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Entries in terrorism (35)


(RESILIENT BLOG) President Obama Calls Upon America To Be “Resilient” In The Face of Domestic Terror Strikes, But What Does That Mean?

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ADDRESS TO THE NATION LAST NIGHT spoke volumes about how we as Americans view the ongoing worldwide struggle with violent extremist organizations, a category within which Islamic terror groups present the biggest immediate challenges.

He began with a description of the San Bernardino shooting, the perpetrators, and the national and local responses to the crisis.



(RESILIENT BLOG) America's Strange Resilience In The Face of Mass Shootings: Is A Tipping Point Looming?

TRUMPETED AMIDST BLANKET MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE SAN BERNARDINO MASSACRE is this stunning fact: America has averaged just over one mass shooting (4 or more dead) a day for 2015 (see WAPO chart on left, clicking to enlarge).  That's right.  Mass shootings are now the norm in America.  Heck, San Bernardino was one of two mass shootings in America yesterday (the other one getting only three paragraphs of local newspaper coverage in Georgia).

If that makes you feel queasy, then you still have a conscience.




RESILIENT BLOG: Is America Ready For Soft-Target Terror Attacks? Short Of Agreed-Upon Metrics, It’s Anybody’s Guess.

From Time Story

ON WEDNESDAY TIME POSTED A JUDICIOUSLY GAUGED OVERVIEW of the near-term threat posed by ISIS across the United States (“The State of Terror Defenses in the U.S.”).  I say “judicious” because it avoids the usual fear-mongering hype so typical of these stories in the immediate aftermath of any notable terror strike.  The story notes that Americans have about a 1-in-20-million chance of dying in a terror strike (the historical record to date), but that, as a significant “soft power” (our economic, social, media, financial, etc. strengths), we naturally present a lot of soft targets (iconic sights, critical infrastructure, social gathering places) to terror groups ...



RESILIENT BLOG: The Paris Terror Attacks Remind Us That ISIS Needs Our Help To Survive

The Gap Map (real and threatened) as I would draw it today

Posted on November 18, 2015 at 4:40 pm by 

IN A SERIES OF COORDINATED ATTACKS IN PARIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) succeeds in “socializing” a war that it cannot hope to win on its home turf – without our help. Once the “central front” of America’s “war on terror,” this fight is now most definitely France’s to pursue with a vigor that its citizens may well regret. Russia faces similar strategic temptations after its jet airliner was blown up by an ISIS regional affiliate.

Don’t get me wrong: the civilized world (and by that I mean virtually everyone but ISIS) does need to eliminate this millenarian movement’s strategic sanctuary in the Levant. There is no possibility of coexistence with a violent extremist organization looking to trigger an “end times” apocalypse. And yes, that will be a very bloody effort that no one power should attempt to undertake on its own – particularly in a fit of intense national grief and anger over its citizens being heinously murdered ...



WSJ: "Terror Fight Shifts to Africa" (I told you so . . . in 2005)

Front-page story on the 7th of December, with subtitle "U.S. Considers Seeking Permission for Military Operations Against Extremists."

This is what I wrote in the early part of 2005, published in October of that year in Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating:

CENTCOM’s AOR encompasses the Persian Gulf area extending from Israel all the way to Pakistan, the Central Asian republics formerly associated with the Soviet Union, and the horn of Africa (from Egypt down to Somalia). This is clearly the center of the universe as far as the global war on terrorism is concerned, and yet viewing that war solely in the context of that region alone is a big mistake, one that could easily foul up America’s larger grand strategic goals of defeating terrorism worldwide and making globalization truly global. Here’s why: CENTCOM’s area of responsibility features three key seams, or boundaries, between that collection of regions and the world outside. Each seam speaks to both opportunities and dangers that lie ahead, as well as to how crucial it is that Central Command’s version of the war on terrorism stays in sync with the rest of the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

The first seam lies to the south, or sub-Saharan Africa. This is the tactical seam, meaning that in day-to-day terms, there’s an awful lot of connectivity between that region and CENTCOM’s AOR. That connectivity comes in the form of transnational terrorist networks that extend from the Middle East increasingly into sub-Saharan Africa, making that region sort of the strategic retreat of al Qaeda and its subsidiaries. As Central Command progressively squeezes those networks within its area of responsibility, the Middle East’s terrorists increasingly establish interior lines of communication between themselves and other cells in Africa, as Africa becomes the place where supplies, funds (especially in terms of gold), and people are stashed for future use. Africa risks becoming Cambodia to the Middle East’s Vietnam, a place where the enemy finds respite when it gets too hot inside the main theater of combat. Central Asia presents the same basic possibility, but that’s something that CENTCOM can access more readily because it lies within its area of responsibility, while sub-Saharan Africa does not. Instead, distant European Command owns that territory in our Unified Command Plan, a system constructed in another era for another enemy. Those vertical, north-south slices of geographic commands were lines to be held in an East-West struggle, but today our enemies tend to roam horizontally across the global map, turning the original logic of that command plan on its head.

