Apr 17, 2010

Probably The Best Blog In The World--International Security 101

Repost from arguably the best blog in the world. Requiescat in pace.
This is exactly what one lone analyst has been saying ever since the Bush administration began getting its panties all bunched up about the threat of Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

Right down to the "rational actor" argument.
Every effort should be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but failing that, the world could live with a nuclear-armed regime in Tehran, a recently retired commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Monday.
John Abizaid, the retired Army general who headed Central Command for nearly four years, said he was confident that if Iran gained nuclear arms, the United States could deter it from using them.

"Iran is not a suicide nation," he said. "I mean, they may have some people in charge that don't appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon."

The Iranians are aware, he said, that the United States has a far superior military capability.

"I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear," he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States.

"There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran," Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. "Let's face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we've lived with a nuclear China, and we're living with (other) nuclear powers as well."

Shuttle PSYOP

Those cousins keep delivering. Particularly interesting is their application of the dominant Strategic PSYOP on the home pitch. Leave it to the Brits (and Krauts for that matter) to (dare) think/work outside the box. Matrix-muddying dissonance out - Shuttle-PSYOP up!

Jacked & Hacked BBC (London) 2 April 2010 (H/T R. Sense)

Their faces etched from years of conflict in the war-torn deserts of Helmand Province, four senior Islamic scholars step into a pod on the London Eye.

As the giant wheel turns they stare in silence at the city spread beneath them; the River Thames, the Houses of Parliament and miles beyond.

It is their first time ever in Britain. As they soak up the sights, they know this visit is about much more than tourism.

It marks a new initiative in British government strategy; the recognition that military progress in southern Afghanistan will not hold unless international forces also win the battle for hearts and minds.

In the intense propaganda war on the ground, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office now hopes to improve communication with ordinary Afghans by targeting their religious leaders.

Jacked & Hacked BBC (London) 10 March 2010

There was a man from the other side of the world telling an audience that included Parliamentarians and other government officials what they had been wanting to hear. A clear, concise and quotable denouncement of al-Qaeda's worldview.

Canada-based Dr Qadri spoke for more than an hour on his reasons why the Koran forbids the murder and mayhem of suicide bombings.

"This fatwa is an absolute condemnation of terrorism. Without any excuse, without any pretext, without any exceptions, without creating any ways of justification," he said.

"This condemnation is in its totality, in its comprehensiveness, its absoluteness, a total condemnation of every act of terrorism in every form which is being committed or has been committed wrongly in the name of Islam."


Dr Qadri is a classically-trained Islamic scholar and his organisation, Minhaj ul-Quran International, has spent 30 years building a strong following in Pakistan.

Apr 12, 2010

Revolution In The Revolution--Squeezing Yusuf al-Qaradawi

[Damn right I remember when I first read Debray's treatise--and just who unloaded it on my lap.]

SOME 300 journalists and other staff at IslamOnline, a popular website on Muslim affairs, have been staging a three-week sit-in that has captivated Arab media. Broadcasting it live over the internet, they have been getting support from prominent intellectuals and ordinary fans alike. Every turn of the affair is assiduously shared on Twitter. Their ordeal has been described as a battle for the soul of Islam.

That is an exaggeration. At a less spiritual level, IslamOnline’s mostly Egyptian staff has been wrestling for control of the website with its Qatari owner, the al-Balagh Cultural Society, which is based in Doha, Qatar’s capital, and wants to cut jobs in Cairo and move some of its editorial offices back home. The Cairo staff claim that this is a ploy to take the website in a more conservative direction. The managers in Doha counter that IslamOnline has become too parochially Egyptian and has been straying from its mission to reach out to all Muslims.

But this labour dispute also reflects an Arab cold war that pits Egypt against more radical states. Qatari-owned media such as al-Jazeera and IslamOnline have relentlessly criticised Egypt in recent years, notably for its complicity in Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Some suspect that toning down IslamOnline’s news coverage by reining in its staff, some of whom are close to the Muslim Brothers, who in turn are close to the Islamist Hamas movement that controls Gaza, is a Qatari gesture to Egypt’s government. Others point to longstanding rivalry between Saudis and Qataris, who, it is mooted, may be eager to reduce the influence of a Saudi company that has been helping to run the Cairo website.

