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The Evolution Of Modern Russian Tanks

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Originally posted on 21st Century Asian Arms Race:

Soviet T-55 column Warsaw Pact 02

As the world’s dominant land power the Soviet Union understood the value of mechanized forces. This is why the Red Army possessed between 22,000 to 25,000 armored vehicles, including at least several hundred KV-1 and 2 heavy tanks, at the onset of the Great Patriotic War.

By the time the almost indestructible Joseph Stalins arrived at the Reichstag the total number of Soviet tanks had swelled to more than 60,000. The lesson learned from defeating the Axis powers would resonate for generations to come: Tanks will decide the outcome of any great war over Eurasia.

In the ensuing decades the Cold War arms race inspired the continuous production of new and ever deadlier tanks. Even when derided as crude and unsophisticated the Red Army’s armor always leapfrogged the West in terms of cost-effective mass-production, ruggedness, and firepower.

The Soviet Union’s relentless military-industrial development also left today’s Russian Federation with a…

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ISIS survives largely because Turkey allows it to: the evidence

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Good read!

Originally posted on UndercoverInfo:

10505328_10154729840000012_6173827095010968907_n Kurdish (YPJ) frontline troops

The real frontline confronting ISIS is not US or French bombers (the latter currently targeting Raqqa, a city with 140,000 civilians, who are virtual prisoners of ISIS) but the Kurds of Iraq and northern Syria. Just over a week ago the combined Kurd forces, under the command of the Yezidis, liberated Sinjar from ISIS. For the Kurds, their war is not just about defeating ISIS, but about creating their own autonomous region – a region that would link all the Kurd cantons. This will not be easy, especially as the Iraq-based Kurds (Peshmerga) are allied with Iran and benefit from US support (nor are the Iraqi Kurds in any hurry to secede from Iraq). But the largest hurdle to an autonomous Kurdistan is Turkey, which not only has rekindled its war with the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), but has done everything it can over the…

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Militant Proliferation and the Consequences of Fragmentation

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Intriguing analysis

Originally posted on Political Violence @ a Glance:

Guest post by Evan Perkoski

Map of territorial control in the Syrian Civil War as of 13 July 2015. Image from Wikimedia. Map of territorial control in the Syrian Civil War as of 13 July 2015. Image from Wikimedia.

Contemporary irregular conflicts often share a common feature: they are fragmented. States are not facing just one enemy but instead they are facing many, and these actors often have their own internal conflicts as well. Sometimes these organizations hold broadly similar goals, as is the case with Syrian militants who are opposed to the Assad regime. Elsewhere, groups have developed in stark opposition to one another: for example, in Iraq in the mid-2000s when Shiite and Sunni militant groups proliferated to directly counter the other. This type of fragmentation is consequential: there is abundant research to suggest that fragmented conflicts play out in very different ways, with unique patterns of violence and implications for civilians.

Despite the prevalence and impact of fragmentation, academic research and…

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How spy agencies around the world used this company’s software

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I found one line in this article alarming, 35 countries were utilizing surveillance software across 97 Intelligence agencies in those 35 countries..’

Originally posted on Fortune:

Hackers who breached cybersecurity firm Hacking Team earlier this month exposed a trove of sensitive emails detailing the inner workings of the company’s clients: Government spy agencies.

The over one million emails, searchable on the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, give a rare look into how countries are using technology to spy on their citizens. The messages show how big an appetite a number of both repressive and democratic governments have for surveillance and how Hacking Team, based in Italy, was more than happy to supply the necessary software.

The firm’s clients include the Sudan’s intelligence service, a Russian arms conglomerate, as well as countries including Uzbekistan, Egypt, and Azerbaijan, according to the Associated Press. The AP report quoted a South Korean National Intelligence Service chief who said that 97 intelligence agencies across 35 countries were using the company’s spy software.

Some of the countries used Hacking Team’s flagship software to…

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