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Posts Tagged ‘Military

Stratfor: Defining al Qaeda

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“Defining al Qaeda is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart

The Obama administration’s efforts to counter the threat posed by al Qaeda and the wider jihadist movement have been a contentious topic in the U.S. presidential race. Political rhetoric abounds on both sides; administration officials claim that al Qaeda has been seriously crippled, while some critics of the administration allege that the group is stronger than ever. As with most political rhetoric, both claims bear elements of truth, but the truth depends largely on how al Qaeda and jihadism are defined. Unfortunately, politicians and the media tend to define al Qaeda loosely and incorrectly.

The jihadist threat will persist regardless of who is elected president, so understanding the actors involved is critical. But a true understanding of those actors requires taxonomical acuity. It seems worthwhile, then, to revisit Stratfor’s definitions of al Qaeda and the wider jihadist movement. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by Theophyle

October 19, 2012 at 10:09 am

The Israeli Crisis

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“The Israeli Crisis is republished with permission of  Stratfor.”

By George Friedman

Crises are normally short, sharp and intense affairs. Israel’s predicament has developed on a different time frame, is more diffuse than most crises and has not reached a decisive and intense moment. But it is still a crisis. It is not a crisis solely about Iran, although the Israeli government focuses on that issue. Rather, it is over Israel’s strategic reality since 1978, when it signed the Camp David accords with Egypt.

Perhaps the deepest aspect of the crisis is that Israel has no internal consensus on whether it is in fact a crisis, or if so, what the crisis is about. The Israeli government speaks of an existential threat from Iranian nuclear weapons. I would argue that the existential threat is broader and deeper, part of it very new, and part of it embedded in the founding of Israel. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

August 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

Foreign Affairs: The Turkish Paradox

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By: Michael J. Koplow and Steven A. Cook

The Halki seminary, founded in 1844 as a center of learning for the Orthodox Eastern Church, was for decades a symbol of religious toleration and minority rights in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. But in 1971, Ankara closed the seminary when the constitutional court, dominated by adherents of Kemalism, the secular ideology of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, ruled that only the army was allowed to run nonstate-supervised private colleges. So in March, when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the Halki seminary would be restored and reopened, it seemed that the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the country’s ruling faction since 2002, was furthering its reformist agenda of making Turkey a more open society by expanding personal, religious, and economic freedoms. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

June 29, 2012 at 8:52 am

Snake country

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The Pakistani army’s complex relationship with jihadists

CLUTCHING a glass of distinctly un-Islamic whisky, a retired senior Pakistani official explains at a drinks party in Islamabad, the capital, that his country has no choice but to support the jihadist opposition in Afghanistan. The Indians are throwing money at their own favourites in Afghanistan, he says, and the Russians and Iranians are doing the same. So Pakistan must play the game too. “Except we have no money. All we have are the crazies. So the crazies it is.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

October 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Metal Allies

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The new face of a faceless global war: drones and the CIA.

By William Saletan

In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has developed an air force of drones to fight its new enemies. Faced with terrorists willing to take any life, we built machines that hunt and kill but don’t bleed.

In the next decade, our reliance on drones and the spies who support them may increase for a different reason: We’re losing friends.

Since Sept. 11, the U.S. drone fleet has grown from a few dozen to 7,000. The Air Force now trains more pilots to operate drones than to fly bombers or fighter jets. Spy drones have flown extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq, where we’ve fought ground wars. But killer drones have been particularly useful in Pakistan, where we can’t send troops. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

July 5, 2011 at 8:54 am

C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels

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WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the beleaguered rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials. While President Obama has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan campaign, small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military, the officials said. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

March 31, 2011 at 9:01 am

Libya: Rebels battle for road to Gaddafi hometown Sirte

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Libyan rebels are battling for control of the road leading to the heartland of government loyalists.

The rebel army has been moving rapidly westwards, but came under heavy attack on the approach to Col Muammar Gaddafi’s birthplace of Sirte.

Nato, which now runs the coalition action, has denied its strikes are to provide cover for a rebel advance.

Britain and France have urged Col Gaddafi’s supporters to defect “before it is too late”.

The anti-Gaddafi rebels have seized a number of key coastal communities and important oil installations in recent days, including Ras Lanuf, Brega, Uqayla and Bin Jawad. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

March 29, 2011 at 8:09 am

Posted in BBC, Libya, Libyan War, Military

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