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 New York Times | Sat, 08/18/2018 - 6:04pm | 0 comments
"Two wars are convulsing Afghanistan, the war of blood and guts, and the war of truth and lies. Both have been amassing casualties at a remarkable rate recently."
by Voice of America | Sat, 08/18/2018 - 4:59pm | 0 comments
"Taliban insurgents unleashed a fresh wave of attacks across Afghanistan this week, overrunning at least two Afghan military bases and launching a sustained attack on a key city, in a multifront show of strength that left hundreds dead and threatened to upend recently begun peace talks with Washington. As recently as last month, it appeared efforts to end the war were gaining traction, amid reports that American and Taliban officials had held a series of initial meetings in Qatar. The talks had followed a three-day cease-fire in June between the Taliban, the U.S. and the Afghan government."
by Voice of America | Sat, 08/18/2018 - 3:29pm | 0 comments
"The fugitive Taliban leader renewed his call Saturday for direct talks with the United States, dismissing as impractical and unacceptable 'propositions' he asserted Washington has offered to promote a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan. Malawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, in a message to his followers ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid, has for the first time offered some details of a recent 'preliminary' meeting between Taliban and American officials."
by SWJ Editors | Sat, 08/18/2018 - 12:21am | 0 comments
"A spokesperson for the National Security Council responded to a proposition by Erik Prince, the Blackwater founder and ally to President Trump, to send a small, privatized force to fight on behalf of the United States in Afghanistan. Prince had claimed that this strategy would save more than $52 billion. 'No such proposal from Erik Prince is under consideration. The president adopted the South Asia strategy after months of deliberation among his key national security advisors,' the spokesperson said in a Friday statement to CBS News."
by The Washington Post | Sat, 08/18/2018 - 12:15am | 1 comment
“One year ago, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced cuts of roughly $570 million to the U.N. peacekeeping budget — of which the United States would have shouldered 28 percent, or $160 million. This year, the budget decreased further as some missions were shuttered, with the United States again saving about the same amount as last year. This is part of a general reduction in U.S. expenditures abroad, including a call to slash the foreign aid budget by a third, which was later thwarted by Congress. Now my colleagues report that the Trump administration is using other means to take back more than $3 billion in already approved foreign aid in an effort to curb such spending.”
by Taylor & Francis Group: Small Wars & Insurgencies | Sat, 08/18/2018 - 12:12am | 0 comments
"The malaise that the United States, and the West, have experienced in recent campaigns stems in large part from unclear thinking about war, its political essence, and the strategies needed to join the two. Instead, analysis and response are predicated on entrenched theoretical concepts with limited practical utility. The inadequacy of understanding has spawned new, and not so new, terms to capture unanticipated trends, starting with the re-discovery of “insurgency” and “counterinsurgency” and leading to discussion of “hybrid threats” and “gray-zone” operations."
by The Wall Street Journal | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 7:45pm | 0 comments
“Syria’s last opposition stronghold is bracing for a regime military offensive, after airstrikes and shelling killed dozens there in recent days and the United Nations warned of a possible humanitarian disaster. Syrian regime airstrikes and artillery attacks have pounded parts of the northwestern province of Idlib and surrounding areas in the past week, killing and injuring scores of civilians, according to rebels there and the White Helmets. Shelling continued Friday on at least one town in Idlib province, according to activists.”
by The Los Angeles Times | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 7:01pm | 0 comments
"Making good on President Trump’s stated desire to reduce the U.S. role in Syria, the State Department announced Friday it was eliminating $230 million in funding for 'stabilization' projects in the war-ravaged country. The slack will be made up by donations from other countries who have agreed to provide $300 million, State Department officials told reporters. One-third of that money will come from Saudi Arabia."
by Reuters | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 7:42am | 0 comments
"The 1st SFAB was formed last year as a new force of experienced advisers, to focus U.S. army training and support for Afghan troops and, in future, for other foreign armies. It deployed to Afghanistan in March, putting U.S. advisers, previously largely restricted to Corps headquarters, together with front-line brigades and battalions for the first time since most international forces left in 2014."
by Voice of America | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 5:17am | 0 comments
"Afghan officials claim that dozens of Pakistani nationals were among more than 400 militants killed in fierce battles in southeastern Ghazni province in the past several days. The Afghan Ministry of Defense also said it confirmed the presence of Pakistani nationals fighting in Ghazni province, but did not give details pending an investigation. Pakistani officials reject the Afghan government's allegations that Pakistani nationals were fighting alongside the Taliban against Afghan government forces."
by Time Magazine | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 5:15am | 0 comments
"For years, Syria’s defeated rebels have fled to the northern territory of Idlib, which was established as a “de-escalation zone” guaranteed by Turkey, Russia and Iran. As the government retook areas like Aleppo and eastern Ghouta, surrendering fighters and their families were sent to Idlib under a deal negotiated by the regime’s ally Russia. Now it is the last major opposition-held region in the country–and the last major obstacle to President Bashar Assad declaring victory. His regime is sending tanks north and has scaled up air attacks in preparation for what could be the final battle in this seven-year-long civil war."
by National Defense University Press | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 5:13am | 0 comments
Continue on for links to all the articles and book reviews in the latest issue of JFQ.
