That Terrorist Threat

The US has not had an organized terrorist attack in months even years…that is good to see that our counter terrorist dynamics is working so well.

As a wonk for international situations, for conflict management and for security issues I read a lot of papers and reports and I see through my readings that there could possibly be a new batch of terrorist in the wings.

We took care of AQ and in the process of dealing the fatal blow to ISIS…so where could the danger be?

The way Westerners think about Islamist terrorism has grown dangerously outdated. For decades, officials have focused on attacks launched by Middle Easterners. Today, however, the real threat increasingly comes from further east. In the former Soviet states and beyond, militants who once harbored mostly local grievances are turning their attention to the West. They will be the menace to watch in 2019.

The threat posed by Middle Eastern terrorists has been shrinking for some time. Even during the war against the Islamic State, Russian speakers from former Soviet countries were already committing many of the major attacks in the West. Those included relatively simple lone-wolf events, such as the 2017 truck strikes on pedestrians in New York and Stockholm—both conducted by Uzbeks—but also more complicated operations, such as the 2016 suicide bombing of Istanbul’s airport—which was allegedly organized by a Russian national—and the 2017 attack on a nightclub in the same city, led by an Uzbek.

The New Face of Terrorism in 2019

Central Asia has been a hotbed for terrorists in the past….and the outlook is not very good for the future….

Central Asian countries’ reputation as exporters of radicalized extremists appears to be giving way to one marked by a growing threat of terrorism domestically. A number of incidents in Tajikistan over the last year highlight the problem of increasing militant activity that targets both foreign and national interests. Several factors—the Islamic State’s shift in focus toward Afghanistan following losses in Iraq and Syria; growing Chinese influence in Central Asia; and ongoing repression by authoritarian governments—point toward a more widespread threat, however, that is likely to affect the region as a whole.

https://jamestown.org/program/terror-threat-turns-inward-on-central-asia/

The predictions are not good….and the overall chances of a Central Asian terrorist attack gets better this year…..

In the past two years, Central Asians have been involved in terrorist attacks in Istanbul, New York, St. Petersburg, and Stockholm. While we have seen more attacks by Central Asians outside the region than within it, in August four tourists were killed in an Islamic State-inspired attack in southern Tajikistan. This was the first attack credibly linked to IS in the region. Some have been quick to label Central Asia as a growing “hotbed” of Islamic extremism and exporter of terrorism. Returning fighters from Syria and Iraq, spillovers from Afghanistan, and “homegrown” terrorists are all framed as threats to the region. Yet assessing the threat remains difficult, due in no small part to the way the governments of the region manipulate it in order to consolidate their power.

http://voicesoncentralasia.org/assessing-the-terrorist-threat-in-and-from-central-asia/

This situation needs constant monitoring…..for we do not want to be caught with our pants down again.

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Was Osama Right?

****Please this is only a post of an opinion of several people….it is posted here as an engine for thought and conversation….I by NO means am implying anything other than a source for discussion****

Back in the 70s when there were numerous terrorist attacks there was an argument the “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”….this is a paper from a grad student…..

The ‘One man’s terrorist…’-cliché challenges the notion that ‘terrorism’ and ‘freedom fighting’ are mutually exclusive concepts where the former is always illegitimate. “The question of who is a terrorist,” writes Ganor (2002:287), “depends entirely on the subjective outlook of the definer.” By definition, the slogan will almost hold true by definition, if taken to its logical extremes. After all, it only takes ‘one man’ to consider the act freedom fighting for it to become such – and this ‘man’ can very well be the terrorist him or herself. The power of the slogan thus derives from its implicit invitation to assess a terrorist act from the perspective of the terrorist; emphasising the importance of critically reflecting on what factors influenced the choice of resorting to terrorism. But this subordinates a means or tactic – terrorism – to an end or strategic goal – fighting for freedom. As such, the slogan implicitly holds (paradoxically) that ‘terrorism’ is inherently bad while ‘freedom fighting’ is good, and that labelling an act freedom fighting precludes it from also being viewed as terrorism.

https://www.e-ir.info/2018/11/29/is-one-mans-terrorist-another-mans-freedom-fighter/

Interesting right?

Discuss.

Now Osama…we all know him as the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and was later killed by SEALs for his “crimes”.

Now think about something…..what if Osama had legit gripes?

