Archive for category Al Qaeda

Funny Stuff: Duffel Blog–Marine Veterans Launch Kickstarter Project To Retake Fallujah!

This is a hilarious satirical post on crowdfunding warfare that the Duffel Blog put together. With Al Qaeda actually retaking Fallujah recently, there has been much discussion on places like Facebook by veterans about all of this.

What is really interesting is that if you read through the response in the comments section of this post, which is mostly folks who are using their Facebook accounts to comment, there is actually a response of folks who would contribute to such a campaign. Or even go back over to retake the city with the Iraqis.

With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone actually start a campaign on a crowdfunding site that would actually allow it.  What site that would be is the question? So will someone actually start a campaign to fight the third battle of Fallujah? “Operation ______ ______”? -Matt

 

Marine Veterans Launch Kickstarter Project To Retake Fallujah
By G-Had
January 7, 2014
A pair of former Marines have launched a Kickstarter project to raise enough money for them to travel back to Iraq and retake the city of Fallujah in time for the ten-year anniversary of the battle.
“Hi, I’m Austin Jenkins and this is Joe Wood. We’re Marines, and this is our Kickstarter fund to send us back to Iraq to go fuck some shit up,” begins the now-famous video pitch featuring the two Iraq War veterans. They are seeking $1300 to fly them one-way from the U.S. to Jordan, where they intend to cross the Iraqi border in order to “make it rain.”
When asked how they plan to fight Al Qaeda militants, Jenkins said, “Yeah, where are we gonna find any weapons in Iraq?” Then they both started laughing.
Jenkins, a former Sergeant in 3rd Battalion 1st Marines, took part in the Second Battle of Fallujah in November 2004. Wood, also a former Sergeant but with 1st Battalion 5th Marines took part in the earlier battle in April of that year. After each completed several combat deployments to Iraq, both were eventually forced out of the Marine Corps due to incomplete swim qualifications.

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Industry Talk: Basra Contracts With Aegis To Help Stop Wave Of Terrorism

Anxious to rid itself of the lawlessness that still plagues Iraq’s southern capital, Basra’s governor has hired a private military company run by a British general who helped capture the city from Saddam Hussein.
Maj Gen Graham Binns, who is the chief executive of Aegis Defence Services, commanded the 7th Armoured Brigade when it led the siege of Basra in 2003.
Four years later he supervised the handover of the city to Iraqi security forces. Now, amid growing concern about a fresh wave of terrorist violence across the country, Basra’s governor has invited Maj Gen Binns’s company back to assist at a “strategic level”.
Aegis will be asked to provide help with setting up specialised CCTV detection and checkpoint systems across the city, establishing a “ring of steel” security system to thwart suicide bombers.
It will also set up an academy to help security forces improve coordination and intelligence-gathering techniques.
As Basra’s economy promises to boom, Britain’s consulate prepares to pull out.

A hat tip to Mark over at facebook for finding and sharing this news. This is a big story because Iraq is turning to private industry to help solve this immense threat that has been growing in their country. Iraq is awash with terror attacks this last year, thanks to the mess that is going on in Syria.

Basically, Syria has turned into a jihadist factory, where Al Qaeda has definitely taken advantage. This violence is also spilling over the borders into places like Lebanon and Iraq. ISIS or Al Qaeda of Iraq and Syria is gaining territory, manpower, and weapons, and they are on the war path. There have also been some significant prison breaks that have certainly helped add to the ranks.

A prime example of what I am talking about is that ISIS has just captured Fallajuh and is working on Ramadi–two places that coalition forces fought really tough fights during the war. Iraq’s military and police are having a hard time competing with this, and they are losing ground. There is also a sectarian element to this. These areas are primarily sunni, the government of Iraq is led by shia, and because of the actions of the jihadists to fuel this animosity between the two, that it is very easy for ISIS to get refuge in sunni areas.

Another point to bring up is that the governor of Basra is contracting Aegis’ services because of Maj Gen Graham Binns background and experience in Iraq. He was the commander of all British forces in Iraq, at the time the British signed over Basra’s security back over to Iraq, December of 2007. This is quite the thing to bring back this General, but as a contractor. Which brings up an interesting thought.

