17 November 2014


Gwynne Dyer

“The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some say that it has already begun,” said Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union and the man who inadvertently administered a mercy killing to communism in Europe. He’s 83 years old, he played a leading role in ending the last Cold War, and he’s practically a secular saint. Surely he knows what he’s talking about.

No he doesn’t. Not only has this new Cold War not begun already, but it’s hard to see how you could get it going even if you tried. The raw material for such an enterprise is simply unavailable. You can summon the ghosts of history all you want, but they are dead and they can’t hear you.

Gorbachev was speaking in Berlin, now once again the capital of a united Germany, on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Even he would agree that it turned out to be, on balance, a good thing, but he is a great deal more ambivalent about the collapse of European communism and the dismantling of the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev was and is a romantic, and he undoubtedly agrees with his rather less cuddly successor as president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, that the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.” So he ends up defending Putin’s actions and blaming the United States of America and Nato for this alleged drift into a new Cold War.

It’s all nonsense. Nothing could have saved the old Soviet Union. It was the last of the European empires to fall, mainly because it was land-based rather than sea-based, but only half its population was Russian. When it finally dissolved, 15 different nations emerged from the wreckage, and its collapse was no greater a loss to civilization than the fall of the British or French empires.

Local problem

The Wagah attack and the big picture

D. Suba Chandran

The Wagah post is a soft target for TTP. The attack signals far-reaching implications for the government of Pakistan. —Reuters

THE suicide attack in Wagah, a few metres across the border is a new development with far- reaching implications for Pakistan, more than Indo-Pak relations. It signifies new emerging trends across the western borders of India. It is important to analyse the big picture evolving within Pakistan. Until now, two questions have been the primary focus in the media until now – who and why Wagah? The larger question to be addressed is: What does the attack in Wagah mean, along with similar high-profile attacks recently in Karachi and Peshawar. Since the Pakistani army is engaged in operation Zarb-e-Azb, there has been militant retaliation elsewhere. Are the militants on the run? Are they re-emerging and choosing targets outside the FATA and taking the war into the mainland?

The impact of Zarb-e-Azb

First and foremost, the attack in Wagah, when seen with other high-profile attacks elsewhere in Karachi and Peshawar highlights the impact and fallout of Zarb-e-Azb. One of the primary reasons for the attack apears retaliatory. The argument that the attack was aimed at disrupting the India-Pakistan dialogue process appears unconvincing. The India-Pakbilateral relations are already troubled.

Military strikes in the FATA seem to have only disrupted and displaced the TTP framework, instead of dismantling it. A simple explanation is the military offensive in FATA is focussed primarily on North Wazirsitan, that too a few tehsils. Military operations do not cover the entire tribal regions. As a result, as the Afghan Taliban did when the US started the war on terrorism post-9/11, the Pakistani Taliban seems to have disappeared instead of fighting back. Also, the TTP today has multiple factions; the military operations in North Waziristan target primarily the Mehsud fighters of the TTP, along with few groups allied with the Al-Qaida, primarily the Uzbeks. Factions of the TTP, are emerging elsewhere and choosing their own time and target to retaliate. The high-profile attack on the airport in Karachi earlier, is a part of this retaliation. The Wagah post, for the TTP, is a soft target. Given the nature of crowd assembling every day, it would be easier for a suicide bomber to infiltrate and inflict maximum impact. And that is precisely what the TTP bomber did, exploding himself and killing more than 60 people.

Pakistan’s duplicity on war against terror The Pentagon report confirms independently that Pakistan is still conducting a proxy war against India as well as another one against Afghanistan in order to control that country.

Raj Kadyan

Army jawans near the house in Chenigam, south Kashmir. LeT miltants were hiding here

THE Pentagon has recently submitted a report to the US Congress, exposing the double game of Pakistan on its proclaimed support to the war on terrorism. While professing support to the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, it has been sabotaging their efforts to tame militancy in that region. The US has pumped billions of dollars into Pakistan to solicit its support in combating the Taliban. The Pentagon's assertion of Pakistan using proxy forces to counter India's superior military is a mere reiteration of what India in particular, and the world in general, have known all along.

 Pakistan has been actively fighting a proxy war in Kashmir for the last 25 years. The report from the US, which has been supportive of Pakistan, should remove all doubts about Pakistan’s perfidy even among the sceptics. Apart from the diplomatic and political support that Pakistan officially claims it provides to the “freedom struggle”, there is ample evidence that it has been training, arming, and funding the militants to continue “bleeding India to death.”

The report confirms independently that Pakistan is still conducting a proxy war against India and Afghanistan. Besides the content, the timing of the report too is significant. The US had known this all along, but did not make it public due to its interests. During its Afghanistan campaign, the US needed Pakistan’s roads for supplies to its troops. The support of ISI, the mother board of all terror networks, was needed too.

Pakistan was providing intelligence for drone strikes in FATA, while condemning them as violation of its sovereignty. Despite being paid handsomely for these services, Pakistan did not fulfil its part of the bargain. The Afghan Taliban are still being hosted in Pakistan. The Haqqani network, a Pakistani proxy for destabilising Afghanistan, has prospered. Not a single member of that group, or of the India-specific LeT, has ever been arrested or killed by the Pakistani forces so far, even in the much-touted Zarb-e-Azb.

Gulf stability and the oil supply scenario

Talmiz Ahmad
November 17, 2014

Given that oil has been central to West Asian affairs, it is not surprising that oil-related developments should be examined in terms of their economic and political implications in the fraught environment that prevails in the region

West Asia has dominated world headlines over the last few years due to the eruptions related to the Arab Spring, conflicts in Iraq and Syria, and, more recently, by the challenges posed by the “Islamic State” to regional state order. Now, over the last few weeks, a new source of uncertainty has emerged: the dramatic fall in oil prices. Given that oil has been central to West Asian affairs as the bedrock of domestic politics and the source of regional competitions and external interventions, it is not surprising that these oil-related developments should be scrutinised in terms of their economic and political implications in the fraught environment that prevails in the region.

The plunge in oil prices has been so swift and unexpected that most observers have been caught by surprise. In mid-June, oil prices were about $115 per barrel, having been over $110 for the previous year and over $100 for the last three years. They fell to $102 in August and to $98 in September. In October, prices plunged to below $85 per barrel, while in early November they were at $80, the lowest level in four years, having fallen 30 per cent since June.Demand-supply mismatch

With every decline, there were expectations that Saudi Arabia would play its traditional role as “swing producer” and cut production; but this failed to happen. This was surprising since almost all major oil producers have become dependent on high prices, with break-even levels usually over $90 per barrel to meet their ever-increasing fiscal obligations. The main explanation for this situation is that world markets are flush with supplies for which there are not enough consumers. The global economic slowdown is the principal culprit: with China’s national growth projected at around seven per cent per year, increase in oil demand is negligible. Europe is also not expected to contribute to increased demand due to its sluggish growth.

