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The threat spectrum

Posted By , and on November 17, 2023 @ 13:30

Planet A

Australia has created [1] a new mobility pathway for Tuvaluans facing the existential threat of climate change through the Falepili Union treaty announced on the sidelines [2]of last week’s Pacific Islands Forum meeting in the Cook Islands.

The treaty has been hailed [3]as the world’s first bilateral agreement specifically on climate mobility. Among its provisions is a commitment of $16.9 million from Australia for a land reclamation project [4]in Tuvalu. However, Australia has been criticised [5] for focusing on climate adaptation in Tuvalu rather than mitigation of its own greenhouse gas emissions.

The treaty provides a range of security assurances for Tuvalu and requires Australia’s agreement on any ‘partnership, arrangement or engagement’ relating to security or defence that Tuvalu proposes to enter into with other countries or entities. The treaty is therefore being seen as a counterbalance to China’s increasing [6]regional role and could provide a model [5]for other Pacific island countries that may wish to enter into similar climate mobility arrangements with Australia.

Democracy watch

Tens of thousands of people across Spain demonstrated [7]on the weekend against acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez’s plan to secure another term in office by offering amnesty to those who took part in the illegal and failed bid [8]for Catalan independence six years ago.

Last week, the government signed [9] a controversial agreement with the Catalan separatist party Junts, which provided backing for Sanchez’s Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party to form a new government. The arrangement sent [10]shockwaves across the country, with Sanchez’s conservative opponents accusing him of compromising the rule of law for his own political gain.

Protests took place in Spanish cities including Madrid, Barcelona, Granada and Seville. Many protestors held Spanish and EU flags, as well as banners bearing slogans such as ‘Respect the constitution’. The protests are the latest chapter [11]in Spain’s political drama stemming from the inconclusive 23 July election, when Sanchez’s conservative opposition won the most seats in parliament but not enough to form a government.

Information operations

The organisers of the 2024 Olympic Games have called [12] for vigilance after French authorities uncovered an Azerbaijan-linked disinformation campaign that sought to sow doubt about the city’s capacity to host the event. The campaign ran on social media platform X from 26 to 27 July [13] and broadcast images showing clashes between French police and protesters to millions of people.

A report [14] by Viginum, a French organisation fighting digital foreign interference, attributed the campaign to the work of 91 accounts—40 of which had been created in July 2023 alone—operated by actors with ties to the Azerbaijani presidential party.

The campaign followed a low point in relations between Paris and Baku, after France repeatedly criticised Azerbaijan for installing a checkpoint [15] at the sole road linking Armenia to the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The impact of the campaign is difficult to quantify. However, findings from a recent poll [16] indicate that almost half of Parisians believe hosting the 2024 Games is a ‘bad thing’ and some are considering leaving the area for the duration of the event.

Follow the money

The Australian government will introduce new laws [17] requiring telecommunications companies to update their cybersecurity strategies every year or face harsh financial penalties. The new legislation will classify [18] telecommunications as ‘critical infrastructure’ and impose minimum standards that apply to other essential service providers like energy companies and ports.

The announcement follows on the heels of a major cyberattack on ports operator DP World [19] that interrupted flows at the ports of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle for several days, affecting 40% [20] of Australia’s maritime trade.

These measures also precede the release of the government’s new cybersecurity strategy next week, which will focus on the growing threat of ransomware. In 2021–22, the Australian Cyber Security Centre assessed [21] that ransomware represented less than 1% of total cybercrime but remained the most destructive cybercrime threat. Ransomware attacks reportedly cost [22] the Australian economy $2.95 billion annually.

The new strategy should improve resilience across all scales of business in Australia and enable [23] greater international alignment and coordination.

Terror byte

The UN Security Council adopted [24] a resolution on Wednesday calling for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout Gaza for rapid, safe and unhindered aid access. Drafted by Malta, the resolution also called for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas.

The US, Russia and the UK abstained from the vote, while the remaining 12 members voted in favour. The main point of contention was whether to call for a humanitarian pause or a ceasefire [25], with the US supporting pauses and Russia advocating a ceasefire. The US and UK, while expressing support for humanitarian access, voiced dissatisfaction with the resolution’s lack of condemnation [26] for Hamas or recognition of Israel’s right to defend itself.

