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Archive for the ‘International’ 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

Pakistan: As flood relief breaks bad

In International, Terrorism, U.S. on September 6, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Reports of Christian Aid Workers Killed by Taliban in Pakistan Still Unconfirmed

Banned JuD brazenly collecting funds for flood relief in Lahore

It was just a matter of time.  While Taliban and Al Qaeda members shake down local flood victims in Pakistan and reports of the killing of humanitarian aid workers surface, how long did you think it would take until these groups and their affiliates begin using the opportunity to access and raise funds through flood relief?  Interestingly enough, international organizations and governments are already crying foul to the fact that it is taking so long for relief funds to reach the victims.  What will happen now with these latest developments?  Will bureaucratic hold-ups continue to plague these relief efforts even more as relief organizations must now take greater steps to vet receiving organizations and recipients?  Or will they just turn a blind eye as flood money soon becomes blood money?

Poll: Nearly 6 in 10 oppose war in Afghanistan – U.S. leadership not engaged

In Defense, Intelligence, International, military, Terrorism on August 20, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Poll: Nearly 6 in 10 oppose war in Afghanistan

Polls like this should always raise red flags to those who understand and are concerned about national security.  This AP article will become a major story in the coming week to further deteriorate support by Americans for the Afghanistan war effort.  By painting a picture of futility and a perceived lack of direction by the military, the media is attempting to make this appear unwinnable.  Even more important, the overall tone is that it is not necessary.  This is the trap that we must avoid at all cost.

Today, Afghanistan is more critical to U.S. national security than any other part of the world – more than peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, more that Al-Shibaab in Somalia, and more than Iraq.  It is the catalyst and the epicentre of everything we do to fight against radical jihad in America.  In that region, radicalization, financing from an over abundant opium industry, and a void in law and order provide the perfect mix for groups like al-Qaeda to grow and spread.  Any U.S. leader who takes this poll and accepts that we should leave Afghanistan will do so at their own risk.  

I had the opportunity to speak with someone about the Iraq war and the “futility” of that war back in 2006.  My main comment to that person was that, if the U.S. committed the resources and the leadership was focused, there is no way any country in that region would be able to stop our military from meeting their objectives.  Sure enough, when the surge of 2008 was conducted, resources and commitment by the U.S. leadership provided the necessary thrust for successful.  In fact, polling during that time period became favorable to the U.S. military’s mission.  The key was resources and engagement by the U.S. administration. 

In Afghanistan, we are at that same point now.  There is no third world gang of fighters that can push our military off its goals if we have that commitment and our leadership is engaged at the highest level.  With that, you will find success and polls like this will lean the other way.  However leaving Afghanistan before this job is done will only push the hard work off onto the next generation – and we will end up right back there.

Gingrich, Sharia and a Mosque – The Real Reason

In International, U.S. on August 18, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Lawless (by Lee Smith/The Tablet)

This one takes the debate over the planned mosque at Ground Zero to a whole new level.  According to this article, the majority of Americans who are opposed to the building of the mosque (about 68%) are that way because  they simply don’t understand Sharia Law.  Throw in a little Newt Gingrich who is an outspoken critic of Sharia law, and now you have a majority of Americans who are just misinformed.  Last week American’s were lectured by the U.S. President about constitutional rights and freedom of religion.  Something tells me that with Mr. Lee’s patronizing article and use of Newt Gingrich as the new Sharia villian, opposition will still be at 68% or even more.

What is not being heard through all this clamor, is that the majority of American people think it is insensitive, inappropriate, and unnecessary.  Insensitive in the sense that it ignores the victims and their wounds from 9-11.  Inappropriate in the sense that it is being placed in an area sacred to Americans and conflicts with the memorializing of that hallowed ground.  Unnecessary in the sense that the mosque does not have to be built there to uphold religious freedom. 

The only thing that comes from these patronizing lectures about the Constitution and the misplaced idea that this is only about religious freedom is propaganda that airs worldwide and tells Muslims that the U.S. is racist against them.  When they see these reports in the international press, to them it is not about our memorial at Ground Zero and the honor that Americans want to maintain towards that, it is about how the U.S. people are anti-Muslim or xenophobic.

Our federal and state governments zone land for special purposes all the time.  Whether it is to create parks, preservations or memorials, zoning is used for these purposes when necessary to maintain appropriate design and structures.  We have prevented Disney from going in at Manassas, a church in San Francisco and many other such actions for this purpose.  No one is saying the mosque cannot be built – just not there.   So Mr. Smith, this is not about Newt.  Since there is 68% opposition, I can assure you there are a large number of those who do not watch Fox.  It is not about the American people’s understanding of Sharia.  Since most of those in opposition have the same access to the same information about Sharia that you used to write your piece, there is probably a good understanding in the majority.   It is not even about the Constitution.  It is just about the American people coming to their own valid conclusion that they do not want this structure on Ground Zero.

China Eyes the Dream Factories (China Daily)

In Global Economy, International, International Relations, International Trade on August 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

China Eyes the Dream Factories

China now eyes Western film companies. China is already a major stimulant for many world economies.  Add in ownership of such ‘dream factories’, and China will not only determine and have a say in what we use and wear, but how we see the world as well.  Interesting.

“If you are in too much of a hurry to label the company as a carrier of Chinese culture, that may draw hostility from the US audience, and may eventually even destroy the brand.”

CONTRIBUTOR:  Wandering China comes to us as a researcher on Chinese politics,international relations and security.  While brief, this piece represents the efforts China is making in all areas of geo-political and economics to influence and control behaviors of western consumers.   We look forward to more from this contributor.

While U.S. Continues “Jobless” Recovery, Germany Prospers

In Global Economy, International, International Trade on August 9, 2010 at 11:57 pm

In Germany, a Broad Recovery Is Under Way

It is almost like stepping through the looking-glass.  Germany steadily working to cut deficits, control government spending and keeping taxes down.  The U.S. doing the exact opposite.  And the results:  Well, early returns are promising across the pond and bleak on this side.  What is more interesting is how George Soros notes the association between Germany tightening it’s belt and the imbalance in trade with the other European countries.   As he and his organization push for more stimulus spending, higher taxes and more debt in the U.S., he points out the deficit cutting and wage controls in Germany are to blame for Germany’s recovery at the cost of trade with the more in debt countries like France and Spain.  (Interesting.) However, Germany should not bite at this one.  Perhaps a better option would be for the other European countries to follow suit and cut their deficits and spending. 

Now this is all well and good but there is something even more important to this recovery as demonstrated by BMW’s “help wanted” signs.  The one thing that Germany is realizing is more jobs.  That is the basis of any recovery.   And as that situation grows and more jobs are chasing fewer workers, the German people will have the control.   They will be able to push for higher wages and better benefits.  They will be in the driver’s seat.  And at BMW, that’s good. 

So how does the U.S. get there?  By having fiscal policies that keep current jobs in country and invite U.S. businesses and jobs back.  Businesses will go where they can provide a product or service at a competitive price and be profitable.  Like many U.S. businesses in China and Mexico, where ever they go they will take jobs.  So why not in the U.S.?   Bring down corporate taxes to the levels in China and other developing nations, repatriate billions in hard currency, and bring jobs back to the U.S.  In that case, we will have more jobs chasing workers.  Then the people will be back in control and we too shall experience true recovery.

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.