Shenyang FC-31/ J-31 (The fighter has also been referred to as the “F-60” or “J-21 Snowy Owl”)

The Shenyang J-31(or “FC-31 fifth Generation Multi-Purpose Medium Fighter”) also known as the “Gyrfalcon” (鹘鹰), or “Falcon Hawk” by some military enthusiasts, is a twin-engine, mid-size fifth-generation jet fighter currently under development by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. The fighter has also been referred to as the “F-60” or “J-21 Snowy Owl” (雪鸮) in some media reports. Its official name is Shenyang FC-31; J-xx nomenclatures in the Chinese military are reserved to programs launched and financed by the army, while this plane was developed by a state-owned company.

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In June 2012, photos and camera video clips started to emerge on internet about a heavily overwrapped possible F-60 prototype being road-transferred on a highway, earning the nickname “the zongzi plane” (粽子机) among Chinese netizens, though some suspect it of merely being an L-15 trainer aircraft.

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Pictures of a possibly fully assembled aircraft parking on an airfield emerged on 15 / 16 September 2012. The F-60 is reported to be the export version, where the J-31 would be the domestic Chinese version of the same fighter.

The appearance of the J-31 raised concern about a potential arms race in Asia, as some of China’s neighbors are pursuing the development of their own fifth generation aircraft (i.e. India with their HAL AMCA and HAL FGFA, Japan with Mitsubishi X-2 and South Korea with KAI KF-X) or are considering purchasing the F-35 and PAK FA.
U.S. military and industry officials believe that once the J-31 enters service, it will automatically be a match for existing fourth-generation fighters like the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. They suggest that the capability of the J-31 against the newest fighters, such as the American F-22 and F-35, would depend on factors such as numbers of platforms, quality of pilots, and capabilities of radars and other sensors.
Vladimir Barkovsky of Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (formerly known as the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau) has stated that, despite some design flaws, the J-31 “looks like a good machine.” Although it contains features already in use on the U.S. fifth generation fighter designs, it is “not a copy but a well done indigenous design.”

Data from Aviation Week unless otherwise attributed
General characteristics
Crew: one (pilot)
Length: 17.3 m (56 ft 9 in)
Wingspan: 11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)
Height: 4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)
Wing area: 40 m2 (430 sq ft)
Max takeoff weight: 28,000 kg (61,729 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × RD-93 afterburning turbofans, 85 kN (19,000 lbf) thrust each
Powerplant: 2 × WS-13 afterburning turbofans (projected upgrade)
Maximum speed: 2,200 km/h (1,367 mph; 1,188 kn)
Maximum speed: Mach 1.8
Combat range: 1,250 km (777 mi; 675 nmi) on internal fuel, or 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) with external tanks

Armament
Hardpoints: 6 x external, and internal bay with a capacity of up to 8,000 kilograms (18,000 lb), including 2,000 kilograms (4,400 lb) internally,
Missiles:
Air-to-air missiles:
12 x medium-range
Air-to-ground missiles:
8 x supersonic
Bombs:
30 x smaller bombs
Avionics
Distributed aperture system (DAS) optical early-warning system
Electro-optical targeting system (EOTS)

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Nahdlatul Ulama Targets the Weaponization of Religion for Political Purposes

 

MATARAM, Lombok, Indonesia: From 23 – 25 November 2017, the world’s largest Muslim organization convened 1,200 religious scholars for a National Assembly of Ulama and Major Conference, whose primary agenda was to strengthen the values of nationalism, counter religious extremism and improve the economic welfare of all sectors of Indonesian society. Attendees included Indonesia’s President and Vice President; the chiefs of Indonesia’s military, national police and state intelligence agency; numerous cabinet ministers; and foreign emissaries, including ambassadors from Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In his opening address, NU General Chairman Kyai Haji Said Aqil Siradj said that “Indonesia is different from the Middle East, where people who are religious are generally not nationalists, and those who are nationalists are generally not religious…. We are fortunate that our situation is so different from that in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and so many other nations, whose people are overwhelmingly Muslim and yet trapped in horrendous civil wars with no end in sight… To preserve the unity of the Republic of Indonesia and the tranquility of its people, radical groups and their ideology must be expelled [from the public space]!”

