I nordområdediplomatiet jobbes det iherdig rundt framtiden til Arktisk råd, highnorthnews.com

Norge vil etter planen overta formannskapet i Arktisk råd fra Russland den 11. mai 2023. Det uttalte statssekretær Eivind Vad Petersson (Ap) i Utenriksdepartementet under Nansens nordområdeseminar på Fridtjof Nansens Institutt torsdag denne uken.

Russland har i den anledning invitert til et ministermøte i Sibir. Selv om verken utenriksminister Anniken Huitfeldt (Ap) eller statssekretær Petersson kommer til å delta fra politisk ledelse, jobbes det nå iherdig i Utenriksdepartementet for en ryddig overlevering av formannskapet – og for å bevare rådet som det viktigste internasjonale forumet i Arktis.

Som en følge av Russlands invasjon av Ukraina ble aktiviteten i Arktisk råd satt på pause i mars. I sommer ble imidlertid prosjektaktiviteter uten russisk deltakelse gjenopptatt i arbeidsgruppene. […]

– Nå er det en utenrikspolitisk hovedoppgave for Norge å sørge for å bevare Arktisk råd som det viktigste internasjonale forumet for håndtering av arktiske spørsmål. Dette krever nå et intensivt nordområdediplomati, poengterer statssekretæren. Läs artikel

 

Let’s Put the Pentagon’s China Report in Context, defenseone.com

William D. Hartung, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

The Pentagon released its annual report on Chinese military power this week, and hawks in Congress and the Pentagon will no doubt use it as evidence that China is on the march militarily, and that the U.S. should therefore continue its buildup in the Pacific and its development of a new generation of nuclear weapons. But a closer look at China’s military aspirations in the context of current U.S. capabilities tells a different story.

The report says that China likely possesses 400 nuclear warheads, and that if production stays on pace, the number could more than triple over the next decade. But the United States has over 5,400 warheads in its stockpile, including over 1,600 deployed on bombers, submarines, and long-range ballistic missiles. Even if the Pentagon’s assessment is correct, deterrence would hold; Beijing would be in no position to launch a nuclear strike on the United States or its allies without suffering a devastating attack in return.

Indeed, the disparity suggests that the Pentagon could forgo a significant portion of its three-decade, up-to-$2 trillion plan to build new nuclear-armed bombers, submarines, and missiles, along with new warheads to go with them. Instead of continuing a wasteful and destabilizing arms race, the United States could move towards a “deterrence-only” posture along the lines outlined by the organization Global Zero. Läs artikel

Russian parliament passes law limiting freedom of navigation along Northern Sea Route, thebarentsobserver.com

Foreign military vessels are now required to notify Russia through diplomatic channels three months in advance before sailing north of the Siberia coast between Europe and Asia.

Can Russia claim absolute control of all navigation along the Northern Sea Route, or will the freedom of navigation act under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) allow for innocent passage right through straights whose baselines are within territorial waters?

The question is again in dispute as the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, on November 30 approved the law promptly suspending the rights of foreign warships in what the country claims to be “internal waters”.

Three straits along the Northern Sea Route are important for the new limitations; the Kara Gate, the Vilkitskii Strait, and the Sannikov Strait.

Can Russia claim absolute control of all navigation along the Northern Sea Route, or will the freedom of navigation act under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) allow for innocent passage right through straights whose baselines are within territorial waters?

The question is again in dispute as the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, on November 30 approved the law promptly suspending the rights of foreign warships in what the country claims to be “internal waters”.

Three straits along the Northern Sea Route are important for the new limitations; the Kara Gate, the Vilkitskii Strait, and the Sannikov Strait. Läs artikel

Övning på Gotland vässar försvarsförmågan, forsvarsmakten.se

Mellan den 21 november och 7 december pågår en övning på Gotland. Syftet med övningen är att stärka Försvarsmaktens förmåga att möta ett väpnat angrepp från en kvalificerad motståndare på ön.

Övningen genomförs på grund av ett försämrat säkerhetspolitiskt läge. Rysslands fullskaliga anfall på Ukraina samt det som har genomförts från rysk sida före angreppet har inneburit att den pågående återuppbyggnaden på Gotlands regemente, P 18, snabbas på. Den långsiktiga militära tillväxten sker nu på kortare sikt och den nu pågående övningen, som benämns Tule, är en del av den forcerade förmågehöjningen på Gotland. […]

Totalt deltar cirka 400 personer i övningen. En stor del av dessa är personal från ett betydande antal övriga arméförband som ingår i övningsledningen. Övningsledningen har bland mycket annat till uppgift att följa, utbilda och utveckla den övade personalen från P 18 i allt från strid till ledning och underhållstjänst. Läs pressmeddelande

An open letter from editors and publishers: Publishing is not a Crime, theguardian.com

Twelve years ago, on 28 November 2010, our five international media outlets – The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El País and DER SPIEGEL – published a series of revelations in cooperation with Wikileaks that made the headlines around the globe.