Continent of the Islamic State

Vijay Prashad
November 17, 2014

APFATAL ATTRACTION: “Force is essential to the Islamic State, but so is the charisma of their efforts in Iraq and Syria.” Picture shows Syrian Kurds gesturing from behind the barbed wire fence that marks the Turkey-Syria border on the outskirts of Kobani, as they wait for animal food delivered from Turkey.

The tectonic shifts that continue to create the Islamic State are to be found in the harsh repression of ordinary grievances, whether against corruption or for better wages 

Saved from the wrath of a U.S. air strike on November 8 near Mosul, Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Caliph of the Islamic State, returned less than a week later with a defiant audio message. He called upon his soldiers to “erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere.” The sharpest words were for the U.S., which al-Baghdadi said was “terrified, weak and powerless.” The aerial bombing had accomplished little, and the U.S. is “unable to send ground forces to fight the mujahideen.” Al-Baghdadi took the opportunity to announce that his Islamic State (IS) has accepted the oath of loyalty (bay’ah) of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis of Egypt, of the al-Qaeda operation in Yemen and of the city of Derna in Libya. Al-Baghdadi’s was a terrifying sermon of triumph — “divide their gatherings, split their body, dismember them completely.” Out of northern Iraq and Syria, the IS spills over into the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.

As al-Baghdidi released his audio message, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel went before the U.S. Congress to brief them on the U.S. mission in Iraq and Syria. After 130 air strikes, Mr. Hagel said, the IS remains a “serious threat” to the U.S. He said that the U.S. knew that the IS would “adapt, they will adjust by manoeuvring in smaller groups, sometimes making it more difficult to identify targets, hiding large equipment and changing their communication methods.” Jihadi groups had in recent years described their tactics with the colourful phrase, “we are like serpents amongst the rocks,” slithering here and there, on the move. Aerial bombardment is insufficient against such canny tactics. Mr. Hagel said that the U.S. is unwilling to commit ground troops into the morass of northern Syria.True to its name

Turning Up the Heat on a Hot India

NOVEMBER 14, 2014

The U.S.-China climate deal has all eyes on India. But is New Delhi ready to commit to emissions targets?

This week's landmark agreement by the United States and the People's Republic of China proposing aggressive measures on carbon emissions sends an undeniably strong signal to the rest of the world. The United States was able to ratchet up its goals for absolute emissions cuts, and China -- for the first time -- formally committed to a peak emissions target.

While the action on its own isn't enough to stick to the 2-degree Celsius limit agreed upon at the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks, the joint announcement still sets an ambitious agenda in the run-up to the 2015United Nations negotiations in Paris. China and the United States are the world's first- and second-biggest emitters of carbon dioxide in absolute terms, and their deal puts the global community on notice that there is a renewed seriousness behind national contributions to arresting climate change.

Their progress now leaves India, the third-largest emitter, in an awkward situation if it too cannot commit to more aggressive action. Righting India's energy mix is no small challenge. Nearly half of its total energy consumption comes from coal, according to analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As observers like the Council on Foreign Relations' Michael Levi have noted, that consumption is forecast to grow, even with the impressive strides India has made in the renewables and nuclear sector in an all-out effort to deliver on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise to power every Indian home by 2022.

How India can reclaim leverage over the Tibet issue

Brahma Chellaney, Mint
November 12, 2014

Despite booming two-way trade, India-China strategic discord and rivalry is sharpening. At the core of their divide is Tibet, an issue that fuels territorial disputes, border tensions and water feuds.

Beijing says Tibet is a core issue for China. In truth, Tibet is the core issue in Beijing’s relations with countries like India, Nepal and Bhutan that traditionally did not have a common border with China. These countries became China’s neighbours after it annexed Tibet, which, after waves of genocide since the 1950s, now faces ecocide.

China itself highlights Tibet as the core issue with India by laying claim to Indian territories on the basis of purported Tibetan religious or tutelary links, rather than any professed Han Chinese connection. Indeed, ever since China gobbled up the historical buffer with India, Tibet has remained the core issue.

The latest reminder of this reality came when President Xi Jinping brought Chinese incursions across the Indo-Tibetan border on his recent India visit. Put off by the intrusions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government permitted Tibetan exiles to stage protests during Xi’s New Delhi stay, reversing a pattern since the early 1990s of such protests being foiled by police during the visit of any Chinese leader.

However, India oddly bungled on Tibet and Sikkim during Xi’s visit — diplomatic goof-ups that escaped media attention.

In response to China’s increasing belligerence — reflected in a rising number of Chinese border incursions and Beijing’s new assertiveness on Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) — India since 2010 stopped making any reference to Tibet being part of China in a joint statement with China. It has also linked any endorsement of “one China” to a reciprocal Chinese commitment to a “one India.”

Pakistani Army Claims to Have Killed More Than 1,200 Militants in Five Month-Long Offensive

Pakistani Army-1,200 Militants Killed During Five-Month Offensive

November 16, 2014

MIR ALI Pakistan (Reuters) - The Pakistani army has killed 1,200 suspected militants in an anti-Taliban offensive during the past five months, seriously reducing the group’s ability to carry out attacks, senior officers said on Sunday during a rare trip to the conflict zone.

The ongoing operation has targeted the militant stronghold in North Waziristan, a mountainous region that borders Afghanistan and has acted as a staging post for deadly attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The offensive was launched as Western forces began withdrawing from Afghanistan.

In the centre of Mir Ali, the second largest town in the region, there was hardly a building untouched by the fighting.

Major General Zafarullah Khan, the officer in charge of North Waziristan, said that a widely-predicted wave of violence in response to the operation had failed to materialise.

"The action which was expected has not come," he said on Saturday, picking his way through shattered buildings as he pointed out places he said were used for torturing prisoners or producing propaganda videos. "Significant successes have been made."

The military had killed nearly 1,200 militants since the operation began, he said, but refused to show their pictures out of respect for the dead. Another 230 had been arrested, and around 132 tons of explosive recovered so far, he said.

Large amounts of weapons, ammunition and many vehicles had also been seized, he said, showing off a U.S.-made Hummer jeep whose windscreen had been shattered by bullets.

