Defence

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Shroud of Terror

/
304 views
5 mins read

On January 19, 2023, three Police constables were killed in a suicide attack at the Takhta Beg Police checkpost in Jamrud tehsil (revenue unit) of Khyber District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Police said terrorists armed with hand grenades, entered the premises and opened fire using a sub-machine gun. After the firing, a suicide bomber blew himself up. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.

On January 18, 2023, a teenager, Raheedullah, was found beheaded in a remote area of Bargai village in Lakki Marwat District. The Ittehadul Mujahideen-i-Khurasan left a dagger and a hand written chit in Pashto near the body, with the message that Raheedullah was found guilty of spying for the Army and the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).

On January 14, 2023, three Policemen, including Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Badaber Sardar Hussain and his two Police guards, Irshad and Jehanzeb, were killed in a terrorist attack on the Sarband Police Station in Peshawar, the provincial capital of KP. KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Moazzam Jah Ansari said that sniper rifles were used by the terrorists in the incident, for the first time in Peshawar. TTP claimed responsibility for the attack. The CTD killed the two terrorists who were involved in the attack, Gul Hayyee and Hazrat Umar, residents of the Bara area of Khyber District and Mohmand Hal Yeka Tut in Peshawar, while two to three other terrorists managed to escape.

According to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), KP has recorded 33 terrorism-related fatalities, including 23 terrorists, eight Security Force (SF) personnel and two civilians, so far, in the current year (data till January 22, 2023). During the corresponding period of 2022, the province had recorded 19 such fatalities including 11 terrorists, five SF personnel and three civilians.

KP recorded a total of 527 fatalities (119 civilians, 173 SF personnel and 235 terrorists) in 184 incidents of killing in 2022, as against 300 such fatalities (71 civilians, 108 SF personnel, and 121 terrorists) in 129 such incidents in 2021, registering an increase of 75.66 per cent in overall fatalities. Overall fatalities, on year-on-year basis, have been on a continuous rise since 2020, when fatalities stood at 216 (61 civilians, 57 SF personnel, and 98 terrorists) in comparison to 130 (30 civilians, 69 SF personnel, and 31 terrorists) in 2019.

Significantly, overall fatalities in 2022 are the highest in a year since 2014, when there were 697 fatalities. In terms of SF fatalities, the 2022 tally is the highest since 2013, when there were 181 fatalities. Terrorist fatalities in 2022 were the highest since 2011, when there were 372 such fatalities. The number of civilians killed in a year touched three digits after a gap of five years, with 122 civilians killed in 2016.

Other parameters of violence also indicated a worsening security situation in the province. Total terrorism-linked incidents jumped sharply from 168 in 2021 to 225 in 2022, the highest since 2015, when there were 278 incidents. The number of major incidents (each involving three or more killings) increased from 41 in 2021 to 56 in 2022, the highest since 2013, when there were 72 such incidents. The resultant fatalities in such attacks also increased from 186 in 2021 to 337 in 2022. Similarly, KP accounted for an increased number of explosions, from 32 in 2021 to 45 in 2022 (the highest since 2015, when there were 50 such incidents), and the resulting fatalities spiked from 52 to 129. The province recorded eight suicide attacks in 2022 (the highest since 2017, when there were also eight such attacks) as against two in 2021. In the worst attack, on March 4, at least 63 worshippers lost their lives and 194 others were injured when a suicide attacker detonated himself inside a Shia Mosque in the Koocha Risaldar area of Peshawar.

Of 38 Districts in KP, 16 recorded terrorism-related violence, according to the SATP database. The most violent District in 2022 was, again, North Waziristan District, which accounted for 177 deaths, followed by Peshawar (87 fatalities), Bannu (60 fatalities) and Dera Ismail Khan (43 fatalities). In 2021 as well, North Waziristan recorded the maximum of 106 killings, followed by South Waziristan (51 fatalities), Peshawar (25 fatalities) and Bajaur (22 fatalities). Of 38 Districts, 21 Districts registered terrorism-related incidents in 2021. 2020 saw terrorism-related incidents in 19 Districts, of which North Waziristan had the highest number of fatalities (110), followed by Peshawar (27) and South Waziristan (21).

In 2019, violence in KP had fallen to its second lowest level, in terms of fatalities, as terrorists had started to escape to Afghanistan due to continuous SF operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan. With the Taliban starting to strengthen their position in Afghanistan in 2020, the TTP terrorists who had escaped to Afghanistan started receiving increasing support inside Afghanistan, which helped them in their efforts to revive their campaigns in Pakistan. The process gained momentum with the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.

Though an attempt to start a direct dialogue between the TTP and the Pakistan Government was initiated soon after the Taliban seized Kabul, it finally succeeded in May 2022. After a fractious six months, it came to an end in November 2022. During this entire period, there was not a single phase of peace on the ground.

On the contrary, an October 12, 2022, report suggested that the TTP had re-emerged violently in the restive areas of Swat, as militants detained Police personnel and an Army officer after enforcement officials launched an operation to capture TTP militants. Earlier, an August 12, 2022, report noted that TTP militants had established a check-post at Balasoor Top, besides roaming about freely in other areas of the Matta tehsil of Swat. The areas included Bar Shor, Koz Shor, Namal, Gat Peuchar and among others. Significantly, the Geo News correspondent in Swat, Mehboob Ali, claimed that at least 200-250 TTP terrorists were present and operating in the area.

On December 23, 2022, after analysing the overall law and order situation in KP, the Police department declared South and North Waziristan, Lakki Marwat and Bannu Districts, terrorist ‘trouble spots’. Additional Inspector General of Police (ADGP), Operations, Mohammad Ali Babakhel declared, “Southern districts, including North and South Waziristan [from among the newly-merged tribal districts] as well as Lakki Marwat and Bannu districts [from settled areas], are trouble spots.”

