World leaders and ministers invited to the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) will grapple with the security deterioration in Syria and elsewhere, with finger pointing impeding the quest for solutions.
Russia has been fingered for the escalation of bombing in Syria and for breaches in cyber security that led to a spate of hacking headlines. The Russians, meanwhile, blame the escalating tensions in Eastern Europe on the Western military buildup in the region. Russia accuses the United States and allies of impeding Russian efforts to vanquish ISIL, the Islamic terror network, in Syria. Moscow and Kiev will point fingers at each other for the failure of the Minsk Agreement, the pact that was supposed to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Cyber security has moved higher on the MSC agenda after a spate of hacking headlines. Attendees are likely to hear a report from the 4th Cyber Security summit of Sep 19-20, sponsored jointly by the MSC and Deutsche Telekom at Stanford University in the United States. The conference addressed challenges that include the recent cyber attacks on the U.S. Democratic Party, the global payment network SWIFT and the power grid in Ukraine. The conference also investigated whether societies are prepared for large-scale cyber attacks on critical infrastructures and debated ways to stop the digital advance of ISIL and other terror groups.
Leaders from 30 countries joined some 60 foreign and defence ministers at the 52nd conference, and the 53rd is on track to welcome a similar number of invitees.
Date written/update: 2016-10-05