Africa: East And West

I try to keep my readers up to date on the happenings in Africa….especially the terrorists operating within the continent.

Recently there was an attack in Nairobi Kenya….all fingers are pointing at al-Shabaab, originally from Somalia….but this group is known but that is about all that can be said…..but who and what is al-Shabaab?

Al-Shabaab is the deadliest jihadi group in sub-Saharan Africa, largely operating in Somalia but known for brutal attacks on neighbouring Kenya.

Founded in 2006, the group – whose name translates from Arabic as the “The Youth” or “Mujahideen Youth Movement” – began as the militant arm of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an alliance of hard-line Sharia courts in southern Somalia who sought to rival the Transitional Federal Parliament for control of the country.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/al-shabaab-who-africa-terror-group-jihadi-group-somalia-islamist-a8728921.html

Then we go to the West of the continent……Burkina Faso

I recently wrote a post about the situation in the country……https://lobotero.com/2019/01/08/in-the-land-of-the-lost/

After that post I read a report on an uptick of terrorism in the country of Burkina Faso……

Ten years ago, the prospect that Nigeria would become a jihadist hotspot—let alone the world’s third “most terrorized” country after Iraq and Afghanistan—received hardly any consideration (Africanews.com, December 6). Nevertheless, much has changed in ten years. Today the situation in northeastern Nigeria is worse than any predictions made a decade ago. Moreover, the violence from Nigeria has spilled over into neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon. This begs the question—are there “peaceful” countries today in West Africa that ten years from now could spiral into jihadist violence?

This article examines the security situation in southern Burkina Faso, which shares borders with “peaceful” countries on the West African coast, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin. Those countries have largely been spared from jihadist violence, with the exception of the 2016 Grand Bassam attack in Côte d’Ivoire that left 16 dead. Now, however, they appear to be on the verge of suffering from jihadist spillover from Burkina Faso into the northern regions of their countries. This article first reviews recent attacks that have occurred in southern Burkina Faso and discusses the networks of groups operating there. It then highlights certain structural factors in coastal West African countries that jihadists could exploit to launch attacks similar to what they have done in Nigeria, if not Burkina Faso and Mali as well.

https://jamestown.org/program/burkina-faso-and-the-looming-jihadist-threat-to-coastal-west-africa/

There have been increases in terrorist activity in Africa….but so far it has been contained to regional attacks and concentration……but they could expand their reach at anytime…especially if they learn to work together instead of factionalism.

As Africa comes out of the tag of Third World the opportunities for terrorists groups gets better and better…..African nations need to be vigilant to try and prevent the rise as permanent.

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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.

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.

Those 9/11 Conspiracies

Closing Thought–10Jan19

May I see a show of hands….how many have heard the 9/11 conspiracies ………does not matter which one just the conspiracies in general.

Do you believe any of the conspiracies?

In case you have not heard the theories (I would find that hard to believe…but hey anything is possible)…..I can help you with the search….

The 11 Most Compelling 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

Surely you have heard or read one or two of these theories….I mean unless you have been locked away with an iron mask…..

The hackers of Dark Overlord have done a bit of hacking and have found some “truth” about the attacks…..

A hacking collective known as The Dark Overlord announced on New Year’s Eve that it had broken into the computer systems of a law firm and obtained files related to the September 11 attacks – threatening to publicly release a large cache of internal files unless a hefty ransom was paid, according to Motherboard.

Dark Overlord’s demands targeted several insurers and legal firms, including Lloyds of London, Silverstein Properties and Hiscox Syndicates. It is unclear what exact files were stolen by the group, however the hacking collective tweeted “We’ll be providing many answers about 9.11 conspiracies through our 18.000 secret documents leak from @HiscoxComms and others.”

https://theantimedia.com/dark-overlord/

There will always be something “new” about the 9/11 attacks….and a wealth of answers to unasked questions.

Anything new that you have read or heard?

Time to put my mind in neutral for awhile…..TTFN!

Another American Captured

Another American has made the news…but this one is not an accused spy…..this is one is a terrorist…..this one is allied with ISIS (you remember them right?)……

Warren Christopher Clark, American, 34, has made news….he will get his few fleeting moments in the spotlight….

