Confidential

Danish Special Forces: The Huntsmen of Denmark

The Danish Special Forces include the jaeger corps and Danish Frogmen, which are specialised soldiers that deal with unconventional warfare an non-standard reconnaissance missions. Selection and training processes for Danish Special Forces are incredibly rigorous particular for the Danish Frogmen Corps and Jaeger Corps due to the interdisciplinary nature of the job.

Within its military manual, the Danish Ministry of Defence defines Special Operations as “military activities conducted by specially designated, organised, trained, and equipped forces through the employment of tactics, techniques, and procedures that are non-standard for conventional forces”. There is no better example of this than Denmark’s own Special Operations Forces.

Danish special forces: jaeger corps members

Danish Special Forces

Comprised of three highly specialised units – the Jaeger Corps, the Frogmen, and the Sirius Dogsled unit – Danish Special Forces are all under the Danish Special Operations Command (SOC or SOKOM) command. As part of the Danish Defence Agreement 2013-2017, SOKOM was established as a central Special Forces authority. As a result, in July 2015, Jager Corps was transferred from the Danish Army, and the Frogmen Corps were transferred from the Danish Navy to SOKOM’s command. The SOC then reports to the Chief of Defence of the Danish Defence Command.

Danish Special Forces Command

The Danish Special Forces units are well known in the intelligence, military, and naval communities for their advanced capabilities. In an interview, Major General Peter Boyson, the Commander of SOKOM, stated:

“From my point of view, the biggest challenge is that between the multiple possible deployment options or missions that Danish SOF are capable of and qualified for, we only utilise a small portion. Mission such as Military Assistance, Special Reconnaissance, Direct Action – we train for it all, but we do not put it all to use.”

Major General Peter Boyso, Commander of SOKOM

How does a force with such varied responsibilities become specialised in all areas? And how does it best use these skills to bolster national security? This is the difficulty the Danish Special Forces face as part of their day-to-day responsibilities.

Jaegerkorpset (JGK) – The Jaeger Corps

The Jaeger Corps, translated to English as the Huntsman Corps, was founded in 1961 as a military long-range reconnaissance patrol unit (LRRP). The unit was modelled after the British SAS and US Rangers. Indeed, many Jaeger officers attended courses in the US and the UK to train during the early years of the special force.

Danish Special Forces Jaeger Corps
Danish Special Forces Jaeger Corps operator on a bike somewhere in the Sahel

The Jaeger Corps specialise in land operations, including unconventional warfare, reconnaissance, and counterterrorism.

Fromandskorpset (FKP) – The Danish Frogmen

Denmark founded the Frogmen Corps even earlier than the Jaeger Corps – in 1957. The unit was modelled after the British Special Boat Squadron (SBS). Finally, the unit became a designated Special Forces unit in 1970. At this time, the Frogmen Corps operated under the Danish Navy’s diving school.

Danish Frogmen
(Img; Danish Frogmen; via Belzo)

The FKP operationally sits underneath the Royal Danish Navy Command, with its base in Kongsøre. Frogmen focus on special maritime operations. As a specialised unit in naval operations, Danish Frogmen are well equipped to deal with special operations and are trained in advanced scuba diving. In addition, they conduct support work on request for the Danish Police and any other military or naval authorities.

Slædepatruljen Sirius (SS) – Sirius Dog Sled Patrol

The Sirius Dog Sled Patrol, known colloquially as the Sirius Patrol, is a Danish Naval Unit specialising in Arctic Patrol. It is the oldest of all the Danish Special Forces, established in 1941. In 1933, Denmark was granted sovereignty over Greenland. While, the patrol was established during World War II to monitor and attack German weather bases. However, following the War, the force remained active in the region.  

The unit conducts long-range reconnaissance missions in North and East Greenland, patrolling Denmark’s areas of sovereignty. This is done exclusively by dog sled, which remains the most efficient way of traversing the unforgiving terrain.

Slædepatruljen Sirius - Sirius Dog Sled Patrol

Generally, the patrol teams are formed of six teams of two patrol officers who are tasked with patrolling the 8,900-mile coastline of North Greenland. Members of the Sirius Patrol have unique operational requirements – the teams can spend up to five months on patrol missions in complete solitude, in negative 40 degrees Celsius, with extended hours of darkness.

Interestingly, Crown Prince of Denmark, Frederik Christian, patrolled with the Sirius Patrol in 1995 and is a qualified Frogman.

Tactics, Techniques & Procedures (TTP)

Selection processes for all three of the Danish Special Forces Units are incredibly rigorous. Generally, existing Danish Army, Navy, and Air Service troops will apply for coveted placements within the Special Forces. The timeline of Special Forces Selections is as follows:

  1. Pre-Course – Candidates must take several pre-courses in land navigation, swimming, and basic shooting

  2. Patrol Course – An eight-week course, introductory operational training course

  3. Selection Course – An eight-week course, which includes training and testing to assess candidates’ suitability for Special Forces

  4. Physical Programme – Runs concurrently with the selection course – includes training and ongoing physical testing as part of the selection process

  5. Special Forces Selection – Following the above, the Special Forces operatives are selected from the remaining applicants

  6. Special Forces Training – Candidates begin their full training with the relevant force

  7. Probationary Year – Further training and operational support. Further relevant qualifications such as parachute training, extreme weather condition training, and vehicle training – *This is additional to any force-specific training, such as specific maritime, land, or snow training used primarily by each unit

Danish Special Forces often undergo training and operations in collaboration with foreign Special Forces, such as that of the US, UK, Sweden, and France.