Will General Binns be able to do what he wanted to do in this contract, that he couldn’t do in the military doing the same mission? Will he have more flexibility and be more innovative in the way he accomplishes the mission, or is he a one trick pony as they say? We will see, and if Aegis or General Binns would like to comment on this contract, we look forward to hearing from you. Congrats to the company and good luck to General Binns. Be sure to check out all three articles below, to include one written by General Binns himself. -Matt

Edit: 01/07/14 -Here is an interview that the governor of Basra gave about the the status of his city and why he is contracting services, versus using local. He just took office and it seems corruption is very bad, and security is not dependable.

Al-Monitor: How do you see the security situation in the province?
Nasrawi: The security problem is no different from the contract problems we talked about, for there is a lack of planning in both cases. The mechanisms in place for fighting terrorism are basic, limited and non-innovative. Thus, we decided as an initial step to contract a British security consulting company. I believe that the problem of terrorism cannot be solved via a military leader, but rather through security experts, surveillance technology, and training and developing the capabilities of the intelligence [agencies]. For example, we have a plan to buy sophisticated explosives-detection devices, but who determines the specifications and standards for these devices? Will we make the same mistake as Baghdad, which imported [explosives-detection] devices that didn’t work? Who will choose the weapons and sniffer dogs? To answer these questions, we turned to a global consulting firm that works in the security field.
Al-Monitor: Have you encountered any objections to this contract from the ministries concerned with security or the office of the commander in chief of the armed forces?
Nasrawi: The law allows the province to do this, and the contracts are paid using Basra’s money, not funds from Baghdad.
Al-Monitor: You talk about security as though it’s a purely technical issue, but what about the social problems feeding disorder?
Nasrawi: This is correct. Security cannot be achieved though arrests alone. First, it costs a lot of money to put large numbers of people in prison. Most importantly, however, we must address the motives for crimes and the cultural and social reasons standing behind these crimes — and we must work to address them. A culture of security must spread in society, so that each citizen becomes a part of the ingredients for security in the country and is not afraid or reluctant to report any security breach.
Al-Monitor: What about the malfunction within the security establishment?
Nasrawi: The causes [of this malfunction] are known. There is corruption as well as political and partisan intervention in the work of the security services. Recently, Basra was able to rein in a large gang involved in theft, blackmail and kidnapping, which was led by a senior police officer. We were under pressure not to arrest [members of the gang], but we were determined to bring them to justice. We will not allow for a shuffling of cards in Basra. We will not stray from our path to purify the security services of any breaches.

 

Maj Gen Graham Binns when he was in the military.

 

Basra invites British back for security role
Six years after the last British troops left amid a barrage of bombs and mortars, the Iraqi city of Basra is to re-enlist UK military expertise to oversee its security again
By Colin Freeman
03 Jan 2014
Anxious to rid itself of the lawlessness that still plagues Iraq’s southern capital, Basra’s governor has hired a private military company run by a British general who helped capture the city from Saddam Hussein.
Maj Gen Graham Binns, who is the chief executive of Aegis Defence Services, commanded the 7th Armoured Brigade when it led the siege of Basra in 2003.
Four years later he supervised the handover of the city to Iraqi security forces. Now, amid growing concern about a fresh wave of terrorist violence across the country, Basra’s governor has invited Maj Gen Binns’s company back to assist at a “strategic level”.

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Quotes: SIGAR’s John F Sopko On Government’s Inability To End Contracts With Al Qaeda And Taliban In Afghanistan

This is just appalling. If this doesn’t get your blood boiling, I don’t know what would. Pass this around and let your elected officials know that this is unacceptable. -Matt

 

In conclusion, I would also like to reiterate the concerns I raised in our last report about the Army’s refusal to act on SIGAR’s recommendations to prevent supporters of the insurgency, including supporters of the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and al-Qaeda, from receiving government contracts. SIGAR referred 43 such cases to the Army recommending suspension and debarment, based on detailed supporting information demonstrating that these individuals and companies are providing material support to the insurgency in Afghanistan. But the Army rejected all 43 cases. The Army Suspension and Debarment Office appears to believe that suspension or debarment of these individuals and companies would be a violation of their due process rights if based on classified information or if based on findings by the Department of Commerce. I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract. I feel such a position is not only legally wrong, it is contrary to good public policy and contrary to our national security goals in Afghanistan. I continue to urge you to change this faulty policy and enforce the rule of common sense in the Army’s suspension and debarment program.” – John F. Sopko (SIGAR) in their latest report, July 30, 2013.