Indeed, on December 27, 2022, Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah disclosed that there were around 7,000 to 10,000 TTP fighters in the region, and they were accompanied by 25,000 members of their families. He added that some of the terrorists, who had previously laid down arms, had secretly resumed activities, and alleged, “The biggest reason for this is the failure of [the] Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and Counter Terrorism Department… It is their job to stop it.”

Meanwhile, a report presented to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during the national security review meeting in December 2022, warned that, because of an acute shortage of staff and resources, the KP CTD would not be able to prevent or stop terrorist attacks in the province, and lacked the capacity to fight terrorism.

Significantly, in a daring incident on December 18, 2022, a detained terrorist overpowered a constable at the CTD Complex in Bannu Cantonment (Bannu District) and, after snatching the constable’s weapon, freed 34 other detained terrorists. As soon as they came out of the lockup, the terrorists took possession of more weapons and started firing. One CTD constable was killed, while another was injured, and died later. Meanwhile, SFs cordoned off the area and launched an operation. Immediately after the seizure of the complex by the terrorists on December 18, two terrorists were killed, three were arrested, and two security forces personnel were injured in the exchange of fire. Efforts to induce the terrorists to surrender unconditionally continued for the next two days. On December 20, the SFs took initiated an operation against the terrorists who refused to surrender. During the resulting and fierce exchange of fire between terrorists and security forces, 25 terrorists were killed. Three terrorists were arrested and the remaining seven surrendered. Three SF personnel were killed in the operation, while another 10, including two officers, were injured. The TTP claimed responsibility for the incident.

As ‘official’ talks between the TTP and the Government collapsed with the TTPs declaration of an end to the ceasefire on November 28, 2022, an escalation of violence within KP, and the possibilities of its fanning out into other areas of Pakistan, have increased dramatically. The risk of Pakistan’s tribal areas once again becoming the “most dangerous place on earth” is real.

VIDEO: Cow dung and urine mixed attacks on police officers in Jaffna

/
278 views
1 min read

The following video shows how a group of human rights activists operating in Jaffna, instigated by political parties, attacked police officers on duty with water mixed with dung and cow urine. These police officers were attacked during the recent visit of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to Jaffna. Reliable sources say that local politicians are against enforcing the law against these perpetrators, who have severely obstructed and humiliated the duties of police officers.

No Peaceful Multipolar World Anytime Soon: Underestimating US Power is Dangerous

512 views
5 mins read

“If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.” Sun Tzu

But it turns out there isn’t really any military threat by the United states. Not only [has the U.S] and NATO run out of normal military arms, but America really can’t mount a land war anymore. There will never be another Vietnam. There will never be the United States invading another country, or Europe invading any other country, because you’ll never get a population willing to be drafted, [since] the anti-war movement. And without that, America has only one military leader against other countries: the hydrogen bomb. There is nothing in between a targeted assassination attempt and an atom bomb.” Michael Hudson &Radhika Desai

Both [Russia and China] are strong — and Russia is more advanced technologically than China in their advanced offensive and defensive missile development, and can beat the US in a nuclear war as Russian air space is sealed by layered defenses such as the S-400 all the way to the already tested S-500s and designed S-600s….Beijing’s strategic priority has been to carefully develop a remarkably diverse set of energy-suppliers. If China has so far proven masterly in the way it has played its cards in its Pipelineistan “war,” the US hand — bypass Russia, elbow out China, isolate Iran — may soon be called for what it is: a bluff.Pepe Escobar

****

Come on, Russia “can beat the US in a nuclear war.” Really? Even President Valdimir Putin decried the use of nuclear weapons. According to Reuters, “Putin said…there could be no winners in a nuclear war and no such war should ever be started.”  For how  nuclear war between the two nation states might pan out go visit Princeton University’s Science and Global Security website. There you will find an unsettling computer simulation known as PLAN A that assesses “the consequences of nuclear war under different assumptions. Attack scenarios are constrained by the size and capabilities of existing arsenals and weapons systems including delivery vehicle range, the footprint of the Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV) that carry nuclear weapons on ballistic missiles, and hard target kill capability. The simulation tool incorporates an atmospheric transport model to assess nuclear fallout for each attack scenario.

TheNord Stream pipelines have been destroyed. My guess is that it was US Navy DEVGRU guys and a Virginia Class submarine that carried them in. Right up their alley. That was no bluff, I think.

There is no antiwar movement in  the United States that has any influence on US military or political actions. But there are soldiers who are bored, doing drugs and aching for war.  “This is what happens when there is no war, no direction, and an 18-month red cycle with no mission,” a Special Forces soldier said. “So dudes are fucking around…and the craziest drugs. All these lives ruined because people are just bored.”ConnectingVeterans

That young soldier may not have long to wait to cure his boredom on the battlefield killing “the other” in Ukraine.

Cracks in the BRICS

Multipolarity? Belt and Road Initiative? Forget about it for now, or for the foreseeable future. For those notions to be birthed a global war will have to take place to dislodge the United States.

The BRICS? Consider that Brazil has severe internal problems: poverty chief amongst them. There is also the threat of a coup and so it could be tough for the new president (Lula) to hang on. How about China? I doubt it as China fears a confrontation with United States, as it is a large holder of US Treasury notes. If a war came, they would never receive their payout. Further, China has not fought any major wars recently and thus their military is untested. Already, the US is crushing their semiconductor chip market through economic warfare.

India? They have a long standing territorial rivalry with China and are very wary of Chinese espionage and instigating on its borders. India’s poverty level is off the charts, compared to Brazil’s. It may be the largest democracy on the planet but it society still runs a caste system and tensions between religious sects (Hindi, Islam) is a real problem. And let’s not forget about Kashmir. According to Wikipedia, “Today, the term encompasses a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and the Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.”

And Russia? Well, it is already fighting United States’ weapons systems, operational contractors, ISR aircraft, CIA operatives, and US defense contractors/mercenaries. When the US sets up a no-fly zone over Western and then Eastern Ukraine, it’ll be just a couple of steps, or mistakes, until full scale ground combat between the US and Russia takes place. Already, there are reports that the US is considering arming Ukraine with long range missiles that can reach Crimea. Russia stands alone against the West, a west that does not understand that Russians view the war as an existential crisis. Their way of life is threatened. And the Satanic hatred that Americans and Europeans have toward Russia is astonishing but it is engendered by Western governments and their hatred is broadcast by the MSM, an MSM which is owned by wealthy corporations, who, in fact, tell their populations how to think.

