"U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived at Bagram Air Base Friday on an unannounced visit, one year into a new White House strategy for Afghanistan. Despite a surge in violence, Mattis and other top U.S. officials insist President Donald Trump’s South Asia strategy, announced in August 2017, is helping bring the conflict to an end."
by Voice of America | Fri, 09/07/2018 - 3:44am | 0 comments
by The Cipher Brief | Fri, 09/07/2018 - 2:55am | 0 comments
“Since 2011, there have been a flurry of talks held on the subject of negotiating a political settlement to the Syrian civil war, few of which have resulted in any meaningful progress toward that end. The September 7th meeting in Tehran between the leaders of Iran, Russia, and Turkey might be the exception if it manages to postpone what appears to be a looming military assault in Idlib province.”
by The Los Angeles Times | Fri, 09/07/2018 - 1:37am | 0 comments
"Dozens of people have been killed after days of violent clashes in the suburbs of Tripoli, with rival militias fighting fierce street battles for control of the Libyan capital. The upheaval is the latest setback in the long running and highly chaotic effort to cobble together a government and restore stability after strongman Moammar Kadafi was toppled from power during the height of the “Arab Spring” in 2011."
by The Washington Post | Fri, 09/07/2018 - 1:08am | 0 comments
"President Trump, who just five months ago said he wanted “to get out” of Syria and bring U.S. troops home soon, has agreed to a new strategy that indefinitely extends the military effort there and launches a major diplomatic push to achieve American objectives, according to senior State Department officials."
by Foreign Policy | Fri, 09/07/2018 - 12:35am | 0 comments
"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is eyeing a Fox News correspondent and former U.S. Navy pilot to head the State Department’s struggling anti-propaganda office as Washington grapples with how to push back against Russian disinformation and election interference in the run-up to the U.S. midterm elections in November."
by The National Interest | Thu, 09/06/2018 - 1:40am | 0 comments
"The war in Yemen has been for some time one of the worst current man-made humanitarian disasters. Now comes a report, from the United Nations Human Rights Council and based on extensive investigations by a group of experts examining the past four years of the war, documenting not only human suffering as a byproduct of warfare but also the commission of war crimes. By far the most destructive offenses have been committed by the principal external intervenors—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—and the titular Yemeni government that they back."
by Military Times | Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:14am | 1 comment
“Blackwater founder Erik Prince thinks the time is right to try a new approach in Afghanistan, one that he says will reduce war spending to a sliver of its current levels, get most troops home and eliminate Pakistan’s influence on U.S. policy there: Let him run it.”
by The Wall Street Journal | Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:13am | 0 comments
"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. and Pakistan have still got a long way to go to reset troubled ties after a visit in which he sought Islamabad’s help in ending the war in Afghanistan. Relations have soured amid differences over Afghanistan, the presence of militants on Pakistani soil, Washington’s burgeoning relationship with India and Pakistan’s ever-closer ties with China."
by The Washington Post | Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:11am | 0 comments
"U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths has engaged in shuttle diplomacy for months, repeatedly meeting the parties to the conflict in Yemen, in a bid to bring peace to a country where thousands of civilians have died and millions are at risk of starvation. Finally, he persuaded the warring sides to come to the negotiating table."
by Center for Strategic & International Studies | Wed, 09/05/2018 - 8:40am | 0 comments
The Burke Chair at CSIS is issuing a new major new 185-page report that uses a wide range of tables and graphs to trace the history of the Gulf arms race in terms of military expenditures, arms transfers, and comparative rates of military modernization. In the process, it examines the economic burden on the Gulf states of these military expenditures and arms transfers, the recent shifts in the balance in terms of the major elements of conventional warfighting capability, and the impact of a steady shift towards options for asymmetric warfare.
by Voice of America | Wed, 09/05/2018 - 7:05am | 0 comments
The Syrian province of Idlib has been a perilous, frequently bombed sanctuary for hundreds of thousands of Syrians forced to flee homes elsewhere in their war-shattered country. But within days the largest remaining rebel enclave could be reduced to a killing zone — effectively underscoring the end of the seven-year-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
by InSight Crime | Wed, 09/05/2018 - 12:10am | 0 comments
"The FARC political party appears in disarray as it celebrates its first birthday, and the internal fracture rocking the political movement one year after its inauguration could seriously damage the ongoing implementation of peace."