However, very few operatives complete the entire selection and training course to become a member of the Danish Special Forces. In fact, on average, only 12 new Frogmen and 8 new Jaeger Corps are selected each year. In total, there are 6 teams of 2 Sirius Sled Dog Patrol operatives, however, there is no available data on how many personnel are trained for this role.

Danish Special Forces Weapons

All three of the Danish Special Forces units use similar weaponry. Most notable is the HK P11 pistol, designed with a 10 to 15-metre underwater range. Other known equipment include:

  • HK G3

  • HK G41

  • USP 9mm pistols

  • Glock 17

  • Glock 19

  • MRG M/95

  • .338 Lapua TRG-42

Notable Operations

Whilst often unseen, Danish Special Forces have been instrumental in strategic and operational successes for the country. For example, the forces operated in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghan Wars.

Operation Ocean Shield

Operation Ocean Shield was a NATO-led operation in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, which became part of the larger Operation Enduring Freedom – the US War on Terror. The mission specifically focussed on anti-piracy operations, running between August 2009 December 2016.

The operation was a significant multinational effort, with special forces from EU and NATO states deployed to the region. The Danish Frogmen Corps were deployed as part of the effort and were incredibly successful in the mission. As a result, in 2011, Frogmen intercepted a hijacked fishing vessel, Jelbut 16, which Somali pirates had seized.

Due to the incredibly varied nature of Danish Special Forces operations, Frogmen must be highly skilled in all manner of combat and have extensive Intelligence gathering, analysis, and interpersonal skills. Anonymous interviews with former Frogmen suggest that their duties often include leading meetings with local foreign leaders as part of peace negotiations and delivering key messages – what is now referred to as ‘Key Leader Engagement’ (KLE). KLE is not a typical responsibility of naval or military officers and is generally left to commanders and other senior leadership. However, it is a skill required of Danish Special Forces in their incredibly varied roles.

Task Force K-Bar & The Afghan War

Both the Jaeger Corps and Frogmen of Denmark deployed to Afghanistan as part of Task Force K-Bar – a coalition of multiple Special Forces comprised of almost 3,000 troops. The force operated between October 2001 to April 2002, with over 75 missions in the region.

Following the end of Task Force K-Bar, the presence of Danish Special Forces in Afghanistan did not end. It is reported that in 2006 Danish Defence sent Jaeger Corps specialised in sniping to Helmand, where Danish and British forces were suffering strategic losses to the Taliban. This deployment of the Jaeger Corps resulted in the extraction of a Danish military unit without any fatalities.

Recognition

The US awarded the Jaeger Corps with a Presidential Unit Citation in 2004 for its work during the Afghan War, including the work conducted as part of Task Force K-Bar. Similarly, in 2014, Denmark won the Special Forces and Intelligence Operations Prize in France.

Recent Developments

In 2018, defence ministers of Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands announced the establishment of a joint Special Force command. The unit, named the Composite Special Operations Component Command (C-SOCC), announced its full operational capacity on the 7th of December 2020. As part of this, it is believed that the C-SOCC is formed of Special Forces operatives of these respective countries, including Jaeger Corps and Frogmen of Denmark, though this remains confidential.

 The member nations of C-SOCC committed the force to NATO for 2021 and will support any relevant NATO or UN Special Forces operations as required.

Summary

The Danish Special Forces personnel are highly specialised troops trained for unconventional warfare and non-standard reconnaissance missions. Although becoming a member of these Special Forces is incredibly challenging, such rigorous selection processes are required to ensure varied and challenging operations are completed successfully.

Confidential

The Impact of Diminishing Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

Since the Taliban took power in August 2021, women’s rights in Afghanistan have been severely limited. Women are already excluded from public life, education, and the workplace. This could have several severe consequences. Firstly, the exclusion of women could have consequences for the Afghan economy, and secondly, projects and funds could freeze in the country as a result. 

Key Judgement 1: In the next 6 months, it is highly likely that women will continue to be excluded from public life. 

  • The Taliban became de facto leaders of Afghanistan after they took the capital Kabul in August 2021 [source]. According to UN human rights reports, large-scale and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence followed the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan [source].

  • According to experts, women have already been systematically erased from public life and from institutions and mechanisms that were previously set up in order to assist and protect women. Specialized courts and prosecution units responsible for enforcing the 2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women have been dismissed [source].

  • In March 2022, the Taliban retreated on the promise to allow women to attend school. With this change, one million women are excluded from secondary and tertiary education. According to the Ministry for the ‘Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice’, schools for girls will be reopened once ‘appropriate dress codes’ are agreed upon [source].

  • The Taliban ordered all female government employees to stay home. Moreover, new rules entered into force that prohibit women from using transportation on their own and that require a male relative to accompany them in public spaces [source]. Similarly, in May 2022, the Taliban further ordered all women in Afghanistan to cover their faces in public [source]. As a result of increasingly stringent rules, further policing of women’s public lives is highly likely to follow.

Key Judgement 2: In the next 6 months, it is highly likely that the limitation of women’s rights will have severe impacts on Afghanistan’s economy.

  • Under the previous democratic government, female literacy more than doubled between 2000 and 2018, reaching 30%. Moreover, women became a fundamental part of Afghanistan’s workforce and economy. Thousands of women gained employment as doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. Maternal mortality declined and female life expectancy increased by ten years during this period [source].

  • Women account for more than 20% of the country’s workforce in 2021. According to a UN report, preventing women from working could cost the Afghan economy half a billion US dollars [source].

  • Reports show that the return on educating girls in Afghanistan was more than double that of educating boys in terms of an increase in hourly earnings. Moreover, children of educated mothers are likely to earn more later in life [source]. The exclusion of women from education and working organisations, therefore, creates long-term economic impacts that are highly likely to compound over time.