The US Military Just Sits Around?

So, according to critics, the US government/military is a ghost of itself and unprepared for industrial war and/or a per opponent. Let’s check that assumption out. We’ll turn to the US Congressional Research Service’s (CRS) “Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress”

US defense strategy is currently designed to prevent “the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia.” That strategy is based on US policy maker’s assessments (dating back to President Obama’s administration) that Eurasia is not “self-regulating” in that the countries of Eurasia can’t be relied upon to use their forces to stop a country that wants to dominate the region. That is viewed as a threat to US policymakers. For example; if China wanted to control, by force, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, who would rally to stop them? Would the Shanghai Cooperation Organization step in the way? No, the USA would.

So, the US defense department’s force structure is designed based on a “policy decision” made in Washington, to inhibit by threat or action an attempt by China or Russia to overrun other nations in Eurasia or the Pacific (think Taiwan). That means it has the capability to deploy military assets far afield from the US mainland (and from forward bases; e.g., Qatar, Bahrain). The package includes long range bombers like the B-2 and B-52; a naval battle group that includes, for example, a Nimitz Class carrier, Virginia Class submarines; Aegis warships; troop transports by air (C-10) and sea (Marine amphibious assault ships), ISR capabilities (RC-135V, satellites and drones).

Fighting Russians in the American Desert

For the past few years now the United States has emphasized planning that focuses on high-end conventional warfare, according to CRS. “Many DOD acquisitions, exercises and warfighting experiments have been initiated, accelerated, increased in scope, given higher priority, or had their continuation justified as consequence of the renewed US emphasis on high-end warfare.” For example, a warfighting experiment is taking place at the US Army’s Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert. A mockup of an urban town you might find in Ukraine , along with open terrain that surrounds the town, has been built. The Red Team uses Russian tactics to try and defeat the US Blue Team using its combined armed tactics (drones and electronic warfare are a key part of the exercise).

A peaceful multipolar world? I don’t think so.

Russia can’t create one alone.

Russia is as ready as it can be for the US boots on the ground in Ukraine. It will stand alone while its “friends” watch. And the USA knows for the first time in decades it will have to fight to get to the fight. Hard times ahead.

It is going to be a violent road to get to a multipolar world where nations don’t act ruthlessly in their own interests. I wish I could live to see how it all ends. Don’t we all?

Find and Read Please, Dig Deeper

How the US military is shaping the environment for Ukraine and wider war: Military Information Support Operations, MISO, Joint Publication 3-13.2

The US has astronomical power. Study them here: Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare. FM 3‐05.130

Sri Lanka: Downsizing Army in Response to Economic Crisis

/
351 views
11 mins read

State Minister Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon could have disclosed a decisive decision taken by the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government to reduce the approved cadre of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) at the launch of ‘STORY OF THE WORLD: Geopolitical Alliances and Rivalries Set in Stone’ authored by Col. Nalin Herath, at Rock House Army camp (Regimental Headquarters of the Armoured Corps), on January 12.

State Minister Tennakoon was the Chief Guest at the event, attended by Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Shavendra Silva, both of the Gajaba Regiment, and several other senior serving, and retired officers.

The author, as an armoured corps officer, has served the 681 Brigade of the 53 Division. He has been the Brigade Major. The 681 Brigade, assigned to the 53 Division, commanded by the then Maj. Gen. Gunaratne, has been credited with the killing of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon, on the morning of May 19, 2009.

The first such book, launched by a serving officer, would have been the ideal setting for the official declaration on the reduction of SLA’s approved cadre.

A press release, pertaining to the proposed reduction of the approved cadre of the SLA, was released by Col. Nalin Herath, on the following day (January 13). Interestingly, the statement was attributed to State Defence Minister Tennakoon, who received the elevated position, on Sept. 08, 2022. The Matale District MP was among 37 government parliamentary group members appointed as State Ministers, as per the understanding between President Wickremesinghe and his principal sponsor, the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). Pramitha Bandara is the son of Janaka Banadara Tennakoon, MP, one of the SLFP seniors who had even served the party during the tenure of the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike as the SLFP leader. Incidentally Pramitha’s paternal grandfather, Tikiri Banda Tennakoon, was a founder member of the SLFP, along with its creator, SWRD Bandaranaike. T.B., having swept into Parliament, in 1956, like so many other first timers, with an essentially Sinhala ethos, he continuously retained his Dambulla electorate for five consecutive terms, thanks to his dedication to serve his people.

Perhaps, that high profile decision to trim the armed forces, that were deliberately expanded in the last phase of the then long-running war, from 2006, should have been announced by President Wickremesinghe, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and the Defence Minister, as well. The government owed an explanation whether the Cabinet-of-Ministers approved the far reaching move and when that decision was taken.

Following the perusal of statements, issued in Sinhala and English, there couldn’t be ambiguity regarding what really prompted the decision. Lawmaker Pramitha Tennakoon declared that the decision to reduce the current approved SLA cadre of 200,783 to 135,000, by end of next year, and further reduce that figure to 100,000, by 2030, has been taken after taking into consideration the current state of affairs. Obviously, the State Defence Minister was referring to Sri Lanka’s bankrupt status.

President Wickremesinghe’s decision to review the approved cadre of the SLA should be appreciated, as it was a long felt necessity, as maintaining an army of more than 200.000, under current circumstances, is no small burden for a country of the size of Sri Lanka, especially as it no longer faced any formidable enemy, militarily from within. This assertion shouldn’t be misconstrued as our wholehearted backing for the government decision. Let us hope some sections in the Opposition do not seek political advantage, thereby causing unnecessary friction amidst the continuing economic-political-social turmoil.