IslamOnline began in 1997 as a student project at the University of Qatar with cash from Sheikha Mozah, an enterprising wife of Qatar’s emir, and with an endorsement from the prominent and sometimes controversial Egyptian-born scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. At IslamOnline’s launch, speaking on his extremely popular al-Jazeera religious talk-show, “Sharia and Life”, Mr Qaradawi said its mission to guide Muslims is “the jihad of our era.”

On the whole, this jihad has been a soft one. IslamOnline has to some extent been a lifestyle publication, focusing on how to mix modern life and religion. It offers religious advice without fire and brimstone, tackling sensitive topics such as sexuality conservatively but straightforwardly. Bettina Graf, who writes about the media in the Muslim world, calls it “moralist-conservative and missionary, though not dogmatic.” But it was also, in the words of Khaled Hamza, a reform-minded Muslim Brother, a place were “great intellectual battles” were waged over the future of Islamism, mostly influenced by Mr Qaradawi’s wasatiyyah (centrist) current.

Mr Qaradawi, 84, is sometimes said to be the most influential living Sunni Muslim scholar. He has stirred controversy in the West for endorsing suicide bombings in certain circumstances and for his homophobic views, and has been banned from Britain and the United States. For siding with his Egyptian compatriots against the Qatari management, he has lost his chairmanship of al-Balagh. Some see this as a fall from grace, and wonder if Qatar, which has hosted him for most of his adult life, will now freeze him out. His ideas, notably for tackling Sunni angst over the erosion of traditional religious authority and his attempt to counter millennial strands of Islamism [26-page pdf] with a conservative reformism, may have lost a resounding voice if he is now kept off IslamOnline.

-Jacked& Hacked The Economist

Apr 10, 2010

Whiff of Zeitgeist - Rising Civil Unrest in America

Narrowly avoided cock-a-hoopyness well intent on devoting post to civil-unrest. Afterall, some geek dared accuse us of nailing the if & when of tipping point de Bangkok's shindig. So in spirit of Tiger Woodsean modesty: here instead a nice piece--found most significant by the esoteric weight per origin that it lends to a gathering zeitgeist of sorts.

Before things get completely out of hand, it's time to examine what is happening in American society today. [...] It goes beyond Joe Stack and his plane flying into a building housing the IRS in Austin Texas.

Clearly, we have entered a new era in American society. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post makes the point that the Hutaree cannot be "Christian" because of their intent to murder.
The arrests of members of a Michigan-based "Christian" militia group should convince doubters that there is good reason to worry about right-wing, anti-government extremism -- and potential violence -- in the Age of Obama. I put the word Christian in quotes because anyone who plots to assassinate law enforcement officers, as a federal indictment alleges members of the Hutaree militia did, is no follower of Christ.
But the Hutaree aren't the full story. According to Professor Jeff Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at the St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, this marks a significant change in the landscape of domestic terrorism. It has been nearly fifteen years since the attacks on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.
"This is the first far right wing, anti-government terrorism case since the 1990s. That's at least 15 years," Addicott said.
One of the important questions is whether the Hutaree are a radical right wing militia, a conservative Christian movement or a group of "citizens" calling for change in America? Of course when Brittany Bryant , who is engaged to David Stone Jr., son of the Hutaree's leader , one of the Hutarees arrested in Michigan says, "that if group members had had plans for violence, they would have done it already" it places a cloud of the ominous onto the situation. After all, the Hutaree are accused of threatening use IEDs to kill local law enforcement officers. Like the lady said, they were harmless:
Going after a group like the Hutaree can be dangerous, ABC News consultant and former FBI agent Brad Garrett said. "This crowd tends to be heavily armed and they are all conspiracy theorists that the government is trying to take over," he said. "And so you have to be very careful and cautious when starting arresting people like this because you can walk right into an ambush."
Of course, then you need to consider the Guardian of the Free Republics, a group that compares themselves somehow to Gandhi and mailed ominous letters to governors. They actually sent letters to over 30 governors that in essence told them to "Straighten up and fly right" and without specifically threatening them, the letters clearly concern the F.B.I. who believe that the letters could prompt violence.
The FBI is warning police across the country that an anti-government group's call to remove governors from office could provoke violence. The group called the Guardians of the Free Republics wants to "restore America" by peacefully dismantling parts of the government, according to its Web site. It sent letters to governors demanding they leave office or be removed.
It is pretty hard to misconstrue the intent of "leave office or be removed."