Key Judgement 3: In the next 6 months, it is highly likely that projects and funds will freeze in response to the restriction of women’s rights in Afghanistan. 

  • Restricting women from public life, including the workplace and education, is highly likely to be met with a freeze in international aid. The UK and other international powers have already stipulated that aid to Afghanistan is at least “partially dependent on the actions of the Taliban” [source].

  • Such international aid accounts for 40% of Afghanistan’s GDP and 80% of its budgeted annual spending. The country’s GDP therefore could decrease by 20% a year [source].

  • According to experts, Afghanistan would need US$6-8 billion in international aid annually in order to fund basic services and support economic growth. The country would require at least US$2 billion to lift the incomes of those in extreme poverty [source].

  • The World Bank has already suspended four projects in Afghanistan worth US$600 million after the Taliban decided to ban girls from returning to public high school [source]. The projects were necessary for the implementation of projects in agriculture, education and health. This is highly likely to continue.

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 8th of May 2022

Confidential

Ukrainian Anarchists Shout Echos of Makhno

The philosophy that drives left-wing factions in the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian war evolves from a rich history of Ukrainian anarchists.

“The Anarchists are right in everything; in the negation of the existing order and in the assertion that, without Authority there could not be worse violence than that of Authority under existing conditions. They are mistaken only in thinking that anarchy can be instituted by a violent revolution.”

Leo Tolstoy, “On Anarchy”

Ukrainian Anarchists Resurgence

Ukrainian anarchists have found their place in the resurgence of the Russo-Ukrainian war.

This resurgence began with the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Overnight, a mysterious possibility quickly morphed into a brutal reality. The Russian troop build-up on the Ukrainian border turned out to be a real staging point for forward action, and not “a drill” as some analysts speculated.

In the past two months of the conflict, people across the globe have united to support Ukraine, including fighting on the front lines.

Ukrainian anarchists are one of the strangest yet most fascinating elements of the volunteer force to be reported on recently. Despite what one may think, their willingness to fight in war is not as counter-intuitive as it sounds. In fact, it’s in their historical DNA.

Makhnovshchina

Ukrainian anarchists are an ancient breed. The political philosophy that drives an array of left-wing factions in the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian war evolves from a rich political history. One prolific example dates to the beginning of the 20th century: the revolutionary figure, Nestor Makhno.

Makhno entered the anarchist canon during the Russian Revolution of 1917-1923. Born into a peasant family, Makhno experienced the plight of income disparities and serfdom experientially. These experiences took place in the Ukrainian town of Huliaipole–an industrial sector of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast. (source)

Left-wing activism’s gravitational pull grasped Makhno during his teenage years. It started with the young comrade joining local political movements, yet escalated into the formation of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine, or the Makhnovshchina.

Peasantry United

The Makhnovshchina, led by Makhno, had the lifeblood of peasantry coursing through its veins. Followers of Makhno shared his story and banded around his anti-state rhetoric. They were anarchists at heart, which did not fall in line with the Bolsheviks and their hierarchal structure. Because of this contrast, the Makhnovshchina found themselves wedged between the dominant factions of the Russian Revolution. (source)

In the four years, they were active (1917-1921), Makhno and his men influenced nearly 7 million Ukrainians. Contrary to the communists, anarchists had a message of liberation followed by a horizontally structured society.

The Marxist revolutionaries eventually won. Battles fought by the Makhnovshchina, including against the Germans in the First Great War, and the Russian White Army during the revolution were fruitless for the Ukrainian anarchist movement.

Makhno fled Ukraine and landed in Paris, where he would spend the rest of his days in exile; his legacy was left behind as an inspiration and source of strength for the Ukrainian anarchists who followed.

ukranian anarchists
Comrade Makhno himself with the classic revolutionary moustache (source)

Euromaidan, neo-Makhnovists, and the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Ukrainian anarchists ebbed and flowed between the Makhnovshchina era and the present day. They carried their presence through the decades, with minimal impact. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a pivotal event for the movement. Liberation, symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall, laid the groundwork for the Ukrainian anarchist groups that are active in the ongoing crisis.

The Maidan Uprising, also known as Euromaidan, took place in Kyiv between November 2013 and February 2014.

Context: the Ukrainian government was on track to sign an agreement that would bring the nation closer to the European Union (EU). That was until a sudden withdrawal by former president Viktor Yanukovych mere days before the intended signing. Yanukovych, who conveniently now lives in Russia, in exile, was a highly controversial leader. A leader favoured by Putin.

What could have been a step toward Ukrainian integration into the EU ended with Yanukovych bowing to the Kremlin. Who, as the world knows tangibly based on the events of the last two months, rejects the idea of EU expansion Eastward. What resulted was mass civil unrest and protests in the Maidan Nzalezhnosti—the “Independence Square” in Kyiv.

The overarching theme of the protest had a gravitational pull on left-wing activists, including Ukrainian anarchists, who engaged in direct action. (source) A so-called “neo-Makhnovist” fervour was present amongst the anarchists but with little impact on Euromaidan protests from a “forwarding ideology” perspective.

The course of the event brought many factions into civil conflict from both extremes of the political spectrum. With a utopian lens on, the protests could have been ample ground for a Makhnovist revolution, but that was a mere dream, as utopian ideas usually are. Ukrainian anarchists had low numbers, and poor coordination and their message were static because of interference from the surrounding noise of competing ideologies.

Kyiv is the home of the Autonomous Workers Union: an anarcho-syndicalist organization founded in 2011 with members from various elements of the left wing, some of whom took part in the Euromaidan.

