Russian Statistic Agency Rosstat.  The article points out that the “natural” Russian population declined by 1.04 million people during 2021, resulting in a “permanent population” of 145.478 million people.  The article stresses that the decline continued “for the fourth year in a row” for a total decrease of 1.4 million people.  The article quotes a Russian medical official who claims that the “high level of population decline is associated with ‘super-mortality from COVID’—in the form of direct causes or concomitant diseases.”  This article concludes by citing expert officials who assert that “excess mortality… would have a long-term negative impact on the Russian economy.”

Russian population figures have often been a source of contention.  The Russian government conducted a nationwide census in late 2021, and while the official results will not be released until later in 2022, some Russian sources are already beginning to question the validity of the census numbers.  The second excerpt from the moderate and popular Svobodnaya Pressa claims that “the 2021 census is 100% fiction.”  After providing a brief history of how census data has been collected and manipulated in the past, the article quotes a Russian academic who says “the current census is generally taken out of thin air.”  The article includes anecdotal evidence that suggests many Russians did not participate in the recent census.  If there is truth to the quote that “demography is destiny,” then Russia faces an uncertain and potentially challenging future unless it can address its population decline.


Ivan Tkachev, “Естественная убыль населения в России за год превысила 1 млн человек (The natural population decline in Russia for the year exceeded 1 million people),” RBC (independent, pro-business source), 28 January 2022.

The natural population decline in 2021 for the first time in the history of the modern Russian Federation reached 1.04 million people. The last time the indicator approached this level was in 2000. The main reason was the pandemic. As of January 1, 2022, the permanent population of Russia amounted to 145.478 million people, having decreased over the year by almost 693 thousand people (minus 0.5%)…. In general, the decline in the population of Russia is recorded for the fourth year in a row. During this period, the population of the country decreased by 1.4 million people, follows from the data of Rosstat….

A high level of population decline is associated with the “supermortality from COVID” – in the form of direct causes or concomitant diseases, Kalabikhina emphasizes…

Both ACRA and the VEB Institute emphasized that excess mortality (demographic footprint) would have a long-term negative impact on the Russian economy.

Source: Ivan Rybin, “Русский миллиард: Перепись населения обернулась очередной фальшивкой (Russian billion: Population census turned into another fake),” Svobodnaya Pressa (moderate, popular source), 9 February 2022.

… On February 9, 1897, 125 years ago, the first general population census was held in the Russian Empire. Prior to this, the state was limited to administrative and police accounting, that is, it deduced figures practically “from the lantern.” Today, in the 21st century, the authorities of the Russian Federation have returned to the vicious practice of autocracy, no one believes the data of 2021….

… However, what is happening today is even worse….  How many of us at the moment – in fact, it is not clear.  But obviously not 146 million people, the 2021 census is 100% fiction

“I also had complaints about previous censuses, I believe that their results are unreliable, not trustworthy.  The current census is generally taken out of thin air,” said Grigory Yudin, a sociologist and professor at the Moscow Higher School of Social and Economic Sciences.

“We don’t know how many people we have. Serious demographers say that there are actually 90 million of us.  I have two female students who were engaged in the population census in different parts of Moscow.  One counted 6.5 thousand people in her area, and the other – 8.5 thousand.  Where there are 6.5 thousand, they said to write down 10 thousand people, and where there are 8.5 thousand, they ordered to write down 12 thousand.  Thus, in these areas, a population of 30% was attributed.  It seems that this situation was also throughout Russia,” said the famous historian Andrei Fursov back in 2012.

“I conducted a roll call in my social circle, and it is large, and on my FB page, not a single person was revealed who would have seen a live census taker.  Those who answered that they participated in the census did it on their own through the State Services website, including me.  And this, of course, does not correlate in any way with the data announced by the organizers – more than 99% of the population took part in the census…” said political scientist Alexander Kynev.  The author of these lines also has a large social circle, and completely similar data.  No one came to anyone, to his friends, acquaintances, relatives, too….

China-Russia Pledges of Deeper Cooperation Show Tangible Results

Chinese and Russian Flags.

Chinese and Russian Flags.

“…We continue to expand local currency settlements and establish mechanisms to counteract the negative effects of unilateral sanctions. The Agreement between the Russian Government and the Chinese Government on Settlement and Payment signed in 2019 became an important milestone in this work.”

“The two sides reiterated that they firmly support each other’s core interests, national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose external interference in the internal affairs of the two countries.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Beijing in early February, and Russia and China took the opportunity to cement their increasingly close relationship further.  The accompanying excerpts from Putin’s public letter and a joint statement, both published by Chinese state media outlet Xinhua, give some sense of the future direction of this relationship.  Central to both the letter and the joint statement is the expressed desire to expand cooperation across a wide range of areas, including space exploration, development of the Arctic, transportation, science, and technological development.

The two countries have successively upgraded relations from a constructive partnership (1994), to strategic partnership of coordination for the 21st century (1996), to a comprehensive strategic coordinated partnership (2011), to a new-era Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic coordinated Partnership (2019) (See “China Upgrades Relations with Russia,” OE Watch, July 2019).  These titles have been accompanied by real improvements in the two countries’ levels of cooperation.  In particular, Putin’s letter highlighting the importance of joint efforts to improve each side’s ability to use local currencies in payments has helped Russia mitigate the effects of international sanctions.

Cooperation in the energy sector has further benefited both sides as China looks to transition its energy grid to use more natural gas as a cleaner and more efficient alternative to coal while Russia is diversifying and expanding its sales of oil and gas.  The two sides have steadily opened new transportation links to improve cross-border trade, including a bridge connecting Heihe and Blagoveschensk along the Amur River, which forms part of China’s northeast border with Russia (See “New Bridge to Connect Russia’s Far East with China’s Northeast,” OE Watch, February 2020).  In Putin’s letter, these links and improving trade have taken on additional importance as both countries look to expand trade after the negative effects of the global pandemic.

The joint statement expands upon the pledges of economic cooperation mentioned in Putin’s letter, promising increasing connectivity across Eurasia and cooperation in developing the Arctic.  The statement also systematically touches upon issues of concern to each side, ranging from core interests such as the “One China” Principle and the status of Taiwan, to the historical account of Russia’s role in World War Two.  It devotes significant time to defending their respective interpretations of democracy and positioning Russia and China as defenders of the post-World War Two international system and global security.  While both sides likely harbor some doubts about the long-term value of cooperation due to the massive inequalities in the size of their respective economies and populations, improving trade and scientific cooperation as well as backing each other diplomatically could pay significant dividends in expanding both countries’ national power in the near term.


“普京通过新华社发表署名文章《俄罗斯和中国:着眼于未来的战略伙伴》(Putin published a signed article through Xinhua News Agency ‘Russia and China: Strategic Partners for the Future’),” Xinhua (PRC State News agency), 3 February 2022.


….We continue to expand local currency settlements and establish mechanisms to counteract the negative effects of unilateral sanctions. The Agreement between the Russian Government and the Chinese Government on Settlement and Payment signed in 2019 became an important milestone in this work.

A mutually beneficial energy alliance is being formed between our two countries. In addition to the long-term delivery of oil and gas to China, we also plan to implement a series of large-scale joint projects. One of the projects is the construction of four new generating units at China’s nuclear power plant from last year, with the participation of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation. All of this greatly enhances the energy security of China and the entire Asian region.

We believe that the two countries have extensive opportunities to develop partnerships in the information and communications industry, medicine, and space exploration, including the application of national navigation systems and the implementation of the International Lunar Research Station project. The “Year of Science and Technology Innovation” held  2020-2021 and hosted by both countries has injected a huge impetus into strengthening bilateral relations.

Accelerating the socio-economic development of Siberia and the Far East is one of Russia’s strategic tasks. These regions are the regions closest to China. We plan to actively develop local cooperation, attract Chinese investment and technology, and expand global transportation and trade routes. For example, modernization and upgrading of the Baikal-Amur and Trans-Siberian railways have already begun. Its capacity will be doubled and a half by 2024 by increasing the volume of transit freight and shortening transit times. In addition, the port infrastructure in the Russian Far East has also been developed. All of these will further enhance the complementarity of the Russian and Chinese economies.… We have the same position on international trade issues. We advocate maintaining an open, transparent and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system based on the rules of the World Trade Organization, and agree to restart the global supply chain. As early as March 2020, Russia proposed an initiative to build a “green corridor” for trade without any sanctions, political and administrative barriers. The implementation of this initiative will help overcome the economic impact of the pandemic….

Source: “中华人民共和国和俄罗斯联邦关于新时代国际关系和全球可持续发展的联合声明 (Joint Statement of People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on International Relations in the New Era and Global Sustainable Development),” Xinhua (PRC State News agency), 4 February 2022.

… The two sides will actively promote the cooperation between the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” and the Eurasian Economic Union, and deepen the practical cooperation between China and the Eurasian Economic Union in various fields. Improve the level of connectivity in the Asia-Pacific and Eurasian regions. The two sides are willing to continue to promote the parallel and coordinated development of the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” and the “Greater Eurasian Partnership”, promote the development of regional organizations and the process of bilateral and multilateral economic integration, and benefit the people of all countries in the Eurasian continent.

The two sides agreed to further deepen pragmatic cooperation in Arctic sustainable development…

The two sides expressed deep concern over the severe challenges facing the international security situation, and believed that the people of all countries share a common destiny, and no country can and should not achieve its own security by breaking away from world security and at the expense of the security of other countries. The international community should actively participate in global security governance to achieve common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.

The two sides reiterated that they firmly support each other’s core interests, national sovereignty and territorial integrity and oppose external interference in the internal affairs of the two countries.

The Russian side reiterated that it abides by the one-China principle, recognizes that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and opposes any form of “Taiwanese independence.”

China and Russia oppose external forces undermining the security and stability of the two countries’ common surrounding areas, oppose external forces interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext, and oppose “color revolutions”, and will strengthen cooperation in the areas mentioned above.

The two sides believe that individual countries, military-political alliances or alliances seek direct or indirect unilateral military superiority, harm the security of other countries through unfair competition and other means, intensify geopolitical competition, exaggerate rivalry and confrontation, seriously undermine the international security order, and undermine global strategic stability. . The two sides oppose the continued expansion of NATO, and call on NATO to abandon the ideology of the Cold War, respect the sovereignty, security, interests, and diversity of civilizations, history and culture of other countries, and view the peaceful development of other countries in an objective and fair manner. The two sides oppose the establishment of a closed alliance system in the Asia-Pacific region and the creation of confronting camps, and are highly vigilant of the negative impact of the “Indo-Pacific strategy” promoted by the United States on the peace and stability of the region. China and Russia have always been committed to building a security system in the Asia-Pacific region that is equal, open, inclusive, and not targeting third countries, and maintains peace, stability, and prosperity.

Image Information:

Image: Chinese and Russian Flags.
Attribution: Image by Author. Permission to use image granted by author

Chinese AI Researchers Claim Success in Teaching Drones To Win Dogfights

“A main focus of the Chinese military AI program is to develop new algorithms that can get high performance out of a slow computer.”

The accompanying excerpt from the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP) references a report published in the Chinese peer-review journal, Acta Aeronautica et Astronautica Sinica, that researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system capable of teaching Chinese combat drones how “to win dogfights thousands of times faster than comparable American technology.”  According to the researchers, the ability to learn at a higher speed could help drones to identify a human pilot’s “cheating maneuvers” and outperform them in complex, large-scale air combat.  They put the system to the test by simulating combat between a drone and a test fighter.  The researchers claim that after conducting 800,000 simulations, the drone was able to win most of its encounters.  They compared the results to a “similar dogfight competition conducted in the United States in 2020,” which they say took more than 4 billion rounds of training to achieve the same result.  The test took place in Jianyang, Sichuan Province, at the Aerodynamics Research and Development Center, the largest research and testing institute of aerodynamics in China. The SCMP article notes the growing role of drones in defense, explaining that most military drones are designed for surveillance, early warning, communications, or attack.  They normally cannot handle the sophisticated, fast-paced action needed in a dogfight, which requires more calculation and swifter movement since their computer chips are slower and possess more conservative technology.  The AI program’s focus is to develop new algorithms that increase performance rate.


Stephen Chen, “Chinese AI Team Claims Big Win in Battle to Teach Dogfights to Drones,” South China Morning Post (Hong Kong’s most prominent online English-language daily), 30 January 2022.

Researchers in southwest China say they developed an artificial intelligence system that can teach Chinese combat drones to win dogfights thousands of times faster than comparable American technology.

The (US) Heron system defeated the pilots in all five dogfights, taking more than 4 billion rounds of “training” to achieve the result.

The researchers in Sichuan said their system took just 800,000 simulations to win most of its encounters.

Huang said that their new AI system was selective, choosing only the best data for the next round.

Most military drones have been designed for surveillance, early warning, communications or to attack ground targets. These systems cannot handle fast-paced, sophisticated actions such as dogfights because an enormous amount of calculation must be done quickly, according to some military researchers.A main focus of the Chinese military AI program is to develop new algorithms that can get high performance out of a slow computer.