Many of the areas the military moved into had been booby trapped, Khan said, and soldiers were going house to house to defuse bombs.

Heart of Darkness: Into Afghanistan’s Korengal

BY Matt Trevithick Daniel Seckman

Untouched by Western journalists except in the presence of American troops, Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley was once the most violent part of the Afghan War.

Several years ago I was contacted out of the blue by Matt Trevithick and Daniel Seckman, who said that they lived in Kabul and were trying to figure out how to penetrate an area of Afghanistan I knew well: The Korengal Valley, in a remote part of Kunar Province. The Korengal was the scene of an enormous amount of combat when I was there with American forces in 2007-08, and after they pulled out, the Taliban had completely taken over. Being there with a company of American infantry was dangerous enough; going there on your own seemed like straight-up suicide.

We arranged to meet in New York when they passed through, and we settled on a basement coffee place in Manhattan, somewhere in Tribeca. For some reason I was late, and I found myself running full-tilt down Varick Street to meet a couple of men who I thought had to either be spooks or simply insane. I couldn’t think of any other plausible explanation for what they were trying to do.

They were neither. For an hour over coffee they explained how they would drive to Jalalabad and then up the incredibly beautiful Kunar Valley, and then west along the Pech River to the mouth of the Korengal. They had long beards and dressed like locals, and trip after trip they managed to slip through the checkpoints and the danger spots without any trouble. I was in plenty of combat in that area, and I was blown up on the road, but what I had done with US forces seemed like child’s play compared to what they were doing. They were alone and unarmed in hostile territory without even having the reassurance of radio communications. If Taliban fighters stopped them on the road they were as good as dead.

The Solution for Pakistan’s Problems: Become Another Iran

By Akhilesh Pillalamarri
November 15, 2014
Maybe what Pakistan needs is more Islamization.

It is clear that Pakistan’s current state of affairs is simply unsustainable in the long-run. Pakistan’s current path of political and social development is a dead end. Although Pakistan has two main political parties that are quite moderate, these parties have failed quite spectacularly to modernize, industrialize, educate, or develop Pakistan’s society over the past six decades. While Pakistan’s military is largely to blame for retarding Pakistan’s political development, its political elite also shoulders the blame. As in India, Pakistan’s political elite is a largely Westernized group that tends to look after its own interests instead of the holistic development of its country. However, while India’s elite at least imbedded the basic constitutional principles and infrastructure in their country for India to mature, this cannot be said of Pakistan’s elite.

As a result, Pakistan, with its large population of 200 million, is rapidly heading toward failure. The education of its population is poor and even those with some education have no economic opportunities. Pakistan suffers from enormous, uncontrolled private violence, often of a sectarian nature, in the form of bombings, shootings and riots every day. Its population has also become increasingly radicalized, to the point where the line between ordinary mob violence and fundamentalist activist is becoming increasingly blurred.

The root of the problem is the fact that the Pakistani government lacks the will, capacity and legitimacy to solve Pakistan’s problems. There are too many important actors in the country that do not respect the civilian parliamentary government. With this fact in mind, the only stable political solution for Pakistan is to transform into an Iranian style Islamic state, with the obvious caveat that there will be some differences due to their different histories and the fact that Pakistan is mainly Sunni. Why this controversial solution? Pakistan has reached a point where there are so many private actors and institutions within society advocating or going about implementing some form of Islamic fundamentalism that the only way to control them is to institutionalize them.

Afghan scenario is not so gloomy

The formation of the national unity government in Afghanistan remains incomplete and the 45-day deadline that President Ashraf Ghani had set for himself to announce the cabinet appointments has just passed.

Evidently, the two coalition partners comprising the government — Ghani’s and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s respectively — could not reach consensus and within each group far too many claimants are vying for the limited number of cabinet posts, leading to political wrangles that have made government formation a tortuous process.

A Kabul datelined report in the New York Times presents this dismal picture. The report will reinforce the opinion of most Indian analysts too, whose gloomy assessment makes things seem all but hopeless.

But the good thing is that Ghani started running right from the moment he hit the ground. He arrived in Pakistan on Friday, swiftly following up a productive trip to Beijing, which was also, interestingly, his first state visit abroad as president.

If his focus in Beijing was to elicit a big Chinese role in the stabilization of Afghanistan in the political and economic spheres alike, his agenda in Islamabad will be to try to put behind the acrimonious history of Afghan-Pakistani ties during Karzai’s rule (who was viewed with distaste in Pakistan) as well as to explore the possibilities of kickstarting a reconciliation process, with Pakistan brokering it on the ground (which of course demands the injection of an ambience of good-neighborly relations across the Durand Line.)

Indeed, much of the current pessimism regarding the post-2014 Afghan scenario stems out of an estimation that the national unity government in Kabul may prove transient and in a short time from now Ghani and Abdullah will be at loggerheads and the tussle will take the flavor of an ethnic discord sooner or later, which in turn would create civil war conditions that could only work to the advantage of the Taliban.

Af-NPak – America Leaves, China Enters

Posted on November 15, 2014 by MV ·


Five years ago, President Obama announced his decision to pull out of Afghanistan at the end of 2014. This led us to write our Post-American Withdrawal View of the Region in December 2009. What was the scenario we discussed then?

“America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will create a large vacuum in the region. Geostrategy like nature abhors a vacuum and we already see activities from Pakistan, India & China to fill this vacuum. Unfortunately, Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a failed state despite American presence and aid. Pakistan will badly need a major patron who could provide financial and military aid. There is only one such patron around, China.”

“In our opinion, China could offer Pakistan a very large amount of long term funding in exchange for ceding the Northern Area of Kashmir to China. The Chinese Army could then “legally” enter the Northern Area and occupy it. This will enable China to exert its influence on the new “government” in neighboring Afghanistan. As China has done with Sri Lanka, Myanmar & to a smaller extent in Bangladesh, China will provide a great deal of financial aid to the new Afghan regime and offer military support in exchange for strong influence & semi-vassal status.”
“This is why we fervently hope that the Obama Mission in Afghanistan succeeds in making both Afghanistan & Pakistan stable entities. Because, if President Obama decides to leave Afghanistan without achieving this aim, then our scenario is likely to occur in some form within a few years of America’s withdrawal.”

A few years after America’s withdrawal? No, our scenario is occurring now, two months before America withdraws the bulk of troops from Afghanistan. Read what Stratfor wrote this week in their articleAfghanistan Joins a New Trilateral Relationship

Afghan scenario is not so gloomy

November 15, 2014

The formation of the national unity government in Afghanistan remains incomplete and the 45-day deadline that President Ashraf Ghani had set for himself to announce the cabinet appointments has just passed.