In a short time following the Euromaidan – February 2014 – Russia invaded Ukraine and started the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. They came from the East, unmarked, and began the annexation of Crimea and conflict in the Donbas region.  

ukranian anarchists
Direct action during the Euromaidan, 2014 (source)

Ukrainian anarchists in the Russo-Ukrainian war

Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine has ignited an international volunteer movement to support their plight. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, quickly formed the International Legion of Ukraine–a call to arms for volunteers across the world to join the war effort. (source)

Anarchists and other left-wing oriented groups have found their place in the effort with the diverse set of backgrounds and ideologies that have volunteered. It would seem counter-intuitive for such groups to join a nationalist conflict, given anarchists generally subscribe to an anti-war ethos.

This crisis is different. Russia is driven by imperialism, and anarchists, anti-fascists, and other left-wing fighters have banded around the push to drive them out. Not that they support the Ukrainian state or government or have dropped the core tenets of their central ideologies. Ukraine is their home, and if there was ever to be a hope of a stateless society, they need to have a state to begin with.

Jake Hanrahan, a prolific conflict journalist and founder of Popular Front, recently tweeted an image of an anarchist unit on the front lines, as well as a video clip of a Ukrainian volunteer proclaiming veganism and punk rock.

As noted in the tweet, the essence of Makhno is ever-present among some anarchists currently in combat. In Makhno’s own hometown, citizens have reportedly appealed to him as a source of inspiration and strength, going as far as raising up local defence groups who call themselves “Makhno’s bow”. (source)

The Resistance Committee is a known anarchist unit that is part of the Territorial Defense of Ukraine. (source) In their own words:

“There are many problems inside Ukraine, but these problems are more likely to be solved without the intervention of Russia.

“Is it worth it to fight the Russian troops in the case of an invasion? We believe that the answer is yes. The options that Ukrainian anarchists are considering at the present moment include joining the armed forces of Ukraine, engaging in territorial defense, partisanship, and volunteering.”

(source)

For anarchists within the borders of Ukraine, they do not limit the mission to combat roles. Some have taken a civil volunteer stance, helping with refugees, supporting the families of fighters, medically helping other fighters, and gathering supplies. (source)

Operation Solidarity

Operation Solidarity is one instance – an “anti-authoritarian volunteer network organized during the war to jointly help all progressive forces in society to counter imperialist aggression against Ukraine.” (source)

Ukrainian anarchists don’t stand alone, with their comrades in Europe conducting their own activism. Just this past March, anarchists seized the mansion of a Russian oligarch in London, hanging banners from the balcony with statements like “This property has been liberated”, and flying the Ukrainian flag. (source)

From an ideological standpoint, all left-wing volunteers face some interesting challenges, particularly amongst their peers in the fight against Russia. Numbers aren’t entirely clear, but they are likely a tiny percentage of the overall volunteer force, compared to likely higher numbers of right-wing oriented fighters.

In one way, that shows how the beauty of comradery can shine through the fog of war. People from opposite ideological ends banded together – either directly or indirectly to resist the comically underperforming Russian war-machine.

As the conflict continues, we will probably hear more about these brave comrades, with their exploits and support for their homeland becoming engraved in the tragic historical timeline currently taking place.

Confidential

Attacks in Transnistria: A Situational Assessment

Beginning on the 25th of April a series of attacks began in the Moldovan breakaway state of Transnistria. The Transnistrian government is heavily pro-Russian and relies on them for economic aid. The attacks began when three individuals attacked the Transnistrian State Security building with rocket propelled grenades. The building was unoccupied due to it being a day off for Orthodox Easter Monday. In the following days improvised drones attacked a Russian-owned and occupied ammunition depot. Additionally, two radio towers that broadcast Russian programming were destroyed. On the 3rd of May, Transnistrian forces prevented a drone attack and on the 5th of May a drone dropped two explosives near a defunct airfield.

Key Judgement 1: The attacks in Transnistria were highly likely a Russian false flag operation to destabilize the region and create a second front in the Ukrainian conflict.

  • Senior General Rustam Minnekayev of the Russian Armed Forces stated that the task of the Russian military is to gain control of Southern Ukraine to establish a land bridge between Transnistria and Crimea. (Source, Source)

  • Russia has around 1500 soldiers stationed at the ammunition depot which contains 20,000 tons of ammunition. Since 2015, Russia has had no way to access these troops or ammunition via land routes through Ukraine. (Source, Source)

  • The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) was in Transnistria providing training to the Transnistrian military in the weeks leading up to the attacks. (Source)

  • Russia has a history of utilizing false flag operations to advance their political goals. The Soviet precursor to the FSB, known as the KGB, perpetrated false flag operations in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia, and Finland. Russian president Vladimir Putin also had a long career in the KGB prior to becoming president. (Source, Source, Source)
drone attack in Transnistria
Drone recovered by Transnistrian forces on the 3rd of May 2022. (Source)

Key Judgement 2: It is unlikely that the attacks in Transnistria were perpetrated by any official element of the Ukrainian military.