“Cable gate”, a set of 251,000 confidential cables from the US State Department disclosed corruption, diplomatic scandals and spy affairs on an international scale.

In the words of The New York Times, the documents told “the unvarnished story of how the government makes its biggest decisions, the decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money”. Even now in 2022, journalists and historians continue to publish new revelations, using the unique trove of documents.

For Julian Assange, publisher of Wikileaks, the publication of “Cable gate” and several other related leaks had the most severe consequences. On 11 April 2019, Assange was arrested in London on a US arrest warrant, and has now been held for three and a half years in a high security British prison usually used for terrorists and members of organised crime groups. He faces extradition to the US and a sentence of up to 175 years in an American maximum security prison. Läs artikel

Planlegger den første storøvelsen med Sverige og Finland som Nato-medlemmer, forsvaretsforum.no

Den sjette utgaven av Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE) går av stabelen i månedsskiftet mai/juni neste år.

ACE 23 kan bli den første storøvelsen der Sverige og Finland deltar som Nato-medlemmer. Nå planlegges den sjette utgaven av jagerflyøvelsen.

Annethvert år siden 2013 har luftforsvarene i Norge, Sverige og Finland sammen arrangert øvelsen Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE). Nå planlegges den sjette utgaven av jagerflyøvelsen, som også nå skal foregå i våre felles luftrom i nord, skriver Teknisk Ukeblad. Slik det ser ut nå, vil det delta totalt 145 fly, hvorav 100 er jagerfly. Til sammenligning var det i fjor cirka 70 fly som deltok på den da noe korona-nedskalerte øvelsen. Läs artikel

Joint statement by the Foreign Ministers of Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and Ukraine, government.se

[…] We stand in full solidarity with Ukraine. We will never recognize the illegal attempted annexation of Ukraine’s territories, including Crimea. We reaffirm our joint efforts to further strengthen the activities within the International Crimea Platform aimed at achieving the de-occupation of Crimea. Ukraine has the inherent right to self-defence to ensure its independence and sovereignty and restore its territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Russia must stop its aggression and withdraw its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine. […]

We commit to providing further humanitarian aid and support Ukraine’s winterisation efforts, in particular towards restoring Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. In parallel, we will continue our efforts to support the reconstruction of destroyed Ukrainian infrastructure. We call on international community to support Ukraine’s reconstruction, including exploring ways to do so with funds from Russia. We recall the UN General Assembly Resolution of November 14, 2022 ES-11/6 titled “Furtherance of Remedy and Reparation for Aggression against Ukraine” which established the need for an international mechanism for reparation for damage, loss or injury arising from the internationally wrongful acts of Russian Federation in or against Ukraine. Läs uttalandet

Ukraine: civilian casualty update, un.org

From 24 February 2022, when the Russian Federation’s armed attack against Ukraine started, to 27 November 2022, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 17,023 civilian casualties in the country: 6,655 killed and 10,368 injured. This included:
– a total of 6,655 killed (2,601 men, 1,783 women, 173 girls, and 209 boys, as well as 37 children and 1,852 adults whose sex is yet unknown)
– a total of 10,368 injured (2,245 men, 1,604 women, 215 girls, and 304 boys, as well as 250 children and 5,750 adults whose sex is yet unknown)

In Donetsk and Luhansk regions: 9,352 casualties (3,962 killed and 5,390 injured)

On Government-controlled territory: 7,350 casualties (3,502 killed and 3,848 injured)

On territory controlled by Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups: 2,002 casualties (460 killed and 1,542 injured).

