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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“To Advise And Support”

I know that most people only know about our many wars from what little information they get from their news media of choice…..in other words they get very little info in a 30 second report…..

Most Americans think they know what the US is doing in all these countries (about 140 countries)….they are not fighting but rather they are advising and supporting…..is that what you think the US is doing these days?

It is an excellent con job……how many of you know just what an “Adviser” actually does…..what are the parameters under they must function?

Military writing requires that the bottom line be stated up front.  Here is the bottom line: an advisor is a person lawfully tasked and employed to provide expert advice and counsel to Foreign Security Force officials, representatives, and influencers; through the establishment or continuance of interpersonal relationships founded on mutual trust and respect.” For some reading this, that definition may seem obvious; for others it may seem almost counterintuitive. Our considerably diverse comprehension of what an advisor actually is was my motivation for writing this article.

The mission to advise has existed for many years. In fact, some could argue that the United States owes its existence at least in part to an advisor named Friedrich von Steuben, a Prussian military expert employed by the fledgling Continental Army to train military maneuver.7 However, for this discussion I am focusing on the contemporary character of the mission in the era of the Wars on Terror (2001-present 2018).

I have already provided the bottom line, so now I need to explain how I got there. To do that, I will first reflect on a cold war era method of defining duty by exploring what it is that we expect our advisors Be, Know, and Do. I will then discuss briefly, the sources of my bottom line conclusion including a discussion on the impact of this topic. And then, I will conclude the paper by exploring what needs to be done in the interest of our sustained national security.

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/definition-advisor-comprehending-mission-advise-foreign-security-forces

Please read the missions that the “advisers” must labor under and the functions of the job scope……

Learn Stuff!

Turn The Page!

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.