Evidently, the two coalition partners comprising the government — Ghani’s and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s respectively — could not reach consensus and within each group far too many claimants are vying for the limited number of cabinet posts, leading to political wrangles that have made government formation a tortuous process.

A Kabul datelined report in the New York Times presents this dismal picture. The report will reinforce the opinion of most Indian analysts too, whose gloomy assessment makes things seem all but hopeless.

But the good thing is that Ghani started running right from the moment he hit the ground. He arrived in Pakistan on Friday, swiftly following up a productive trip to Beijing, which was also, interestingly, his first state visit abroad as president.

If his focus in Beijing was to elicit a big Chinese role in the stabilization of Afghanistan in the political and economic spheres alike, his agenda in Islamabad will be to try to put behind the acrimonious history of Afghan-Pakistani ties during Karzai’s rule (who was viewed with distaste in Pakistan) as well as to explore the possibilities of kickstarting a reconciliation process, with Pakistan brokering it on the ground (which of course demands the injection of an ambience of good-neighborly relations across the Durand Line.)

Afghanistan: Whose Money Will Talk Loudest

November 9, 2014: Afghan security forces (army and police) are suffering higher combat losses this year; about 2,400 dead per 100,000 troops. In 2013 it was about 1,890 dead per 100,000 troops. This is a big increase from 2007, when the Afghan rate was about 700 dead per 100,000. The increase is due to Afghan forces being responsible for security throughout the country, the foreign troops having withdrawn from that task. Foreign troops in Afghanistan have had much lower losses since 2001. That loss rate peaked at about 400 in 2012. At the peak of the fighting (2005-7) in Iraq, the losses were nearly 600 per 100,000. The rate for U.S. troops in Vietnam and World War II was about 1,500 per 100,000 troops. It was higher for German and Russian troops. As high as this is, it’s higher for the Taliban and such loss rates were common in Afghanistan, when the tribal irregulars fighting Russian troops in the 1980s suffered even higher losses. During the 1980s Russian invasion the Russians never suffered more than 1,000 per 100,000 dead per year and eventually left because they could not afford the fiscal cost of fighting in Afghanistan. Thus victory in Afghanistan is an endurance contest. Afghans will endure high loss rates if they have good leadership. Today this means the government forces have to get the troops paid on time and use tactics that keep the Taliban casualty rate higher. The Taliban are backed by the drug gangs who have more money to operate with than the government and can survive a Taliban defeat. The drug gangs will deal with anyone who will take a bribe to allow the drug production and smuggling to go on.

The Afghan security forces, despite corruption and occasional poor leadership, have outfought the Taliban in the last two years. Taliban attacks have actually decreased this year because of the effectiveness of the Afghan security forces. The fighting is concentrated in the east, near the Waziristan region of the Pakistani tribal territories and in the south in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, where nearly all the heroin comes from. Across the border in Pakistani (Quetta) the Taliban have the most secure sanctuary in Pakistan, because the Pakistanis will not allow American UAVs to operate there. There is more fighting in the north, where the drug gangs seek to secure their smuggling routes through Central Asia and get opium cultivation going. The latter effort is meeting a lot of local opposition.

NATO has agreed to provide the $4.1 billion a year needed to support the 230,000 men in the army and police. Without these security forces, which Afghanistan cannot afford on its own, the warlords and drug gangs will take over and the central government will become extinct, or confined to a small area around Kabul. Without the central government the economy will shrink because foreign investment will stay away, foreign aid will shrink and many Afghan businessmen and entrepreneurs will flee. Many already have left and more will go if the government does not maintain order. That means reducing the power of the drug gangs and warlords (including the Taliban and other Islamic terrorist groups). The Taliban and drug gangs have gone to great lengths to try and survive all that has been thrown at them. The most successful weapon has been money, not violence. Bribing government officials (often quite senior ones) and Afghan media has created a steady call from the Afghan government and media to halt the night raids and get foreign troops out of the countryside (where the drug operations are). Fewer than ten percent of Afghans benefits from the drug production, so most Afghans appreciate the efforts of the foreign troops and the government to take down the drug gangs and Islamic radical groups (especially the Taliban). Over 80 percent of the civilians killed in this battle are victims of Taliban or drug gang violence, usually deliberate attacks intended to intimidate civilians to do whatever the Taliban and drug gangs want. The war in Afghanistan, at least in terms of who is getting killed, is largely a battle between the drug gangs and Taliban against the Afghan population. The drug gangs and the Taliban want to control the government, to return things to the way they were in the late 1990s (until 2001), when the Taliban ran most of the country and the drug gangs did whatever they wanted by simply paying the Taliban taxes. Most Afghans suffered during this period and don't want to go back.

Afghanistan After America: A Fragile Stability

(The Mark News)
November 14, 2014

Afghan police in Kabul
Three years ago, there were 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan. By the beginning of this year, that number had been cut in half, and by year's end it will have been reduced by 90 percent, leaving fewer than 10,000 American troops, none of which will be conducting combat operations.

Throughout these years, Afghan security forces have increased in numbers and competence. As American and other NATO forces have withdrawn, Afghan soldiers and police have filled the vacuum, largely retaining the territorial gains made during the 2010–2011 surge in NATO troop strength.

Earlier this year, Afghanistan held its fifth national election. Voter participation was strong, even in areas heavily contested by the Taliban. The results were widely seen as a victory for the Afghan army and police, and a defeat for the insurgency.

More recently, as this year's fighting season drew to a close, the Taliban began mounting larger attacks, with greater forces than were seen in recent years. This was clearly an effort to test Afghan security forces, which are now alone on the battlefield and increasingly bereft of NATO air support. Again, the Afghan army and police stood their ground, repelled attacks, and retook posts initially overrun by the insurgents.

Compared with Syrians or Iraqis, most Afghans live in relative security. Over the past 13 years, millions of refugees have been returning to, not fleeing, Afghanistan. The economy has grown fourfold. The literacy rate has doubled. Perhaps most remarkably for a country still in conflict, longevity has increased by 20 years — the largest jump any society has made in such a short timeframe since humankind started collecting such statistics. Despite the ongoing war, most Afghans are living longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

India, China to Hold Counter-Terror Drill

Deepak Dobhal
November 13, 2014

India-China, Line of Actual Control

WASHINGTON—Hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers met in a tense standoff on their disputed border just two months ago. This Sunday, the two countries will carry out counterterrorism exercises -- together.

