Archive for category News

News: President-Elect Obama Picks Panetta for CIA Post

     President-Elect Obama has just announced that he has picked Democrat Leon Panetta for Director of the CIA. Leon served as White House Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, and before that was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1976 to 1993. Panetta took part in the 2006 Iraq Study Group. -Matt

Wikipedia for Leon Panetta here.

 

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Somalia: Fresh Turmoil, Uncertainty As President Resigns

 “The extremist al Shabaab Islamist group is best placed to take control of Mogadishu, but this is not a foregone conclusion,” said David Shinn, a U.S. expert on the Horn of Africa at George Washington University.

While al Shabaab have spearheaded attacks this year to become the face of the insurgency, they lack popular support, and do not have enough fighters to rule on their own without alliances with Islamist movements, analysts say.

Al Shabaab’s hardline ways — such as strict imposition of sharia law, banning drinking or films, and the beheading of several suspected government collaborators — sit uncomfortably with many among Somalia’s traditionally moderate Muslims.

 

   Both of these articles point to the same reality.  Islamists will be ruling Somalia.  The question is what kind of Islamists will be ruling Somalia and will they work with the west and put a check on the things we worry about?  Namely harboring terrorists and allowing piracy.  Al Shabaab is way to extremist for Somalis, and once they have taken control and there is no one else to fight, how will the Somalis view their form of Sharia Law? 

   Strategically, I think that is the idea.  Let them take the city, and then diplomatically we support the moderate factions who would be better to negotiate with in the future and better for the people of Somalia.  The support should not be overt though, because anything the west touches, will disgust the local populations.  

     And get the Ethiopians out of there, because those forces are infuriating the local populations and driving support to Al Shabaab.  When the dust settles, we must find a competitor to Al Shabaab who is willing to work with the west and the rest of the world, and who also can win the support of the people.  Good luck with that one though, and that is the challenge.  A good first step towards that goal though is to reshuffle the deck, and watch what happens when Ethiopia leaves, the President resigns and more than likely Al Shabaab takes over.

     -Matt 

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Somalia: Fresh turmoil, uncertainty as president resigns

Date: 29 Dec 2008

NAIROBI, 29 December 2008 (IRIN) – Fresh turmoil and uncertainty loom for the people of Somalia – already ravaged by displacement, conflict, drought and hyper-inflation – after the country’s interim president resigned on 29 December.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed resigned after disagreements with parliament and his prime minister, as well as pressure from the international community.

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Afghanistan: A Surge of Special Forces for Afghanistan Likely

 Yet many within the tightly knit Special Forces community say the Special Forces teams already in use in Afghanistan should be employed far more effectively before any new teams, which number about a dozen men each, are deployed.

“I just don’t think it’s a very good use of the units if they are not going to be doing combat advising in an effective way,” says one Special Forces officer with recent experience in Afghanistan. “I don’t know any Special Forces who think that’s really what we need over there.” 

     It sounds like the SF community is a little skeptical to say the least about how they will be used.  Hopefully Petraeus and company will listen to these guys as to the best way to use them.  That is how a ‘learning organization’ must operate, and the SF community would have a pretty good idea on how they could be most effective out there.

   On a side note, if we do see a SF surge along with a general troop surge, then aviation services are going to be big.  I am talking helicopters, transport aircraft, and paracargo operations to supply these outposts.  So companies like Presidential Airways or Dyncorp will certainly be doing more business.  I think we will also see a focus on bringing in more STOL type aircraft as well, because of how much cheaper they are to operate. -Matt

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A surge of Special Forces for Afghanistan likely

Defense officials say it will fill urgent gaps but Special Forces officers are skeptical.

By Gordon Lubold | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

December 23, 2008 

Washington – The Pentagon is likely to send up to 20 Special Forces teams to Afghanistan this spring, part of a new long-term strategy to boost the Afghan security forces’ ability to counter the insurgency there themselves.

The “surge” of elite Special Forces units would represent a multiyear effort aimed at strengthening the Afghan National Army and police units that the US sees as key to building up Afghanistan’s security independence, say defense officials who asked to remain anonymous because the controversial decision has not yet been announced. The US already plans to send thousands of additional conventional forces to Afghanistan sometime next year. But it is hamstrung by limited availability since so many of those forces are still in Iraq.

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Israel: IAF Pounds Gaza for Second Day

   This is the ‘shock and awe’ part of the campaign, and it looks like the Israelis were pretty successful in taking out some good targets.  They really worked the surprise factor in this operation.  To me, the ground campaign is the one to watch, and Omert has a lot riding on this one.  The memories of the 2006 campaign in Lebanon are still fresh, and you can bet that Hamas has studied the crap out of how Hezbollah worked the angles in that war.  -Matt

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Israel pounds Gaza for second day

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

Reuters

Sunday, December 28, 2008; 9:23 AM

GAZA (Reuters) – Israel destroyed Hamas’s main Gaza security complex in an air strike on Sunday and prepared for a possible invasion of the territory after killing nearly 290 Palestinians in the opening rounds of a powerful offensive.

Israel said the campaign that began on Saturday was a response to almost daily rocket and mortar fire that intensified after Hamas, an Islamist group in charge of the coastal enclave Israel quit in 2005, ended a six-month ceasefire a week ago.

Despite the air attacks, militants fired some 80 rockets into Israel, emergency services said. In one of the longest-reaching salvoes, two rockets struck near Ashdod, a main port 30 km (18 miles) from Gaza, causing no casualties.

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Iraq: Suicide Bomber Hits Anti-Israel Protest in Iraq

     I don’t post a lot of these types of stories, because unfortunately bombers are all too common in this part of the world.  But what made this story interesting to me is the symbolism.  One group of muslims protesting Israel should be off limits to another muslim suicide bomber-you would think.  Israel is equally hated by both Shia and Sunni, so this was an odd attack.  I wonder if the bomber even knew what the group was protesting?  Or maybe they just didn’t care about that, and just wanted to kill some IIP guys for their martyrdom mission?  -Matt

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Suicide bomber hits anti-Israel protest in Iraq

12/28/2008

MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) — A suicide bomber on a bicycle in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul targeted a protest condemning Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip, killing one civilian and wounding 16 on Sunday, police said.

“One civilian was killed and 16 were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up when he rode his bicycle into the middle of an anti-Israeli demonstration in the city,” local police Major Wael Rasheed told AFP.

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News: LAPD Officer Probed for Smuggling Handguns To Belize

   Thanks to Jeff for sending this.  Hopefully there is an explanation for why this officer did this, or he could be in some serious trouble. I could not find a website for Elite Security out of Belize, and if anyone can find it, I will put it up on FJ. -Matt

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U.S. is investigating LAPD officer

A department veteran allegedly bought guns at the Police Academy and sent them to Belize, where he runs a security firm.

By Richard Winton and Scott Glover

December 21, 2008

A veteran Los Angeles police officer who operates a security company in Belize is under federal investigation for allegedly smuggling handguns into the Central American nation, according to law enforcement sources and internal LAPD documents.

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