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 Jamestown Foundation | Tue, 04/24/2018 - 12:06am | 0 comments
Continue on for short summaries and links to all the briefs and articles in the latest issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor.
by Military Times | Mon, 04/23/2018 - 6:06pm | 0 comments
"ISIS and al-Qaida are regrouping in war-torn Libya as reports indicate Russians are pushing a military presence into the years-long civil war and some members of Congress want to know what the United States is doing about it. Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on the status of Libya last week, on the same day that militants detonated a car bomb on the convoy of the chief of staff to the general who heads one of the two major armies vying for control of the country."
by Agence France-Presse | Mon, 04/23/2018 - 4:30am | 0 comments
"Hundreds of grieving Afghans buried their loved ones in Kabul on Monday amid growing anger over a suicide attack on a voter registration centre that killed 57 people including children and wounded over 100. The bomber blew himself up on Sunday morning in a large crowd queueing to collect national ID certificates so they could register to vote in long-delayed legislative elections scheduled for October."
by Australian Army Research Papers | Mon, 04/23/2018 - 2:52am | 1 comment
"As the Peloponnesian Wars demonstrated, the projection of power onto mainland coastlines or islands is not a new concept. This type of operation combining land forces launched from the sea would later be codified and developed into the concept of amphibious operations. Likewise, the need to besiege, capture or reduce cities has long been a staple of warfare, as cities were recognised as prized hubs of wealth, population or political prestige. Yet, if the political and strategic benefits of both types of operations were recognised by strategists and decision-makers, the associated difficulties and costs in planning and executing such operations were also recognised by those tasked to conduct them. Hence, through military history, two truisms have come to the fore: that amphibious operations are the most complicated operations to resource and plan and that urban operations are meat grinder affairs exacting a terrible toll in time, blood and treasure. Many military thinkers suggest that amphibious operations, difficult at the best of times, are no longer feasible in the modern age, while others have long warned that fighting in the cities must be avoided at all cost."
by The Washington Post | Sun, 04/22/2018 - 2:22pm | 0 comments
"Junrey Manlicayan, a member of the Banwaon tribe, voted for President Rodrigo Duterte. He believed that Duterte, a fellow native of Mindanao island, understood the plight of indigenous communities like his, and that he could deliver on his promise to negotiate an end to the war with communist insurgents that has dragged on for 49 years. But after Duterte declared martial law on Mindanao last year and peace talks fell apart, Manlicayan and many other indigenous Filipinos in this region bitterly regret giving him their support in the 2016 election.'
by The New York Times | Sun, 04/22/2018 - 12:19pm | 0 comments
"Rising from a barren stretch of African scrubland, a half-finished drone base represents the newest front line in America’s global shadow war. At its center, hundreds of Air Force personnel are feverishly working to complete a $110 million airfield that, when finished in the coming months, will be used to stalk or strike extremists deep into West and North Africa, a region where most Americans have no idea the country is fighting."
by Stars & Stripes | Sat, 04/21/2018 - 8:58pm | 0 comments
"Since 2005, U.S. special operations forces have been conducting the Flintlock exercise in western Africa. Yet this is the first year when the effort has focused on developing higher level command and control capabilities of the militaries in the region, where local forces are involved in a battle against militant groups that commanders say has gained momentum in recent years. The transition from training centered on small unit combat skills to advising higher level teams coincides with shifts in how missions involving U.S. troops in Niger will be conducted."
by The New York Times | Sat, 04/21/2018 - 1:14pm | 0 comments
"We came to this house to try to understand the forces of social disruption that have followed Facebook’s rapid expansion in the developing world, whose markets represent the company’s financial future. For months, we had been tracking riots and lynchings around the world linked to misinformation and hate speech on Facebook, which pushes whatever content keeps users on the site longest — a potentially damaging practice in countries with weak institutions."
by Association of the United States Army | Sat, 04/21/2018 - 12:23pm | 0 comments
The following quickly scans Operation Inherent Resolve’s Battle of Mosul and looks at how the allure of precision warfare, the physical embodiment of the vampire fallacy, resulted in a pulverized city and discredits the idea of precision warfare in urban environments.
by Voice of America | Fri, 04/20/2018 - 10:30pm | 0 comments
"As Iraq approaches an important election to choose a new parliament and government, the Islamic State terror group has vowed to carry out attacks against candidates running for office. Referencing the Jordanian radical Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's 2005 call for a 'bitter war' on Iraq's parliamentary elections at the time, the group said Friday that candidates and voters who participated in the elections would be considered infidels and outside Islam."
by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction | Thu, 04/19/2018 - 5:23pm | 0 comments
Today, SIGAR released its latest lessons learned report, “Private Sector Development and Economic Growth: Lessons from the U.S. experience in Afghanistan." Inspector General John F. Sopko spoke at a launch event hosted by the United States Institute of Peace. Continue on for a summary of the report, a link to the full report, and a link to the USIP webcast of today’s event.
by SWJ Editors | Thu, 04/19/2018 - 2:09pm | 0 comments
The leak of the “Pentagon Papers” by RAND analyst Daniel Ellsberg and subsequent coverage by “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post” forever changed how America viewed the nation’s small wars. SWJ is looking for reviews of Steven Spielberg’s new movie “The Post”. Email dave (at) if interested. I saw the movie last night – thumbs up on my part.