  • Ukrainian forces are currently pushing back the Russian advance in southern Ukraine. It is unlikely that Ukrainian forces are capable of diverting time and resources to provoke Transnistria. Additionally, a provocation of Transnistria offers no tactical or strategic advantage to the Ukrainians, rather it would place them in the middle of a pincer manoeuvre. (Source)

  • The timing and execution of the attacks indicate there was very little planning behind them or the intent was to do as little damage as possible. However, Ukrainian Special Operations Forces have proven to be exceptionally capable saboteurs. The perpetrators attacked the Transnistrian State Security building on Orthodox Easter Monday, a day when no one was inside the building. Ukrainian instigators would have known that the building was likely to be unoccupied on this day. The radio transmitters broadcast Russian radio programs. The attacks resulted in zero casualties and no significant damage to infrastructure. The attacks give the appearance that Russia is using Transnistria to undermine international support for Ukraine, while trying to do as little damage to their ally as possible. (Source, Source)

  • On the 3rd of May Russian state media released images of a drone downed in another attempted attack. The drone was reportedly homemade and capable of carrying a 20kg payload over 30Km. There is a realistic probability that the drone is a disinformation attempt. The drone is held together with duct tape and sustained minor damage given the circumstances in which it was recovered. (Source)
Transnistria
Transnistrian flag attached to an MT-LB. (Source)

Key Judgement 3: It is highly unlikely that these attacks will have any significant immediate impact on the conflict in Ukraine, if at all.

  • Currently, Ukrainian forces are pushing back the Russian advance in the south. It is highly unlikely that the Russians will be able to establish the land bridge they initially sought (Source).

  • Despite the president of Transnistria claiming the attacks were perpetrated by Ukraine, he has stated that Transnistria will not be pulled into the conflict. (Source)

  • In the days following the attacks, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Geoana stated that he is expecting false flags to occur, and that Moldova is in danger of being attacked. (Source)

Summary

The attacks in Transnistria are highly likely to have Russian origins with the intent of doing as little damage to their regional ally as possible. There is no evidence that the attacks have Ukrainian origin. Russia has far more to gain from pulling Transnistria into the conflict than Ukraine. However, the attacks will likely have no effect on the larger conflict since Russia can’t physically get their forces there.

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 7th May 2022

Confidential

Balochistan Insurgency: A Situational Assessment

Balochistan refers to the arid region in South Asia that is comprised of the southwest Pakistani province of Balochistan, southern areas of Afghanistan, and southeastern Iran. The region, rich in mineral and natural resources, has faced a decades-long insurgency by militant separatist groups. These groups are driven by economic and cultural grievances and demand political autonomy. In addition, separatist groups claim that the Baloch people are economically and politically marginalised by Pakistan and China, who have invested heavily in the region for development projects. Since the beginning of 2022, the number of attacks by these groups, particularly by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) have risen, leading to increased anti-China sentiment and posing a risk to Chinese infrastructure projects in the region. Political unrest in the area will likely exacerbate developing humanitarian issues in Balochistan.

Key Judgement 1: In the next 24 months, the ongoing insurgency in Balochistan is likely to disrupt the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

  • In 2015, China announced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $46 billion project that aims to link a port in Balochistan to China’s Xinjiang province. The project involves several infrastructure projects throughout Balochistan.

  • CPEC continues to intensify separatist tendencies in the region. Many separatist groups see the project as exploitative and see China as usurping Balochistan’s rich natural resources. (source)

  • Moreover, in recent months, separatist groups have targeted Pakistani military personnel for providing physical security for Chinese investment projects.

  • Stability and security are necessary for the successful completion of these Chinese investment projects. However, increasing violence in the region jeopardizes the future of Chinese development ambitions in Balochistan.

Key Judgement 2: In the next 6 months, it is highly likely that separatist groups will continue to target Chinese affiliated people and organizations in an attempt to deter China from their ongoing CPEC projects.

  • In late April, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing. This attack killed three Chinese teachers and a local driver at the Confucius Institute, a Chinese-funded cultural promotion center, at the University of Karachi. In a statement, a spokesperson for the BLA asserted that the bombing was an attempt to deter China from continuing “exploitation projects” in Balochistan.

  • The BLA has a history of anti-China attacks. The group has also targeted and attacked the Chinese Consulate in Karachi and a Chinese-owned hotel. (source) (source)

  • The BLA recently issued a statement claiming they have planned “harsher” attacks which they will carry out unless China ceases its infrastructure projects and “occupation” in Pakistan. (source)

Key Judgement 3: In the next 12 months, the ongoing unrest in Balochistan will likely worsen the region’s pre-existing humanitarian and human rights issues over the next year.

  • Balochistan is experiencing widespread food insecurity and malnutrition due to drought and livestock diseases. An estimated 25% of Balochistan’s population will experience severe food insecurity in 2022. (source)

  • Forced disappearances, particularly of human rights activists, journalists, and students have been on the rise in Balochistan. Baloch sources claim that Pakistani security forces are responsible for these disappearances, a claim the Pakistani government denies.

  • Political unrest due to separatist groups and increased Chinese investment in the region will exacerbate these issues. Despite increased Chinese investment, Balochistan will likely remain the most impoverished region in Pakistan.

  • Ongoing conflict in Balochistan will make both providing and distributing humanitarian aid more difficult in the region. 

  • If separatist groups continue to promote violence and instability in Balochistan, their actions will deter the international community from providing aid to those who need it most.

  • The Pakistani government must address these developing humanitarian issues. Otherwise, their inaction will add to the list of grievances of the separatist movement and fuel the Baloch separatist agenda.

Summary

Therefore, increasing Chinese investment in Balochistan will lead to augmented violence by separatist groups against Chinese people, institutions, and those supporting them. Although Balochistan has economic potential, it will likely remain impoverished and underfunded by the Pakistani government, worsening its imminent humanitarian and development issues. Due to Balochistan’s geographical position, it will remain a point of contention between Pakistan and its neighbors, highlighting the need for the Pakistani government to address the grievances of separatist groups before the violence escalates further. 