President Wickremesinghe indicated his desire to bring down the SLA’s strength, on Nov. 14, 2022. when he presented the 2023 Budget. Wickremesinghe proposed to allow armed forces personnel, other than special categories, to retire after 18 years of service. Wickremesinghe assured that tangible measures would be taken to provide them training, required to engage in productive economic activities.

On behalf of the government, State Minister Tennakoon asserted that a 100,000 strength as the right size for the SLA.

Change of SLA command

Army Chief, Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage, in his New Year message to his officers, and men, revealed the intended decrease in SLA’s approved cadre. Gajaba Regiment veteran Liyanage, who succeeded Gen. Shavendra Silva, on July 01, 2022, declared that preliminary measures had been taken in this regard. Army headquarters, in a statement issued on January 02, quoted Lt. Gen. Liyanage has having said the process was meant to streamline the organizational structure, operational deployment and concept of operations. The Army Chief emphasized the responsibility on the part of the SLA to be prepared to face any eventuality this year. Lt. Gen. Liyanage didn’t mince his words when he declared the need to keep their plans on track, regardless of the current crisis, which he described as a turbulent period.

If not for the massive public protest campaign that turned violent, after Temple Trees unleashed SLPP goons on the Galle Face ‘Go Gota Home’ protesters on May 09, morning, Liyanage probably wouldn’t have received an opportunity to command the war-winning SLA. The then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, himself a Gajaba founder veteran, brought in Liyanage to succeed celebrated ground combat commander Gen. Shavendra Silva. Liyanage received the appointment on June 01. Protesters overran President Rajapaksa’s official residence, in Fort, six weeks later. Wickremesinghe, having been picked as President, by a majority vote in Parliament, has chosen Liyanage to oversee the transformation by granting him a one-year extension.

Otherwise, Liyanage would have retired on Dec. 31, 2022. He received a one-year extension, amidst intense controversy over his successor.

Over a dozen officers would retire by Dec. 31, 2023.

Gen. Shavendra Silva continues to serve as the CDS, a position he held earlier in an Acting Capacity beginning January 01, 2020, while also being the then Army Commander. The celebrated General Officer, Commanding (GoC) the 58 Division (previously Task Force 1) received the SLA command, on August 19, 2019, during the tail end of Maithripala Sirisena’s presidency. Unfortunately, many top officers, who contributed much to that most unlikely victory, over terrorism, were overlooked during the Yahapalana regime that came to power in 2015, thanks to the political betrayal by Maithripala Sirisena.

Proposed gradual but significant reduction of approved SLA cadre, by half, within the next seven years, should be examined, taking into consideration two domestic factors, namely (1) Ranil Wickremesinghe’s election as President to complete the remainder of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s five-year term, and (2) the worst ever post-independence economic crisis that has compelled utterly disorganized and reckless political party system ways and means to cut down both capital and recurrent expenditure.

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka can save a considerable amount of public funds by halving the SLA size. Retired Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera, Director of Operations, during the crucial period of the Eelam War (2006-2009) asserted: “It is not the numbers that matter, but the deterrence….” The one-time Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Malaysia, emphasized the responsibility, on the part of the decision-makers, to adopt, what he called, a pragmatic approach.

Contrary to numerous warnings, regarding the possibility of the LTTE launching a hit-and run-campaign, after the combined security forces decimated its conventional fighting capacity, by February-May 2009, the group was no longer in its previous suicide mode, due to the overbearing presence of the SLA. There had been one attempt to regroup and that was mercilessly and swiftly dealt with. Since then, ex-members of the group remained peaceful, though some expressed fears those who had been released after rehabilitation could take up arms again. Wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, having played a pivotal role in the eradication of terrorism. by May 2009, allowed the release of as many as 12,000 ex-LTTE cadres and the gradual decrease of the SLA presence, in the Jaffna peninsula. Accordingly, the SLA gave up both state and private land in the Jaffna peninsula, and other parts of the Vanni and the East, held over the years, to fight the war, to facilitate the return of civilians, in peace time.

Rapid SLA expansion

At the time Eelam War IV erupted, in the second week of August, 2006, with coordinated attacks in the East and across the Muhamalai front line, extending from Kilali, across Eluththumaduwal to Nagarkovil on the Vadamarachchy east coast,

The SLA had approximately 60 regular and volunteer infantry battalions. It, however, lacked the wherewithal to simultaneously conduct offensive operations, defend areas under control and deploy troops to hold newly recaptured areas.

The then President Mahinda Rajapaksa took an unprecedented political decision to rapidly expand the SLA to finish off the LTTE, once and for all. The then Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka got what he asked for. Fonseka never hesitated to push the political leadership on the urgent need to expand the SLA. The Army Chief had the backing of the Defence Secretary and the whole process was expedited, overnight.

A recruitment drive got underway, in the last quarter of 2006, as the SLA, at a great cost, thwarted the LTTE offensive on the Northern front, stabilized the situation there, and went on the offensive. A relentless SLA campaign brought the entire Eastern Province, under government control, with the recapture of the last Tiger stronghold, at Toppigala, in July 2007. As the name denotes, it was a rock outcrop, with a clear viewing advantage of the surroundings. But, that wouldn’t have been possible without operations, conducted by the Navy and the Air Force, both in support of ground forces, as well as to weaken the overall conventional capacity of the enemy. But, ironically, that fact was lost on our warwinning military genius, Sarath Fonseka, and, no doubt, a man with a sixth sense, but who ironically felt that all war trophies should go to the Army and him.

We will cite just one example as to why we say he had a sixth sense that helped to win the war. For a long time, we had heard from lower ranking officers that they were often reluctant to call in artillery support as often they themselves got whacked by such ‘friendly’ fire. But after the all-out war broke out, in 2006, and the Army was advancing on several fronts, we suddenly found that Fonseka had taken a rather unusual step of putting a stop to the discretionary power of our artillery and he had placed Special Forces operatives with all field artillery units and they couldn’t fire their big guns till those minders, clearly wearing T-shirts, emblazoned ‘Special Forces’, double checked their ranges. And, miraculously, that ended many a friendly artillery killing our own soldiers. This was something all previous commanders failed to do.