The decision to go ahead with joint maneuvers offers insight into the complexity of Sino-Indian relations and is an indication the nations are willing to manage their differences and engage in mutually-beneficial plans, despite serious disputes.

Since both India and China have identified terrorism as a major threat, it suits their national security interests to participate in such a exercise, according to Srikanth Kondapalli, Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi.

China considers the threat from radical Islam to be one of its main security concerns, especially in Xinjiang province, which has been rocked in recent years by deadly attacks. Chinese authorities also are alarmed by reports of Chinese fighters joining the ranks of the extremist Islamic State, which revives longstanding fears. As far back as 2004, then President Hu Jintao identified “separatism, extremism and terrorism” as “three evil forces” that need to be dealt with.

India has been facing Islamist militancy even longer, suffering decades of extremist actions. It now considers cross-border terrorism its main national security challenge.

Maneuvering the Islamist-Secularist Divide in the Arab World: How the United States Can Preserve its Interests and Values in an Increasingly Polarized Environment

Authored by Gregory Aftandilian.

Added October 28, 2014
Type: Monograph
67 Pages
Download Format: PDF
Cost: Free

Brief Synopsis

View the Executive Summary

This monograph examines the Islamist-secularist divide in Arab countries, particularly in Egypt and Tunisia, and why it has become so intense and polarizing. It demonstrates that having Islamist parties in power or in domineering positions in Arab societies often provokes a backlash from secular elements because the latter see the Islamists as threatening their social freedoms. For countries beginning the transitory process from authoritarianism to democracy, the monograph recommends that the United States press for a broad governing coalition and a delay in holding elections, which would allow secular-liberal forces the opportunity to build their political parties and compete with Islamist parties. For Arab countries already facing polarization, the United States should be consistent on human rights, help to build up institutions (such as parliaments) as a hedge against authoritarian presidents, and press for inclusionary politics. In addition, the monograph recommends that U.S. Army officers should reinforce to their Arab military counterparts the value and necessity of concentrating on genuine external and internal terrorist threats as opposed to being used as a coercive internal force that favors exclusionary politics.

‘Lebanon’ Is the Israeli ‘Fury’

2010 tank movie is intimate, realistic

Look, Fury is great. But it lacks something—the claustrophobia of combat in an armored vehicle.

What Fury was trying to achieve—the tension of being surrounded by combustible fuel and ammunition inside a lumbering metal behemoth—has already been done … and better.

In Israel four years ago.

Lebanon is the 2010 debut film from Israeli director Samuel Moaz. It depicts the crew of an Israeli Defense Force tank during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

The film is a realistic masterpiece comparable to Wolfgang Petersen’s World War II submarine movie Das Boot. Similarly to Das Boot’s inside-out view of warfare, in Lebanon the audience rarely sees the outside world other than through the many viewpoints from within the tank.
The top hatch opens at points to allow the accompanying infantry commander to bark at the tank crew, but it’s the gunner’s scope through which we view most of the action.

You could argue that this viewpoint lends the film a one-sided political bias. But this isn’t the case. Lebanon isn’t trying to show us a balanced portrayal of a conflict that has been called “Israel’s Vietnam.” It’s about one small group of men in a deadly situation.

It’s a snapshot of modern warfare.

The main characters are the four tank crew—the gunner, commander, driver and loader. The gunner is both the viewer’s connection to the action outside the tank and the crew’s moral compass.

The tank gets stuck in a Lebanese village teaming with enemy militiamen. Inside the vehicle, tempers fray.

The gunner messes up. He can’t take a crucial shot and this leads to the death of another Israeli soldier. In a powerful scene, we see—through the gunner’s scope—the consequences of his actions, as IDF medics struggle to save the soldier’s life.

Countering ISIL's Financing

Chuck Spinney: Al Jazeera on Israel Atrocity Against USS Liberty — YouTube, Article, Commentary — REMEMBER THE USS LIBERTY!

Chuck Spinney

Al Jazeera America has produced a damning TV documentary on Israel’s deliberate and unprovoked attack on the U.S.N.S. Liberty, a WWII Navy liberty ship that had been converted into electronics snooper to support the NSA by listening in on other nation’s electronic transmissions. The attack occurred in international waters, in clear weather, at 2PM on 8 June 1967, the fourth day of Israel’s six day war, just prior to the Israeli shift of its main effort to the northern front in Syria (which resulted in Israel’s capture of the Golan Heights, a move President Johnson had urged the Israelis not to make).

The story of this attack, its cover up, and the sellout of the American crew members by the U.S. politicians and the U.S. Navy is one of the most disgusting in the annuals of American military history.

To this day, the overwhelming majority of Americans are either unfamiliar with it or believe it was a tragic accident. We still do not know exactly why Israel chose to attack the Liberty, because officials in the US government colluded with Israelis to squelch investigations by fobbing it off as a case of mistaken identity. (The most prominent hypothesis for Israel’s motivations is posed at the end of the show, but it is not the only one.)

While most of the information in this documentary has been in the public domain for years, Al Jazeera (and the Liberty survivors) pulled off a few journalistic coups:

1. Audios of the tapes between Israeli pilots and their controllers were aired for the first time. They confirm that Israeli pilots could see clearly that the target was an American ship; they questioned their air controllers over the decision to attack, saying explicitly the target was an American ship. But controllers ordered them to attack anyway, and then one transmission indicated that the Israeli Navy was going to get a piece of the action. Sure enough, Israeli naval patrol boats showed up after the air attacks, torpedoed the heavily damaged ship, and machine gunned survivors. Tapes of these conversations have been known to exist for a long time, but the American tapes were buried in the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) super secret vaults. Israeli tapes are also suspected to exist. So while it is not clear who Al Jazeera’s source is, the airing of these tapes is a major contribution to this sordid story (assuming they are authentic).

Putin Is Lying on Ukraine—and the West Can’t Stop Him

Jamie Dettmer
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The G-20 leaders meeting the Russian president in Brisbane this weekend should be used to his lies. But they still don’t know how to answer them.

KIEV, Ukraine—He took the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea with just a few shots fired. The Donbass region is a harder nut to crack—the Ukrainians are determined to keep it. And so we wait for Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to see what he wants to do with the tanks and armor and the uniformed men without insignias that have crossed this week from Russia into eastern Ukraine in large numbers—the ones he insists he never sent who are purely a figment of NATO’s malevolent imagination.

This weekend Putin takes his seat alongside world leaders at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, but that is no guarantee of Russian restraint in the days ahead. The lying game is second nature to him now. Whatever happens, he won’t admit, acknowledge, or accept the implication of responsibility.