This person has been captured with other ISIS fighters in Syria…..

At least one American—a former substitute teacher from Texas—has been captured with ISIS in Syria, say Kurdish forces. The Kurds say they captured a second American as well, but the citizenship of that man is much iffier, reports the New York Times. In a news release, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say they caught Warren Christopher Clark, 34, with ISIS fighters in northeast Syria. Clark graduated from the University of Houston and worked as a substitute teacher of English as a Second Language in Fort Bend before taking similar jobs in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, reports the Houston Chronicle. Clark has been in the news before, when investigators at George Washington University turned up a resume and cover letter he once sent to ISIS looking for a job.

“Dear Director, I am looking to get a position teaching English to students in the Islamic State,” Clark wrote in the letter, which was found inside an Iraqi house. “I believe that a successful teacher can understand a student’s strengths and weaknesses and is able to use that understanding to help students build on their understanding of the English language.” NBC News reported last year that Clark had converted to Islam around 2004 and become radicalized online. The Kurdish military group says it also captured an American named Zaid Abed al-Hamid, but it wasn’t clear whether Hamid was actually a US citizen. The US military has not confirmed the capture of either man yet, reports Stars and Stripes. If confirmed, they would be the fifth and sixth Americans captured on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, per the Times.

Will the CIA do its “thing” to wrangle intel out of this guy?

This dude is so screwed!  As he should be!  Can you say which way to the nearest “black site”?

Thusly, He Spake!

FLASH!

Big Yawn!

Last night, just mere hours ago, our Dear Supreme Leader went before the people of the “boob tube” from the Oval Office (a first, btw) and told us all about the “crisis” on the border.

To begin with there is NO “crisis” on the border…..As usual he made little sense and spouted his usual LIES and bullsh*t……

President Trump called the situation at the US-Mexico border a “humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul” in a national address Tuesday night—but he stopped short of declaring a formal emergency in order to get a border wall built. In his brief speech, the president again called for $5.7 billion to build a wall, which he said would actually be a “steel barrier,” reports Politico. In a quick rebuttal, Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of “manufacturing a crisis” at the border, per the AP, and she and Chuck Schumer reiterated that Democrats would not pay for any such barrier. The president, meanwhile, maintained that the wall “would quickly pay for itself,” arguing that its cost would “indirectly” be covered by savings from the new trade pact with Mexico.

Trump also said that “our Southern border is a vast pipeline for illegal drugs,” and he again asserted that criminals crossing the border were endangering American lives. The impasse over funding for the proposed wall is at the center of the partial government shutdown, now in its 18th day. The president said the government “remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security,” per the Washington Post. Countered Pelosi: “The fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government.” The White House has been considering the possibility of Trump declaring a national emergency, a controversial move through which he would divert military money and resources to build a barrier without congressional approval.

Like I said…the usual BS…..a “crisis” of his tiny brain….but the analysis…..at least that darn “caravan” crisis has been averted (another of those things from a tiny mind).  Nothing new in his rhetoric…..same crap he spread 2 years ago….why was an Oval Office speech necessary?

President Trump delivered an address on the “crisis” at the US-Mexico border Tuesday night—and fact-checkers started work as soon as he got to the word “crisis.” The Washington Post, which calls Trump’s description of the situation “misleading and bleak,” reports that the president said there is a “growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the border, but there is no new security crisis at the border and apprehensions of people trying to cross illegally have fallen from a peak of around 1.6 million in 2000 to 400,000 in fiscal 2018. The Post notes, however, that there is indeed a growing humanitarian crisis caused by the increasing number of families with children attempting to cross the border. More:

  • “The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.” The New York Times call this remark false, noting that while Democrats are refusing to give Trump $5.7 billion for a border wall, they have offered $1.3 billion for other border security measures.
  • “Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.” Politico calls this statement “misleading,” noting that most fentanyl sold in the US comes from China, and while most heroin in the US does come from Mexico, the vast majority of it is smuggled through existing border crossings, so a wall would not significantly improve the situation.
  • “The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.” The Post awards this claim Four Pinocchios on a scale of one to four and accuses Trump of misunderstanding the economics. of trade deficits. “Congress must still appropriate the money, and the trade agreement has not been ratified,” the Post adds.
  • “America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.” The AP considers this claim dubious. Researchers have found that immigration both legal and illegal ends up delivering a boost to the economy, though Americans without high school degrees don’t tend to benefit.
  • Senator Chuck Schumer, who you will be hearing from later tonight, has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats.” Schumer and other Democrats did indeed vote for a fence along 700 miles of border in 2006, though it was far less substantial than the barrier proposed by Trump, who has called the 2006 version a “nothing wall,” the Post reports.
  • “At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.” Politico reports that congressional Democrats have not requested a steel barrier—and have said the material used in the barrier does not affect the shutdown debate.
  • The AP notes that in their rebuttal, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of shutting down the government and “holding workers hostage”—but “it takes two sides to shut down the government.”

Kinda reminds me of the word ‘bullsh*t’ hidden under a fake sneeze……

I tried something different…..I took a sip of bourbon every time Trump used the word “Crisis”……and by 10 minutes into the speech (wait that was the length of the whole thing) I was already feeling tipsy….

This is a “crisis” that was generated in Trump’s tiny mind…there is NO crisis on the Southern border…

There was nothing substantive about the speech…..not even the opening was genuine……my analysis…..”Begging For Bucks”, the new Trump reality show in the making.

Down here, Gulf Coast, there is a fish that will bite on anything even an empty hook….we call them “Croakers” because of the sound they make when caught……these fish  remind me of the Trump supporters….they will bite on anything Trump feeds them….accurate info or a lie…..matters not to them.

Finally, the rebuttal delivered by Schumer/Pelsoi…..these two looked stiff and phony….they stood there making themselves appear like a famous painting, American Gothic”….I could not listen to their meanderings through the English language…..the Dems would have been better using AOC  for the rebuttal, the Left loves her and would be listening.

All in all another waste of time….but the bourbon was soothing…..

That War on Terror

9/11 was the start of a long war on terror.  I have written many articles on this “war” (archives will get you to them all)…and in all those posts I have tried to point out one thing…

The War on Terror is a war on a tactic not an entity……and as such needs a new approach…..

But first, this war on a tactic…..

The United States is engaged in an unusual global war, fighting a tactic rather than an enemy nation. Unlike traditional warfare, it is possible that this war between the US and terrorist networks will not produce a clear winner. The US and its allies have been involved in military engagements over the past decade and a half, costing the US taxpayer an estimated $1.5 to $5.6 trillion dollars. The longer the US remains embroiled in this armed conflict, the less likely it is that such a war ends favorably from an American perspective. While US defense strategy will need to include counter-terrorism efforts for decades to come, it is time to end the war by beginning to reframe the narrative behind the Global War on Terror (GWOT).

In the context of the GWOT, terrorism refers most frequently to random attacks on civilians by groups who seek to conduct religious war against the United States. In using these terrorist tactics, these groups specifically intend to sow widespread fear. Recent polls show that a growing number of Americans feel “less safe” than they did before 9/11.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/stop-fighting-war-against-tactic

Every country is trying to fight this GWOT the same way….traditional, even Napoleonic tactics, this will not win this so-called war…..

This is an excellent paper written by a grad student in International Relations…..

Confronting new threats requires new thinking. Anachronistic understandings of security primarily arise from ideological suppositions that not only continue to frustrate prudent policy but also create increased insecurity. State failures, and the geopolitical disorder that followed, were born out of policies generated by reified thinking as to what constitutes material threats in a world order transfigured by the end of the Cold War. Yet Cold War thinking remains the guiding principle when approaching contemporary threats to state and international security alike (Jacob, 2017, xviii). Interrogating ideology—a category that begs attention in international relations—helps account for counterproductive security practices. An examination of Cold War theories, global “war on terror” practices, and the passé interplay between the two illuminates the ideological and structural checks that vex geopolitical order in this new century.

https://www.e-ir.info/2018/10/18/cold-war-theories-war-on-terror-practices/

The chance of a terror attack as not been lessen if anything it has made more likely.

So is the ‘war’ a waste of money?

Thoughts?