by Haaretz | Wed, 09/05/2018 - 12:07am | 0 comments
"The east-west land corridor that Iran has been trying to strengthen over the past two years is now drawing more international attention. Just last weekend Reuters reported on an Iranian move to transfer medium-range missiles to Iraq, apparently as an interim area between Iran itself and its weapons stores in Syria, which are frequently bombarded by Israel."
by Agence France-Presse | Wed, 09/05/2018 - 12:04am | 0 comments
"The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey meet Friday in Tehran for a summit expected to shape the future of Idlib province, home to Syria's last major rebel bastion. The summit comes as Syrian forces look poised to launch a major assault that is raising fears of a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale not yet seen in the seven-year-old conflict."
by The Wall Street Journal | Tue, 09/04/2018 - 1:22pm | 0 comments
"The top U.S. military commander said Tuesday that a precise counterterrorism campaign—not a full-scale military offensive—was the appropriate way to tackle extremist elements in northwest Syria, as an assault by the Syrian regime and its backers appeared imminent."
by Voice of America | Tue, 09/04/2018 - 9:54am | 0 comments
"Russia on Tuesday joined Iran in expressing support for Syria's impending operation to retake control of rebel-held Idlib province, the last major opposition stronghold in the country. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Idlib is a pocket of terrorism, and that the situation there is undermining efforts to find a political resolution to the Syrian conflict."
by The South China Morning Post | Tue, 09/04/2018 - 6:58am | 0 comments
"Last August, China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti, a tiny nation in the Horn of Africa. Djibouti plays host to more foreign military facilities than anywhere else in the world, offering a key strategic location to supply regional peacekeeping and humanitarian missions and combat piracy."
by The New York Times | Tue, 09/04/2018 - 6:16am | 0 comments
"When a new bout of fighting between rival militias engulfed the Libyan capital in recent days, badly shaking the fragile United Nations-backed government, some combatants picked up rifles and rocket launchers and headed into the streets. Others logged on to Facebook."
by Stars & Stripes | Tue, 09/04/2018 - 4:51am | 0 comments
"The founder of the Haqqani Network, an insurgent group known for high-profile attacks on both military and civilian targets in Afghanistan, has died after a long illness, according to a Taliban spokesman."
by The Cipher Brief | Tue, 09/04/2018 - 4:15am | 0 comments
"With the renewed vigor of the so-called Islamic State in areas north and west of Baghdad, a residual American military presence in Iraq is necessary to keep the terrorist group from staging a comeback in areas previously considered ‘liberated.’ What is quietly happening across parts of Iraq is less of a resurgence, and more a resurfacing, of the Islamic State."
by Fox News | Tue, 09/04/2018 - 3:18am | 0 comments
"President Trump late Monday warned Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and his allies in the region not to attack rebels in the country’s Idlib province, warning that 'hundreds of thousands' could be killed. Trump’s tweet came shortly after Iran’s foreign minister said 'terrorists must be purged' from Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in the country."
by The New York Times | Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:34am | 0 comments
The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of a deadly October ambush against a Green Beret team that killed four United States soldiers. Three Defense Department officials said the plans, if approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, would also close military outposts in Tunisia, Cameroon, Libya and Kenya, as well as seven of the eight American elite counterterrorism units operating in Africa.
Russian Misinformation About 'Imminent' White Helmets Chemical Attack Could Spell Start of Idlib Seigeby The Telegraph | Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:32am | 0 comments
Speculation is increasing that Syrian government forces could be preparing to a chemical attack to “soften up” rebel defences in Idlib and break the spirit of the local population ahead of a major assault, which is expected imminently. They did so in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib last year, and before that in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta in 2013.
by The New York Times | Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:30am | 0 comments
On land, Syria’s government is mustering thousands of conscripts to bolster its depleted forces. At sea, a Russian naval flotilla is just offshore, ready to intervene with formidable firepower. In Idlib Province, millions of civilians are dreading what comes next. The warring sides in Syria’s long and merciless civil war are preparing for another brutal offensive, and this one may be the last.
by The National Interest | Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:27am | 0 comments
In the last few weeks, ISIS and al-Qaeda have joined hands to incite Muslims, especially in the West, to carry out terror attacks, including using unconventional weapons, on vital Western interests. On July 20, the al-Qaeda-affiliated Telegram channel "Distance of Month's Journey Media" published a book titled Jihad Without Borders—Attacks in the West from an Islamic Perspective. The sixty-eight-page book, underscoring controversial Islamic sources, justified jihad in the West as part of the indisputable concept of what Salafi-jihadis consider “jihad without borders.”