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 The Wall Street Journal | Sat, 07/28/2018 - 11:56am | 0 comments
"By most objective measures, President Donald Trump’s year-old strategy for ending the war in Afghanistan has produced few positive results. American officials say, though, the hard numbers don’t tell the full story: After 17 years of fighting, a new window of opportunity has opened for historic peace talks that could bring the war to an end."
by Voice of America, by The New York Times | Sat, 07/28/2018 - 11:45am | 0 comments
The Taliban has confirmed that it held direct talks with the United States in Qatar this week on finding a negotiated end to the 17-year war in Afghanistan.
by The Washington Post | Sat, 07/28/2018 - 1:15am | 0 comments
"The war is seven years old. Hundreds of thousands are dead, millions displaced. How has this bloody war lasted so long? How has Assad survived several moments, especially early on, in which his rule appeared doomed? And what does this mean for other civil conflicts?"
by Military Times | Sat, 07/28/2018 - 1:04am | 0 comments
"Syrian President Bashar Al Assad wants a long-term Russian military presence in his homeland, not just to help with counter-terrorism operations, but also to provide a balance against other powers."
by The Daily Maverick | Sat, 07/28/2018 - 12:28am | 0 comments
"Security assistance to Africa can but only fail if it’s too diffuse, does not take into account widening differences between African states, and does not seek to create a sense of common strategic purpose between the donor and the recipient."
by The National Interest | Fri, 07/27/2018 - 12:38am | 0 comments
"The Taliban are not losing on the battlefield. Though American troop levels are up 25 percent since 2016 and we are dropping more bombs in the country than at any time since 2013, the war remains in a stalemate. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction recently concluded that 43 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are under Taliban control or 'contested,' a number unchanged since November 2016."
by The Washington Post | Thu, 07/26/2018 - 10:09pm | 0 comments
"The United States will soon begin its first directly funded rebuilding projects for Iraqi Christian and Yazidi communities devastated by Islamic State militants, a U.S. official said Thursday."
by Stratfor | Thu, 07/26/2018 - 9:10pm | 0 comments
Urban warfare is increasingly being recognized as a feature of contemporary and future war. Indeed, successfully negotiating urban operations is an imperative as the “era of urban warfare is already here.” This now and future operational space is fraught with challenges as described in the previous essays in this series.
by Voice of America | Thu, 07/26/2018 - 8:56pm | 0 comments
The U.S.-led coalition Thursday acknowledged the deaths of 1,059 civilians from its aerial bombings against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. The coalition, which has run a military campaign against IS's self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria through Operation Inherent Resolve, said its jet fighters conducted 29,826 strikes between August 2014 and June of this year.
by NBC News | Thu, 07/26/2018 - 3:55pm | 0 comments
"The watchdog charged with tracking government spending in Afghanistan says the United States has wasted $15.5 billion there over 11 years, NBC News reported. The figure is its first estimate of the total amount of money wasted there, but they say that figure is likely "only a portion." In response to a request from three congressmen in 2017, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) began tallying the waste and fraud in the U.S. effort to rebuild the country."
by The New York Times | Thu, 07/26/2018 - 12:36am | 0 comments
“Researchers have found that a significant portion of the people who have carried out acts of terror in the Islamic State’s name suffered from mental disorders. Close to a third of the 76 individuals involved in 55 attacks cited in a 2017 study by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center were found to have a history of psychological instability.”
by Voice of America | Wed, 07/25/2018 - 8:09pm | 0 comments
The U.S. base near southern Syria’s al-Tanf border crossing was set up to train local Syrians to fight Islamic State militants, but it also serves as a counterweight to Iranian activities in the war-torn country, U.S. officials and experts tell VOA.
by The United States Institute of Peace | Wed, 07/25/2018 - 2:10pm | 0 comments
"The most significant danger is that hostilities between Israel and Iran escalate further and the conflict spreads from Syria into Lebanon—or even beyond—to become a more complex regional conflagration. Neither country may be interested in all-out war. Yet the prospect of miscalculation is growing as both sides continue to probe and test each other."