 

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Industry Talk: What Can We Learn From The In Amenas Gas Plant Attack?

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.” -Sun Tzu

What I wanted to do here is take a closer look at the In Amenas Gas Attack and comment on what is of interest. The first story below talks about how such a thing could even happen and that this is a wake up call.

Well it happened because of complacency and because the enemy force exploited a weakness after studying the facility and it’s security apparatus. It’s the same with the Camp Bastion assault, in which the attacking force was keen on the reconnaissance. For raids, good intelligence is key, and this attacking force did their homework.

As to how they were able to cross miles of desert from Libya into Algeria, and maneuver this close for the raid, they used deception. (another Sun Tzu tenet) Here is a quote:

The militants arrived in nine Toyotas with Libyan plates and painted in the colors of Sonatrach, the Algerian oil and gas company that has a share in the plant, according to the Algerian daily El Khabar.

This is a key point to identify in this deal. Deception is becoming more and more of the trademark of today’s terrorist networks. It is a tried and true method of getting forces near the target, as old as warfare itself. Wearing military, police or company uniforms, to throw off the OODA  (the observation part) of the security element or the victims, is a tactic that works. Al Qaeda and it’s partners know this, and they are consistently bringing this into their raid strategies.

For the Camp Bastion assault, the attackers wore US Army uniforms. The attack on FOB Salerno June of last year, the attackers wore ANA uniforms.  The attack on Bagram Air Base back in May of 2010, the attackers wore US military uniforms. In the attack on Pakistan’s Naval Station Mehran, the assault force wore Naval uniforms. This list and trend goes on…. The bottom line, raiders will use deception to achieve their goal of getting close, causing confusion, or killing more folks with a secondary deception tactic, like a VBIED in an ambulance. The imagination is the only limitation, and those security folks who can put together the pieces in their battle space faster than the enemy, will be able to counter.

It is also important to note that these raiding forces usually have suicide assaulters on their teams–or guys with explosive vests.

Let me bring up another killer–apathy and complacency. The In Amenas site had plenty of security, but obviously they were not prepared for such an assault. The second article below talks about how much security there really was.

The Amenas gas plant in Algeria was guarded by around 100 armed gendarmes but they failed to fend off an attack by less than half the number of terrorists, it can be disclosed.
A base for the gendarmes was built between the residential compound and the drilling area which are several miles apart in the desert, sources told the Daily Telegraph.
But they failed to react in time when a convoy of around 14 vehicles arrived at the base at 5.40am on January 16 with heavy machine guns mounted on the back and carrying at least 32 terrorists.
Gendarmes accompanying a bus heading for the airport managed to beat off the first attack and Huw Edwards, a British gas worker on the bus, said he owed his life to them.
However the al-Qaeda-backed militants were able to get into the residential compound and take dozens of Westerners hostage.
The army arrived to provide back up from a base around 30km (18.5m) away but their two attempts to launch a rescue ended in a bloodbath and the death of at least 37 foreign workers.

But this quote tells us something else about the style of attack that the enemy used here that should be noted. The enemy was able to gain relative superiority using surprise and violence of action. According to the book Spec Ops, the six principals of special operations success are simplicity, security, repetition, surprise, speed, and purpose. Obviously the enemy is following similar principals, and surprise and speed was key in order for a small group to take on a large group such as this and actually gain access to the facility.

I would even say purpose is something to throw in there, just because these guys were hell bent on getting western hostages and either killing them or holding them for ransom, and destroying the facility.

That last part is a great way to transition to the 60 Minutes show on the attack. If you watch the video and listen to the commentary of these individuals, you get an idea of how focused this assault force was on finding and killing/capturing western hostages. And these employees knew how important they were to the terrorists.

In the 2008 Mumbai Attack, the assault teams were very systematic in their execution of hostages, to include western hostages. So with that said, security folks should not advise their clients to give up when it comes to terrorist attacks, simply because this is a death sentence. Run, Hide, Fight is more in line with what needs to happen, and your client should definitely be briefed on the overall security plan in the event of a complex assault like this one. At the In Amenas attack, the terrorists were intent on killing hostages and destroying the plant.