At its conclusion, the Conference adopted and conveyed a set of formal recommendations to President Joko Widodo and his administration. One section—entitled “Prevention and Combatting Radicalism”—specifically addressed the weaponization of religion for political purposes, which dramatically impacted the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election and threatens to undermine national unity in the run up to national elections in 2019. Key points include:

“The government needs to act decisively to overcome the threat of radicalism by fostering a humanitarian approach” (Prevention and Combatting Radicalism, point 1); “Political parties and politicians must stop exploiting religious sentiment as a weapon in their political competition. The manipulation of religious sentiment in a constantly recurring power struggle—to obtain 5-year terms in office—constitutes highly irresponsible behavior that threatens the very life of our nation” (point 5); “Law enforcement officers must guarantee citizens’ constitutional rights, refuse to buckle under to pressure from radical groups and firmly crack down on: a) any illegal acts conducted in the name of religion, especially hate speech and incitement to violence, so that [sectarian hatred and violence] do not spiral out of control; b) the use of religious sentiment as a weapon by political parties and politicians, so as to deter such behavior” (point 6).

On the international front, the NU welcomed recent statements by the government of Saudi Arabia that it wishes to return to moderate Islam; invited the government of Saudi Arabia to work with the government of Indonesia to bring this about; and called upon the government of Indonesia to encourage a successful transition to moderate Islam in Saudi Arabia, in harmony with the mainstream understanding and practice of Islam in Indonesia.

Click here to download the political communiqué: “Nahdlatul Ulama Targets the Weaponization of Religion for Political Purposes”.

…….

Who are Nahdlatul Ulama?

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Founded in 1926 by Hasyim Asy’ari, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) supports education, cultural engagement, and socioeconomic development rooted in Islamic principles of justice, diversity, and tolerance. It is the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia.

The NU is the largest independent Islamic organization in the world[7] with membership of 40 million in 2003.[1][2] NU also is a charitable body funding schools and hospitals as well as organizing communities to help alleviate poverty.

Nahdlatul Ulama is known as an ardent advocate of Islam Nusantara; a distinctive brand of Islam that has undergone interaction, contextualization, indigenization, interpretation and vernacularization according to socio-cultural condition of Indonesia.[8] Islam Nusantara promotes moderation, compassion, anti-radicalism, inclusiveness and tolerance.

Websites from which you can learn more:

http://www.nu.or.id

www.baytarrahmah.org

www.libforall.org 

 

 

 

The British and Pakistani Armies: Sharing Both a Personal and Institutional Future

The long relationship between the British and Pakistani armies is transforming, from one based mostly on pomp, ceremony and personal friendships, to one based on shared strategic interests.

The Pakistan Army can sometimes be more British than the British Army, at least when it comes to pomp and ceremony. Its cavalry officers have the best horses, and they play in the top polo competitions in Argentina and England; many of their sons go to Britain’s top boarding schools; and they even fashion their moustaches in the same manner as Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener.

According to Carey Schofield in her book Inside the Pakistan Army, after independence in 1947 the Pakistan Army inherited the majority of the British Indian Army regiments that were facing the threat on the Afghanistan ‘frontier’. As a result, it initially had British officers mentoring in the military academies and staff colleges.

Now the relationship has come full circle with a Pakistan Army major, Uqbah Malik, becoming the first instructor from a Muslim country to teach British cadets at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He has also trained the Jordanian crown prince, Emirati princes and Afghan cadets. Malik’s role reflects a British bid to learn from the Pakistan Army’s operational and doctrinal training of military forces in the Middle East. Under Malik, British cadets have trained with their Pakistani counterparts in Pakistan, a historical first observed first-hand by the author, and now British NCOs are on their way to becoming part of Pakistan’s military academy at Kakul. There is also talk of a British Major heading to become an instructor in Pakistan, and at present there is a Pakistani colonel at the Defence Academy at Shrivenham, where he is a member of the Directing Staff and has his own syndicate group.

Since the US-led NATO invasion of Afghanistan it has been no secret that the West – and, in particular, the Americans – have seen the Pakistan Army, and especially its intelligence services, as the biggest external obstacle to the destruction of the Taliban.

Whenever the relationship with the US has soured, particularly after a US military helicopter strike killed at least 24 Pakistani troops in 2011, British
senior officers have been brought in to keep the Pakistani military on-side. It has even been argued by the Americans and Afghans that the British military has been too soft on the Pakistanis and cared more about Pakistani concerns than those of the Afghans.

The former British envoy to Afghanistan, Sir Sherard CowperColes, wrote in his book, Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign, that two British defence chiefs, Field Marshal Charles Guthrie and General Lord Richards formed close friendships with the Pakistani top brass. Ahmed Rashid, in his book, Descent into Chaos: The World’s Most Unstable Region and the Threat to Global Security, also said that Richards was too close to the Pakistani military’s viewpoint. According to former US Vice President Dick Cheney, Guthrie’s friendship with General Pervez Musharraf, the former military ruler of Pakistan, helped the Americans to forge a close relationship with the Pakistanis in their efforts to hunt down and capture the majority of AlQa’ida’s leadership.

More recently, Chief of the General Staff Sir Nicholas Carter has described Pakistan’s former Chief of Army General Raheel Sharif, as ‘a great adviser and mentor’. This month, Carter became the first British Army chief to be the main guest to attend a Pakistan Army cadets’ passing out parade, an honour reserved normally only for Saudi and other Arab royal families. In the past year alone, Carter has been to Pakistan three times, more times than he has been to any other non-NATO member.

It was these personal British friendships that have kept Pakistan from completely falling out with the US and NATO. Now the British army wants to capitalise on this relationship as it bids to evolve into a smaller, but smarter, force. History and pomp and ceremony aside, the UK–Pakistan relationship is becoming more strategic, to the extent that the two armies could even fight together against a common enemy. Carter, along with Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders, have put Pakistan at the forefront of their defence engagement policy. They are keen to learn from the Pakistan Army’s reported success in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which Sanders praised, going so far as to say that what the Pakistan Army had achieved in Waziristan and the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas ‘has not been achieved for 150 years’. One of the cornerstones of this success was how the army leadership used the militants’ own narrative against them: enforcing regulations on hate speech; scrutinizing more closely the curriculums in religious schools; prohibiting media coverage of terrorist organisations; and, crucially, declaring that only the Pakistani state – as a Muslim state – could declare jihad – non-state actors such as the Taliban or Daesh did not have the authority to do so. The British army, which has been operating in Muslim countries such as

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Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, is engaging the Pakistanis on ‘lessons learned’. So the question for the British is how they can use the religion card to fight militants who justify their war against the UK based on theology.
The UK is also keen to leverage Pakistan’s historically close ties to the Gulf. In his book, Churchill’s Empire, Richard Toye claims that Winston Churchill wanted the new state of
Pakistan to replace the old British Indian Army as the guardian of the Gulf, and in 1956 Pakistan were close to taking part in the Suez Crisis on behalf of the British. At the time, the Egyptians under President Gamal Abdel Nasser saw Pakistan as a Western and British lackey. This year, Pakistan’s continuing close ties to the Gulf were made clear
when General Raheel Sharif became the head of a newly formed military alliance of mostly Sunni Islamic states led by Saudi Arabia, known as the ‘Muslim NATO’. Indeed, Pakistan continues to be a key provider of security to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, both of which are vital for the UK’s own security: intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia is key to stopping terror plots in the UK, while Bahrain now serves as a permanent base for British forces in the Persian Gulf. Pakistan and the UK have already worked together
in the Gulf, particularly on counterpiracy operations in the Horn of Africa and Persian Gulf.

Britain, under its own new East of Suez policy, can in the long-term benefit from cooperation with the Pakistani Army. The trust between the two armies built during the Afghan war is set to pay dividends both in the Middle East and at the prestigious academies in the UK.
The author knows that the 32 Engineer Regiment of the British Army is partnering in counter-IED capability with the Pakistan Army Engineers, and the British Army’s 77th
Brigade are conducting intellectual level engagements on perception management of the enemy, the cultural side of the war and media strategy. The two armies hold an annual counterinsurgency conference, focusing not just on combat, but also diplomacy and refugee management. The author is aware that the British Army is also sending officers to the Centre for International Peace and Security – which prepares officers to deploy in conflict zones – at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad
to learn from Pakistan’s experiences in peacekeeping.
Britain is also using the Pakistan Army to help with the recruitment of more British Muslims – the majority of whom are of Pakistani origin – into the UK armed forces. British Muslims have reportedly been reluctant to join the armed forces partly because they believe that the UK is waging a war against Islam. By saying that the British and Pakistani armies are fighting against terrorists and not Islam, the army is attempting a new approach, and the author has seen first-hand that Pakistani military officers are regular guests at recruitment events to help to explain this. The British Army has invited Pakistan Army officers to address key community leaders in cities such as Manchester
and Birmingham to help not just with recruitment but also to explain what it is doing in regional conflicts.
The British and Pakistani armed forces appear now to be on the same page, from training each other’s officers and soldiers, to countering violent extremism in their communities and showing a united front, whether on the Afghan border or in the Gulf. The message being given is that the two militaries are fighting the same enemy, whether it be on the Pakistani–Afghan border or in the Middle East. With geopolitical alliances shifting rapidly, and with instability and conflict raging from North Africa to Southeast Asia, the UK–Pakistan military alliance that was born in 1947 on polo fields and golf courses is now playing a key role in both Pakistan’s and Britain’s defence engagement with the wider world. Both armies stand to benefit from this in the decades to come.