The brazen land grab of Crimea was planned while Putin was enjoying the limelight of the Sochi Winter Olympics. His poker face, punctuated with occasional stiff smiles will give no clues in Australia about what he is planning to do with the scores of armored vehicles and accompanying infantry that have been snaking along Ukrainian roads, according to a monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The September ceasefire, struck after Ukrainian security forces and volunteer battalions grabbed back a string of towns in Donbass, served only to reduce the intensity of the conflict, not to end it. The truce-that-wasn’t has been violated daily by men who came from Russia.

Now the clashes have increased again almost to the level predating the September 5 ceasefire. Thursday night was busy with pro-Russian separatists and the so-called “little green men” testing and provoking with Grad rocket shelling of the ruined Donetsk airport and of various strategic Ukrainian checkpoints from Luhansk in the north of the region to Horlivka to the east of Donetsk.

Counter-Terrorism: Chechens Never Forget


November 14, 2014: Russia believes there are over a thousand Chechens fighting for various rebels and terrorist groups in Syria, but that only about 200 of these are Chechens from Russia. The rest are Chechens from Chechen communities in the West and the Middle East. Chechens have been fleeing Russia for two centuries, ever since Russia first took control of Chechnya. The fact that so many of these exiled Chechens would still be fighting in Syria, in part to damage Russian interests (Russia is a major support of the Syrian government) is disheartening but not surprising to most Russians. In response to this Russia is increasing its efforts to identify Chechens in Syria and make sure that none of them are able to get back into Russia.

Since the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 the Chechens in the Caucasus (the Chechen homeland) have been trying, without success, to regain their independence. Since 1991 over 10,000 Chechens have died fighting Russian security forces over this. The Chechens are persistent and have long memories.

The Chechen fighting was most intense during the five years after Russia “invaded” Chechnya in 1999 and had been declining ever since. While most of the nationalist rebels are gone and the local gangsters have learned to cooperate or simply stay out of the way, there are still enough Islamic terrorists around to keep the security forces busy. The corruption down there makes efficient government difficult and that keeps producing more angry young men willing to fight.

Despite this seeming success Russia is suffering a major ethnic shift in the Caucasus. Russians, and other people not native to the Caucasus, are being driven out of the region by terrorism, corruption, and an openly hostile attitude towards outsiders. It’s been worst in Chechnya, where Russians comprised 25 percent of the population in 1989, but only two percent today. The decline has not been as great in the rest of the Caucasus, but it has been massive, with more than half the Russians who were living in the Caucasus having left in the since the 1990s. Actually, this trend began in the 1950s, right after tyrant Josef Stalin died in 1953 and Russia began to trim the power of the secret police. The departure of ethnic Russians from the Caucasus simply accelerated after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Ukraine Digs In Along a Single Front

Nov 14

Unless a major separatist offensive changes everything

This summer, the war in eastern Ukraine looked a lot different than it does now. Ukrainian tanks rolled towards the separatist strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, only for the pro-Russian fighters to throw them back with the aid of Kremlin-supplied tanks.

The front lines changed rapidly. Ukrainian troops would capture one town only to disappear in a chaotic retreat. Volunteer battalions got cut off and destroyed. Separatist groups fought each other in disorganized street battalions.

Now the conflict is starting look like a conventional war—with both sides digging in along a fixed front line. Neither side appears strong enough to uproot the other. That is, unless separatists go on the offensive … with serious Russian help.
“Both sides are intensely preparing for winter. And above all, to active fighting,” writes Dmytro Tymchuk, a pro-Ukrainian blogger and activist.

Tymchuk is highly-regarded for his excellent sources within the Ukrainian military. To be sure, he’s writing from only one side of the conflict. His updates are a frenetic mix of stories about logistical problems, records of separatist attacks and worries about where the pro-Russian forces could push next.

His work isn’t comprehensive. He doesn’t write much about Ukrainian army attacks—likely for security reasons.

But Tymchuk’s blog does offer an inside look at what the Ukrainian army is dealing with. He has tracked more than 100 separatist attacks on Ukrainian army positions in the past week—at the same time that dozens of tanks, artillery pieces and supply trucks have crossed the border from Russia to reinforce separatist units.

New Energy Technologies Could Provide Military With Inexhaustible Power Sources

November 2014 
By Yasmin Tadjdeh 

The Defense Department is the largest single user of energy in the United States, if not the entire world. That dependence costs the military billions of dollars in fuel a year and requires troops to undergo dangerous delivery missions.

In a future war, the Defense Department will need renewable energy sources that can juice up soldier equipment, sustain weapon systems and power bases, all while reducing the department’s logistical tail and reliance on fossil fuels, experts said. 

“Napoleon said that an army runs on its stomach. Well, the truth is the army of today runs on oil,” said Andrew Holland, senior fellow for energy and climate at the American Security Project, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

During fiscal year 2012 — the most recent data available — the Defense Department spent $16.4 billion on 104 million barrels of liquid fuels for various operational energy uses, according to the office of the assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs.

The military derives its power almost exclusively from petroleum, Holland said. That dependence tethers the armed services to expensive oil and forces them to transport large quantities of fuel in dangerous and sometimes contested areas, he said.


November 11, 2014 

The Department Of The Internet: Obama’s Quest For Net Neutrality Is A Disaster For America And The World Wide Web — The Future Of The Internet Is At Stake

Adam Kessler, a former hedge-fund manager and author most recently of the book, “Eat People,” had an Op-Ed in the November 11, 2014 Wall Street Journal, whereby he articulated some of the very damaging consequences for the Internet; and, its billions of users — if, POTUS Obama’s gets his way regarding the future of the World Wide Web. Indeed, warns Mr. Kessler, “get ready for the Department of the Internet.”

“On Monday, POTUS Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to reclassify the Internet as a public utility — like water, or electricity — under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934,” Mr. Kessler writes. The goal: “to protect net neutrality,” Mr. Obama said in a White House YouTube video, an ironic venue for announcing a monumentally bad idea that could strangle the Internet.”

“For years,” Mr. Kessler observes, “the FCC has been inching toward imposing net-neutrality rules, which are sold as a way to ban Internet service providers from discriminating against content providers. In reality,” Mr. Kessler contends, “such rules would dictate what ISPs like Comcast and Verizon can charge for their services. The Silicon Valley crowd particularly likes the net-neut idea; because, it would mean cheaper access for companies like Google and Netflix, who are heavy bandwidth users. POTUS Obama’s announcement is likely to delight them — and liberal groups supporting supposed Internet “fairness” — because now the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will be under enormous pressure to do the White House’s bidding.”