Central Command’s challenge, then, is to figure out how to connect these two regions in such a way as to avoid having Africa become the off-grid hideout for al Qaeda and others committed to destabilizing the Middle East. By definition, such a goal is beyond CENTCOM’s pay grade, or rank, because it’s a high-level political decision to engage sub-Saharan Africa on this issue—in effect, widening the war. And yet solving this boundary condition is essential to winning the struggle in the Middle East. What the Core-Gap model provides Central Command is a way of describing the problem by noting that transnational terrorism’s resistance to globalization’s creeping embrace of the Middle East won’t simply end with our successful transformation of the region. No, that struggle will inevitably retreat deeper inside the Gap, or to sub-Saharan Africa.

Why is this observation important? It’s important because it alerts the military to the reality that success in this war won’t be defined by less terrorism but by a shifting of its operational center of gravity southward, from the Middle East to Africa. That’s the key measure of effectiveness. Achieving this geographic shift will mark our success in the Middle East, but it will also buy us the follow-on effort in Africa. You want America to care more about security in Africa? Then push for a stronger counterterrorism strategy in the Middle East, because that’s the shortest route between those two points.

Ultimately, you’re faced with the larger, inescapable requirement of having to connect Africa to the Core to run this problem to ground, otherwise today’s problem for CENTCOM simply becomes tomorrow’s distant problem for EUCOM. When you make that leap of logic, the next decision gets a whole lot easier: America needs to stand up an African Command. Now, I know that sounds like a huge expansion of our strategic “requirements,” but when you consider the boundary conditions in this way, the discussion shifts from if to when.

The WSJ says the Obama Administration is thinking about asking Congress for expanded hunting authority to likely include Mali, Nigeria, Libia and others.  The focus is naturally al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb's (AQIM) expanded geographic reach.

AFRICOM was authorized a little over a year after my book came out. I'm not drawing a line of causality- just pointing out I got it right.

What I got wrong about Africa back then was the speed: I saw this fight shifting over a much longer time and I saw globalization's successful embrace of Africa taking much longer.  In short, my combined optimism/pessimism was simply too slow.


(WPR Feature) Skipping Out on the Bill: Obama's Cost-Free Drone Wars

Thanks to the Obama administration’s aggressive use of classified leaks to the press, we are encouraged to believe that President Barack Obama has engineered a revolutionary shift in both America’s geopolitical priorities and our military means of pursuing those ends. As re-election sales jobs go, it presses lukewarm-button issues, but it does so ably. But since foreign policy has never been the president’s focus, we should in turn recognize these maneuvers for what they truly are: an accommodation with inescapable domestic realities, one that at best postpones and at worst sabotages America’s needed geostrategic adjustment to a world co-managed with China and India.

Read the entire article at World Politics Review.


WPR's The New Rules: In Tough Times, America's 'Dirty Harry' Streak Re-Emerges 

President Barack Obama has presented himself as the ender of wars. Moreover, where the preceding administration went heavy with its military power, the Obama administration goes laparoscopically light. And as if to culminate a quarter-century trend of U.S. military interventions that have all somehow devolved into manhunts of some sort, America now simply skips the intervention and gets straight to hunting down and killing bad guys. We stand our ground, as it were, on a global scale. Give us the wrong gesture, look, attitude or perceived intention, and wham! One of ours might kill one of yours -- in a heartbeat. You just never know.

Read the entire column at World Politics Review.


Time's Battleland: Why America should go slow on declaring victory in Libya - or making promises

[co-written with Michael S. Smith II of Kronos Advisory LLC]

The demise of Col Qaddafi, a despicable despot who should have met this or a worse fate sooner, will likely give rise to power grabs in Libya by groups whose agendas will often be anything other than what meets the eye. Despite many power holders' claims of “secularist” and democratic aims, Washington's policy makers would be wise to exercise great caution when assessing who should be trusted inside Libya. For, at present, it would appear Libya is taking on a political atmosphere that will carry a high Salafist quotient.

