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Archive for the ‘FYI – For Your Intelligence’ Category

Lebanon: The Syria Playbook

In Defense, FYI - For Your Intelligence, Intelligence, International, International Trade, Israel, Libya, Terrorism, Uncategorized on December 29, 2013 at 4:37 am

LebSyrFlagWith Assad continuing to make his stand against Western backed forces and various jihad extremist groups in Syria, he has pulled an old play out of the go-to playbook for his regime. He has elected to use his faithful ally Hezbollah to open a new front. As Syria continues to sink into its current battlefield quagmire at home, taking out another high level politician in Beirut expands the scope of his operations, and provides relief through distraction. And with the assassination of the Hezbollah leader earlier this month, it all comes across as a justification on the part of Hezbollah. But make no mistake, this is the same MO as with previous assassinations and it will have Syria’s prints all over it.

The real issue is how US foreign policy is allowing for the war to spread, the empowerment of extremist groups to grow and for old and new terrorism breeding grounds to flourish. Libya and Syria are key examples, and indicators are that Iraq is beginning to follow suit. Here’s what the international media is reporting to support this.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/mohamad-chatah-lebanese-ex-minister-killed-in-beirut-bombing-1.2476861

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303799404579283692798835878

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/175614#.Ur6ZlrRfu_g

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304451904579237323053994120

PERSPECTIVE VIEW: Why Hasn’t Israel Attacked Iran? Who Says It Hasn’t?

In FYI - For Your Intelligence, Iran, Israel, nuclear, Nuclear Arms on September 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm
In mid-August 2010, the former American Ambassador to the UN John Bolton declared Israel had only eight days to attack Iran’s nuclear program before it went active.  That was cause for alarm for many, yet the Israeli political leadership stayed quiet.  Now, rumors are popping up on the internet that a dangerous virus might have infected the Iranian program, possibly ruining 3,000 centrifuges at the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility.  The “Stuxnet” virus is said to be incredibly complex and malicious, too much so to be created without the help of a nation-state.  If these rumors prove correct, it’s possible that Israel might have significantly degraded Iran’s nuclear ambitions without ever firing a shot….and more importantly, if it’s able to maintain plausible deniability, avoid suffering severe consequences to its territory or people.  Industry insiders are claiming that this malware might be a game-changer – showing code-writers could destroy critical infrastructure nodes without any active measures taken from the inside to initiate such an attack.  
CONTRIBUTOR:  INFINITE REACH is a former U.S. Intelligence Analyst and a contributor to the FORESIGHT Perspective.  We appreciate his insightful observations and look forward to hearing from him periodically.  Thanks INFINITE for the great piece!

PERSPECTIVE VIEW: Thinking Ahead – Corporate Contingency Strategies for the Middle East

In FYI - For Your Intelligence, Global Economy, International Trade, Iran, Israel, Terrorism, U.S. Economy on September 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Strategic thinkers and planners in government and international business have long had a lot to consider regarding the Middle East.  Weighing the range of complicated and overlapping issues – such as oil resources, water rights, military power, religious conflict, territory disputes, economic and educational disparities, foreign alliances,  to name a few – it is daunting to devise contingency strategies in preparation for the potential of changed circumstances. By 2010, a host of new military and weapons-related issues have emerged, the most problematical being Iran’s steady and stealthy pursuit to secure the capability to construct and deliver nuclear weapons.

Various scenarios can be envisioned if Iran uses its enrichment sites to produce weapons-grade products from nuclear material shipped to Iran by Russia (and possibly other countries) after incorporating technology and materials likely obtained from China, North Korea and others to develop a deliverable weapons system.  Logically, corporations and governments with strong interests in the region should plan what they will do in the event the nuclear situation in the region is changed given the impact on political and economic issues.  Clearly, Israel would be under greater threat from a nuclear- armed Iran given Tehran’s past posturing about the destruction of Israel, the links between Iran and Hamas/Hezbollah, the stresses within the Iranian regime, and its leaders’ need for organized diversion at home to distract from domestic problems.   Two core questions emerge: what would Israel do about a nuclear-armed Iran, and how should businesses and governments prepare to adjust their strategies in response to likely scenarios?  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program is central to protecting and defending Israel.  Therefore, strategic planners must consider that Israel will, in some way, halt Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons perhaps with an overt air strike or covert sabotage — with or without the tacit acceptance of the United States and other international players.

 Taking these thoughts a step farther, if Israel acts unilaterally to destroy Iranian nuclear weapons development, then much of the Middle East calculus in oil, business, foreign policy and military dynamics will change rapidly.  Against this backdrop, the time to think through options and develop contingency plans for various scenarios is now while there is still time to weigh carefully alternatives and reasonable options.  While government and military planners constantly consider all options as a matter of course, corporations, both large and small, are often less equipped or inclined to consider alternatives before events actually demand change.  Best intelligence (and business) practices suggest that corporate leaders and strategists (calling upon internal and external resources) should consider likely Israeli-Iranian scenarios and their outcomes.  With such analyses in hand, corporate managers can quietly work, if necessary with other professionals, to solidify corporate contingency strategies in advance of a potentially altered Middle East landscape.  Now is the time for contingency planning.

