miércoles, 9 de noviembre de 2016

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Today's Insight

The State of Play in Syria | Fritz Lodge, The Cipher Brief
Amid the dizzying array of jihadist groups, rebel militias, umbrella opposition alliances, and state-level actors either directly or indirectly involved in Syria’s conflict, it can be difficult to tell who is fighting whom and why.

Expert Commentary

Incoherent U.S. Policy Will Doom Raqqa Campaign |
 Barak Barfi, Research Fellow, New America Foundation
Raqqa may prove too much for the Kurds. With a pre-war population of over 200,000, it is by far the largest city that the PYD has put in its cross hairs. An almost exclusively Arab city with no Kurds, it holds limited appeal to the PYD.

Telling Friend from Foe in Syria | 
Fabrice Balanche, Visiting Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
If we put aside the Kurds and the Islamic State, the Syrian military opposition is divided between four different trends: the global jihad fighters, Syrian Salafists, groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and groups without an explicit religious ideology (although this does not mean they are secular).

Today's Column: Network Take

Trump Security Policy: Not a Lot to Draw On | General Michael Hayden, Former Director of the CIA and NSA
Donald Trump isn't one to make detailed speeches or to offer commentary at think tanks or to post policy prescriptions. And he doesn't have a foreign policy track-record to explore. So that leaves pretty much the campaign rhetoric to rely on. And campaign rhetoric historically gets softened by the realities of office (President Barack Obama and some electronic surveillance programs come to mind). And the federal bureaucracy has its own way of pushing back, too.


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15 Minutes
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This week, The Cipher Brief’s Executive Editor Fionnuala Sweeney talks to the European Union’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove. De Kerchove discusses the challenges of keeping the continent safe, following terrorist attacks in France and Belgium in the past year. Listen now

Don't Miss On The Cipher Brief

The World is Watching: The American Election and Russia |
Will Edwards, The Cipher Brief
Most recently, relations between the two countries have been strained by the DNC hack and its attribution to Russia by the U.S. intelligence community. The hack highlights the threats espoused by security and defense experts about Russia’s formidable cyber capabilities and, at worst, suggests Russia is trying to influence the U.S. election and the next administration.

The World is Watching: Global Views on the U.S. Election |
The Cipher Brief Special Report
In the run-up to the election on November 8th, The Cipher Brief examined how five key nations – China, Russia, Germany, Iran and Saudi Arabia – view each candidate for President.

Click here to download your exclusive copy of this Cipher Brief Special Report.

The World is Watching: The American Election and Iran |
Bennett Seftel, The Cipher Brief
For the Islamic Republic of Iran, the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. With a landmark nuclear agreement reached last year between the world powers – the U.S., Russia, China, UK, France, and Germany – and Iran, and implemented earlier this year, November’s election will determine the path forward in U.S.-Iranian relations.

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The Cipher Take

Donald Trump Wins U.S. Presidential Election
In a stunning electoral victory, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, defeating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The Republican party also maintained control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, global markets tumbled; Dow Jones futures fell by as much as 800 points during after-hours trading.

The Cipher Take:

As the dust settles, questions now turn to Trump's intended policies. According to Cipher Brief Network Expert General Michael Hayden, a Trump security policy would, among other things, shake up traditional alliances, alter immigration and trade policy drastically, and deeply affect the U.S.' current relationships with Russia and China. In the run-up to the election on November 8th, the Cipher Brief also examined how five key nations – China, Russia, Germany, Iran and Saudi Arabia – view Donald Trump.  

Syrian Army Takes Aleppo District
The Syrian army claims to have taken a key district of Aleppo in what could be one of the most important advances by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad yet. Rebel groups still claim that they are fighting for the 1070 Apartments district, but media outlets currently claim that forces loyal to Assad are in complete control of the district.

The Cipher Take:
Aleppo has been the center for the rebel uprising against Assad since that start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. With help from Russian air strikes, pro-Assad forces have been able to mobilize around Aleppo and gain ground in the rebel held territory. In addition to representing a rebel stronghold, Aleppo is also facing a catastrophic humanitarian crisis as it has come under heavy bombardment from pro-Assad and Russian forces.

Five Arrested in Germany for Recruiting for Islamic State
German police arrested five men accused of recruiting members for the Islamic State terrorist organization. The arrests were made in the states of North-Rhine Westphalia and Lower Saxony and follow a string of similar arrests in Germany in the last few months.

The Cipher Take:
Germany's domestic intelligence agency estimates that around 500 individuals in the country may be willing to commit Islamic extremist inspired violence and are considered a serious security threat. The country has been working to better coordinate various state agencies and the federal intelligence services after a string of terror attacks in Europe and Germany this past summer. European intel-cooperation came under scrutiny after the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, which left 130 people dead and 368 injured.

U.S., South Korea on High Alert for Potential North Korea Missile Test
The South Korean and U.S. militaries are preparing for a potential North Korean test – either ballistic missile or nuclear – in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election. It is believed that the missile would be a Musudan-type intermediate range missile, one that North Korea is currently trying to perfect. CNBC reported that representatives from Iran may be present to observe the latest test.

The Cipher Take:
North Korea often times important tests with key dates in its own history or that of its adversaries. For example, North Korea tested a missile and nuclear device after the election of President Obama. The presence of Iranian observers is nothing new either, as they have attended important tests in years past; this is not necessarily an indication of collaboration on weapons technology.

NATO To Put 300,000 Troops on High Alert
In a response to mounting tensions with Russia, NATO will put up to 300,000 troops – to include intelligence and cyberwarfare divisions - on high alert, according to a NATO representative. Planners hope to implement this in two months, although it may take as many as six.

The Cipher Take:
Russia’s threefold increase in defense spending since 2000 as well as the 2014 annexation of Crimea have spurred this action by NATO. By comparison, most NATO countries are still underneath the agreed level of defense spending—2% of GDP. While some countries are now moving to correct this, it will take time for the results to be felt. Putting this many troops on high alert will also serve to reassure many of Russia’s neighbors, including Poland and the Baltic states. This sort of worry may not be unfounded: a recent RAND study concluded that Russia could overrun the Baltic states in under 36 hours.

Pirate Attacks May Again Be On the Rise
Merchant vessels sailing through shipping lanes between Somalia and Yemen have come under attack in recent weeks.  Pirates reportedly attacked a chemical tanker off the coast of Somalia while a gas tanker was attacked off the coast of Yemen. These are the first reported piracy incidents since February 2014 when a container ship came under fire off the coast of Somalia.

The Cipher Take:
Instability in Somalia, primarily in the country’s northeastern, semi-autonomous Puntland region where pirate gangs have been known to operate, has triggered concerns that piracy may once again be on the rise. Piracy attacks escalated between 2008 and 2011, when more than 700 hostages and 30 vessels were held by Somali gangs. Since then, protective measures such as the deployment of armed security guards on ships combined and pre-emptive strikes by naval forces helped reduce reported attacks to just two in 2014 and none last year.

Canadian Police Spied on Journalists
Quebec police confirmed its officers obtained court orders allowing them to monitor the cellphone metadata of ten prominent investigative reporters, information that could reveal the identity of their confidential informants and would allow tracking of their phones via GPS geolocation. For some of these journalists, the police also received a warrant to listen in on the journalists’ conversations. Privacy and civil liberties groups suggest that the police have abused their power by monitoring individuals not actively suspected of a crime. Police, however, respond that the journalists were not the targets of their investigations.

The Cipher Take:
Canadian police reportedly obtain hundreds of thousands of warrants for cellphone metadata every year, likely as a result of a recently passed law meant to prevent cyberbullying. The law lowered the threshold to obtain court orders by which police can access data; they must simply suspect a crime has or will be committed. While law enforcement has said the information will not be used for other investigations, critics point out there is nothing in the law to prevent it. Another fear is that police could identify patterns of activity for an individual where they retroactively become a suspect in other crimes.

Documents Reveal FBI Operation on Dark Net Went Beyond Warrant
In 2013 the FBI received permission to access the data of over 300 specific users of TorMail, a dark net email service. But documents recently published by the Department of Justice reveal that the FBI tactics exceeded those 300 users—all of which were related to child pornography-related crimes—to those not included in the issued warrant, many of which were potentially using the email service for legitimate privacy reasons.

The Cipher Take:
The incident occurred in 2013 after the FBI seized Freedom Hosting, a dark net hosting service that included a number of child pornography sites as well as the anonymous email service TorMail. The FBI deployed a network investigative technique (NIT)—a piece of malware designed to obtain the real IP address of those visiting the 23 child pornography sites in what is called a “watering hole trap”— to reveal the criminals’ identities. The FBI did the same with TorMail, with the NIT deployed to “investigate any user who logs into any of the target accounts by entering a username and password.” Instead, it seems that anyone who visited the TorMail site—even if the individual was not listed in the warrant or even entered credentials—were presented with an error page carrying the deanonymizing malware.


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