Kamal Alam
Kamal has been a Visiting Fellow at RUSI since July 2015 and specialises in the Pakistan Army’s relationship with the British Army. Previously he has advised the British Army on Syrian affairs.

With thanks to Kamal Alam and RUSI for allowing me to use this.

Excuses

Many times we make resolutions to change something like a career or education or training and or add something to our daily schedule, or to make healthier choices about what we eat. Or we aim to do more, or we promise that this time around that we will leave our work we do not love anymore. Or move overseas… etc etc.
So the next day as we are opening our eyes routine chains us to our habits and we become comfortable with that same old routine.
It seems easier to stick with our old ways, and we have a host of excuses to do that.

 

Hesitation
Changes we want to make in life seem a great idea. But when we go into a bit more, and learn what it takes to achieve those changes – we leave it to the next minute, hour, day or our best friend listens to what we want to do, then quips: “I tried to do that but didn’t do it because…. (Excuses galore) and what happens to feel comfortable with your friends level we also then start making excuses within to remain ‘comfortable’.
And that dangerous voice within starts to speak to back up your ‘comfort’: What you want to do is crazy. Impossible. You cannot. You have a family. You do not have what it takes – it will never work.
We start to doubt, and soon we thought maybe we thought the change was not a good idea after all. Statements such as “It’s too hard” or “I cannot do it” are our reasons, to help us out of our doubts for inaction and ‘comfort’.

Fear
There are many things we can be afraid of when those changes are needed but we can’t move as our comfort lies in what we know and believe and most of what we know and believe are just that – belief and knowledge can be wrong we are suppose to be thinking reasoning species who are evolving our understanding and honouring ourselves as human beings by courageously moving forward and tackling that what we are afraid of.
We let fear take charge – that fear comforts and excuses our inaction. It gives us comfort in case that we may fail, rejected, make mistakes. Some even we fear that we will succeed – and we have to deal with others jealousy or envy.

Why
Why do we want to do something? Are we ready for it? Preparation is a key step to make changes we say we want to factor in. It is both inside and out: we need to accept that we need to make changes. We need to feel that we have researched and reflected on why we want to change.
Sometimes, we may need a little to push us to the edge to get us to go ahead with our change.

Motivation
Life is full of carrots and sticks. Pleasure and pain.
The prospect of rewards when you have successfully completed your change – greater health and wellbeing, more joy at work, a better life?
Or fear the negative consequences if no change – gain weight and develop illnesses, stress at work and die with regret?

Idea
Many of us have ideas, plans – some good and some well – creative let’s say. But why not just face it and do it. Get that idea/plan out share it with a select group of positive friends (or maybe not) but do something to put into action what you know or feel. Yes you will have obstacles and resistance in your way but don’t we all? And don’t we have that anyway?

Success
You may succeed? You may not? Either is fine as long as you have tried. This is what life is about – moving forward and overcoming that which makes us fearful.

Hope you found this little write up interesting – let me know what you think and I will write more or not – actually I don’t really care – no offence 🙂

After West Midlands – Will Labour fail in the General Election 2017?

West Midlands Labour Gurus have quickly hung their failures around Jeremy Corbyns neck as they’re annoyed that Corbyn did not enhance the cause of their candidate Sion Simon, who stood as Labour candidate in the West Midlands mayoral elections, even though Sion Simon disowned his own party leader

The fault lies NOT with Corbyn but rather with the Labour Party candidate, and the selection system that’s so out of touch with the voter, it has failed to produce true representation especially here in the West Midlands.

Two years of Jeremy Corbyn does not explain Ed Miliband’s Labour Party, when he led the Labour Party to failure at the last General Election, and the one before in 2010 with Gordon Brown at the helm!

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Here in the West Midlands Labour has been run as a chiefdom; Roy Hattersley MP (who even admitted he took the local voters for granted through the biraderi mafia) followed by John Speller and then Tom Watson, have a complete grip on the section process and that’s one of the reasons Labour haven’t produced a suitable mayoral candidate, nor quality candidates for Parliament. Ordinary Labour Party voters and members have little if any voice, and even less reason to campaign for the party.

Quality activists are the foundation of any successful political party, but in Labour they are disconnected and devalued. The machine that was the once great Labour Party has its gears failing; not because of the driver but because of those who should be helping maintain this machine.

Sion Simons political slogan ‘Taking Back Control‘ is borrowed from UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party).  UKIP used this slogan and it resonated with the public as it was perceived that the EU was a dominating power that needed to be dealt with. Why did Labour take this slogan on?