Read the entire post at Time's Battleland.


Iran crossing a line on attacks inside the US?

You've probably heard the reports coming over the various "wires."  Here's a link to ABC's version

Gist:  FBI and DEA (yes, the DEA!) say they disrupted an Iran sponsored plot to attack Saudi and Israeli diplomatic reps/buildings in Washington.  Naturally, if true, this would be a major-league line-crossing by Tehran, which has always been fairly "correct" - if such a term can be used here - in its anti-West/US/Israeli terrorism, meaning Iran has typically displayed a certain recognition that these targets will get you that indirect response from your opponents while those targets will place you in serious jeopardy of a direct response. Again, if true, these plots are of the level that can easily trigger some serious direct responses.

As way of background, here's a statement on these developments from a colleague of mine, Michael Smith. I repost in full with his permission. You will remember Mike from a piece we co-wrote on Syria a while back for WPR. I also wrote about Mike's report (mentioned again below) in another WPR column.

Statement from Kronos Principal and Gray Area Phenomena Subject Matter Expert Michael S. Smith II*


Regarding the linkage of the Iranian (Islamic) Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force to the terror plot targeting embassies located in Washington, DC

*Entered into the Congressional Record on September 23, 2011 by U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan, in April 2011 Kronos Principal Michael S. Smith II presented members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus a report on Iran’s ties to al-Qa’ida and Affiliated movements titled “The al-Qa’ida Qods Force Nexus.” A redacted version of this report is now available online.


The Qods Force (QF) is an elite and clandestine special operations unit nominally within the command of the Iranian (Islamic) Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). QF is Tehran’s top ambassador to the realm of Islamist terrorism. Its commanders serve as chief liaisons between the Government of Iran and organizations like Hizballah (which was formed with substantial support from the IRGC), as well as the leaders of Sunni militant groups such as Core al-Qa’ida and the Afghan Taliban. 

Operating globally, QF was created with a mandate to bolster the development and operations of Islamist terrorist groups that target Iran’s enemies in the Middle East and beyond. To that end, and frequently in collaboration with Hizballah — which has developed a substantial presence in Latin America and the Caribbean — QF provides financial, training, and tactical support to these groups, several of which are responsible for hundreds of attacks targeting American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

QF commanders report directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamene’i, the top official among the most powerful cadre of government officials in Iran:  The Islamic Republic’s “unelected” theocratic leaders who do not rely on the popular vote to secure their positions of authority. QF purportedly maintains such a secretive existence that few Iranian government officials are aware of its membership numbers, which are assessed to range between 2,000 – 20,000. Its ranks are said to be comprised of Iran’s most highly skilled special operations and intelligence officers. High-profile officials affiliated with QF include Iran’s current minister of defense, Ahmad Vahidi, who previously served as a commander of this paramilitary unit and is known to have a decades-long relationship with Core al-Qa’ida Commander Ayman al-Zawahiri.

As noted in my April 2011 report on the Qods Force’s ties to al-Qa’ida for members of the United States Congress:  According to the U.S. Department of Defense, QF has been “involved in or behind some of the deadliest terrorist attacks of the past 2 decades.”1 QF was behind the two U.S. Embassy truck bombings in Beirut, the 1983 Marine barracks bombing that killed 241 U.S. soldiers, and most of the foreign hostage-taking in Lebanon during the 1980s and early 1990s. It is also known to have directed Saudi based Hizballah al-Hijaz, an organization created by the IRGC, to plan attacks against Americans. This directive is said to have manifest the 1996 attack on the Khobar Towers that killed 19 Americans and wounded another 372. An attack which authors of the 9/11 Commission Report suggested al-Qa’ida may have played a role in.

Statement Regarding Allegations of QF Involvement

It would be highly unusual for Qods Force operatives to be involved in such an operation as the recently uncovered plot targeting facilities and foreign officials in Washington, DC without the knowledge and consent of the Supreme Leader of Iran. Moreover, given the president of Iran’s ties to the IRGC, in which he previously served as an officer, coupled with his efforts to elevate IRGC officials’ roles in the Iranian government since he was first elected president, it is reasonable to speculate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have been apprised of such a plot.

If the Qods Force is indeed involved with the plot to bomb embassies based in Washington, DC this would represent a substantial and very alarming shift in Tehran’s use of terrorism as an instrument of the Islamic Republic’s foreign statecraft. Historically — although the Government of Iran vis-à-vis QF and its terrorist proxies has targeted American interests in the Middle East and South Asia — the Government of Iran has typically avoided involvement in plots targeting the U.S. Homeland. (Note:  A lawsuit in which plaintiffs assert the Government of Iran was involved with the 9/11 plot was recently initiated in a U.S. court.)