You’re not supposed to utter these words, but what the heck: Osama bin Laden had a point. No, his grievances, as well as those of his followers and sympathizers, didn’t excuse the mass murder of 9/11—not by a long shot. After all, I am a native New Yorker whose family and neighborhood were directly touched by the horror of those inexcusable attacks. Still, more than 17 years after the attacks on the Pentagon and twin towers, it’s worth reflecting on bin Laden’s motives and discussing the stark fact that the United States government has made no moves to address his gripes.

Now is as good a time as any. The U.S. military remains mired in wars across the Greater Middle East that have now entered their 18th year. The cost: $5.9 trillion, 7,000 dead American soldiers, at least 480,000 locals killed and 21 million refugees created. The outcome: more instability, more violence, more global terror attacks and a U.S. reputation ruined for at least a generation in the Islamic world.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/assessing-osama-bin-ladens-legitimate-grievances-17-years-on/

An interesting thought, right?

Again…..Discuss!

NOTE:  Once again I offer these for discussion not that it is an approval by IST….

Learn Stuff!

After some thought I feel that I will get little discussion for most know this person from biased news reports.  But I still would like to see what others think.

That Election Tampering Thing

OMG!

There has been story after story, news report after news report about how Russia had tampered with the 2016 election.  There is even been a few stories that accuse China of something similar.

For about 2 years we Americans could not escape the news of tampering….the finger pointing…the whispers and the ink that has been wasted on the whole tampering thing.

I have written that Russia is not alone in this tampering thing…..the US has been doing so for decades upon decades…..we have made sure that the “right kind” of candidate wins any given election.

That is right…the US has pissed away billions trying to change elections….

The U.S. military state overthrows democratically-elected governments that it deems to be a threat to corporate interests.

“There is plenty of evidence that the United States is the most depraved and dangerous “meddler” in the affairs of other nations that history has ever known.”

Dan Kovalik is a labor and human rights lawyer, but most of all he is an anti-imperialist and an author of three books. Kovalik’s first two books tackled the specific US war drives against Russia and Iran. His third installment, The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World, addresses the broad scope of US election meddling abroad. The book provides much needed political and ideological life support to an anti-war movement in the U.S that has been rendered nearly invisible to the naked eye.

https://theantimedia.com/us-spent-billions-change-elections-around-world/

Just remember about pointing…..there is one finger pointing away and 4 pointing back at you.

But if you are not sure about others tampering around the world then I have a couple of posts for you…..enjoy!

https://lobotero.com/2018/04/09/its-all-about-election-tampering/

https://lobotero.com/2018/08/17/when-is-tampering-tampering/

Syria! Whatcha Gonna Do?

I have watched the saga around the Syrian conflict go from devastation to a draw down to a slow down to a not leaving any time soon.

Bolton threatens Syria (Syria is not alone in the threats)…..something these warmongers do almost daily….

a State Department official said “(w)e have no timeline for our military forces to withdraw from” the country. Delay may turn out to be not at all.

On Sunday, a senior Iraqi parliamentarian said

“(t)he  Americans have built a military base in Erbil (in) the Iraqi Kurdistan region to use…against Iraq’s neighboring countries, in particular Iran and Syria.”

Iraqi media said the Pentagon has 14 military bases in the country – along with a reported 18 in Syria. The US is highly unlikely to abandon them, especially ones considered most strategically important.

An earlier report indicated the Pentagon intends establishing a permanent base along the Iraqi border with Syria. Turkey reportedly established one or more military bases in northwestern Aleppo.

On Saturday, a senior Trump regime official said US forces may remain indefinitely at the (illegally established) al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders

https://www.globalresearch.ca/bolton-threatens-syria-us-troop-withdrawal-on-hold-permanent-us-military-base-on-syria-iraqi-border/5664843

This conflict has never been an easy one to follow…Obama made it murky and then Trump came in and it became damn near bleak.

So may I ask….what the Hell is the US Syria policy?

Does anyone know for certain just what US policy is in Syria? And by “anyone,” we include the folks in the White House and the State Department.

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan abruptly canceled a scheduled sitdown with National Security Advisor John Bolton, then went on live TV to berate him. His gripe: Bolton had suggested the US won’t totally withdraw its forces from Syria until the safety of its Kurdish allies is assured, mostly from Turkish attack.

