Small Wars Journal

Blog Posts

SWJ Blog is a multi-author blog publishing news and commentary on the various goings on across the broad community of practice.  We gladly accept guest posts from serious voices in the community.

by DoD News | Tue, 05/22/2018 - 5:55pm | 0 comments
The coalition training effort in Iraq is all about “making a good force better,” said Italian army Brig. Gen. Roberto Vannacci, the deputy commanding general for training for Operation Inherent Resolve's Joint Forces Land Component Command in Iraq.
by The Wall Street Journal | Tue, 05/22/2018 - 2:42pm | 0 comments
"FARAH, Afghanistan—The weekend visit by a high-level delegation from Kabul to this now calm provincial capital in western Afghanistan promised to be a victory lap of sorts, after the Taliban were driven from the city following two days of fierce fighting last week."
by Associated Press | Mon, 05/21/2018 - 6:47pm | 0 comments
“The Trump administration’s revamped Afghanistan strategy has made little progress against the Taliban insurgency, leaving the country a ‘dangerous and volatile’ place nearly 17 years after the U.S. invaded, a government watchdog report said Monday.”
by The United States Institute of Peace | Mon, 05/21/2018 - 4:44pm | 0 comments
USIP online course intended to provide a nuanced understanding of the context and dynamics of a conflict can determine the effectiveness with which you intervene, help you untangle the often-unintended consequences of any actions or policies, prevent any harm from being done, and help determine future priorities for program development.
by Lawfare | Mon, 05/21/2018 - 1:18pm | 0 comments
“A proxy war occurs when a major power instigates or plays a major role in supporting and directing a party to a conflict but does only a small portion of the actual fighting itself. Proxy war stands in contrast not only to a traditional war—when a state shoulders the burden of its own defense (or offense)—but also an alliance, when major and minor powers work together with each making significant contributions according to their means.”
by The Washington Times | Mon, 05/21/2018 - 12:49am | 0 comments
“As two of the Middle East’s military heavyweights edge closer to a shooting war, Israel boasts one of the world’s most effective militaries backed by a nuclear arsenal, but Iran has 10 times the population and an increasing number of ways to strike back asymmetrically.”
by The New York Times | Mon, 05/21/2018 - 12:28am | 0 comments
“Iraqis are still haunted by memories of black-clad death squads roaming Baghdad neighborhoods a decade ago, cleansing them of Sunnis as the country was convulsed by sectarian violence. Many of the mass killings in the capital were done in the name of Moktada al-Sadr, a cleric best remembered by Americans for fiery sermons declaring it a holy duty among his Shiite faithful to attack United States forces.”
by The Washington Post | Mon, 05/21/2018 - 12:26am | 0 comments
“This election season has been the most violent in Mexico’s recent history, with 36 candidates killed since September, and dozens of other politicians and campaign officials slaughtered. That macabre statistic has created a fresh challenge for the country’s political parties: They are now trying to fill dozens of candidacies left open by the assassinations.”
by Associated Press | Sun, 05/20/2018 - 9:08pm | 0 comments
"The State Department unit overseeing the fight against the Islamic State group will stay in business for at least six more months, reversing an administration plan for the unit’s imminent downgrade even as President Donald Trump presses ahead with a speedy U.S. exit from Syria."
by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | Sat, 05/19/2018 - 10:14pm | 0 comments
“When 20-year-old Khamzat Azimov went on a deadly stabbing spree in Paris this month, a May 12 attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, details about his upbringing caught the attention of psychoanalyst and counterterrorism expert Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin. Considering Azimov's infancy in war-torn Chechnya, and the fact that he continued to live with his mother in a one-room Paris apartment until he was shot dead by police in the midst of his attack, Kobrin saw a pattern reflected in other Islamist terrorists she has studied and written about.”
by The Washington Post | Sat, 05/19/2018 - 8:56pm | 0 comments
"His self-declared caliphate was in ruins when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi summoned some of his top aides to a meeting in eastern Syria last year. The Islamic State’s capital in Iraq had already fallen, and its Syrian headquarters was under siege. Yet the terrorist leader had something else on his mind: schoolchildren."
by The Washington Times | Sat, 05/19/2018 - 4:28pm | 0 comments
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the recently completed U.S. defense strategy, the first in 10 years, will be used to guide the revamping of the military during the Trump administration. “Without a sound strategy, the most brilliant generals, the most well-equipped troops, the most high-tech equipment, fine tactics — none of that works unless your strategy, your framework for what you’re doing, can actually tie ways and means together,” Mr. Mattis said in a recent speech.