In other regions of Ukraine (the city of Kyiv, and Cherkasy, Chernihiv, IvanoFrankivsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kirovohrad, Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytskyi, Poltava, Rivne, Ternopil, Vinnytsia, Volyn, and Zhytomyr regions), which were under Government control when casualties occurred: 7,671 casualties (2,693 killed and 4,978 injured) Läs rapporten

The Lessons of 1914 Matter Today More than Ever, nationalinterest.org

Balázs Orbán, lawyer, political scientist, university lecturer,

This past month, Professor John Mearsheimer visited Budapest for the first time to launch the Hungarian translation of his highly-acclaimed book, The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities. The launch could not have been better timed in light of the war in Ukraine: Mearsheimer, one of the most renowned realist thinkers, warned the world as early as 2014 that the increasingly provocative policies and confrontational actions might lead to an open armed conflict in Ukraine. Ever since, he has been advocating for leaders to return to realpolitik instead, suggesting that international politics should be built on realist principles. […]

In his book, Mearsheimer explains this seeming contradiction by showing that behind every principle-based foreign policy there is a universal world-changing ideology that cannot stand competition. Liberal idealism coming from the West is just as much an imperial ideology as the Russian concept of “Moscow, the third Rome” or the idea of “All Under Heaven” in China. Imperial thoughts will inevitably provoke war at some point. Realism, on the other hand, aims to preserve the status quo without the need to spread ideology, and as a consequence, it will result in less conflict. It is for this reason that one of the greatest realists of all time, Otto von Bismarck, warned Kaiser Wilhelm II about the perils Germany would face should it deviate from the Chancellor’s realpolitik. And Bismarck, just like Mearsheimer, was right—once the Reich lost the strategic vision, it ended up in one of the worst wars in history.[…]

In 1914, we Hungarians were the loudest critics of the war, and we are committed to upholding this position a century later. Count István Tisza, then prime minister of Hungary was the first to point out that the war would have no winners. Today, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is doing the same, becoming the loudest critic of the war by stressing that we need to call for an immediate ceasefire, for otherwise, the war has no end in sight. The Hungarian commitment to realist foreign policy, free from world-altering ideologies along with a strong focus on our interest in the Carpathian Basin, is there for a reason. The past 1,100 years, defending ourselves against external forces, fighting for sovereignty, and our few unsuccessful attempts at conquest outside the Carpathian Basin have taught us to be realists by instinct. However, if we want to overcome the current crisis, it is time for all of us to become both practitioners and theorists of realism—with Mearsheimer’s Great Delusion offering us guidance in the process. Läs artikel

Landmakten i nord – teoretiske konsepter, villfarelser og operative realiteter – del 3/3, stratagem.no

Tomas Beck, brigader, tidligere sjef Finnmark Landforsvar.

Dette er den tredje artikkelen i en serie på tre, hvor jeg vil sette søkelys nektelseskonseptets sviktende logikk, dagens operative realiteter og Diesens feilslåtte konklusjoner.

Sentralt i Sverre Diesens omfattende kritikk av dagens og gjeldende langtidsplans forsvarskonsept står FFIs innspill til langtidsplanen, rapporten Hvordan styrke forsvaret av Norge?[1].  Ikke overraskende presenterer forskere ytterpunkter for å belyse en problemstilling, slik jeg oppfatter at FFI gjør i denne rapporten. Her trekkes det opp to prinsipielt ulike konsepter; robust nektelse og territoriell kontroll. Desto mer overraskende er det at general Diesen ikke ser at det finnes andre alternativer innenfor dette mulighetsrommet for å utvikle en hensiktsmessig forsvarsstruktur, et sted mellom ytterpunktene. Generalens tilnærming blir derfor oppsiktsvekkende binær, kanskje noe han har tatt med seg fra sin ingeniørutdanning. […]

Her må vi sette oss inn i hvordan denne mulige forsvarskampen ser ut i realiteten. Russiske styrker vil her enkelt kunne besette de deler av Finnmark de ønsker, inkludert byer og tettsteder. Jeg antar at både finnmarkinger og andre forstår hva dette innebærer; russisk okkupasjon. På direkte spørsmål fra Fredrik Solvang under Debatten på NRK 31. mars om hva som skjer med sivilbefolkningen i dette konseptet, svarer Diesen: «Det tror jeg ikke blir noen vesentlig forskjell for sivilbefolkningen. Det vil komme mer an på hvordan angriperen opptrer i ev. besatte områder». Her håper jeg virkelig militære og ikke minst politiske ledere forstår hvor mye logikken svikter. Ta en titt på Ukraina og se hva som skjer der russiske styrker har okkupert byer som Butsja, Irpin og nå nylig i Kherson. Selvfølgelig må Forsvaret gjøre sitt ytterste for å hindre at store deler av Finnmarks befolkning blir overlatt til okkupantene.