USG national security managers and policy makers should take Iran’s alleged involvement in this plot just as seriously, perhaps more so, than similar plots to strike the U.S. Homeland spearheaded by al-Qa’ida and Affiliated Movements. 

During the past three decades, Washington has failed to take appropriate action in responses to Iran’s involvement in successful terror plots that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of American troops, as well as American civilians. And additional economic sanctions will only strengthen the Government of Iran, which in recent years has transformed the country from a theocratic state into a garrison enterprise by enabling the IRGC to acquire substantial stakes in virtually all important sectors of the country.

If the Iranian (Islamic) Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force was behind this recent terror plot, failure to issue a forceful response will only empower the Government of Iran in its all too well-known pursuits of opportunities to inflict harm on Americans and our allies. This, as Tehran is dangerously dabbling with the development of nuclear capabilities. 

If investigators have indeed confirmed the Qods Force played a collusive role in this plot, officials would be well advised to regard this as an (attempted) act of war.

Kronos is a strategic advisory firm established in 2011 by Medal of Honor recipient MajGen James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret) and Congressional counter-terrorism advisor Michael S. Smith II — online at

Unclassified Report on Military Power of Iran. U.S. Department of Defense. April 2010. Online via 

Coverage of The al-Qa’ida-Qods Force Nexus report was produced in May by the following news organizations:

Agence France-Presse (AFP) “Report Highlights Alleged Iran Force’s al Qaeda Links” (4 May 2011)
Link to report:

The Jerusalem Post “U.S. congressional report:  Iran offering support to al-Qaida” (5 May 2011)
Link to report:

Al Arabiya “Report from Congressional panel says Iran’s Revolutionary Guard helps Al-Qaeda” (5 May 2011)
Link to report:


Time's Battleland: Arab Spring with same impact as "big bang strategy": Islam at war with self - not West


Nice piece in the NYT at the end of September pointing out that the primary impact of the Arab Spring is that, in giving people chances to rule themselves and not be subject to dictators, Islamic activists find themselves splintering from within . . .

Read the entire post at Time's Battleland.


Time's Battleland: Might al-Zawahiri's al-Qa'ida come to view future nuclear power Iran as THE perfect sanctuary?

This post was co-generated with Michael S. Smith II of the strategic advisory firm Kronos

As al-Qa'ida leaders the world over signal their intent to stay the course — challenging assumptions that the integrity of their network has been perhaps irreversibly jeopardized by the death of bin Laden — national security managers must remain focused on denying its core leaders a safe base of operations. Meanwhile, due to growing ties between al-Qa'ida's regional network and defense officials in Iran, the strategic dimension of the West's counter-terrorism efforts is likely to grow significantly in the years ahead. Unless Washington is prepared to confront Iran directly on this issue, al-Qa'ida may logically seek to achieve an untouchable strategic sanctuary within a nuclearized Iran.

Read the entire post at Time's Battleland blog.


WPR's The New Rules: U.S. Counterterror Stance Ain't Broke, So Don't Fix It  

Despite the rush right now to declare important milestones or turning points in the fight against terrorism, the best handle we can get on the situation seems to be that al-Qaida is near dead, but its franchises have quite a bit of life in them. The implied situational uncertainty is to be expected following Osama Bin Laden's assassination, as he was our familiar "handle" on the issue for more than a decade. But although it is normal that we now seek a new, widely accepted paradigm, it is also misguided: In global terms we are, for lack of a better term, in a good place right now on terrorism, meaning we don't need to unduly demote or elevate it in our collective threat priorities. Instead, we need to recognize the "sine wave" we're riding right now and seek no profound rebalancing in our security capabilities -- other than to continue protecting the "small wars" assets that we spent the last decade redeveloping.

Read the entire column at World Politics Review.


Another take on the expanded AQ-Iran relationship

Per the piece I wrote for WPR a while back, leveraging some work by Michael Smith of Kronos, this AP story in USA Today (HT to Mike) lays out a very similar analysis:

Since 2001, Iran has appeared a somewhat reluctant host for senior al-Qaeda operatives who fled there after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, keeping them under tight restrictions. Now, though Iran remains on the edge of al-Qaeda's orbit, it seems to be a more comfortable haven for those operatives.