CONTRIBUTOR:  OptionsInt is our newest contributor.  They are a security consulting firm made up retired U.S. intelligence officers with years of worldwide operational experience.  They currently use their expertise to consult with U.S. corporations and government on matters of operational security training and support.  We appreciate their insightful observations and look forward to hearing more from them periodically.

Russia and the Great Spy Game: Espionage Targeting New NATO Member

In FYI - For Your Intelligence, Intelligence, Russia, U.S. on September 10, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Russian Espionage Targeting New NATO Members

This article from last month does not contain much novel information but it´s comprehensive and to-the-point at the very least. It demonstrates the continuous need for determined counterintelligence work against the old “Primary Enemy”.  The Great Game continues.

Contributor:  We want to thank Vincent Van Belle for bringing us this entry.  Vince is a Risk Management Consultant with MacTierney SAC in Austria.  We appreciate his eye for a good report as well as his commentary.  We look forward to hearing from him more.  Thanks Vince.

Plan B for Netanyahu: Courting Greece

In Defense, FYI - For Your Intelligence, International Relations, Iran, military, nuclear, Nuclear Arms on August 16, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Netanyahu Looks Beyond Turkey In Rare Greek Visit

After the encounter with the Turkish “aid” ship and several past conflicting issues over the Palestinians, Netanyahu is visiting the Greek PM George Papandreou in an effort to sew up some well needed support to fill the gap with the loss of Turkish support.  While foreign direct investment, tourism and water conservation are on the menu, look for Netanyahu to solicit even more important support for airspace and long-range capabilities as these become key in upcoming exercises.  Losing Turkey’s support (if in fact it is was lost) becomes key in moving forward if action against Iran is necessary.  Greece would then be a logical plan B given their troubled past with Turkey.  The corridor through  Romania  and the Black Sea are critical at this point.

The Real Aftermath: Pakistan, Iran and Heat Seeking Missiles

In Defense, FYI - For Your Intelligence, Intelligence, International, International Relations, Terrorism on July 27, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Wikileaks Afghanistan: Taliban used heat-seeker missiles against Nato helicoptervia

Wikileaks reinforces the claim that Pakistan supports the Taliban – CSMonitor.com.

As a famous President once proclaimed during a debate, “There you go again.”  What we are finding from the latest in the Wikileaks saga is the following:  If you have a leaker in your organization and you have a media hostile to your cause, there is a good chance you will see your sensitive internal information go public.  On that note, why are DOD’s internal security controls so weak as to allow 10s of thousands of documents to be stolen and used publically?  That is the real issue behind the Wikileaks leaks.

As for Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban, this revelation is about as new as the discovery that Mel Gibson has anger issues.  Having been in the region myself, this relationship has been there since we seized control of Kabul.  Fringe element within ISI with close ties to the Taliban in the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Area) have been attempting to undermine U.S. counterterrorism efforts since the war in Afghanistan started.  Some operatives of ISI based in the border region are self-proclaimed Taliban supporters.  There is absolutely nothing new here. 

Then there is Iran and the discovery that they are assisting the Taliban to fight the U.S. and NATO forces.  Again, they were doing this to U.S. forces in Iraq, why would they not continue it in Afghanistan?  In fact, many of the same types of weapons and materials (IEDs, shape charges, firearms, etc) that were being smuggled in and used in Iraq were popping-up in Afghanistan.  Iran has had U.S. soldiers’ blood on their hands for some time now and the Wikileak discloses nothing new there.

While the report of the use of a heat seeking missile knocking out a helicopter killing U.S. and NATO service member has some new pieces of information, this tactic is not new or unexpected.  U.S. intelligence and military services have always been aware of the possibility of shoulder launched, surface-to-air missiles being used.  Yes, this is the tactic that was used against the Soviets to help drive them out of Afghanistan.  In fact, it was the U.S. who supplied and trained the Taliban on use of these weapons when they were the Mujahideen.  So we probably know something about this.  Our military is perfectly capable of countering this weaponry.

Other than more reporting of collateral damage and a few new bin Laden sightings, these leaked documents represent a lot of unsubstantiated reporting, raw data and even rumors.  What these leaks and the accompanying media noise represent is an effort to make the war effort seem unwinable and to wear Americans down.  If the Soviets were chased out by SAMs, so will the U.S.  If the Paks are not helping, then we are losing.  If Iran is helping the Taliban, then we will lose.  However, while we faced many of these same elements in Iraq on a much larger scale and still managed our goals, we will become mired in debates about these points in these documents and miss the real issue.  Yes, the REAL aftermath:  In order to implement and sustain effective security polices and procedures in our government and military, there must be a will by those in charge to hold accountable those who leak sensitive information to the public that endangers national security policies and personnel.  They must be pursued vigorously, and if found guilty, punished. They took advantage of access to sensitive intelligence provided to them through their service and the public trust, and do not have a right to that information for there own cause.  That is the real story and continues to be.