As many as 120,000 men were mobilized as the the SLA raised almost 100 infantry battalions. It would be pertinent to mention that new recruits were required for new fighting formations and also to replenish depleted battalions. The high intensity Vanni battles took a heavy toll on fighting formations. The incumbent Army Commander had served as the Commanding Officer of the 8th battalion of the Gajaba Regiment (Jan. 1, 2006 to June 06, 2006) attached to 56 and 57 Divisions during the Vanni campaign. The 56 Division played a defensive role whereas 57 Division played a critically important offensive role, though it ceased offensive operations, after capturing Kurivilkulam, in the second week of Feb. 2009.

The rapid recruitment, training and deployment of fresh recruits swamped the Vanni with infantry formations. During the last phase of the war, the SLA troop strength doubled, thereby allowing successive commanders after Fonseka, who relinquished command in mid-July 2009, amidst controversy of his decision to enter active politics. Fonseka contested the 2010 January presidential election but suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Having made an abortive bid to spearhead a party of his own, the war hero, who holds the rank of Field Marshal, has now ended up as an MP, representing the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB).

Since the end of the war, there has been a gradual decrease in the security forces’ strength, though the approved cadre remained unchanged.

Unprecedented challenge

In spite of President Wickremesinghe’s declaration Sri Lanka’s commitment to friendly ties with all countries, at regional and global level, his government is ensnared in a deadly US-China conflict against the backdrop of an equally lethal debt trap.

Having declared bankruptcy, in April last year, Sri Lanka is struggling to reach consensus with China and India, two major bilateral creditors whose backing is nothing but a pre-requisite for the finalization of the IMF USD 2.9 bn credit facility, spread over a period of four years. No less a person than President Wickremesinghe, during an informal chat with a group of journalists, representing Upali Newspapers Ltd., on January 06, acknowledged the difficult situation his government is in.

There is still no clear indication when China and India will reach final consensus on this matter, although Sri Lanka and the IMF reached a staff-level agreement, relating to it, on Sept. 01, 2022.

The response of some sections of the international community, to the developing economic crisis here, cannot be discussed without taking into consideration their alignment with the US-led grouping meant to counter, what they perceive, as a growing Chinese threat.

Once Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, declared that Sri Lanka faced a major security threat as long as the Hambantota Port remained in Chinese hands. The warning was given in the wake of the 2019 Easter Sunday carnage that claimed the lives of 269 men, women and children, including about 40 foreigners, and wounded about double that number. The then UNP lawmaker Wijeyedasa Rajapakse proposed the intervention of Parliament to take back the Hambantota Port, given to China, on a 99-year lease. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Premier of the Yahapalana government that finalized the Hambantota Port deal, in 2017, is the President now.

Sri Lanka needs to carefully review the situation. Sri Lanka cannot afford to ignore geopolitical interests of individual countries, as well as various groupings, in addition to the Tamil Diaspora factor. The ‘Quad’ (Indo-Pacific Quadrilateral Dialogue) comprising the US, Australia, Japan and India. The grouping wants Sri Lanka, within its orbit, whereas China pursues its own strategy.

There cannot be any other reason than the Tamil Diaspora vote for Canada to recognize Tamil genocide, in May last year, and then imposed sanctions against former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently.

Canada’s treatment of indigenous people has exposed their human rights façade, while Ottawa pursue Sri Lanka over unsubstantiated war crimes allegations.

Unfortunately, successive Sri Lankan governments, including the incumbent Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa administration, continues to fail the war-winning military.

Sanctions imposed on the Rajapaksa brothers must be examined, keeping in mind Sri Lanka’s pathetic failure to use Lord Naseby’s disclosure, in the House of Lords, in Oct. 2017. to clear the military. Following a lengthy legal battle, Lord Naseby forced the UK to release a section of highly censored confidential wartime dispatches (January 01, 2009- May 2009) from its High Commission in Colombo.

In conversations with this writer, in Colombo, last year, Lord Naseby expressed disappointment over Sri Lanka’s continuous failure to use available evidence, coupled with a very supportive assessment made by wartime US Defence Advisor Colonel Lawrence Smith, in Colombo, over two years, after the war ended, at the inaugural defence seminar, in Colombo. Sri Lanka simply ignored the US Colonel’s declaration that must have been made quite confidently in the presence of senior military representatives of about 40 countries.

Sri Lanka never recognized the growing threat until the US imposed a travel ban on Gen. Shavendra Silva, on Feb. 13, 2020. That was five years after Australia refused a visa to Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage, also over unsubstantiated war crimes allegations.

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, too, has been denied a US visa after Washington quite conveniently forgot backing Fonseka at the 2010 presidential poll and the war-winning Army Chief receiving the backing of the Tamil National Alliance that ensured the General sweeping predominately Tamil speaking districts in the Northern and Eastern Province, at the 2010 presidential poll. But, Canadian sanctions on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, MP, are the first on a politician, whereas Gotabaya Rajapaksa was targeted over his role as the wartime Defence Secretary.

Parliament needs to ascertain the situation seriously, and take appropriate measures, at least now, to have accountability issues examined properly to pave the way for restoring public faith in the political party system.

Parliament, entrusted with financial responsibility, has achieved what the LTTE, one of the groups established by India, in the ’80s, to terrorize Sri Lanka, failed to do.

Parliament has overseen the ruination of the war-winning country. The declaration of bankruptcy is nothing but an indictment of successive governments. The debt servicing crisis should be studied, keeping in mind Sri Lanka obtained IMF’s bailout packages on 16 previous occasions. The next one depends on the response of Sri Lanka’s creditors, China and India.

Sri Lanka and U.S. Militaries Commence Joint Training Exercise

/
285 views
1 min read

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps will commence exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)/Marine Exercise (MAREX) Sri Lanka 2023 with the Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force in Colombo, Jan. 19 – 26, 2023.