It’s just the latest whirl in the policy merry-go-round that’s spun ever since President Trump dropped his surprise announcement of a Syria withdrawal “as quickly as possible.”

https://nypost.com/2019/01/08/does-anybody-know-what-americas-syria-policy-is/

Just thought I would ask.

Trump has said that Syria is nothing more than “sand and death”…..but according to Neocon thought….we should never underestimate the importance of Syria….

When Donald Trump described Syria last week as a place of “sand and death”, without “vast wealth”, it would have helped him to first check his remarks with a contemporary historian.

That person might have been able to tell the US president that during a significant period of the last century, as it still is today, Syria was the centrepiece of competition between leaders in the Levant and Egypt, so that whoever controlled the country could pretend to a degree of regional dominance.

As Patrick Seale wrote in his classic book The Struggle for Syria, the nation’s “centrality derives from the fact that it lies at the heart of the Arab-Asian power system where, for good or ill, it affects every political relationship in the region”. With Mr Trump saying that his aim in the Middle East is to contain Iran, it made no sense for him to describe Syria dismissively. Without a strategy towards Syria, it is unlikely the US will succeed in curbing Iran.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/history-proves-syria-s-strategic-importance-should-not-be-underestimated-1.811201

It all comes down to Syria is nothing but a spot to confront Iran….not the devastation….not the death….not the refugees….none of that matters to the US as long as they can stick to Iran.

How sad is that?

But Bolton has flexed his tiny muscles and overrules Trump on the Syrian draw down….

National Security Advisor John Bolton has in effect overruled President Donald Trump’s troop withdrawal decision. This will have fateful consequences for America’s national interests, and none of them are good. Speaking in Israel, Bolton stated that two conditions must be met before a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and the conditions amount to a recipe for indefinitely prolonging the deployment. One is that the United States must “make sure ISIS is defeated and is not able to revive itself and become a threat again”—an objective that is impossible for the two thousand U.S. troops in Syria to achieve. With the mini-state of ISIS largely gone, whatever threat the group poses is a matter not of military control of a patch of Syria—a patch of “sand and death”, as Trump put it —but instead of ideology, politics, fear, and hatred that cannot be described on a battle map.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/syria-policy-hawks%E2%80%99-talons-sink-deeper-trump-41017

Apparently Trump is too ignorant to realize the insubordination of Bolton…..will Trump realize his brain fart?

https://theweek.com/articles/816140/shameful-insubordination-john-bolton

But guess what……generals said when asked about Bolton’s turn around on Syria…”We do not take orders from Bolton”…….

After days of back and forth over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pullout American troops from Syria, a U.S. military official said Friday the process of withdrawal has begun, declining to comment on specific timetables or movements.

Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, said “the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria” has started.

“Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements,” the Baghdad-based official said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/11/us_official_says_troop_withdrawal_from_syria_has_started_114098.html

I see that our Syrian policy is as murky as always.  None have been able to answer the one question…..just what is the US Syrian policy?

Can you?

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, (Pause) Bomb Iran

I can hear the late senator John McCain singing that song during the 2008 presidential election…..it is the mantra of the Neocons and their masters the Israelis for decades. Since 1979 the Israelis have preyed on the US neocon hatred for what the Iranians did to the US in that year.

SO when the news came out the Bolton had asked for plans for an attack on Iran made none of us old farts surprised…it it old hat to Neocon behavior…..

The attack—three mortar shells launched into Baghdad’s diplomatic sector by Iranian militants—injured no one, but the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that it “triggered unusual alarm” inside the Trump administration. National Security Adviser John Bolton responded by asking the Pentagon to draw up plans to attack Iran, a request so unusual and a response considered so outsize by many senior administration officials that it “definitely rattled people,” one such official tells the Journal. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.” An NSC rep says it simply “coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats.” Bolton has long advocated regime change in Tehran, notes the Journal, and penned a 2015 New York Times op-ed with the headline, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”
I have been writing about this news for decades,….ever so oftewn the Neocons, when in control, throw a story like this one out there for the MSM to feed on for awhile……https://lobotero.com/2018/07/31/bomb-bomb-iran/

US–A Force For Good?

Most know that my little expertise is in the Middle East and in foreign policy….so when I cannot get a speak by the SecState I go to friends in the Middle East and get the speech that way.

I was sent a video from Egypt of Pompeo’s speech….okay after I listened I sat there and had to listen again….what a pile of manure from an official of the US…..first he said that the US was a force for good…that when the US retreats chaos reigns….(think about that for a moment)…..