The turning point was the negotiations for the release last year of a senior Iranian diplomat held by the Taliban. As I noted in the WPR piece, top AQ strategist Saif al-Adel, allegedly held under arrest in Iran, has started to travel with Iran's blessing to Pakistan.  As the USA Today article further notes:

Despite his travel to Pakistan, al-Adel has so far chosen to remain based in Iran with his wife and family, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

This suggests that al-Adel and perhaps lower-level al-Qaeda figures now consider Iran a viable outpost, with fewer restrictions and the added security that a U.S. commando raid or drone strike on Iranian soil is unlikely. Al-Adel, an Egyptian who allegedly helped mastermind the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, is among the FBI's most-wanted terrorists and the U.S. is offering a $5 million reward for his capture.

"There are a number of reasons an al-Qaeda leader would feel comfortable these days in Iran," said Theodore Karasik, a regional affairs expert at the Dubai-based Institute forNear East and Gulf Military Analysis. "Chief among them is a mutual enemy: America."

The life of the al-Qaeda-linked exiles in Iran is still very much a blind spot to Western intelligence agencies. Very few firm details have emerged, such as how much Iran limits their movements and contacts.

Iran has made no public comments on bin Laden's family members believed to be on its soil, nor about al-Adel and others in the al-Qaeda braintrust believed to have spent time in the country and may still be there. They include Atiyah Abdul-Rahman, a Libyan high in the al-Qaeda hierarchy; Abu Mohammed al-Masri, a top figure in the al-Qaeda's "Military Committee," which al-Adel is believed to head; and Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, a senior spiritual adviser in the terror network.

"The story of al-Qaeda and Iran is one that often is hard to figure out," said Karasik. "But there is a sense that Iran is not just a bystander. Links to top figures like al-Adel gives Iran channels to al-Qaeda's inner workings if they want to go on that path."

With al-Zawahri leading the al-Qaeda, al-Adel is likely to remain a behind-the-scenes organizer and planner of possible new attacks.

Something to keep an eye on.


Time's Battleland: Drones + biometrics: Weapons that conquer globalization's frontiers

Cool NYT story on the US military's use of biometrics (eye scans, etc.) to create unforgeable identification records of roughly one-in-five fighting-age Iraqi and Afghani males, creating databases that can be perused in seconds by a handheld device at a border crossing. Naturally, there is much interest and some desire to use the same technology here in the States, along with the usual fears of loss of privacy.  Trust me, along with drones, these frontier-settling technologies will most definitely infiltrate our society in coming years, just like the military's Internet and GPS did before.

Read the entire post at Time's Battleland.

I first wrote about this concept in Blueprint for Action in the final chapter called "blogging the future."


Time's Battleland: Future grand strategists speak: Why US withdrawal from Afghanistan would stabilize Pakistan

In my continuing role as Head Judge  for the online strategy community Wikistrat's month-long International Grand Strategy Competition featuring roughly 30 teams from top-flight universities and think tanks around the world, I get to peruse all manner of provocative thought from some of tomorrow's best and brightest thinkers.  And yeah, full disclosure, I get paid to judge as the firm's chief analyst.

Well, this last week, our participating teams drew up elaborate national trajectories and regional trajectories for their 13 countries (Brazil, China, EU, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and US), and the two entries that really jumped out at me in their immediate dueling were the two Pakistani teams populated with grad students from Claremont Graduate University (CA) and Yale (CT).  Let me tell you why.

Read the entire post at Time's Battleland.


Time's Battleland: "Does al-Qaeda go the way of AIDS?"

Nice piece in WAPO about Ayman al-Zawahiri taking over al-Qaeda from the recently assassinated Osama bin Laden. Story leads with remembrances from a guy who knew him back in the day:

He was arrogant, angry and extreme in his ideas,” said Azzam, 40, son of a radical Palestinian ideologue who had become bin Laden's mentor. “He fought with everyone, even those who agreed with him.”

Thus, experts are now saying that al-Qaeda will suffer under his leadership:

U.S. intelligence officials, terrorism experts and even the Egyptian's former cohorts say a Zawahiri-led al-Qaeda will be far more discordant, dysfunctional and perhaps disloyal than it was under bin Laden.

Just to cover rear-ends, though, the story's next statement leaves open the question whether or not the group will be more or less effective (terrorism experts must always do this to make sure they can win big when the next strike comes and they told us so!).

Read the entire post at Time's Battleland.


Time's Battleland: "The future of Fifth Generation Warfare: Follow the food!"