CARAT/MAREX Sri Lanka is a bilateral exercise between Sri Lanka and the United States designed to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance maritime interoperability.  This is the fifth CARAT/ MAREX exercise between the United States and Sri Lanka, and this year includes participants from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Maldives National Defence Force.  Training exchanges will occur in Colombo and on the Sri Lanka Navy bases in Trincomalee and Mullikullam.

“The United States, in our 75th year of bilateral relations with Sri Lanka, is proud to partner with the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Air Force for this training.  These yearly exercises are an important opportunity for training to prepare for disaster relief and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.  We are grateful for the invitation to host the exercise together,” said U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung regarding the upcoming exercise.

The week-long exercise is designed to enhance U.S. and partner navies’ abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and build relationships through sports, cultural, and information exchanges.  In addition to training for humanitarian disaster relief and lifesaving training, U.S. and Sri Lankan servicemembers will participate in a Women, Peace and Security roundtable with the Ambassador Chung.  During the exercise, the 7th Fleet Navy band, in partnership with the Sri Lankan Navy band, will give a series of free performances in Colombo.

Statement issued by the US Embassy in Colombo

Indian Army: Intelligence Blind

/
369 views
3 mins read

General Manoj Pande, Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army in his customary media briefing ahead of the 75th Army Day outlined the significant challenge faced by the world’s second largest army that of assessing the enemy intent on the other side of the hill.

Thus, referring to the Northern borders with China, the Army Chief General Pande said, “In the northern borders the situation is stable and under control yet unpredictable. You are aware of the ongoing talks (both at military as well as diplomatic levels) wherein we’ve been able to resolve five out of seven issues that were there on the table.”

Clearly this was an admission of the military being blind on the intelligence front which is a failing that is not new to the Indian armed forces and is frequently made up by the blood and toil of soldiers on the ground and junior officers who demonstrate commitment and vigour to notch up many operational successes.

The saga of the Indian Army’s intelligence failures is long starting with the Pakistan Army supported raiders surreptitiously entering Kashmir in 1947 reaching the gates of Srinagar near Badgam when these were beaten back towards Muzaffarabad.

The momentous failure of 1962 War against China is shrouded in the mystery of the Henderson Brooks Report which has never been officially released yet excerpts from the same have been quoted from time to time.

In 1971, the success of Liberation War in Bangladesh may have been different had General later Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw not insisted on launching operations at a time of his choosing despite significant pressures from then Prime Minister Ms Indira Gandhi.

Thereafter from Kargil in 1999 to the large scale terrorist attacks in Uri and Pulwama military intelligence failures have continued which have been made up by unleashing operational capability be it Operation Vijay in 1999 to so called, “surgical strikes,” in 2016.

The story has been familiar in recent years with the Army failing to anticipate China’s intrusions across selected points on the Line of Actual Control. But for the saga of the Galwan incident of 15 June 2020 when skirmishing Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) clashed with casualties to both sides, these intrusions may not have gathered national attention.

However, by establishing a post on the high Kailash Range in the summer of 2020, the military partially made up for the losses. The Yangtse incident on December 09 this year is an indicator that lessons are being learnt fast and the military is now anticipating possible actions by the PLA.

Yet the surge of attacks in Rajauri sector in Jammu and Kashmir in January 2023 brings to light concerns that the rise in awareness of adversary intention remains a question mark. The killing of four soldiers in August 2022 should have been warning enough of infiltration of groups in this sector but the military perhaps believed that the counter infiltration grid was impermeable.

The Statement by the Army Chief that the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was “uncertain,” is another marker of the intelligence dilemma faced by the Army.

By making huge investments in drones and UAVs as reports indicate apart from other resources the Indian Army Forces hope to make up for the deficit.

However, this is not likely to lead to removal of, “uncertainty,” vis a vis China or Pakistan.

Understanding the Long Game

Developing intelligence of enemy, “Intent,” is a complex process the principal feature of

which is understanding the Long Game of the adversary.

China’s aggressive proclamations of regaining territorial sovereignty was evidently ignored at the national as well as military level, with belief in diplomacy at the high table.

While China has abandoned the agreements for peace and tranquility on the LAC made during a period when there was obviously a need felt in Beijing for keeping the ghosts of the past under cover, the present regime under President and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping is no longer shackled by constraints of the past and is unwilling to, “bide the time and never take the initiative,” sayings of the Deng era.

Galwan is thus a symptom of the disease of a blinkers down approach, and here the Army alone cannot be faulted.

But where the blame directly rests on the military is in discontinuing vigil on the LAC which was the express charge of the Army and prevent intrusions regardless of ongoing diplomacy.

Why the commanders in the field were complacent will never be clear, yet the Army seems to have learnt the lessons well if Yangtse is any example.

Understanding China and Pakistan’s Long Game is therefore important, what that is will be a

subject of another discussion.

Character of Wars and Insurgencies Transforms

Yet another indicator of knowing the Intent of the enemy is to track the way he will fight in the light of his Long Game.

It is an oft known maxim that while nature of war is constant the character of wars and insurgencies changes based on application of violence by an adversary.

The next war will be different from the previous one and an agile aggressor as Pakistan will continue to strive to change the pattern of terrorism in J & K catching the security forces off guard.

For crystal gazing, investing in mastering the many techniques of futures assumes importance.

Year of the Rabbit– India and China in South Asia

/
564 views
3 mins read

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit which is seen as the gentlest animal in the Chinese Zodiac. This comes after the Year of the Tiger – fast and furious. But the Rabbit is good at adapting and can move rapidly cutting through multiple furrows of uncertainty. A Rabbit can also protect itself and indicates strong confidence and strength with resoluteness towards goals despite the obstacles.

Applied to the India China dyad despite operating on different zodiac systems 2023 denotes to be a year of continued competition cum confrontation. The confrontation of the military kind is easy to guess which may occur on the Northern borders as the Yangtze clash on December 09 indicates. Competition could be in many spheres geographic and topical.