by Military Times | Fri, 05/18/2018 - 3:44pm | 0 comments
“The Taliban announced Friday that they intend to focus their attacks on Americans and their foreign allies, rather than Afghan government forces, according to an Al Jazeera report. The statement comes on the heels of an unsuccessful bid by the insurgent group to take the city of Farah in the western part of the country.”
by The Washington Post | Fri, 05/18/2018 - 3:23pm | 0 comments
“American authorities say insurgent activity in Bahrain, a key hub for U.S. naval operations, has increased over the past year as a handful of Iranian-backed groups armed with smuggled weapons plan attacks against security forces.”
by Defense One | Fri, 05/18/2018 - 1:32am | 0 comments
“Even as the Pentagon shifts its focus from low-intensity conflict to full-spectrum war, the U.S. Air Force might finally buy a prop-driven light attack plane.”
by The Wall Street Journal | Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:32am | 0 comments
“In its former heartland of Syria and Iraq, the once mighty Islamic State has turned, at least for now, into little more than a nuisance. But that’s not the case for the self-declared caliphate’s far-flung “provinces,” from West Africa to Afghanistan to Southeast Asia.”
by Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. | Thu, 05/17/2018 - 6:39am | 0 comments
There has been a lot of discussion recently about what impact developments in artificial intelligence might have on the military, but there is also a growing amount of talk regarding how emerging advancements in human intelligence will influence tomorrow’s wars – much thanks to remarkable work occurring in neuroscience.
by Agence France-Presse | Tue, 05/15/2018 - 10:22pm | 0 comments
“Airstrikes against Syrian rebels have gone up 150 percent since Russia intervened in the conflict in 2015, helping the regime triple the territory under its control, a report published on Tuesday showed. The analysis by IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center (JTIC) also found that just 14 percent of the strikes were against the Islamic State group.”
by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction | Tue, 05/15/2018 - 8:45pm | 0 comments
United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) has informed SIGAR that they had provided SIGAR with incorrect personnel strength figures for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) for use in SIGAR’s quarterly report published on April 30, 2018. This is the latest in a series of problems SIGAR has faced with DOD’s responses to our requests for ANDSF information.
by The Wall Street Journal | Tue, 05/15/2018 - 8:06pm | 0 comments
“U.S. forces are preparing for a battle with Islamic State over a valley that was once the Afghan hub of the group’s campaign to create a world-wide caliphate. The militants have been probing American and Afghan positions and hiding weapons caches in the ridges overlooking Mohmand Valley, which was controlled by ISIS fighters until allied troops chased them into the Spingar mountains at the end of last year.”
by Breaking Defense | Tue, 05/15/2018 - 5:28am | 0 comments
"Russia or China could “overrun” US allies at the outbreak of war, senior military leaders fear, and our plan to stop them is very much a work in progress. Iraq and Syria have given sneak previews of how the US can combine, say, hackers, satellites, special operators, and airstrikes in a single offensive, but we’re not yet ready to launch such a multi-domain operation against a major power."
by Stars & Stripes | Tue, 05/15/2018 - 4:59am | 0 comments
"The Marine Corps is making sweeping changes to the structure and equipment of its ground-combat forces aimed at improving lethality and agility on the battlefield. Officially announced last week, the modifications are the result of nearly two years of study and experimentation known as Marine Corps Force 2025 and Sea Dragon 2025."
by The United States Institute of Peace | Mon, 05/14/2018 - 1:38pm | 0 comments
"More than two years after the United Nations began leading an internationally backed peace process for Libya, that effort faces severe challenges. Rival Libyan regimes still claim national authority, and battles among hundreds of militia groups continue."
by The Wall Street Journal | Mon, 05/14/2018 - 2:17am | 0 comments
“Fighters loyal to Islamic State killed four American soldiers in Niger last fall, surprising even some Members of Congress who apparently had no idea the U.S. is fighting ISIS in Africa. Last week the Pentagon published a highly critical summary of its investigation into the incident, but it should lead to military improvements not a U.S. retreat from Africa."
by SWJ Editors | Fri, 05/11/2018 - 10:15pm | 0 comments
In March, Harper’s Magazine convened a panel of former soldiers at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The participants, almost all of whom saw combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, were asked to reflect on the country’s involvement in the Middle East. This Forum is based on that panel, which was held before an audience of cadets and officers, and on a private discussion that followed.