Perhaps late Wednesday or early Thursday morning — Mr. Sellal described it as a nighttime episode — the kidnappers attempted a breakout. “They put explosives on the hostages. They wanted to put the hostages in four-wheel-drive vehicles and take them to Mali.”
Mr. Sellal then suggested that government helicopters immobilized the kidnappers. Witnesses have described an intense army assault, resulting in both militant and hostage deaths.
“A great number of workers were put in the cars; they wanted to use them as human shields,” the prime minister said. “There was a strong response from the army, and three cars exploded,” he said. One contained an Algerian militant whom the prime minister identified as the leader, Mohamed-Lamine Bouchneb.
The second and final operation happened Saturday, Mr. Sellal said, when the 11 remaining kidnappers moved into the gas-producing part of the complex, a hazardous area that he said they had already tried to ignite.
“The aim of the terrorists was to explode the gas compound,” he said. In this second assault, he said, there were “a great number of hostages,” and the kidnappers were ordered to kill them all. It was then, he said, that army snipers killed the kidnappers.

 Another point to bring up with this attack is that it was early morning and possibly during a shift change. The attackers definitely timed their attack as the bus full of workers was coming in. So time and timing was crucial here as well. It is important to note that most complex attacks of this nature, occur in low light or at night, so it seems.

The In Amenas assault started at 0540 in the morning. The Camp Bastion Assault started at 2200 at night. The Mehran attack started at 2230 at night. The Mumbai attack happened at 2010… So you get a picture here that darkness or low light definitely helps in the ‘surprise and deception’ department, and the enemy knows this.

Another pattern I am seeing is the use of multiple assault teams. In the Camp Bastion assault, they had three teams of five. In the Mumbai Assault, they had two teams of six and four men. The In Amenas attack had nine trucks filled with around 40 militants. In all of these attacks, there was a division of labor here and the attacks were organized. Teams were assigned targets and objectives.

The point to bring up here is that with multiple teams comes multiple problems. Security forces could respond to one attack by one team, and then the other assault teams can start the real attack. It can create confusion for the security forces and it can increase the success of the assault force.  The assault force can even implement Cheng and Ch’i, by using one team to set up the security force with one type of attack, and then use another team or teams for the real attack to achieve the ultimate goal.

The Mumbai attack is a great example of this, where one force causes the distraction and sucked in the majority of emergency response forces to that fight (lighting fires, etc), and then the other team did the systematic search and killing of the primary targets in the hotels. Cheng is the expected or orthodox strategy, and Ch’i is the surprise or unorthodox strategy. Playing the two strategies off of each other creates all sorts of opportunities for an assault force composed of multiple teams. Yet again, the enemy is recognizing the value of this, and security forces have to be aware of the attack coming from multiple points and at multiple times.

Well, that is about all I have on this one.  If you would like to further delve into the lessons learned that others have brought forth, here is a link. It would be great to hear what other folks picked up on this and other attacks.

I also want to mention the heroic acts of the security force in the face of such an attack. The lone guard named Mohamed Lamine Lahmar who was killed shortly after he hit the alarm button to shut down the plant and warn everyone, certainly saved lives. The Stirling Group contractors whom died in the defense of their client also get special mention, as do the hostages whom were killed.

The lesson here is that companies will adjust and security forces will learn from this incident to build a better defense–or apply continuous improvement to their operation. We must actually recognize what the enemy is doing or deal with reality, both in Africa and elsewhere in the world, and learn from this. Most importantly, we must stay one step ahead of them and implement security plans that effectively deal with this reality. As Sun Tzu would say, we must ‘rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable. -Matt

 

 

Algeria Attack A ‘Wake-Up Call’ For Energy Companies
by Tom Gjelten
January 24, 2013
A week has passed since the terrorist attack on a natural gas facility in Algeria, but risk analysts and security experts are still undecided about the incident’s likely impact in the energy world.
The price of oil, a good indicator of anxiety in the energy market, went up modestly right after the attack, but then it stabilized. No energy company has suspended operations in Algeria, nor has any company announced it will hold off on future investments in North Africa, a key source of oil and gas supplies.
It may just be that governments and energy companies are still trying to figure out exactly what happened at the In Amenas gas field. The complex had not been attacked during decades of civil war in Algeria.
Success Of Raid ‘A Mystery’
David Goldwyn, formerly the State Department’s special envoy for international energy affairs, notes that the complex was surrounded by “a ring of steel.”