In 2022, China was engaged in internal political consolidation for President and General Secretary Xi Jinping.

Now that the same is out of the way after the 20th Congress has established primacy of the Xi regime so to say, the pathway to regional and global domination will be resumed rapidly and at a faster pace than before.

From the Indian perspective Chinese presence in South Asia – New Delhi’s regional sphere of influence – Neighbourhood First assumes significance for that would be an area of contestation not just competition.

Yet China seems to have started at an advantage in the beginning of the New Year 2023 with a communist left party led coalition assuming power in Nepal, Pakistan continuing to be the favourable “ally,” regionally and umpteen opportunities in other states through political, diplomatic and economic influence.

Most importantly several countries in South Asia will face parliamentary or presidential elections. From the military regime ruled Myanmar to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Maldives polls are to be held this year which may provide Beijing an opportunity to swing the tide in its favour using tools fair and foul.

With success in Nepal under the belt the Chinese could perceive a higher level of confidence and advantage. That the Chinese political, diplomatic and development machinery is nimble is evident with a few projects declared for Nepal days after the CPN Maoist Centre Leader Prachanda or Pushpa Kamal Dahal was sworn in as the Prime Minister.

The aim is to give a fillip to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects which have been lying fallow for some time. An attempt could also be made to open up trade and transit including energy routes to the North with China through Tibet despite the harsh terrain and logistics challenges faced.

Afghanistan may be a challenge for China given despite almost 16 months of defacto authority of the Taliban in power in Kabul there has been a breakthrough in only one mining and energy project with China’s CAPEIC (Xinjiang Central Asia Oil and Gas Company) in the Amu Darya Basin in the North on January 05.

The highly ambitious extension of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and linking with the Belt and Road Initiative will remain poor for now.

Extra regional influence is also expected to grow as the first container ship of Chinese goods landed in the joint India Iran Chabahar port on December 31.

The port is operated by India Ports Global and has seen greater maritime traffic than neighouring Gwadar in Pakistan which despite being a CPEC project has not seen many ships unloading. Apart from lack of hinterland, there are law and order and terror challenges in this zone whereas Chabahar is secure.

How an increase in Chinese traffic at the port will be handled by India in conjunction with Iran remains to be seen?

To sum up China may have a comprehensive advantage over India in Pakistan, while the influence in countries as Afghanistan, Nepal and Myanmar may be overwhelmingly wider.

On the other hand a tough contest for influence can be envisaged in Bangladesh Sri Lanka and Maldives.

Having understood the Chinese game to some extent India may be better prepared to meet these challenges, yet there are hurdles that can be envisaged apart from constraint of resources in comparative terms to the focus on managing the Chinese military expansion on the Northern borders as well as the maritime sphere.

This may tie down the Indian leadership which will also be working towards general elections in the country which will be held in the first half of 2024.

Indeed, Beijing’s calculations may have factored in this important event and how it would shape the same is a subject for another day.

Yet there could be one critical uncertainty internally for China – the spread of COVID 19 – while numbers are unclear for now – the impact is likely to wear down the Party as well as the State authorities in Beijing.

End of Conspiracy Theories: IS issues a detailed narration on Easter Attacks

/
593 views
2 mins read

The Voice of Khorasan, a magazine by the media outlet for the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), recently published a brief bio of and a statement by Shaykh Shaheed Abu Ubaitha, the alleged mastermind of the 2019 attacks in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The profile was titled “Shaykh Abu Ubaitha: the Amir of the Istishadi Knights Who Wreaked Havoc on the Crusaders in Srilanka (sic.)”. The attacks occurred on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019: official figures state that these resulted in the deaths of 269 people, plus the eight suicide bombers involved.

The article claims that Ubaitha was born and raised in Kattankudy (Kaathankudi), a township on Sri Lanka’s east coast. It includes few personal details on him, stating “he had immense love for jihad and zeal for the Ummah (Islamic community) from his childhood, as he bore enmity towards the kuffar (infidels) and mushrikin (polytheists)”. It also claims that sometime prior to the attack, Ubaitha and 800 other individuals pledged their allegiance to former Islamic State (IS) Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

It states that Ubaitha’s 2019 attacks killed “650 Christians and mushrikin and 22 Mujihideen (who were) martyred”. It also claims that the attackers left a message to the world in “their own blood”, that states “Allah willing, the Khilifah will be raised through our blood that has flown from our bodies and fallen on this earth”.

Ubaitha is quoted directly in reference to the attacks. “If you ask us why we did these attacks, there is a village named Baghuz in Sham (Syria). This land was governed by the law of Allah only. Over 80 crusader countries destroyed this area and its people. They showered white phosphorus bombs, which has (sic.) been banned by the crusader countries [themselves]…”. “After killing our people, making our children orphans, making our sisters widows, and after killing the mujahedeen they (the ‘crusaders’) come here for tourism and holidays. So we have embarked on a noble cause… to kill them by sacrificing our lives!” In his lengthy statement, Ubaitha also addresses future potential targets, stating “Do not think you can negotiate. There will be explosions here and there. This is [just] the beginning!” The statement also mentions the March 2019 Christchurch Mosque shooting in New Zealand as justification for attacks on Churches in Colombo.

Other than the brief bio and photos provided in this recent publication, practically nothing is known of Shaykh Shaheed Abu Ubaitha. One of the known attackers named Mohammad Cassim Mohammad Zahran (aka Zahra Hashmi) came from Ubaitha’s reported hometown of Kattankudy. A suspected ringleader in the attacks, he was killed in a suicide explosion at the Shangri-la hotel in Colombo in 2019. It is possible that Shaykh Shaheed Abu Ubaitha may have been another of Zahran’s nom de guerres.

According to Sri Lankan officials, the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks in Colombo were perpetrated by the National Thoweeth Jama’ath (NTJ). Translated from Arabic as the National Monotheism Organization, the NTJ is believed to have ties to IS: it and one of its suspected splinter groups were banned by the Sri Lankan parliament on April 27, 2019, shortly after the attacks. Although now-former Sri Lankan Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene has claimed that the attacks came in response to the March 2019 Christchurch Mosque shootings, this has been disputed by some experts. If true, this latest statement from the ISKP would corroborate the Sri Lankan government’s official narrative on the matter.