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 11th of May 2022

Confidential

The Dragon against the Snake: Conceptualising Drone and Motorcycle Warfare

Falling Stars

The skies are no longer exclusively ruled by jets and stealth. Innovations in drone and motorcycle warfare have bred a revolution in doctrine. Now, small countries that are usually militarily behind or not as technologically advanced can level the playing field in the skies.

The most recent and surprising case of this instance occurred when Azerbaijan invaded Armenia. Azerbaijan had invested in Turkish and Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and these UAVs or “drones” in common parlance, effectively allowed Azerbaijan to inflict high casualties while keeping its low (Source). Azerbaijani drones effectively won the conflict against the Armenians. Ethiopia was also able to keep rebels from seizing Addis Abada with the help of Iranian and Turkish drones (Source).

The Turkish Bayraktar Akıncı armed drone in 2019. (Source)

Historical Cases

Resonating with the Spanish Civil War’s cases of blitzkrieg tactics taught by the Germans and the equipment they provided, this conflict provides a look at how future wars may look. The great powers before World War II saw the SCW as a testing bed for new doctrines and equipment.

Germany’s infamous Kradschützen Truppen motorcycle units served as a lynchpin of World War II movies post-war. An anonymous Allied trooper said this in a 1941 Motorcyclist issue on the effectiveness of motorcycle warfare.

“The power of the motorcycle troops is due to the fact that they, to the highest degree, fulfill the fundamental requirements of the combat unit. In the first place they have speedy mobility and freedom of action and secondly they have terrific fire-power. The rider carries besides his pistol a complement of grenades, an automatic rifle and a submachine gun. If he has a companion in a side-car the armament is more than doubled.”

Modern Cases

The same could be said for Azerbaijan and Armenia, as larger regional powers gave the Azerbaijanis technology, but they were not able to produce it domestically.

Drone warfare is clearly here to stay. However, it is no longer just the indiscriminate strikes from UAVs. Remember “Swarms” from Call of Duty: Black Ops 2? They are real and they are already here. Iran has released the drone system “Shahed-136” which is can be mounted on a pick-up truck and launch multiple drones that can drop ordinance or commit suicide strikes onto forces. The photos below show the Shahed system as well as the damage it wreaks. The importance of these drones is mainly their cost-effectiveness as well as their small size, making them effective in urban areas.

Suicide drones present a threat to literally every target one can think of. Infantry, vehicles, aircraft, communications equipment, etc. It presents a unique challenge to infantry units since these drones can be launched quickly and move fast once in the air.

Scythian Horse Archers

The question that remains is how to combat these types of drones and the new forms of drone warfare. In terms of their mobility and speed, it needs to be matched. Luckily the answer may already be in use by insurgents and recon forces already: motorcycle units!

Drone Warfare
JNIM insurgents on their motorcycles during a press release. (Source

Modern units have already adopted motorcycles as a vital part of their doctrine already, particularly in the Sahel. Malian SOF units use motorcycle warfare, as well as their JNIM-(Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin) insurgent counterparts (pictured above) effectively. Their speed and manoeuvrability are unparalleled in dense and rocky terrain. Their speed also allows them to disperse and hide from enemy aircraft quickly.

Modern unconventional motorcycle troops, like Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), who launch large scale hit and run attacks on villages and their enemies have mastered the mechanised art of warfare. Thereby, quickly overwhelming and outrunning enemy forces in the blink of an eye. Ground reconnaissance capabilities are heightened, and in daring situations, motorcycles can be used to mount large weapons as a firing position.

Drone Warfare
What appears to be a Chinese W85 HMG mounted to a motorcycle in a firing position against a wall in Syria. (Source)

Recent developments in technology have led to motorcycles possibly being used in the recent war in Ukraine. The commander of the Georgian Legion, fighting on the side of Ukraine, told outlets that they are seeking electric motorcycles. (Source) The Eleek Atom electric motorcycle has reportedly been manufactured for Ukrainian troops already, as well as Delfast electric bikes. (Source & Source) The reasoning for this is to be able to move quickly and quiet, aided by an electric motor that is nearly silent. This presents a new arm of stealth and small motorised operations being used in tandem, and gives purpose to electric vehicles on the battlefield.

Image
Ukrainian SOF troops on a Delfast electric motorcycle and NLAW anti-tank guided missile system. (Source)

The Unstoppable Force and the Immovable Object


This new trend in steppe-style fighting has shown that it can be effective against drones for the aforementioned reasons. France has used drones against JNIM and other motorcycle-based insurgent groups for years and it has offered no concrete resolution of the hostility or shown any sign of diminishing motorcycle units’ effectiveness.

Drone warfare, the black sheep of modern warfighting, has made immense headway in conflict alteration. Motorcycles, like Scythian horse archers, are great for quick, cost-effective, and hit and run style attacks and insurgencies. For the time being, using the Sahel as an example, they can “outwit” drones and their operators.

Future of the Battlefield

Warfare has obviously evolved from horses and bows, but not fully evolved away from physical battlefields. However, history has shown that conventional war is usually won through speed and fast manoeuvring. This is alluding to not only the individual soldier, but the command and support structure of the force.

Both of these forces, drones and motorcycles, rely on speed and adaptability. When poised against a ground force with equal speed, anti-air support, (mounted HMGs) and increased manoeuvrability, drones may have trouble adequately dealing with motorcycle-based forces.

Motorcyclists can hide in forests, cramped city blocks, or ride along a cliff face to avoid detection, and do so with speed. These factors will most likely see armies and insurgencies possibly adopt a more rapid motorcycle warfare doctrine to outmanoeuvre the growing army of autonomous drones.