It was the Security Council’s fifth attempt to address the conflict since Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel 7 October. Despite states’ differing stances, the council highlighted [27] compliance with international law, protection of civilians, and the necessity of essential services and humanitarian aid for Gaza’s survival.

In response, Israel’s ambassador to the UN dismissed [28] the resolution, asserting that it had ‘no meaning’, and accused Hamas of deliberately exacerbating the humanitarian situation to prompt UN intervention.

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URL to article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-threat-spectrum-61/

URLs in this post:

[1] created: https://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/tuvalu/australia-tuvalu-falepili-union-treaty

[2] sidelines : https://www.pm.gov.au/media/strengthening-regional-ties-through-pacific-islands-forum

[3] hailed : https://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/news/statement-kaldor-centre-welcomes-world-first-climate-mobility-treaty-between-australia-and

[4] land reclamation project : https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australia-offers-tuvalu-residents-special-visa-in-groundbreaking-treaty-20231110-p5ej3y.html

[5] criticised: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-12/kiribati-president-maamau-australia-falepili-climate-change/103096426

[6] increasing : https://www.anu.edu.au/news/all-news/unpacking-solomon-islands%E2%80%99-security-pact-with-china

[7] demonstrated : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/nov/12/protests-spain-amnesty-deal-catalan-separatists-independence

[8] illegal and failed bid : https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29478415

[9] signed: https://www.politico.eu/article/protests-mount-in-spain-against-sanchezs-amnesty-deal/

[10] sent : https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/tens-thousands-protest-across-spain-proposed-catalan-amnesty-2023-11-12/

[11] latest chapter : https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-11-12/spanish-protests-against-deal-with-catalans-escalate-in-madrid#xj4y7vzkg

[12] called: https://www.reuters.com/sports/paris-2024-calls-vigilance-amid-disinformation-campaign-2023-11-14/

[13] 26 to 27 July: https://www.reuters.com/sports/france-unveils-disinformation-campaign-linked-2024-olympics-government-report-2023-11-13/

[14] report: https://www.francsjeux.com/breves/a-disinformation-campaign-linked-to-azerbaijan

[15] installing a checkpoint: https://www.lemonde.fr/en/international/article/2023/04/28/france-s-foreign-minister-calls-for-dialogue-in-azerbaijan-and-armenia_6024715_4.html

[16] poll: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/sport/502431/olympic-hosting-unpopular-among-nearly-half-of-parisians

[17] introduce new laws: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-13/cyber-law-changes-after-optus-dp-world-hack/103096906

[18] classify: https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/telco-boards-hit-with-strict-cybersecurity-rules-20231112-p5ejao

[19] DP World: https://www.smh.com.au/national/ports-to-remain-closed-as-afp-investigates-cybersecurity-breach-20231111-p5ej9i.html

[20] 40%: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-12/government-respond-to-port-cyber-hack-dp-world/103095182

[21] assessed: https://www.cyber.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-03/ACSC-Annual-Cyber-Threat-Report-2022_0.pdf

[22] cost: https://www.innovationaus.com/businesses-face-cyber-ransom-reporting-scheme/

[23] enable: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/what-can-should-we-expect-australia-s-new-cyber-security-strategy

[24] adopted: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/15/unsc-adopts-resolution-calling-for-extended-humanitarian-pauses

[25] humanitarian pause or a ceasefire: https://www.reuters.com/world/cease-fire-or-pause-us-russia-poised-un-showdown-israel-2023-10-24/

[26] lack of condemnation: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/nov/16/joe-biden-israel-hamas-war-ceasefire-defence-gaza-why-palestine

[27] highlighted: https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/11/1143632

[28] dismissed: https://twitter.com/giladerdan1/status/1724905990284271686?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1724905990284271686%7Ctwgr%5Ed426916a316b9a5cb27c39c961d1a9da3aa396ef%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.aljazeera.com%2Fnews%2F2023%2F11%2F15%2Funsc-adopts-resolution-calling-for-extended-humanitarian-pauses

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