Finnmarks befolkning er fortsatt preget av hvordan tyske okkupanter opptrådte i de siste årene av andre verdenskrig. Her synes noen å ha glemt at Forsvarets rasjonale i mye større grad handler om å beskytte befolkningen enn det konseptet erkjenner. Hva slags nasjon er vi, om Forsvaret «bare har som taktisk ambisjon at vi sporadisk kan treffe mål innenfor det utsatte området». Hvilke verdier er det vi signaliserer til egen befolkning, våre allierte og ikke minst en mulig angriper under et slikt konsept? […]

Kan vi være så sikre på at amerikanske, tyske og britiske myndigheter vil ofre betydelige styrker på et angrep for å gjenerobre et Finnmark som vi i realiteten oppga uten kamp, og uten at Norge har mekaniserte landstyrker som selv kan delta i offensive operasjoner? Å tro at norske lette styrker skal operere månedsvis i et okkupert Finnmark er en illusjon man må ha fått etter mange års kontortjeneste.[…]

Ved behov kan hele eller deler av Brigade Nord flyttes til Finnmark for å øke avskrekkingen, noe som trenes hyppig både fysisk og under ulike typer planarbeid og krigsspill. Brigade Nord vil utgjøre Forsvarets evne til å stanse en mulig russisk fremrykning i Finnmark, og ev. utgjøre kjernen i et norsk bidrag til gjenerobring av de deler av Finnmark eller Finland som kan ha blitt okkupert. Uten en modernisert Brigade Nord med alle kapasiteter en slik avdeling forventes å ha, inkludert stridsvogner, mekanisert infanteri, artilleri og langtrekkende presisjonsvåpen, luftvern, ingeniører, sanitet, logistikk, etterretning og sambands- og ledelseselementer vil vi være sårbare. Dette er hovedgrunnen til at det fagmilitære rådet i 2019 anbefalte en slik brigade i alle alternativer. Läs artikel

 

Senior Official Condemns Russian Federation’s Missile Strikes against Ukraine’s Critical Infrastructure, as Security Council Holds Emergency Meeting on Attacks, reliefweb.int

Hours after the Russian Federation launched a barrage of missile and drone strikes attacks against civilians and critical infrastructure across Ukraine overnight, a United Nations senior official condemned such attacks and demanded they stop, stressing to the Security Council that they are prohibited under international humanitarian law, as that 15-nation organ held an emergency meeting on the matter today.

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, reported that widespread attacks against civilians and critical infrastructure are continuing across Ukraine, with devastating consequences. Overnight, a new wave of missile and drone strikes terrorized the people of Kyiv and other cities in the country. Ukrainian officials stated that there were practically no large thermal or hydroelectric power plants left intact in Ukraine, she said, pointing to fears that this winter will be catastrophic for millions of Ukrainians who could be without heating, electricity or water amid freezing temperatures.

“I will say it once again: attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international humanitarian law,” she emphasized. “The United Nations strongly condemns these attacks and demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease these actions,” she stressed, calling on the international community to ensure that the most vulnerable people in Ukraine are adequately protected and able to cope with the months ahead. Läs artikel

Ukraine: Missile strikes, summary executions highlight importance of international law, un.org

Amidst recent allegations of war prisoners being summarily executed in Ukraine, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk expressed his shock on Friday over unabated human suffering as Russian missile and drone strikes against critical infrastructure continue on a broad scale.

“Millions are being plunged into extreme hardship and appalling conditions of life by these strikes”, he said.

“Taken as a whole, this raises serious problems under international humanitarian law, which requires a concrete and direct military advantage for each object attacked”.

According to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), on Wednesday further missile strikes in the city and region of Kyiv killed at least eight civilians, counting one girl, and injured some 45 others, including seven children. […]

“Since Russia began its armed attack on Ukraine in February, there have been numerous allegations of summary executions by both parties of prisoners of war and others no longer participating in the fighting”, Mr. Türk said.

“Persons hors de combat, including soldiers who have surrendered, are protected under international humanitarian law and their summary execution constitutes a war crime”, he reminded. […]

“Our Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has conducted a preliminary analysis indicating that these disturbing videos are highly likely to be authentic in what they show. The actual circumstances of the full sequence of events must be investigated to the fullest extent possible, and those found responsible, appropriately held to account”, said the senior UN official.

“The analysis the Mission has done to date underlines the need for independent and detailed forensic investigations to help establish exactly what happened”.  Läs pressmeddelande