Confidential

India’s Accidental Missile Strike Into Pakistan 

Summary:

On March 9th, 2022, an Indian BrahMos missile was launched and landed in Mian Channu, Pakistan, over 120 kilometres away. It was not until 24 hours later that Pakistan officially confirmed an object in their airspace. (Source) The Indian government released a statement that a missile was fired accidentally during a maintenance checkup. The Indian government expressed the actions as “deeply regrettable” in their own broadcasted statement. (Source

Key Judgment 1: It is highly unlikely that the two nations will move closer to a conflict directly from this action in the next 12 months. 

  • Both governments have so far acted with extreme maturity and prudence towards each other, which is rare for adversarial nations. The geopolitical climate of the world is in a precarious state with the Western world rallying against Russia. 

  • However, in a 1991 agreement, India and Pakistan both signed that they must warn each other of air space violations. Pakistan has been quick to criticize India for not doing so until after the Pakistani government began publishing the incident. (Source

  • Both nations are most likely not posturing for an escalation to conflict. Which could be possibly in part because how the world has reacted to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
India's Accidental Missile Strike
Image of the missile’s impact site near Mian Channu, Pakistan. (source

Key Judgment 2: It is likely that this incident will disrupt India’s plan to sell their missile systems abroad in the coming future. 

  • Many sources point to the missile as the BrahMos (PJ-10) that was recently developed in conjunction with Russia. A medium range, supersonic cruise missile, the BrahMos has been India’s recent venture into selling domestic made weapons systems. However, the BrahMos’ failure fits the same narrative as the Russian-ventured  Sukhoi-30 MKI.  

  • The Philippines (source) and Egypt (source) are looking to purchase missiles, but this recent “accident” may prove fatal to the deals. The lack or miscalculation of safety parameters may discourage potential buyers and push them into other markets. 

  • The Indian government has offered an in-depth investigation into the event with hopes of finding the cause. This move, if done correctly and fluently can possibly save face with potential buyers of the missile system. 

Key Judgment 3: It is realistically probable that this was a covert test of Pakistan’s surface to air and missile defense systems. 

  • Being adversaries and sharing a contested border, covert actions done to probe military readiness on both sides may be seen. Some within the Pakistani military suspected the launch was not a declaration of war, but some further aim from India. (Source) This may also explain why Pakistani officials are criticizing India for not using the line to warn Pakistan. (Source)

  • The strike may have effectively proved that Pakistan’s air defense coverage is lacking. For one, the Indian’s have affirmed the launch from Ambala, a garrison town, whereas Pakistan claims it was from Sirsa. Also, the two disagree about the trajectories and flight paths of the missile, with Pakistan demanding answers. (Source)

  • There are some factors to consider around the Indian armed forces and their track record around accidents. A helicopter accident that led to the death of India’s first Chief of Defense Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and several other officers in 2021 and the friendly shooting down of an Indian helicopter by Indian air defenses in Srinagar during the Balakot crisis in 2019 are a few recent incidents of note.
Confidential

Islamic State Sahel: IS rebrands in Africa

Islamic State Sahel fighters.

Summary.

Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) has rebranded as Islamic State in the Sahel (ISSP). The change in the name represents a shift in focus from the Sahara to the area of land that connects the Sahara to the tropical subcontinent. It is one of Africa’s and the world’s most volatile regions, in terms of conflict and in terms of humanitarian crises. This region has become a battleground between terrorist groups like Islamic State and Al-Qaeda (AQ). The region has seen a dramatic increase in terror-related deaths between 2007 and 2021, up by 1000%. (Source)

Key Judgement 1.

IS-Sahel is highly likely to continue its attacks in the Sahel region in an attempt to consolidate its position in the unstable region bringing them into conflict with Al-Qaeda. (Source)

  • Islamic State is actively looking for a new region in which to create its caliphate. The unstable nature of the Sahel represents an opportunity for them to gain new ground and territory. (Source)

  • The conflict with AQ in the region will cause more pain for the tribes of the Sahel. (Source)

  • As a result, ISSP will continue to inflict terror in this region as it looks to cement its position once again as a global jihadi force.

Key Judgment 2.

The continued humanitarian crisis in the Sahel makes this an ideal ground for recruitment for ISSP.

  • The humanitarian crisis in the region continues to worsen. Those most affected will look for means by which they can be supported. As seen in Iraq and Syria in the 2010s. Those marginalised and seeking security by governments are highly likely to support such insurgent groups in an attempt to survive. (Source)

  • Infighting amongst local farmers and cattle herders will add to the ability of the ISSP to target marginalised tribes and gain new recruits as the need for any form of security in the border regions grows.

  • This is an ideal time for a recruitment drive for the newly named Islamic State in the Sahel. If they can provide people with food and means of survival their numbers are likely to grow.

Key Judgment 3.

It is highly likely the withdrawal of French forces in Mali will bolster the resolve of the IS-Sahel in the pursuit of their aims. (Source)

  • On February 17th 2022, France announced its withdrawal from Mali. As a result of a breakdown in relations with the ruling junta. France had been in command of the international community’s counterinsurgency operations in the region. Leaving a vacuum of military power. The talk of a new deployment of French forces has yet to yield a solid date for redeployment. (Source)

  • As a result withdrawal from terrorist activity in the region has increased with only local governments fighting these violent extremist groups. Especially given that Mali and Burkina Faso officials were excluded from the latest talks on re-deployment. This will lead to these countries being at greater risk from ISSP attacks.

