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.

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”?

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?

ISIS And Al-Qaeda, Oh My!

I apologize for the length of this post…there is a lot to take in….but it is necessary so that we are never caught with out pants down again.

It is really nice to see that some of the hateful bullshit about Muslims has subsided a bit……and the fear mongering about ISIS and AQ has been moved to the back page of the newspaper if it runs at all……but all this just illustrates how easily the American public can be influenced when present with shiny objects of distraction.

Despite nearly two decades of U.S.-led counterterrorism operations, there are nearly four times as many Sunni Islamic militants today as there were on September 11, 2001. Based on a CSIS data set of groups, fighters, and violence, the regions with the largest number of fighters are Syria (between 43,650 and 70,550 fighters), Afghanistan (between 27,000 and 64,060), Paki­stan (between 17,900 and 39,540), Iraq (between 10,000 and 15,000), Nigeria (between 3,450 and 6,900), and Somalia (between 3,095 and 7,240). Attack data indicates that there are still high lev­els of violence in Syria and Iraq from Salafi-jihad­ist groups, along with significant violence in such countries and regions as Yemen, the Sahel, Nigeria, Afghan­istan, and So­malia.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/evolution-salafi-jihadist-threat

First, be certain that neither ISIS or AQ have been defeated…regardless the lies we are told…..they are silent could be the rebuilding stage…..

September 11, 2001 is the date that changed how the world perceives Islamist terrorism. The terrorist group responsible for these attacks was Al Qaeda, which was spearheaded by a Saudi national named Osama Bin Laden. On that day, Bin Laden demonstrated that the world’s only superpower is susceptible to attack on home soil, using civilian aircraft to wreak carnage and murder 2,977 innocent people. From that day, it took the United States and her allies almost 10 years to locate and neutralise Bin Laden. During that time however, Al Qaeda was able to establish a global brand that other jihadist militant groups throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia swore allegiance to. Affiliates were established in Iraq, the Maghreb, Arabian Peninsula and recently the Indian Subcontinent, with the latter three still active today. The terrorist group’s planning and activities have subsequently not been confined to one theatre of operations. Al Qaeda has not been significantly weakened since the death of Osama Bin Laden and has been able to continue their jihad due to their belief system. The following will be detailed as to how this has transpired, covering Al Qaeda’s recalibration before and after Bin Laden’s death, the rise of the Islamic State, their current activities, and Bin Laden’s enduring influence within Al Qaeda and amongst aspiring jihadists.

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/introspection-and-rebuilding-al-qaeda

Both organizations are rebuilding and solidifying their leadership….but the one terrorist that we can NEVER deal with prior to their attack is the Lone Wolf…….

Terrorist attacks by lone individuals are statistically rare and yet, as we have seen in the past few weeks, they can devastate communities and inflame public fears. The recent attacks, including lone armed gunmen in Louisville and Pittsburgh and the Florida-based singleton mail bomber, Cesar Sayoc, have once again demonstrated the power of a solo actor with malevolent intent. While Louisville and Pittsburgh suffered tragic outcomes, our law enforcement agencies, thanks to exceptional investigative work, identified and apprehended Sayoc before any of his devices detonated and before he could perfect his bomb-making skills.

The cluster of recent lone actor attacks also raises the specter of copycat attacks, a phenomenon observed by criminologists, usually among young males who are inspired by sensational publicity that surrounds mass murders and who exhibit a combination of severe mental illness, criminal records, or a history of violent behavior. However, lone wolf terrorism researchers Mark S. Hamm and Ramón Saaij found that of the 12 lone wolf terrorist copycat attackers they studied, only three were young and only three had mental illnesses. Motive appears to be the biggest difference between copycat mass murderers and copycat lone wolf terrorists. Copycat mass murderers seek fame for themselves, while copycat lone terrorists want to further a political cause.

https://www.fpri.org/article/2018/11/what-to-do-about-lone-wolf-terrorism-examining-current-trends-and-prevention-strategies/

This whole War On Terror is a con job…..first you cannot win a “war” on a tactic (something I have been writing for years)….but let’s look at our War On Terror……

Amply documented but rarely mentioned in mainstream news, ISIS is a creation of US intelligence, recruited, trained and financed by the US and its allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.   Those who ordered the bombing campaign are those who are behind the Caliphate Project. The Islamic State militia, which has been the alleged target of  a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, is  supported covertly by the United States and its allies. What this means is that the ISIS terrorists are the foot soldiers of the Western alliance. While America claims to be targeting ISIS, in reality it is protecting ISIS. The air campaign is intent upon destroying Syria and Iraq rather than “going after the terrorists”. 

To understand the background of this complex web of deceit aimed at luring the American people and the rest of the world into accepting a military solution which threatens the future of humanity, get your copy of the international bestseller:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/america-s-war-on-terrorism-the-truth-will-prevail/29427

The War on Terror has been ugly and a pig with lipstick (a fond saying of the GOP)…..

Make NO mistake since the barbaric groups like AQ and ISIS are not front page news they have NOT been defeated and are just waiting for their next opportunity to strike.

A Terrorist ‘What If’

Our  Dear Leader is saying that ISIS has been defeated….my question is in which region are they defeated?  As far as I can tell they are still active just not as bad ass as they were 3 years ago…..regardless they are still there….another con job played on his supporters.

Even with that president guy saying differently the military is concerned………

What keeps U.S. Africa Command chief Gen. Thomas Waldhauser up at night? That remains unknown, but the analysts under his command are worried about terrorist organizations like the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and Boko Haram combining forces and destabilizing large swaths of the African continent.

Planning documents issued in October 2017 and classified by Waldhauser detail the worst-case scenarios imagined by the command. The forecasts, which are an update to AFRICOM’s Theater Campaign Plan and were obtained by The Intercept via a Freedom of Information Act request, center around potential gains by terrorist organizations in the north and west of the continent, specifically Libya, the Sahel, and the Lake Chad basin. They offer a nightmare vision of a destabilized, crisis-ridden region that could – if the worst happens — fall increasingly under the control of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram.

https://theintercept.com/2018/09/12/boko-haram-isis-west-africa-africom/

But let’s say ISIS is as Trump says defeated….what is next?

With the Islamic State’s caliphate in ruins, one of its affiliates could grow to become even more deadly and operationally capable than the core organization was during its peak in 2015. With ISIS franchise groups and affiliates across the globe, there is no shortage of contenders to supplant ISIS as the world’s most dangerous terrorist group.

Many factors could fuel the rise of a new Islamic State (ISIS) offshoot, including the relative weakness of the security forces in the area where the terrorists are operating, so it difficult to discern which affiliate could become the next major threat. Additionally, measuring the threat will require an intimate understanding of an affiliates’ capabilities, the degree to which safe haven and sanctuary are available, and the relative ease with which the group can replenish its resources.

https://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2018/10/09/predicting_the_next_isis_112892.html

In my opinion we need to stop fighting a tactic and try something new……a new direction…..not ever answer of a bigger bomb is the best answer.

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).

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

A new Congress……. maybe this is something to consider…..just a thought.