“But, the Internet cannot function like a utility,” Mr. Kessler argues. “First,” he says, “public utilities don’t serve the public; they serve themselves, using by maneuvering through Byzantine [maze] of regulations — that they helped craft. Utilities are about tariffs, rate bases, price caps; and, other chokeholds that kill real price discovery — and, almost guarantee the misallocation of resources. I would know,” he writes, “I used to work for AT and T in the early 1980s when it was a phone utility. Its past may offer a glimpse of the broadband future. Innovation gets strangled.”


November 12, 2014 

Stuxnet ‘Patient Zero’ Attack Targets Revealed; Researchers Question Whether USB Sticks Were Method Of Infection; Attacking The Supply Chain

Sara Peters, writing on the November 11, 2014) website, DarkReading.com, says cyber security “researchers have identified the five Iranian Industrial Control Systems companies attacked in 2009-2010; and, they question whether USB sticks were really the method of infection.” She adds, “the Stuxnet malware was considered the harbinger of a new era of state-sponsored attacks on control systems, after it infected Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment complex; and, later spread through the Internet to other organizations. Before Stuxnet had run its course, the virus had infected some 130,000 computers worldwide, most of them however, were in some fashion related to the Iran nuclear program. Some earlier assessments said that a coding error in Stuxnet caused it to be leaked from Natanz. Newer theories state that Stuxnet leaked after infecting five “patients zero,” — all companies in the Iranian industrial control system supply chain — in order to reach Natanz,” Ms. Peters wrote.

Cyber security researchers at — Symantec and Kaspersky Labs published separate reports on the Stuxnet episode earlier this week — and, “released the identities of these patient zero’s; and, more information, based on analysis of more than 2,000 Stuxnet files. Ms. Peters adds “the reports were published in conjunction with the release….”Countdown To Zero Day,” a new book by Wired.com’s Kim Zetter; and, based in part on interviews with Kaspersky and Symantec researchers.”

As Kaspersky explained: “For Stuxnet to be effective, and penetrate the highly guarded installations where Iran was [is still] developing its nuclear program, the attackers had a tough dilemma to solve: how to sneak the malicious code into a place with no direct internet connections? The targeting of certain “high profile” companies was the solution; and, it was probably successful.”


November 13, 2014 

The Next ‘Digital Epidemic?’ Half Of All USB Devices Have An Un-Patchable Flaw; Widely Available Hacking Tools Can Convert USB Devices Into Stealth Malware Installer


Andy Greenberg, writing November 12, 2014 on the website Wired.com, begins first by giving us the good news: “that un-patchable flaw in USB devices first brought to light over the summer, affects only about half of the things you plug into your USB port. The bad news is, it’s nearly impossible to sort out the secure gadgets from the insecure ones — without ripping open every last thumb drive.”

“At the PAC Security Conference in Tokyo last week, hacker Karsten Nohl presented an update to his research on the fundamental insecurity of USB devices…he’s dubbed — BadUSB,” Mr. Greenberg wrote. “Nohl, and his fellow researchers Jakob Lell and Sascha Krissler have analyzed every USB controller chip sold by the industry’s eight biggest vendors to see if their hack would work against each of those slices of silicon. The results: Roughly half of the chips were immune to the attack. But, predicting which chip a device uses is practically impossible for the average consumer.”

“It’s not like you plug [a thumb-drive] into your computer; and, it tells you this is a Cypress chip, and this one is a Phison chip,” says Noll, naming two of the top USB chip manufacturers. “You really can’t check other than by opening the device and doing the analysis yourself….The scarier story is that we can’t give you a list of safe devices.”

“Nohl’s BadUSB attack, which he revealed at the Black Hat security conference in August, takes advantage of the fact that a USB controller chip’s firmware can be reprogrammed,” Mr. Greenberg wrote. “That means a thumb drive’s controller chip’s itself, rather than the Flash storage on that memory stick, can be infected with malware that invisibly spreads to computers, corrupt files stored on the drive, or quietly begins impersonating a USB keyboard to type commands on the victim’s machine.”

“You’d Never Get Away With This In A Laptop”


November 14, 2014 

The dirtbox and Stingray are both types of what tech experts call “IMSI catchers,” named for the identification system used by networks to identify individual cellphones.

The name “dirtbox” came from the acronym of the company making the device, DRT, for Digital Receiver Technology Inc., people said. DRT is now a subsidiary of Boeing. A Boeing spokeswoman declined to comment.

“DRT has developed a device that emulates a cellular base station to attract cellphones for a registration process even when they are not in use,” according to a 2010 regulatory filing Boeing made with the U.S. Commerce Department, which touted the device’s success in finding contraband cellphones smuggled in to prison inmates.

Americans’ Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program

Devices on Planes that Mimic Cellphone Towers Used to Target Criminals, but Also Sift Through Thousands of Other Phones

http://online.wsj.com/ articles/americans-cellphones- targeted-in-secret-u-s-spy- program-1415917533?tesla=y&mg= reno64-wsj

Updated Nov. 13, 2014 8:22 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON-The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of mobile phones through devices deployed on airplanes that mimic cellphone towers, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging a large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

Libya: This Could End Very Badly


November 15, 2014: Despite the continued fighting in the east and attacks on some oil fields, oil shipments have continued. There have been some interruptions recently, but the national oil company has managed to cope and is still on schedule to get oil shipments up to a million barrels a day by the end of the year. That goal is threated by undisciplined factions technically allied with the Tripoli government who continue to fight over control of oil facilities even though this is counterproductive (these factions have no way to selling any oil they seize). Oil shipments peaked at 800,000 barrels a day in September but have since dropped to 500,000 a day. Pre-2011 shipments were three time that.

The battle for Benghazi continues. For over a month there has been heavy fighting as some Islamic terror groups refuse to leave the city and fight to the death. The pro-government forces of general Hiftar are using artillery, air power and armored vehicles to methodically kill the remaining Islamic terrorists in the city. A month of this sort of thing has created several thousand casualties, including over 400 dead. One the major side effects of all this fighting was the disruption of the normal activities in the city. As the largest city in Eastern Libya, Benghazi contained essential administrative and logistical (warehouses with key items like medical supplies) operations. The disruption caused by the fighting created shortages of medical supplies and interrupted administrative support for many oil facilities in the east. Everyone concerned had to scramble to make alternate arrangements.