  • Therefore, the likelihood of ISSP achieving its strategic aims is increased as they will not be battling western state powers in the Sahel.
Confidential

Iranian missile strike in Irbil

Summary

In an attack like Operation Martyr Soleimani in January 2020, Iran claimed responsibility for an attack on U.S consulate buildings in Irbil, Iraq. (Source) The attack, which occurred March 13th, is said to be a retaliatory action against Israel. Two Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) members were killed in an airstrike in Syria the week prior. (Source)

Key Judgment 1: It is highly likely that this strike will intensify animosity between Iran, the U.S, and Israel – prompting increased tensions in the region in the next 6 months. 

Footage of the strike in Irbil. (Source)
  • The United States, having a laxed role in Iraq, will most likely respond with a continuation of heavy sanctions. 

  • This attack was reportedly in response to the Israeli strikes on alleged IRGC drone and munition factories in Syria. (Source)  

  • Israeli memory is long and their missiles are accurate. This attack will most likely prompt retaliatory strikes by the Israelis on other IRGC facilities. Israeli doctrine has shown that even in response to small attacks larger retaliatory strikes are a routine part of doctrine and are thought to dissuade further attacks. (Source)

Key Judgment 2: It is likely that this attack will have repercussions for the Iranian nuclear deal, and further close them off from European nations as well. 

  • Iran’s nuclear capabilities are at the heart of contention between Western nations. Talks to resuscitate the 2015 deal were paused prior to the strike in Irbil.

  • Congresswoman Elaine Luria reflected this: “If reports are accurate, the Biden Administration must withdraw its negotiations with Iran. We cannot re-enter a failed JCPOA [the Iranian nuclear agreement formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] to further empower Iran and threaten global security.” (Source)

  • This outcry is also reverberated by other Western nations, and leaves Iran shunned by nations with sway in their nuclear deal. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Iran and Russia, both being sanctioned and shunned, may grow closer in relation, cooperation and cause in defying the west. 

Key Judgment 3: It is realistically probable that Iraq will align with other regional actors and nations to dissuade further attacks on Iraqi sovereignty. 

  • Iraq has condemned the attacks in Irbil and is working with officials from the Kurdistan region to investigate the attack. (Source)  Below is a tweet from the Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. 
Iran Strike In Irbil
  • The Saudi government has also condemned the attacks, expressing solidarity and supporting measures for “[Iraq] to protect its security and stability.” (Source) In working closely with Iraq, Saudi Arabia can further exhibit regional control and dominance over their Shia adversary, Iran. 

  • Iraq is geographically positioned between Iran and their main adversaries, meaning Iranian influence in the region is not new. This attack, overall, is a continuation of a soft conflict between Iran and Israel in the region.
Confidential

Ukrainian Refugee Crisis

Summary

Since February 24, 4.8 million Ukrainians have fled their country and the other 6.5 million are deemed to be displaced within Ukraine itself. Ukrainians have left for neighbouring countries where they had received generous treatment from state authorities. The same does not apply to people from Africa, the Middle East and Asia that are fleeing Ukraine.  

KJ-1 It is highly likely that the number of refugees will continue to increase in the next 3 months.

  • Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, around 4.8 million Ukrainians have fled their country. Ukrainians refugees left for neighboring countries, such as Poland, Romania and Hungary. Poland is the country that has taken more refugees so far (2,514,504) followed by Romania (662,751) and Hungary (404,021). Around 6.5 million are deemed to be displaced within Ukraine itself. [source]
  • Russian military forces have used heavy explosive weapons in highly populated areas, including missiles, heavy artillery shells, and airstrikes. Private houses, residential buildings, medical and educational facilities, water stations, electricity systems have been destroyed on a massive scale. Currently, 1.4 million people are without running water and other 4.6 million are at risk of losing access to it. As of April 15, a total of 1,982 civilians have been killed and a total of 2,651 have been injured.  [source]
  • Ukrainians refugee crisis is nearly the triple the size of the wave of migrants that reached Europe in 2015. Europe has not seen a refugee wave at this cale since WWII. [source]
  • So far, nearly a quarter of the entire population has been forced to move, counting people that have fled the country and those that are displaced internally. Currently, men younger than 60 cannot leave the country. However, if they would start to join their families already abroad, the number of refugees would more than treble. [source]
Building Damaged by Russian Forces in Lysychansk.

KJ-2 It is likely that the EU will continue to support refugees in the next 3 months. 

  • Differently from the refugee crisis of 2015, Member States of the EU have welcomed people fleeing from Ukraine. The EU is providing emergency relief to displaced Ukrainians and support to Ukraine’s neighboring countries. The Commission has mobilized financial support for the Member States hosting refugees. In addition, the EU will provide help to build institutional and operational capacity to welcome Ukrainians refugees.  [source]
  • In addition, on March 3 the Commission has invoked for the first time the temporary-protection directive which gives Ukrainian the right to live, work and to have access to housing, social welfare and medical assistance within the EU. [source]
  • Therefore, Ukrainians will not go through the long and uncertain process of applying for asylum that refugees in 2015 had to face. 

KJ-3 It is likely that race-based discrimination will continue to persist in the next 3 months. 

  • By now, it has become clear that the refugee crisis of 2015 and the current one, met two different responses in the EU. In fact, the humanitarian crisis of 2015 was met with xenophobic and racist rhetoric, long and uncertain applications for asylum, and detention in refugees camps. This difference also explains why some of those that are fleeing from Ukraine are not receiving the same generous treatment as the citizens from Ukraine. [source]
  • There are growing numbers of cases of people from Africa, the Middle East and Asia who have faced racist treatment and violence while trying to escape from Ukraine. Many have said that they were prevented from boarding trains and buses going to the border in Ukrainians towns. This is because Ukrainians were given priority. [source]
  • Others said that they had been repeatedly refused entry to Poland. Others that they have been hit by armed Polish authorities. [source]