by The Christian Science Monitor | Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:45pm | 0 comments
Across the continent, governments have increasingly targeted social media as a way to bring unruly dissenters to heel. In Tanzania, for instance, a recently introduced law slaps a registration fee of about $900 on bloggers and online forums. A 2016 law in Rwanda makes it illegal to use a digital device to cause “annoyance, inconvenience, or needless anxiety,” and Egypt’s government recently announced a law allowing it to block any social media users with more than 5,000 followers if they disseminate “fake news.”
by SWJ Editors | Tue, 07/24/2018 - 10:04pm | 0 comments
ICSR report by Joana Cook and Gina Vale - "This report is the first to map out in detail the diverse trajectories of IS foreign affiliates after the fall of the ‘caliphate’: from those who were killed in Syria and Iraq; executed by IS from within their own ranks; detained by regional authorities; involved in detainee exchanges; repatriated to their home nations; in third-party countries; or whose status is simply unknown."
by RAND Corporation | Tue, 07/24/2018 - 8:36pm | 0 comments
"American combat experiences since 2001 have revealed stunning military capabilities and repeated tactical successes. Yet the United States has failed to achieve acceptable and durable political arrangements that serve and protect its interests, suggesting that there are fundamental flaws in its approach to modern warfare."
by Combating Terrorism Center at West Point | Tue, 07/24/2018 - 12:25pm | 0 comments
This CTC report finds a group that is struggling to produce propaganda as it used to do only a short time ago, but one that retains the capacity to resurge in an effort to recapture the headlines.
by Voice of America | Tue, 07/24/2018 - 1:33am | 1 comment
Retired Afghan national security forces, both from the national army and from the national police, would be recruited as part of a new Afghan regional force to provide security for areas retaken from Islamic State militants and Taliban insurgents, an Afghan official told VOA.
by Voice of America | Tue, 07/24/2018 - 12:37am | 0 comments
President Donald Trump says he's "not at all" worried his Sunday night tweet will provoke Iran. The president replied to a reporter on the White House South Lawn on Monday afternoon when asked about his all-capital-letters tweet in which he sharply warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to "never threaten the United States" or the Islamic Republic would suffer historical consequences.
by SWJ Editors | Mon, 07/23/2018 - 5:50pm | 0 comments
Via the Globe & Mail - “After years of bloody conflict between FARC and government forces, two former fighters are trying to find peace as civilians.”
by USNI News | Mon, 07/23/2018 - 5:17am | 0 comments
"Despite better cooperation between the Pakistani and Afghan military in taking on the Taliban and its allies, Islamabad needs to press the Taliban harder to come to the negotiating table, the commander of U.S. Central Command said on Thursday."
by Voice of America | Sun, 07/22/2018 - 12:11am | 0 comments
The Afghan government is mulling over whether to announce another cease-fire with the Taliban during next month’s Eid holiday, a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Saturday.
by Army Times | Fri, 07/20/2018 - 10:34pm | 0 comments
Army senior leaders have made it clear that the Army will begin preparing for operations in dense urban areas. The chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Mark Milley, has said, "In the future, I can say with very high degrees of confidence, the American Army is probably going to be fighting in urban areas,” and with readiness as his number one priority, Milley believes the Army “need[s] to man, organize, train and equip the force for operations in urban areas, highly dense urban areas."
by The New York Times | Fri, 07/20/2018 - 9:45pm | 1 comment
"A Pentagon investigation into the death of an American soldier in Afghanistan is looking at whether an Army brigade that is at the center of the Trump administration’s new war strategy had followed proper security procedures designed to protect United States troops from insider attacks by Afghan forces they train."
by Associated Press | Fri, 07/20/2018 - 12:57am | 0 comments
“The general overseeing U.S. military operations in Afghanistan said Thursday he is taking a fresh look at the war strategy President Donald Trump announced nearly a year ago. Gen. Joseph Votel said his assessment is designed to consider adjustments that could improve prospects for achieving the goal of Afghan government peace negotiations with the Taliban”