And finally, we are faced with the threats made against Congressman Eric Cantor by Norman LeBoon who has already been declared incompetent to stand trial.

Threats against Congressmen, White supremacists, "constitutionalists," tax protesters and religious soldiers determined to kill people to uphold "Christian" values. We have a problem. Indeed, this is as Eugene Robinson wrote, "The Age of Obama." But it is more than that because some of this has been building for some time. There is high unemployment, while others find themselves following the rules and paying their bills, yet watch as people who are defaulting on their mortgages and facing foreclosure are being bailed out. We are even about two weeks away from the airing of a news special by MSNBC's "The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist."

-A Hacked & Jacked Jay Fraser @ ThreatsWatch,Org

Apr 8, 2010

Sense & Svensk Ability: Metaphors Abound

This Friday's edition of
Whiskey Break!™ was brought to this fair clan by an intrepid though mysterious fellow who shall remain unnamed yet much appreciated.


DATE: 2009:09:23T00:00:00.000 UTC-01:00:00H
DURATION: 48:00:00H

is Sweden's first and fine entry into the single malt brewing regime. A golden nectar that oil-slips 'cross tongue; the liquid, languid and wan, verily wafts through thorax. A trail of chest warmth lingers as if to reassure.

So, yeah. Pretty good stuff. We here at Whiskey Break!™ were in firm agreement. Perhaps lacking the depth of flavor of a healthy Scotch, the finish of this single malt is superb.

And then one day, the depth will come. After all, the Swedes only started distilling whiskey in 1999. One wonders what wonders are too follow. Naturally, the Whiskey Break!™ had to make the trek back to Sweden, and take up arms to those Swedes! Damn you! How do you get this good, this fast?!

Apr 7, 2010

Kerry of Yemen: Hetero-Hero Tareq al-Fadhli

Dude seems to realize where the money is these days.
IT is not often that you see an old comrade in arms of Osama bin Laden hoisting the American flag outside his home.

Yet there on the videotape was Tareq al-Fadhli, the hero of jihadist campaigns in Afghanistan and South Yemen, raising Old Glory in the courtyard of his house, not far from here, earlier this month. As the tape continues, Mr. Fadhli can be seen standing solemnly at attention, dressed in a khaki shirt and a cloth headdress, as “The Star-Spangled Banner” blasts from a sound system nearby.

Apr 6, 2010

OPSEC Afghanistan--Chinks In The Links

You've probably already seen this piece in this AM's NYT, and some of the info is old news (the Canucks uncovering the purloining of the Dalai Lama emails), but this bit is good stuff.

Spying on Computer Spies Traces Data Theft to China

The Canadian researchers stressed that while the new spy ring focused primarily on India, there were clear international ramifications. Mr. Rohozinski noted that civilians working for NATO and the reconstruction mission in Afghanistan usually traveled through India and that Indian government computers that issued visas had been compromised in both Kandahar and Kabul in Afghanistan.

Apr 5, 2010

Clusterfucks all around--IO nightmares

Remember this story from last month?

U.S. Is Reining In Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan

Now we know why. U.S. Admits Role in Killing of Afghan Women

The first story even included the cover story that is exposed as BS in the second article.

Clusterfucks all around. (Not to mention an IO nightmare).

Don't worry--history will prove us right. ( I hear Middle Kingdom chuckles as I type. Damn longer-view slopes)