In the southeast the army has another problem with the growing number of Islamic terrorist camps being set up in southwest Libya (where the borders of Libya, Algeria and Niger meet). Algeria and Niger are hard pressed to prevent all illegal crossings. As many Islamic terrorists are caught doing so, many more make it through. Malian Islamic terrorists from bases in southern Libya are now regularly moving south to carry out operations in northern Mali. All this is possible because of the Libyan civil war. That conflict is mainly up north along the coast and no one bothers with Islamic terrorists who only kill across the border in Mali. There is a similar problem in Afghanistan with Islamic terrorists operations from several sanctuary areas in neighboring Pakistan and Iran. French and American intelligence know a lot about all the illegal activity in southern Libya. UAVs and satellites reveal details of Islamic terrorist camps and convoys sneaking across the southern borders. Local spies and informants are used to obtain more detailed information and from that it is known that most of the armed men in the south are more intent on making money (usually smuggling guns, drugs or people) than Islamic terrorism. The big problem in southern Libya is that there is no law, aside from what little local tribal elders will hand out concerning tribal matters. The Libyan government has some security forces down there, but they are largely confined to the few towns in the desert area. The Tobruk government says it will deal with the lawless south as soon as it deals with a rival Islamic terrorist backed government in Tripoli.

Nigeria: Boko Haram Extremely Offensive To Most Moslems


November 14, 2014: The government is criticizing the United States for refusing to sell Nigeria AH-64 helicopter gunships. The U.S. refused because of Nigeria’s dismal track record maintaining and operating such equipment. The Americans also mentioned the tendency of Nigerian troops to kill lots of innocent civilians with such weapons. The U.S. also pointed out that similar weapons are available from other sources. The government was apparently more upset at the Americans openly discussing the corruption and lethal incompetence of the Nigerian military, something many Nigerians agree with but that the government insists does not exist. American military advisors have been urging the Nigerians to do more about the corruption and poor leadership in the military.

Another embarrassing trend for the military leadership is the increasing strength and capabilities of the officially recognized pro-government militias in the northeast. Officially called the Civilian JTF (Joint Task Force or CJTF), these volunteers receive little material support from the government. In early 2013 Boko Haram began to notice that in northeastern Borno and Yobe states thousands of Moslem and Christian young men were enthusiastically joining the CJTF to provide security from Boko Haram violence and provide information to the security forces about who Boko Haram members are and where they are living. In response Boko Haram openly declared war on CJTF members and threatened to come to their homes and kill them. Most CJTF members cover their faces while assisting the security forces. While the Boko Haram threat certainly terrified some CJTF men (who generally have no firearms), the leadership publicly defied the Islamic terrorists over the threats. The CJTF often operates with heavily armed police or soldiers nearby (ready to move in arrest Boko Haram suspects the vigilantes identify or fire back if Boko Haram attack). By the end of 2013 the army had begun to use the volunteers to replace troops at checkpoints. There are still some armed soldiers nearby, in case Boko Haram tries to attack the civilians, but this new policy has enabled more checkpoints to be set up and more through searches of vehicles to be conducted. This made it more difficult for Boko Haram to move around, plan and carry out attacks or to resupply the few men they still have in the cities. By the end of 2014 some CJTF groups were launching attacks on Boko Haram, and usually winning (because they knew the area and people better and often were able to launch a surprise attack at night). All this CJTF activity made Boko Haram very mad and ready to kill CJTF members whenever they had the chance. But because the CJTF have better information about their home areas, it’s difficult for Boko Haram to make revenge attacks. Another disturbing development is that in 2014 more CJTF men obtained weapons via the black market or captured from Boko Haram. It was not illegal for CJTF members to have firearms, but legal firearms are expensive and have to be registered. Rural people tend to ignore the rules and frequently use crude locally made one shot weapons for hunting or home defense. The army doesn’t care how the CJTF get weapons or that they have them. In some cases soldiers will unofficially help the CJTF get firearms, often from stuff captured from Boko Haram. This is sometimes done in defiance of their officers, who tend to regard such weapons as their own personal loot and will often take these weapons and sell them on the black market. While most civilians fear the army, they have more trust in and respect for the CJTF, who are usually local men they know. Boko Haram has far fewer admirers in the northeast as even Islamic conservatives up there see Boko Haram as heretical extremists who attack mosques and often kill worshippers. This is considered extremely offensive to most Moslems.

Congo: UN Agrees To Use More Violence Against Violence

November 12, 2014: In the east (North Kivu province) ADF (Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces) rebels continue operating along the Uganda border, as they have for a month, leaving at least 120 dead (mostly civilians) recently. It is unclear why the rebels are going after civilians.

November 11, 2014: The commander of M23 Congolese rebels has threatened to renew combat operations. Around 1,300 M23 fighters are currently being held in demobilization camps in Uganda. However, Bertrand Bisimwa, senior M23 commander (sometimes identified as M23’s president) contends that the Congolese government has not fulfilled its commitments per the February 2014 amnesty declaration and May 2014 peace agreement. One of Bisimwa’s key complaints is that the Congolese government has failed to release imprisoned M23 fighters inside the Congo.

November 8, 2014: Security officials in Burundi reported that late on the evening of November 7th a group of men armed with machetes wounded two men and began looting homes in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura. Over the last two months violent attacks by armed groups have increased in Bujumbura and Somalis are suspected. The Somali terrorist organization, Al Shabaab, had threatened to launch more attacks as revenge for Burundi’s participation in the African Union peacekeeping operation in Somalia. On

November 7, 2014: A Congolese military court sentenced former Congolese general Jerome Kakwavu to ten years in jail. The court convicted him of war crimes. Kakwavu commanded the rebel Armed Forces of the Congolese People (FAPC) militia. The court sentenced the former rebel leader turned army general to ten years in jail for these war crimes. The FAPC operated in eastern Congo’s around Ituri. Kakwavu was made a general in the Congolese Army in December 2004 when the FAPC agreed to end its insurgency and integrate with the national army. He was arrested on war crimes charges in 2005.

November 6, 2014: A group of senior UN officials is investigating UN security operations in eastern Congo. Since early October the Ugandan rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia has killed at least 100 civilians in various attacks in North Kivu province (primarily in and around the town of Beni). Congolese civilians are complaining that the Congolese Army and UN peacekeepers have failed to provide adequate security visited eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to address the UN mission’s failure to contain rebel groups and instill security in the region. In late October civilian protestors attacked the UN headquarters at Beni’s airport. Scattered protests have continued in Beni. Currently, MONUSCO has 150 Tanzanian soldiers and 100 Malawian soldiers from the UN’s Intervention Brigade (IBDE) deployed in Beni.