I had begun a draft in analysis of this piece of manure speech by an amateur diplomat….and I was notified that I had a piece in waiting……

“An arrogant tirade extolling the U.S. as a liberator not an occupier, a defender not an aggressor—a depiction that runs totally counter to the sordid U.S. history of invasions and occupations all over the world.”

A speech delivered by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Cairo, Egypt on Thursday was immediately chided by critics as bellicose and ahistorical “hogwash” that did more to reveal the incoherence and dangers of the Trump administration’s foreign policy than anything else.

Pompeo’s speech is voodoo diplomacy and not very damn accurate but I would expect such LIES from a Neocon lackey…..but please read the speech for yourself and you decide what part of it is true…..if you can…..

Thank you, Frank. Thank you to Frank Ricciardone. Thank you for your service to America as well, in addition to the duties that you perform here.

I’ve had the good fortune to be a frequent visitor here to Egypt and the Middle East as Secretary of State. In my prior role as CIA director, I was here with some frequency, and I came here too as a member of Congress. Every time I come, I get to see something new, something wonderful.

This trip is especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian, coming so soon after the Coptic Church’s Christmas celebrations. This is an important time. We’re all children of Abraham: Christians, Muslims, Jews. In my office, I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and His Word, and The Truth.

https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2019/01/288410.htm

This was a typical Neocon blathering…..anti-Iran, anti-Obama…..their policies are such crap that all they have is to blast Iran and Obama….garbage foreign policy…….https://lobelog.com/pompeo-in-cairo-anti-obama-anti-iran-and-little-else/

This speech was so much bullsh*t that it made for painful watching….sorry but anyone listening to that speech that was not a Neocon is laughing hysterically under his/her breath.

China Versus Taiwan

Let me say from the onset that I am by no means an expert in Chinese affairs…..but this is something that has been boiling for 5 decades or longer.

For over 50 years there have been two Chinas…Mainland and the island of Taiwan….and in all that time they have been at the others throat.

But why have they been hating each other all that time?

Let me make this situation as simple as possible.

Now that you know why the hatred is there and simmering just below the surface of geopolitics….

In the first week of 2019, as China grabbed headlines for landing a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, a New Year’s Day editorial in the nation’s official military newspaper told its readers that “war preparations” should be a top priority for the year. The following day, President Xi Jinping offered a forceful reminder of what Beijing considers its most likely focus of conflict to be: Taiwan.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apps-taiwan-commentary/commentary-will-china-go-to-war-over-taiwan-idUSKCN1P11IT

And to help with the understanding of this situation….a short video may help…..

Taiwan is an ally of the US and if push came to shove with China I think the US would side with Taiwan and act accordingly….even if it meant going to war.

In his opening speech of 2019, and his first ever on the subject of Taiwan, the Chinese president Xi Jinping was characteristically uncompromising. Forty years after Beijing agreed to stop its daily shelling of the Taiwanese islands of Quemoy and Matsu, and launched a policy of commercial seduction, relations have coarsened. Addressing an audience of military and party officials and his country’s wider public on 2 January, China’s nationalist president-for-life signalled his impatience with the status quo, refused to rule out the use of military force and warned “foreign powers” against intervening in what Beijing regards as a domestic matter. For any Taiwanese viewer, it was a chilling moment.

https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/observations/2019/01/china-and-taiwan-s-dangerous-face

With that said there has been a study that does not think the US could win a state vs state war with China……

One of the first things one learns as an infantry platoon leader is that he who tries to secure everything with his soldiers on the battlefield usually ends up securing nothing. Unfortunately for U.S. national security, this old maxim appears to have been forgotten at the strategic and political level by some of America’s brightest minds in the defense community as evidenced in a recent report.

The November 2018 study Providing for the Common Defense, issued by the National Defense Strategy Commission, a congressionally-mandated blue-ribbon panel led by former U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman and retired U.S. Navy Admiral Gary Roughead, recommends that the United States should spend more on its armed forces and reinforce its global military presence lest Washington be confronted by a national security emergency at a period when the nation is at a “greater risk than at any time in decades.”

https://thediplomat.com/2018/12/would-the-us-really-lose-a-war-with-china-and-russia/

I know that everyone thinks the US is the bees knees but is it possible that we could not win a state vs state war with China?