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Cool Stuff: The Battle Cry Of Lara Logan!!!

A big thanks to Chris for finding the source of this motivating speech, and a big thanks to Matt for saving a copy and putting it up on Vimeo and Youtube before BGA made it private (for some reason…). Either way, it’s up now and I definitely wanted to watch it and also share it. Lot’s of folks on Facebook were wanting to check it out, and I am hoping it goes viral…

What makes this speech special is Lara is not holding back on her views about the war effort, and the strength of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Her experience and involvement as a reporter in this war is significant and this speech is the cherry on top of her 60 Minutes special called ‘The Longest War‘–which I highly recommend watching if you have a chance.

For those of you out there that are not able to watch this video because of whatever firewall or limitations you have on your internet usage, that sucks. Unfortunately this is pretty common in the war zones, but hopefully this speech and battle cry goes viral and the video gets to a national level of viewing on one of the networks. The video will be archived here on the blog, so when you get home you can watch it then.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that Lara gets points in my book for being married to a security contractor. She married a WPS contractor named Joe Burkett back in 2008. Cool deal and check this thing out. (below I posted a Vimeo and Youtube version, for mobile users) -Matt

 

 

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Al Qaeda: Boko Haram, Al Shabaab And AQIM Are Linking Up

“It’s one of the main depots of the Malian army,” a security source told AFP, adding that it had been built in case of “a long and difficult war.”A regional security source confirmed the seizure, saying the vast cache of weapons will “really boost AQIM’s striking power”, and adding: “It is really impressive what AQIM has found in the underground depot.”The source said the group “is today more armed than the combined armies of Mali and Burkina Faso”, Mali’s neighbour to the east.

This to me is fascinating and startling at the same time. Look at how fast these Islamist groups are spreading in Africa? They are taking advantage of the leadership vacuum caused by the Arab Spring, or making their moves in really poor and poorly governed countries. Where there is darkness on the continent, they are moving in to set up shop.

They are also capturing some pretty significant weapons and using this stuff to gain ground throughout the region. From the stuff in Libya that was ‘liberated’ during that fighting, to weapons depots in Mali that were taken by force.

And what gets me here is that I still haven’t heard what exactly Ansar Dine was able to get out of this weapon depot in Gao, Mali. Apparently they are now ‘more armed than the combined armies of Mali and Burkina Faso’, says the quote up top. So these non-state actors are now more armed than several countries combined? Yikes, and that is quite the accomplishment….It also makes you wonder about places like Syria, where that country is imploding and weapons depots–to include chemical and bio, could potentially be compromised.

Not only that, but now that the Muslim Brotherhood is in control of Egypt, whose to say that some of their weapons wouldn’t slip out into the world and find their way into Islamist’ hands? Or directly given to Islamists by a government that openly supports them. pfffftt.

We will see how it goes and somehow I don’t think this fire in the Middle East or Africa is going out any time soon. -Matt

 

Captured armored vehicle in Mali.

 

African extremist groups linking up: U.S. general
June 25, 2012
By Lauren French
Three of Africa’s largest extremist groups are sharing funds and swapping explosives in what could signal a dangerous escalation of security threats on the continent, the commander of the U.S. military’s Africa Command said on Monday.
General Carter Ham said there are indications that Boko Haram, al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – groups that he labeled as the continent’s most violent – are sharing money and explosive materials while training fighters together.
“Each of those three organizations is by itself a dangerous and worrisome threat,” Ham said at an African Center for Strategic Studies seminar for senior military and civilian officials from Africa, the United States and Europe.
“What really concerns me is the indications that the three organizations are seeking to coordinate and synchronize their efforts,” Ham said. “That is a real problem for us and for African security in general.”
The United States classified three of the alleged leaders of the Islamist sect Boko Haram, based in remote northeast Nigeria, as “foreign terrorist,” on June 20. But it declined to blacklist the entire organization to avoid elevating the group’s profile internationally. Police in Nigeria said members of the group seized a prison there Sunday and freed 40 inmates.

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