Projecting London as dominating over Birmingham and the Midlands when British voters needed to see unity after #Brexit, was a negative move on the part of the prospective Labour candidate for Mayor and those who advised him.

The voter basically wants to see how much those who wish to lead ‘care’. By not offering to care and show the voter how in touch they are with the issues that concern them, and through showing how they will improve their life, certainly did not excite the voter. If anything, when the Labour candidate put forward the proposal of discounted bus tickets as one of his policies, this was seen as a cheap bribe. Voters see through gimmicks.

Then there was the ‘divide and rule’ type move, trying to pit Muslim and Sikh Labour Party members against each other, when Simon is said to have commented, ‘we have less representation from Sikhs in the area’ even though he had a lot of Muslim and Sikh people in his campaign working for him.

This is worthy of the old British Indian Raj divide and rule politics. Those of us whose parents are from South Asia, regardless our religion, don’t like being manipulated like this and see through these games. Tom Watson as the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party let this and other issues with their candidate go unquestioned.

If Labour was serious about ethnic minorities, they would have reached out far more effectively, inclusively, and widely. The candidate was not seen meeting the people, only pre-planned photoshoots were arranged and uploaded on Facebook and Twitter, to make the voters think as though the mayoral candidate is connecting.

Ethnic minorities which Labour has been fond of giving the impression they are the champion of, increasingly are seeing through being used as voting fodder.

Any effective and democratic political party should have candidates who are in touch with the people, rather than professional politicians who are seen as just wanting a job; receiving a fat paycheck and looked on as leaders in name only.

Didn’t Sion Simon mention only two years ago, that voters don’t want a mayor who is not intellectual first, but a politician? Recall his YouTube rant ‘Call Me Dave’ video, and you would get an idea of the image voters had of the prospective Labour mayor.

As I mentioned before the problem is not with Jeremy Corbyn, the problem lies with Labour bureaucracy which thrusts unqualified and out of touch candidates, in what the hierarchy consider ‘safe seats’. Voters don’t want imposed puppet candidates, but effective and in touch individuals who show the face of a caring and connecting party and leadership.

The bureaucracy of the Labour Party is not that fond of its party leader Jeremy Corbyn either… Maybe there is jealousy of Corbyn increasing Labour party membership from near 200,000 to near 600,000? Or perhaps Corbyn doesn’t like forcing candidates on the voters?.

When you undermine your own leader and place your own interests before that of your nation or party, you show your disloyalty not just to the party, but also to the voter.

It’s time for the stale out of touch hierarchy and their sycophantic bullyboys, such as the baradari mafias, to move aside and let more activists move forward through to leadership at local and national levels.

Let those advance who are not concerned about wanting power for power’s sake, but rather for empowering others to move forward.

The Question Should Be Asked: Will Labour Win General Election 2017? … Unlikely!

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7 ways to make your assignment different from others

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Nowadays, for obtaining high grades in your academics, you have to make assignment which is unique and non-identical from others. Solitary the largest change scholars have to make from high school to college is grasping how to draft college assignment that stands out.

The assignment is same for all scholars, so it becomes hard to gain above average. Here are certain points which will tell you the significance of writing the same content in a similar way that makes your assignment more scoring and helps you to make your assignment different from others

Here are some useful tips that can aid you high-quality assignment writing services and also assist you to stand out from others.

  • An impressive cover page: -A good cover page will always attract the attention of the readers and through this, they will read further, so try to make your cover page more attractive and impressive. You can employ your own concepts and creativity but not in excess, keep it simple and readable format .overuse of drawing skills is not a better option and if you want that reader will read further then keep your cover page simple and clear.
  • Organised index page: – A systematic index page makes it simple for the reader to flip through the topics. As a student, it also converses of the discipline in your academics.
  • Be clear and concise: while writing college assignment, make assure that you are using the correct word and also take care of spelling and grammatical mistakes. Always avoid obsolete and invented words. To write briefly, escape unnecessary repetition and redundancy.
  • keep paragraph short: -while writing any assignment always keep the paragraph short and precise because if you write long one then reader will easily get bored and never read further .so to attracts the readers always keep the paragraph short and clear.
  • Highlighting: -generally, highlighting word and phrases are the finest way to gain the attention of the reader. Whenever we read any kind of articlePsychology Articles, we get attracted to the highlighted words to write more perfect. So keep highlighting the important term and clauses.
  • Suitable conclusion: – Last but not the least is the closure of your assignment. A convincing conclusion makes an eternal apprehension on the reader. This includes:.
  1. Skim the selective point briefly
  2. Explain the final message to the reader by elaborating the overall discussion