Source: Militant Wire

Sri Lanka: Nilantha Jayawardena appointed Snr. DIG Admin

/
924 views
1 min read

by Our Defence Affairs Editor

Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Nilantha Jayawardena has been appointed as the Senior DIG Administration by the Inspector General of Police Mr C. D. Wickramaratne. An alumnus of Nalanda College, Colombo, Mr Jayawardena holds an Honors Degree in Accounting and Finance from Punjab University, Chandigarh, India. Then, he earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Colombo. Additionally, he holds diplomas in conflict resolution and international relations.

As a senior police officer, Mr Jayawardena has completed the Senior Police Officers’ Command Course in Malaysia and trained in Israel and the United States on intelligence affairs as well as on counter-terrorism, de-radicalisation, and rehabilitation. He has participated in numerous conferences and courses in many foreign countries and worked at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Canada for two years.

As a senior police officer, Mr Jayawardena served as the additional director and director of the State Intelligence Service respectively and has also served as the senior DIG of the Eastern and Central Provinces. Mr Jayawardena who is currently heading the Support Service, Covid-19 Supervision and Headquarters of Police, has married a human rights lawyer and is a father of two.

India: Restore deterrence along LAC for peace

/
499 views
3 mins read

Ram Madhav, once a powerful RSS voice who counted in the government, recently remarked that Indian action at Yangtse was only defensive but India is now prepared for China, adding that only Operation Snow Leopard against China was proactive. On the 15,000 feet high Yangtse plateau, the LAC follows Yangtse Ridge, the watershed where Indian border posts are located along a stone wall. Overlooking the plateau are the Yangtse heights which command a towering 360-degree view, especially of Tawang bowl 30 km away extending to Sela Pass where a tunnel is being built. It is one among several disputed areas resulting from the patchy marking of the McMahon Line on an 8-inch map and perhaps the only disputed area in Indian possession. This riles China as it was occupied by the bold actions of local commanders in Tawang when PLA infiltrated across LAC into Wangdung/Sumdorong Chu in June 1986. Over time, Tawang developed into a fortress. It has the 341-year-old Galden Namgey Lhatse monastery, second only to Lhasa’s Potala monastery, the world’s largest Tibetan Buddhist place of worship. More importantly, the 6th Dalai Lama was born in Tawang which Tibet administered till 1950.

For China, the succession of the 14th Dalai Lama is linked to the status of Tibet and its control over Tawang. During the talks starting in 2005 over finding a political settlement to the border, skipping LAC identification, three clauses turned out to be key: ‘not to disturb settled populations’; ‘political compromise’; and ‘national sentiment’. India’s claim to Tawang’s ‘settled population’ was trumped by China’s use of ‘national sentiment; and ‘political compromise’. The Chinese offer in the 1950s of a border solution was a swap: India conceded Aksai Chin while China accepted the McMahon Line. Unfortunately, this Chinese position has hardened from concessions in the west to concessions in the east, mainly in Tawang. In no way China will compromise on Tawang and will by hook or crook, even by use of force, try to retake Tawang which was under its possession for two months in 1962. China’s new border law 2022 equates territory with sovereignty and makes recovery of lost territory sacred.

The PLA’s attempt to unilaterally alter the status quo at Yangtse is not their first. They’ve done so regularly since 2016 to assert China’s claim over disputed territory. According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, supported by satellite imagery Dec 2022 of Planet Labs, Chinese infrastructure has improved significantly in one year with a road now 150 m short of LAC with new villages coming up close by. China’s infrastructure development along LAC has created an ‘escalation trap’ for India which it tries to compensate for with increased readiness and surveillance to reduce the risk of accidental escalation. On 9 December, the PLA operation started around 3 am in foggy conditions, expecting to overwhelm Indian troops who were forewarned and beat back intruders with clubs and sticks. Through these attempts, says ASPI, China is testing Indian willingness and readiness to resist while eroding the status quo.

India has gone silent on Doklam in Bhutan where in 2017, Indian troops allegedly ‘illegally crossed LAC’ into Chinese territory to prevent the construction of a road to the disputed tri-junction invoking its treaty obligations with Bhutan. Following an agreement, the Indian and Chinese disengaged after 73 days. But the Chinese feigned withdrawal and soon returned. According to Planet Lab’s, imagery obtained this month Chinese village 9 km east of Doklam at Pangda is inside Bhutan with now a bridge over Torsa Nullah. This will create a new red-line situation for India with Indian troops at Dokla just meters away from PLA at Doklam. India has allowed the Doklam front to reopen as Bhutanese would any day settle their differences with China but for India’s security concerns in Chumbi valley.

It is increasingly clear China will neither clarify LAC nor settle the border question. It will repeat its 2020 tricks in East Ladakh in other areas as its infrastructure expands further. After withdrawal from Hot Springs in September, China said it would not accept the status quo of 2020 created by India’s ‘illegal crossing of LAC.’ This fiction China has used after every clash with Indian troops in shifting the onus of blame to India. High time India paused to rethink its China policy of diplomacy which has hit a cul de sac. PM Modi’s handshake at Bali with President Xi Jinping has made little difference. Last week’s 17th round of military talks produced a blank with zero progress on friction points Depsang and Demchok. It is the end of Disengagement without any Deescalation.

Madhav is wrong claiming India is prepared for China. Far from it. Deterrence has broken down and military diplomacy has also failed. The government’s resolve to keep Parliament in the dark and Modi’s reluctance to utter the ‘C’ word add to the complexity of the LAC dilemma. China is extracting maximum advantage from it. One way to rebuild deterrence is through QPQ (Quid Pro Quo) operations like Snow Leopard. Political will is needed for QPQ but so is a worthy allocation to next year’s defence budget to boost deterrence.

1 2 3 4