by The Washington Post | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 5:11am | 0 comments
"The Trump administration has moved to give the military more latitude to conduct offensive cyber operations against American adversaries, continuing an effort begun last year to grant commanders more leeway to make battlefield decisions. President Trump on Wednesday signed an order delegating authority to the defense secretary to use cyber tools and techniques to disrupt or degrade an adversary’s network or choke off attacks underway, loosening rules established under the Obama administration."
by Voice of America | Thu, 08/16/2018 - 8:33am | 0 comments
"Destroying the Islamic State is proving more difficult than the United States and its allies envisioned, with the most recent intelligence assessments warning that the self-declared caliphate is well-positioned to rise again. For months, U.S. and coalition officials have talked about how the combination of air power and partner forces on the ground cleared the IS terror group, also known as ISIS or Daesh, from about 98 percent of the territory it once held in Syria and Iraq."
by The Washington Post | Thu, 08/16/2018 - 1:11am | 0 comments
"Lawmakers increased pressure on the Trump administration over the war in Yemen this week after an airstrike killed dozens of children, urging officials to explain and possibly adjust U.S. support for nations waging war against rebels there. Democratic members of the House and Senate have sent three separate letters in the past three days to officials at the Defense and State departments and in the intelligence community, asking for an accounting of American involvement in a conflict that critics say has exposed the U.S. government to claims of responsibility for thousands of civilian deaths."
by Defense One | Thu, 08/16/2018 - 12:29am | 0 comments
“Nearly a year since the Trump administration rolled out its South Asia strategy, carnage in Afghanistan continues even as negotiations for peace inches ahead. Taken individually, each development is an embarrassing defeat for the Afghan government and its Western supporters; taken together, the setbacks, especially the events in Ghazni, challenge the U.S. and Afghan government’s narrative of progress in the conflict.”
by The National Interest | Thu, 08/16/2018 - 12:27am | 0 comments
"A recent investigation by the Associated Press revealed that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) may have been bought off by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the Yemeni forces they back. The investigation cites instances of deals having been made between AQAP, the UAE, and their proxy forces."
by Voice of America | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 8:55pm | 0 comments
"Following days of relentless attacks and fierce fighting in various parts of the country, a suicide attack Wednesday on an educational institution in Kabul killed almost 50 people, testing Afghan security forces. The blast in Mowoud Academy, in a Shiite-dominated part of town, happened when students were taking a university entrance examination. Afghan Taliban have denied responsibility. Previous attacks on Shiites in Kabul have been claimed by Islamic State. Earlier in the day, the Taliban raided a military base in Baghlan, in northern Afghanistan, killing 40 security personnel."
by The Wall Street Journal | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 8:17pm | 0 comments
“A blast that killed scores of students preparing here for their university entrance examinations capped an extraordinary week of violence in Afghanistan, undermining what the U.S. and Afghan governments had considered real prospects for an imminent cease-fire and a new round of peace talks with the Taliban.”
by The New York Times | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 9:55am | 0 comments
"Taliban insurgents overran an Afghan Army base and a police checkpoint in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 39 soldiers and police officers, officials said, and a suicide bomber in the capital killed at least 25 people in a classroom. Hundreds of Taliban fighters carried out the predawn attacks on two units of Afghan forces in the Baghlan-e-Markazi District of Baghlan Province."
by The Washington Post | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 2:24am | 0 comments
“Statistics released this month by the University of Maryland suggest that 2017 was the third consecutive year that the number of terrorist attacks around the world — and the deaths caused by them — had dropped. So far, 2018 looks on track to be lower still. The university’s Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) program found there were 10,900 terrorist attacks around the world last year, which killed a total of 26,400 people, including perpetrators. That was a drop from 2016, which was in turn a drop from 2015. Right now, the number of terrorist attacks and deaths from terrorism appears to have peaked in 2014, when there were nearly 17,000 attacks and more than 45,000 victims.”
by Voice of America | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 1:48am | 0 comments
Despite major attacks by the Taliban in various provinces of Afghanistan including southeastern Ghazni province in recent days, the Afghan government is still considering attempting a possible cease-fire with insurgents ahead of the Eid holidays, a government spokesperson told VOA.
by Stars & Stripes | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 12:39am | 0 comments
The Islamic State problem in Iraq and Syria is “far from over” and U.S. and coalition forces are not letting up on efforts to neutralize ISIS fighters from cities where they still have strongholds, military officials said Tuesday. “There is still a lot of work to be done both militarily and on civilian stabilization efforts in both countries,” said Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition fight against ISIS. “Make no mistake - the coalition is not talking victory or taking our foot off the gas in working with our partners.”
by The Daily Beast | Tue, 08/14/2018 - 8:28pm | 0 comments
"Talks need to have a plan and lead to a conclusion, but it’s far from clear the U.S. government has a clear idea what the goal should be, and how it should be reached. Some ideas."
by The Washington Post | Tue, 08/14/2018 - 11:06am | 0 comments
“In recent days, two wars have raged over the Afghan city of Ghazni. One is a shooting war, in which hundreds of Taliban insurgents overran the eastern city of 270,000, burned buildings, left at least 120 security forces and civilians dead, and sent families fleeing across fields to safety... The other is a propaganda war, in which the Taliban claimed to have shut down the nearby highway, killed hundreds of government troops and seized strategic official facilities, even as Afghan and U.S. officials repeatedly asserted that the city was under government control and the insurgents were being systematically cleared out.”