Everybody thinks that the future is going to see fights over energy, when it's far more likely to be primarily over food. Think about it: The 19th century is the century of chemistry and that gets us chemical weapons in World War I. The 20th century is the century of physics and that gets us nuclear weapons in World War II. But the 21st century? That's the century of biology, and that gets us biological weaponry and biological terror. My point: obsessing over nuclear terrorism is steering by our rearview mirror.

Read the entire post at Time's Battleland blog.


Kronos report to Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus on Iran-AQ Nexus

Download here.

Made available here as part of tomorrow's WPR column.


Esquire's The Politics Blog: Obama's Middle East Speech Text, Decoded Line-by-Line

Expectations couldn't have been lower for President Obama's Middle East speech on Thursday, and yet it was a work of "realist" beauty that recognized: a) how little influence America actually has over these types of events, and b) where we stand at the beginning of what is likely to be a long process of political upheaval and — hopefully — economic reform that addresses the underlying issues driving the entire region. Yes, Obama took a pass on Palestine and Israel (his historic referencing of Israel's pre-'67 borders is the Mideast equivalent of a "world without nuclear weapons"), but he's got several touch points in the coming days (the Netanyahu meeting, another speech, Netanyahu's speech to Congress) with which to address that, so this was more of a broad-strokes laying out as to what America stands for, and what it's willing to do amidst its current fiscal realities. And — again — it was a great mix of stated idealism, expressed in long-haul terms, and political pragmatism that recognizes the here-and-now realities that must temper any sense of America coming to anybody else's immediate rescue.

Obama's was a well-crafted message — one that reassured both the world and Americans that this administration knows its limits and its responsibilities to history. It was, in a word, presidential.

And now, so you don't have to sit through it again, a little deconstruction of the most compelling sections excerpted (from the prepared remarks) at length....

Read the entire post at Esquire's The Politics Blog.


CoreGap 11.12 Released - At the Time of his Demise, OBL was OBE


Wikistrat has released edition 11.12 of the CoreGap Bulletin.

This CoreGap edition features, among others:

  • Terra Incognita 11.12 - At the Time of his Demise, OBL was OBE
  • Bin Laden Killing Comes at Pivotal Moment in US Operations in Afghanistan
  • Pakistan’s Longtime Duplicity Comes to Fore with Bin Laden Operation
  • Latest Census in China Triggers Fears of Demographic Decline
  • African Development Bank Group Details Rise of Middle Class There

And much more...

The entire bulletin is available for subscribers. Over the upcoming week we will release analysis from the bulletin to our free Geopolitical Analysis section of the Wikistrat website, first being "Terra Incognita - At the Time of his Demise, OBL was OBE"

It would seem that reports of Osama Bin Laden’s leadership of al-Qaeda these past few years were greatly exaggerated.  By the time the equally shadowy SEAL Team 6 put that bullet through his brain, the great man was living in a million-dollar “cave” whose primary purpose was to keep him decidedly off grid – out of reach and out of touch.  But Osama Bin Laden was overtaken by events a long time ago.

Globalization was more concept than reality a decade ago. “Rising” China? The muffled sound of a train gaining speed in the distance.  One could imagine globalization’s easy reversal thanks to the right bomb exploded in the right place at the right time. Vladimir Lenin, the most pragmatic of revolutionaries, referred to such wishful thinking as “left-wing deviationism – an infantile disorder.” Bin Laden had it bad. 

Pulling off one of the greatest lucky shots in history (both barrels, mind you), Bin Laden sent the West spinning into an orgy of new rules, wild spending, and poorly thought-out postwars (the initial takedowns were works of real artistry). Proving beyond all doubt that we live in a world in which super-empowered individuals can engineer vertical shocks of the highest order, he nonetheless succumbed to the most prosaic of horizontal scenarios – the methodical manhunt that only a vast national security bureaucracy can mount. “Operation Geronimo” was aptly named:  the mythical warrior reduced to a legend’s lonely death.

Read the full piece here

More about Wikistrat's Subscription can be found here

To say that President Barack Obama’s foreign policy plate is full right now is a vast understatement, and it couldn’t come at a worse time for a leader who needs to revive his own economy before trying to resuscitate others (e.g., Tunisia, Egypt, South Sudan, Ivory Coast – eventually Libya?). Faced with the reality that America’s huge debt overhang condemns it to sub-par growth for many years, Washington enters a lengthy period of “intervention fatigue” that – like everything else, according to the Democrats – can still be blamed on George W. Bush.