MELBOURNE: In recent days, North Korea has upped the ante in its standoff with the United States and South Korea, further highlighting the missed opportunity at February’s Hanoi summit aimed at bringing peace to the Korean peninsula. Reports last Thursday suggest that a “projectile” was launched from the Sino-ri test site on North Korea’s west coast, flying approximately 420km. A flight path of this distance would suggest the projectile was a Hwasong-6 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), which the North has possessed for some time. On May 4, North Korea tested a new missile that appeared to be a version of the Russian-made Iskander SRBM. According to 38 North, a North Korea analysis website, the strategic significance of the Iskander missile is its in-flight manoeuvrability and relatively low flight altitude, which allows it to evade most missile defence systems. With a range of approximately 280km, the Iskander missile is clearly intended for targets in South Korea. A … [Read more...] about Commentary: As North Korea fires missiles again, diplomacy teeters on the brink of collapse
America on the brink
It was inevitable. The impeachment of Donald J. Trump was doomed to fail. A guilty Trump would have led to the indictment of Republicans who were complicit in the insurrection and bring into question previous GOP presidencies. The Republican Party built its foundation on a string of falsehoods. To protect itself, Republicans acquitted Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors. While no previous president has led a mob to an insurrection, successive Republican presidencies have built toward Trump-like demagoguery. Despite many Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell 's façade of outrage at the unprecedented insurrection on the Capitol, Republicans are adamant on protecting the former president. Although partially because of Trump's continued stranglehold over the party, the GOP would have never been able to impeach the former president. If they did, it would have meant an end to business as usual for the GOP. Investing in the oil industry would not be … [Read more...] about The Republican Party of Misinformation | Opinion
WASHINGTON: In 2007, a computer virus crippled centrifuges at Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, setting back its nuclear program by years. The Stuxnet attack — not uncovered until a few years later — taught the revolutionary regime in Tehran a valuable lesson about how effective cyber weapons can be, prompting Tehran to invest heavily in cyber capabilities of its own. The results speak for themselves: Iranian hacking groups have graduated from conventional distributed denial of service (DDoS) and domain name system (DNS) attacks to more sophisticated operations against critical infrastructure and industrial control systems. TEHRAN’S CYBER ARSENAL In the wake of Qasem Soleimani’s killing last week, the question of how Iran aims to use its cyber arsenal has acquired a newfound urgency. READ: Commentary: Why Trump just may win big from killing Soleimani Tehran will need to respond forcefully to Friday’s attack, as well as related recent strikes. Iran’s … [Read more...] about Commentary: Will Iran consider cyberattacks to retaliate against Soleimani’s killing?
BUNDOORA, Victoria: In a world run ragged by multiple crises and an unravelling of American global leadership, military confrontation in the Gulf poses risks that extend well beyond the region itself. One of the greater risks is to a global economy dependent on the continued flow of oil from Middle East producers in the Persian Gulf. A Gulf crisis is the last thing the world needs when confidence between Washington and its European allies has been undermined by an unpredictable Donald Trump administration. Tensions between the US and China over multiple trade and other issues are not helping. These are high-octane moments in the Gulf as America and its allies confront difficult choices in how to deal with an Iran that has clearly decided to test the limits of western tolerance. A HIGHLY PROVOCATIVE MOVE Iran’s seizure in international sea-lanes of a British-owned tanker in the Gulf of Oman at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf itself is highly … [Read more...] about Commentary: Iran’s seizure of British tanker in Hormuz the scenario experts warned about
BAGHDAD: The world reacted with alarm on Friday (Jan 3) after top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US air strike in Iraq, with leaders appealing for restraint. The attack was praised by US President Donald Trump's Republicans but elsewhere there were sharp warnings it could inflame regional tensions. The Pentagon said Trump had ordered the "killing", after a pro-Iran mob this week laid siege to the US embassy. Early Friday, a volley of missiles hit the airport, striking a convoy belonging to Hashed al-Shaabi, an Iraqi paramilitary force with close ties to Iran. READ: Top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani killed in US strike on Baghdad airport READ: Trump ordered killing of Iran Guards commander - Pentagon A few hours later, the Revolutionary Guard Corps announced Soleimani had been "martyred in an attack by America on Baghdad airport". Soleimani had headed the Guard Corps' Quds Force and also served as Iran's pointman on Iraq, visiting the country in … [Read more...] about ‘We urge all parties to de-escalate’: World reacts to US killing of top Iran general Qasem Soleimani