by The New York Times | Thu, 04/19/2018 - 1:31pm | 0 comments
A new audio series following Rukmini Callimachi as she reports on the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul. New York Times subscribers get early access to each episode.
by The Wall Street Journal | Wed, 04/18/2018 - 2:23pm | 0 comments
"A new and dangerous extremist group spawned from al Qaeda is consolidating power in northwestern Syria, while the U.S. has focused on fighting remnants of Islamic State elsewhere in the country and striking the Assad regime’s chemical-weapons facilities. Since surfacing as the country’s most potent militant group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has battled Western-backed rebel groups to extend its control across Idlib province, enforcing its version of Shariah and raising funds by taxing flows of people and goods."
by Foreign Policy | Tue, 04/17/2018 - 6:54pm | 0 comments
"Social media has emerged as a key battleground in the U.S. and Russian media campaign to promote their sharply divergent accounts of chemical weapons in Syria. The intelligence assessments presented over the weekend by the United States and France to justify missiles strikes against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb relied to an unusual degree on information gleaned from open source material and social media."
by DoD News | Tue, 04/17/2018 - 5:18pm | 0 comments
Iran is exploiting the situation in Yemen, arming opponents of the internationally recognized government and using the country as a "test bed" for malign activities, a top Defense Department official told lawmakers today. The United States, as Defense Secretary James N. Mattis has said, supports efforts for a United Nations-brokered settlement to the conflict, Robert S. Karem, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy in Yemen. The conflict, which began more than three years ago, threatens regional security and U.S. national security interests, which include the flow of commerce in the Red Sea, he said.
by The Washington Post | Tue, 04/17/2018 - 4:52pm | 0 comments
"Speaking alongside the flag-draped coffin of a police officer killed in a terrorist attack in southern France, President Emmanuel Macron last month lay blame on “underground Islamism” and those who “indoctrinate on our soil and corrupt daily.” The attack added further urgency to a project already in the works: Macron has embarked on a controversial quest to restructure Islam in France — with the goal of integration but also preventing radicalization."
by DoD News | Tue, 04/17/2018 - 4:42pm | 0 comments
Continue on for a video of today's briefing at the Pentagon.
by Voice of America | Tue, 04/17/2018 - 1:18pm | 0 comments
Some 900 National Guard troops are deploying to the U.S.-Mexico border to support Border Patrol operations, but they will not perform any law enforcement functions while on the White House-ordered assignment, Homeland Security officials said Monday. The majority of the military members who have arrived or are headed to the border are National Guard troops from Texas, with roughly 650. In Arizona, there will be approximately 250, and in New Mexico, about 60. California on Monday said it would no longer allow its National Guard troops to fulfill the mission as requested by the Department of Defense.
by The Wall Street Journal | Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:12pm | 0 comments
"Under plan, troops would replace American military contingent after ISIS defeat and help secure country’s north; proposal faces challenges. The Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria and help stabilize the northeastern part of the country after the defeat of Islamic State, U.S. officials said."
by DoD News | Mon, 04/16/2018 - 7:52pm | 0 comments
National Guard troops are deploying to the U.S. border with Mexico to work in support functions for the Department of Homeland Security, including in aviation, operational and infrastructure missions, officials from the departments of Defense and Homeland Security told reporters here today. The Defense Department will provide DHS with up to 4,000 National Guard troops to support the April 4 presidential memorandum authorizing the enhanced presence along the southwest border, said Robert G. Salesses, deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense integration and defense support of civil authorities. The troops will work only in operational support missions, he said, explaining their mission will not include roles in which they would interact with migrants or other people detained by DHS.
by Defense One | Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:48pm | 1 comment
"More nations should consider creating police-cum-military forces for hybrid stabilization missions. They are a domestic police force, but they are doing their jobs in countries hundreds and thousands of miles from home: Afghanistan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Palestine. They get so many invitations — pleas, really — from countries emerging from conflict, or descending into it, that they must turn some down. They are Italy’s Carabinieri, and their unusual mix of law-enforcement talent and military capability may often be a better answer than traditional troops to today’s not-quite-wars."
by NBC News | Mon, 04/16/2018 - 2:37pm | 0 comments
... "With their election interference and ongoing manipulation of social media platforms like Twitter, the Russians have been regularly outfoxing America in the information realm, U.S. intelligence officials acknowledge. Who turned the tables this time? Not the White House, the State Department or the CIA. The recordings were published by a U.S.-government-funded website called, whose reporter says she got them from a source close to the Kremlin. Polygraph is a relatively new fact-checking arm of an obscure, diminutive media effort by the U.S. to highlight Russian misdeeds and counter Russian propaganda...."
by Bloomberg News | Mon, 04/16/2018 - 5:19am | 0 comments
"The number of countries involved in festering Middle East conflicts most closely resembles the situation before World War I. That's frightening. Some strategic games are too complex to be readily modeled, and when we see such games in the real world that’s exactly when we should be the most worried. That’s my immediate reaction to the situation in Syria and environs."
by The Wall Street Journal | Mon, 04/16/2018 - 12:13am | 0 comments
"President Donald Trump deferred to his Pentagon chief’s caution and tempered his preference for a more robust attack on Syria over allegations it used deadly gas on civilians, the first hints at the direction of his revamped national-security team. The decision late last week, detailed by people familiar with the process, marked the first substantive test of the group now that John Bolton is serving as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser."