Impact of a U.S. troop departure – IG

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OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE
AND OTHER OVERSEAS CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS
LEAD INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS

On January 16, 2019, U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) also provided the following
answer to the question about the impact of a U.S. troop departure on ISIS in Syria:
ISIS may conduct opportunistic attacks on U.S. personnel as they withdraw but
will leverage the event as a “victory” in its media. ISIS remains an active insurgent group in both Iraq and Syria. If Sunni socio-economic, political, and sectarian grievances are not adequately addressed by the national and local governments of
Iraq and Syria it is very likely that ISIS will have the opportunity to set conditions for future resurgence and territorial control. Currently, ISIS is regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria, but absent sustained [counterterrorism] pressure, ISIS could likely resurge in Syria within six to twelve months and regain limited territory in the [Middle Euphrates River Valley
(MERV)].

https://media.defense.gov/2019/Feb/05/2002086500/-1/-1/1/FY2019_LIG_OIRREPORT.PDF

https://wp.me/p1kUZv-i0

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Algeria: Bouteflika’s term extended, election delayed

“The army will remain a fortified fortress for the country, ” Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah said March 18 on state TV. “We should be responsible for finding solutions as soon as possible. There is no problem without solution.” In a letter reported by Ennahar television, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika repeated an earlier plan for a national conference to reform the political system,

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Lyes Merabet

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Meziane Meriane

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The former secretary general of the FLN, Djamel Ould Abbes

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informal meetings were held by Lakhdar Brahimi with opposition actors Louiza Hanoune and Saïd Sadi

Police join  protesters

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Hocine Kheldoun, a former spokesman for the ruling party, FLN

2019 “I am in full adhesion with the people across the national territory and in all Wilayas of the country“. Retired General Hocine Benhadid

2014 General Hocine Benhadid with President Bouteflika:”That is what I am asking President Bouteflika. He came up with the slogan ‘Izza and Karama’ (Dignity) when he retires with ‘Izza and Karama’ dignity and leaves Algeria catch his breath. I do not ask him to leave, but just to retire with dignity. “

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Ali Haddad,

Ali Haddad, 53, is the CEO of ETRHB Haddad Group,He owes his success to public sector orders but his influence today extends to the highest level in the Algerian state and all economic sectors.

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Lakhdar Brahimi,

Lakhdar Brahimi, former foreign minister and U.N. special envoy who is in his 80s, is expected to chair the conference that will oversee the transition, draft a new constitution and set the date for elections

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Gaed Salah

“This is a regime that is composed of different strata and circles of power. You have the [ruling party] FLN apparatchik, you have the bureaucracy, political and military leadership and you have business tycoons,” Dalia Ghanem Yazbeck

“All eyes are on the army now. Is the army going to let new protests to happen next Friday?” Amel Boubekeur

bedoui

Noureddine Bedoui

“He’s illegally extending a fourth term and staying until the end of the year, and we don’t want that.” The prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, resigned and was replaced by Noureddine Bedoui.

[   “regime change”not “political change”   ]

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General Athmane Tartag, known as “Bashir”

Protected by Saïd Bouteflika, the brother of the Algerian president, who had strongly helped to appoint him in September 2015 in place of General Mohamed Mediène, known as “Toufik”, General Athmane Tartag, known as “Bashir” is now closer to the door. “Talks are underway, says a familiar of the seraglio, to find him a successor”.

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Mohamed Mediene (age 76) General de corps d\’armee

“Untimely intervention on foreign television…accusing the former chief of intelligence services , General Mohamed Mediene, ‘Toufik’ to be behind the campaign of hostility against the head of state, at the time he announced his intention to seek a fifth term.”

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In 1974, Abdelaziz Bouteflika was named president of the UN General Assembly, with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1975

Bouteflika arrived at Boufarik military airport, about 20 miles south of the capital, and was shown in video by private television station Ennahar in a fast-moving convoy heading toward the Algiers suburb of Zeralda. He could be seen inside a car slightly bent over and with a cap on his head. Bouteflika resides in Zeralda, not in the presidential palace in the capital.

In the clearest indication yet that the generals sympathize with tens of thousands of Algerians who want Bouteflika to step down, the chief of staff said the military and the people had a united vision of the future, state TV reported. Lieutenant General Gaed Salah did not mention the protests.

TUNIS, March 8 (Reuters) – Algerian state news agency APS said on March 8 2019 protesters in the capital and other parts of the country had demanded “regime change”. The agency had in previous coverage said the protesters wanted “political change”.

“At the moment when I evoke before you these prestigious historical glories, my thoughts go, with pride, to all the personnel of the National People’s Army who deserve, today, to be qualified with dignity of Children of November, “said Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah. “All this clearly indicates the major importance accorded to the fulfillment of the noble missions assigned in order to preserve the security of our homeland and safeguard its independence, sovereignty and stability,” ”

The ailing 82-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been in Switzerland since late February for medical reasons, No opposition figure has so far won enough popular support to take him on.

The days of romanticising popular movements in this region are long gone. This is not 2011 and the “Arab Spring” all over again. BBC Rana Jawad

[Marcg 6 2019 Le pouvoir, Bouteflika letter ]

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The ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) has ruled the North African nation since gaining independence from France in 1962 after a bloody seven-year war.
“Le pouvoir” (the power), as many Algerians have come to describe those who run the country, has been centred around the party, some powerful generals and prominent businessmen.
Mr Bouteflika’s younger brother Said, 61, is the one holding sway in the presidency at the moment – controlling access to the president. The other important figure is Gen Ahmed Gaid Salah, the army chief of staff, who has centralised a great deal of power around him.

[March 3 2019]

[March 2 2019 will run for re-election in April 2019 – protests ]

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Saïd Bouteflika, 81-year-old president’s brother, whom many accuse of staging a de facto coup, wresting control of the government, and ruling in his name.

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The president, who turns 82 next week, will travel to Switzerland on Sunday for medical checks.

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Algeria’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on February 10 2019 he was planning to run in April’s presidential elections, the state news agency APS reported.

[February 8 2019]

Abdelaziz Bouteflika must say whether he will run or not by March 3, according to the constitution. If he does, he is expected to win despite his poor health, because the opposition remains weak and fragmented, analysts say

[November 1 2018 ]

Djamel Ould Abbes

Djamel Ould Abbes

National Liberation Front chief Djamel Ould Abbes said on October 28  Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has been confined to a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2013, will be the party’s candidate in the vote set for April 2019 .

[February 19 2016   U.S. Air Force F-15E jets from Lakenheath hit terrorist in Libya   ]

refueling previous raid

refueling previous raid

[February 18 2016]F15E at Lakenheath, Suffolk about to light up both engines prior to taking off. I was looking down the lens of a 600mm Sigma on a Nikon D7100 and the pilot and weapons crew member were no doubt I hope, looking down the runway! [lucky shot?]

[February 18 2016]F15E at Lakenheath, Suffolk about to light up both engines prior to taking off. I was looking down the lens of a 600mm Sigma on a Nikon D7100 and the pilot and weapons crew member were no doubt I hope, looking down the runway! [lucky shot?]

American warplanes struck at Noureddine Chouchane, a Tunisian terrorist who helped organise the attack which killed 30 Britons at a beach hotel last June.    The US airstrikes, struck a farm house outside of the Libyan coastal city of Sabratha [red dot]. The house was a well-known training ground for ISIL fighters of several nationalities
Special Op0219-iny-weblibyamap-300erations forces, using reconnaissance drones, satellite imagery and other surveillance equipment, began monitoring the site, a walled compound, several weeks ago
The Western official said that the airstrikes on the morning of February 19 were focused on Mr. Chouchane and did not represent the start of major new American war in a Muslim country. They were carried out by Air Force F-15E jets that took off from a base in Lakenheath, England.

read more

[February 08 Algeria: purge of senior army officers and a shake-up of the intelligence agencies ]
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Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s brother Said is actually in charge of the Algerian regime and cementing support for his own presidential ambitions. There’s been a purge of senior army officers and a shake-up of the intelligence agencies. The country is moving more toward democracy, though that remains on the theoretical level.
The steps are probably more a way of maintaining the status quo without risking upsetting the people. The succession is going to happen behind closed doors, and both the military and the political establishment will have a consensus on the candidate. It is not in anyone’s interest to have a destabilized Algeria especially in the current geopolitical context.
Algeria relies heavily on its oil and gas sales, which account for 95 percent of exports and 60 percent of the state budget. Despite the slump in global oil prices, the large North African state still has more than $130 billion in reserves it says will help cushion it from the fallout.

[September 15 2015 Bouteflika dismisses Toufiq ]

image datant de 1992 , droit,chef du DRS, Mohamed Mediene dit 'Toufiq'

image datant de 1992 , droit,chef du DRS, Mohamed Mediene dit ‘Toufiq’

Describing the departure of Mohamed Mediene, the rarely seen spy chief, the Liberte daily said: “The Myth has crumbled.” Mediene’s removal September 13, announced in a terse presidential statement, was the culmination of two years of restructuring, purges and dismissals in the DRS by Bouteflika.As head of the DRS military intelligence service for two decades, Mohamed Mediene was seen by the public only in rare, grainy photographs but won a reputation as a power broker so influential that one of his nicknames was “King of Algeria.”
It may also be a final purge in a struggle for influence among the military intelligence and civilian old guard, widely seen as rival factions since the uprising against French colonial rule in the late 1950s.
more bouteflika

more Lakenheath

[July 1 Mokhtar Belmokhtar attacked from RAF Lakenheath by USAF f-15s]

Family members and base personnel watch live musical performances at Electric Avenue’s Open Mic Jam Night at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, June 17, 2015. The event gives personnel from around base an opportunity to collaborate and network with other musicians.

Family members and base personnel watch live musical performances at Electric Avenue’s Open Mic Jam Night at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, June 17, 2015. The event gives personnel from around base an opportunity to collaborate and network with other musicians.

US F-15 aircraft took off from their Suffolk base in the UK, which hosts USAF’s [48th Fighter Wing ] Liberty Wing’s three F-15 fighter squadrons, to undertake the targeted killing of the Mokhtar Belmokhtar in Libya.

Belmokhtar apparently survived the bombings, but several fighters from Ansar al Sharia were killed. Ansar al Sharia and the Ajdabiya Shura Council (ASC), a coalition of groups, both of which implicitly denied that Belmokhtar had been killed. Ansar al Sharia and the ASC listed the “martyrs” killed in the US airstrikes, leaving Belmokhtar off the list and saying that no one else had perished.

[June 16 Mokhtar Belmokhtar lives, say jihadists]

 Algeria's In Amenas gas field where at least 38 civilians and 29 militants were killed during the siege.

Algeria’s In Amenas gas field where at least 38 civilians and 29 militants were killed during the 2013 siege.

Ansar al-Sharia named seven people it said were killed in the strike in the eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya. U.S. used guided bombs, along with spotter drones:Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren. President Barack Obama had approved putting Belmoktar’s name on the Defense Department’s “kill capture” list after he was indicted back in 2013 in the death of the three Americans in the gas plant attack, but Obama needed to be consulted again to sign off on this strike.

“It had been approved quite a while ago,” the senior administration official said. “You delegate authority under certain criteria. If the criteria changes—different location or number of people on target, then it goes back to the boss and he makes decision on whether to accept it. It was rapid,” approved within hours of it reaching the White House.

[June 15 Mokhtar Belmokhtar target of U.S. 500-lb bombs dropped on hardened structure]

Two F-15 fighter jets dropped multiple 500-pound bombs on a hardened structure in the center of a compound. U.S. aerial intelligence assets were tracking Belmokhtar’s movements at the time of the raid but the outcome of the operation was still being assessed. The initial indication was that Belmokhtar had been killed, the U.S. officials said, but they still lacked an absolute confirmation. “The strike carried out by U.S. forces was on a farm in the industrial district while Belmokhtar was holding a meeting with other militant leaders,” said a Libya military source.
[June 15 and earlier]
“The Libyan government in the east of Libya confirms that the US fighter jets conducted air strikes last night in a mission which resulted in the death of the terrorist Belmokhtar,” a spokesman said. Earlier, the Department of Defense said the US military conducted a counter-terrorism strike against an al-Qaida-associated target in Libya on Saturday night, June 13. Belmokhtar aka Khaled Abou El Abbas or Laaoua, was the target of the strike n Ajdabiya city near Benghazi,by at least one American warplane, but damage assessment was incomplete. [June 15] He was targeted by two F-15 aircraft.
He is charged by the US with leading the deadly attack on the in-Amenas gas plant in Algeria in 2013, At least 38 civilians had been killed during the course of the four-day siege, and 29 militants. Nearly 700 Algerians and 100 other foreigners survived. Five people were missing. With seven of the foreign dead unidentified, forensic teams from the UK, US and Norway arrived to help identify remains over the course of this week. Japan emerged with the highest death toll of any country. With 10 dead.

[January 16 Algerian Army finds body of French hiker Hervé Gourdel]

 Abdelmalek Gouri, alias Abou Souleiman Khaled, émir of Daesh in Algérie  - Agency Algeria Press Service released images of the body of the killed terrorist

Abdelmalek Gouri, alias Abou Souleiman Khaled, émir of Daesh in Algérie – Agency Algeria Press Service released images of the body of the killed terrorist

Algeria’s army has found the body of French hiker Hervé Gourdel, Algerian media said on January 15, nearly four months after he was taken hostage and beheaded by Islamist militants. His body was found buried without the head in Akbil, the town where he was abducted.

[December 24 2015 Abdelmalek Gouri, terrorist, killed by Algerian army visiting his parents]
The Algerian army, in an ambush near Boumerdes, 50km east of Algiers, has killed three members of the Islamist group that beheaded French tourist Hervé Gourdel in September, the army said December 22, including the leader of Jund al-Khilafa, which has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group. The body of militant leader Abdelmalek Gouri, alias Abou Souleiman Khaled, émir of Daesh in Algérie was positively identified at the end of an operation “that allowed us to eliminate three terrorists” in the town of Isser, the army said in a statement.
The commando who led this ultra operation secret, has infiltrated the inner circle of GIM to monitor the slightest movements.

[Bing translation]To dislodge Abdelmalek GIM, alias Abu Suleiman Khaled, emir of Daesh in Algeria, it took a meticulous fieldwork and a perfect use of information. A task force of the DRS, to be called the GIM section, is responsible for listing all the places frequented this bloodthirsty. This team worked in full cooperation with the PNA forces. Everything happened last week when Abdelmalek GIM was to go to Si Mustapha in the wilaya of Boumerdes on a secret mission and found it as a subterfuge to visit his parents for not associate his close lieutenants. These who were for weeks in contact with the DRS team immediately sold the wick. Is that his staff did not appear to share the criminal tendencies of GIM and did not approve its orientations, nor its subcontractor for the EIS also known as Daesh. It is this gap that has engulfed the team of intelligence and undercover so the first circle of the emir of Daesh in Algeria. And so the information of the displacement of the emir in Boumerdès was disclosed. The DRS commando who led this secret ultra operation, took care to warn his parental home, but not only. All places usually frequented by this alleged emir, were under surveillance and Sentinel had been installed nearby. A true work of professionals. Highly effective when it comes to searching intelligence, the new has not fallen in deaf ears. Passed after audit, which only intelligence services are aware of the procedures and means, the new was to allow an end to neutralize this criminal, extremely right of the alleged leader of Al Qaîda in the Islamic Maghreb, Abdelmalek Droukdel. Mobilized commando then draws an ambush, the perimeter identifying the area of domicile of his parents was hermetically sealed off.

The Algerian army has confirmed the liquidation yesterday, in a military operation in the town of Isser (Boumerdes) by Abdelmalek GIM, leader of the Jund Al-Khilafa group, who was kidnapped and beheaded the french national Hervé Giordano.

Agency Algeria Press Service released images of the body of the killed terrorist on the evening of Monday, December 22 “across a mousetrap tense following information and a spinning a dangerous circulating terrorist group on Board of a vehicle in the town of Isser”.

[October 11 Jund al-Khilafa: Kherza Bashir was the perp in the beheading]

Riots in Bab El Oued (Algeria) Thursday, January 6, 2011

Riots in Bab El Oued (Algeria)
Thursday, January 6, 2011

The authorities had identified the perpetrator of the beheading of Herve Gourdel . A man of fifty years, from Bab El Oued, named Kherza Bashir, known to have participated in numerous deadly terrorist actions. He is considered the “mufti” (interpreter of Islamic law) of the Jund al Khilafah group.

[October 10 jihadists fled precipitately when they realized that the soldiers were approaching]

The Algerian army said October 9 it had found the kidnappers’ camp. In the the camp were found mortar shells, food, medicines, shoes, utensils kitchen and a mobile phone containing pictures of armed Islamists. The amount of personal effects suggests that jihadists fled precipitately when they realized that the soldiers were approaching.

[October 6 ambush of militants In Guezzam Algeria near the Niger border]

Pickup used by Militants

Pickup used by Militants

In an ambush laid October 2 at 8 p.m. by Army members, operating in Guezzam/6th Military Region in the area of Tiririne near Algeria-Niger borders, five criminals were killed and four others injured , including one of Libyan nationality, The militants were attempting to sneak into Algeria through the southern town of In Guezzam near the Niger border. During this operation, two 4X4 vehicles, used by the criminals, were destroyed.

October 3 Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) begets fifteen warrants in Algeria]

Jund Al Khilafa fi ardh Aldjazaïr

Jund Al Khilafa fi ardh Aldjazaïr video

Top of the wanted list is Abdelmalik Gouri, the 37-year-old leader of Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), the group that broke away from Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb to swear allegiance to the Islamic State armed group fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Jund al-Khilafa claimed responsibility for Gourdel’s kidnapping and posted a video of his murder online.

Algerian security forces are also searching for Gouri’s right-hand man, Abdallak Abou Meriem.

Two more former Aqim members, Abdallak Othman el-Assimi and Abou Hayane can be identified in the video.

[September 29 Abdelmalek Gouri and Caliphate Soldiers challenge Ayman al-Zawahri and al Qaeda]

Abdelmalek Gouri Caliphate Soldiers

Abdelmalek Gouri Caliphate Soldiers

Abdelmalek Gouri, also known as Khalid Abu Suleiman, has split with al Qaeda’s North African wing to support Islamic State, whose battlefield successes and declaration of a “Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria have stolen al Qaeda’s thunder.

“It seems the mother organisation Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has taken a wrong turn, we can no longer follow their guidance,” his Caliphate Soldiers announced.
For years, men like Gouri have held out in the inaccessible forested mountains east of Algiers, known during GIA’s years of blood in the 1990s as the “Triangle of Death”, refusing government amnesty offers and living off the kidnapping of businessmen for ransom.
By executing a Westerner under the “new shield” of Islamic State, Gouri was challenging al Qaeda’s ageing leadership under Ayman al-Zawahri, and specifically the AQIM chief Abdelmalek Droukdel, for recruits and support.

“This was a message to Droukdel: ‘Your territory of influence and operations from now on will be ours’.”

[August 15 Algeria: U.S. Travel Warning]
Near East > Algeria
8/13/2014
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Algeria. This replaces the Travel Warning for Algeria dated February 6, 2014, to update information on the current security situation in Algeria, the continuing threat posed by terrorism, and to reiterate information on security incidents and recommendations on security awareness

Sonatrach chief, Abdelhamid Zerguine

former Sonatrach chief, Abdelhamid Zerguine

Monday, July 28, 2014
Sonatrach has a new leader as Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika fired Abdelhamid Zerguine. Bouteflika relieved Zerguine of his duties and replaced him with his deputy Said Sahnoune.
State media reported that the Sonatrach chief was relieved of his duties on the recommendation of Energy Minister Youssef Yousfi.
Sahnoune will assume the top spot at the state-run company on an interim basis.

Zerguine, as an expert, developing “truth” to get to the bottom of things and quickly review the Algerian political marketing of natural gas. Abdelhamid Zerguine has attempted to “limit the damage” caused by the cascade of corruption scandals to the tune of billions of dollars, but has encountered sudden, “strong pressure” from Energy Minister Youssef Yousfi who “seeks to create the conditions necessary for some multinational sweep for new projects.”

more bouteflika

[May 9 Algeria: Bouteflika wins

Algeria’s ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika voted on April 17 in the presidential election.

The positions of power and the key posts are still held by the president’s clan

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on May 5th unveiled the first cabinet of his fourth term in office, leaving key positions unchanged. Rachid Tlemcani, a political analyst, believes the new government is not as fresh as it may appear. “The positions of power and the key posts are still held by the president’s clan” .
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika won a fourth term in office with 81.53 percent of the vote. Bouteflika’s main rival, Ali Benflis, received 12.18 percent in an election which saw 51.78 percent of Algerians cast their ballots.
Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, reappointed April 28th, has tried in vain to persuade opposition parties to join the new cabinet. The oldest opposition party, the Socialist Forces Front (FFS), was reportedly offered two ministerial portfolios but declined Bouteflika’s offer to be part of the new government. So did the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), the Movement for a Peaceful Society (MSP) and the Workers’ Party (PT).

As a result, half of the old government was reappointed. Key ministers kept their jobs in the new 34-member cabinet, which includes seven women and is dominated by technocrats. Ramtane Lamamra, a career diplomat, is still foreign minister. Tayeb Belaiz remains interior minister, Tayeb Louh still heads up the justice portfolio, Youcef Yousfi goes back to the energy ministry and General Ahmed Gaid Salah is deputy defence minister, with the president occupying the post of minister. Twelve new ministers have joined the cabinet, however. Some replaced figures who set records for longevity in government, like Khalida Toumi. She lost her job as culture minister to another woman, Nadia Labidi, who is a film-maker and teaches at the University of Algiers. Toumi will replace the writer Yasmina Khadra at the Algerian Cultural Centre in Paris. Karim Djoudi lost his job as finance minister, officially for health reasons. He was replaced by Mohamed Djellab, the former minister-delegate for the budget. Other departures include Cherif Abbas, who was the veterans’ minister; Bouabdallah Ghlamallah, who was religious affairs minister; and Mohamed Khodri from the FLN, who served as minister for relations with parliament. New arrivals include Education Minister Nouria Benghebrit, an academic who previously headed an anthropology research centre. The appointment of 35-year-old Aicha Tagabou to the post of minister-delegate for tourism symbolises a move towards a younger team.

[April 22]
Algeria’s ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika voted on April 17 in a presidential election.

The sight of him casting his ballot from a wheelchair is likely to infuriate his critics, who say the 77-year-old leader is unfit to run for a fourth term because of his health problems.

Bouteflika has rarely been seen in public since he suffered a stroke last year. He is widely expected to win despite his frail health and rare public appearances.

[February 22]
Backed by the powerful National Liberation Front, or FLN, which has dominated Algerian politics since the country’s 1962 independence from France, few believe Mr Bouteflika could lose the election. But just in case, the president’s allies have so stacked the decks in his favour that most credible opposition parties say they will not field candidates and called instead for a boycott. Several issued a statement on Monday calling the April 17 elections a “farce whose outcome is already known in the absence of the conditions of fairness and neutrality”.

General Hocine Benhadid with President Bouteflika:”That is what I am asking President Bouteflika. He came up with the slogan ‘Izza and Karama’ (Dignity) when he retires with ‘Izza and Karama’ dignity and leaves Algeria catch his breath. I do not ask him to leave, but just to retire with dignity. “

Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 76, will run for re-election: his candidature was announced by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal.

“Even if he has not completely recovered physically, I can assure you he is in possession of all his mental and intellectual faculties,” he said.

Algeria has the largest land area of any African state, is rich in oil and gas, and under President Bouteflika has been an ally of the US. Despite regular elections: power in Algeria remains in the hands of a small group of military and intelligence leaders.

[February 18]

A retired senior general accused Bouteflika’s inner circle of “playing with Algeria’s destiny” in order to “save its skin, because corruption has reached dangerous levels.”

Hocine Benhadid, in an interview with two leading independent newspapers, said Algeria’s stability could no longer be guaranteed by someone who was “sick” and the “hostage of his entourage.”

In rough Google translation: “According to him, first of all, it is the president’s entourage who recently opened hostilities by trying to weaken the DRS, for two main reasons. “The first is to open the way for the fourth term weakening his opponents. The second is that this clan wants to save his skin, because corruption has reached dangerous levels. They do not want to be accountable in the future. It is a matter of survival for them, a way to protect another five years before finding another solution, “he loose. A futile maneuver, according to him, because he is convinced that “the time of accountability comes after a year or ten years after (…) It is about the investigation of heavy files, billion. dollars. And that is the brother of the president himself [Said Bouteflika, Ed] that is splashed by these scandals. ” Bouteflika but can it really be present in April? “He can not speak or stand, comes Benhadid. This would be a scandal vis-à-vis national and international opinion. Algeria to be the laughingstock of the nation. His family want to find a” trick “to that it can do so, but there is nothing to do! Personally, I do not think Bouteflika wants a fourth term, it is his family who do not stop playing bendir. “For Benhadid the Head of DRS, Mohamed Toufik Mediène alias, which is deemed close, is, “despite his age and the time he spent as head of the DRS,” the “last bastion of Algeria.” And ex-General to make the alarm: without DRS, “the country will sink (…) That is what I am asking President Bouteflika. He came up with the slogan ‘Izza and Karama’ (Dignity) when he retires with ‘Izza and Karama’ dignity and leaves Algeria catch his breath. I do not ask him to leave, but just to retire with dignity.”

[February 14]

 Ahmed

Ahmed Benbitour, 68, was nominated for the next presidential election in 2014.

Algerian Navy commander Mohamed Al-Taher claimed that Bouteflika “is not convinced about the people who are close to him and does not believe that they are capable of holding the presidency.”
[February 12]
Accusations levelled against DRS director Mohamed “Tewfik” Mediene , one of the hardline military leaders who cancelled a 1992 election which Islamists were poised to win, sparking a bloody decade-long civil war, has exposed opposition from the intelligence chief to Bouteflika’s re-election. Now ailing Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika February 11 has strongly backed the army following demands from National Liberation Front (FLN) leader Amar Saidani that the veteran military intelligence chief quit over alleged security failings. Bouteflika, 76 and in power for 15 years, has yet to say if his health will permit him to stand for a fourth term.
[February 10]
After the serious charges against Amar Saïdani the General Toufik , the boss of the DRS, the sensational revelations of the former Minister of Justice, Mohamed Cherfi, the violent arrest of General Hassan , a senior DRS, etc.. Now comes a letter that directly addresses the privacy and sexuality of the brother and adviser of the President of the Republic, Said Bouteflika. This letter holds sensitive information about the supposedly, wanton life of Saïd Bouteflika. “The most important point in your portrait is about your homosexuality”. ”

[February 3]
Amar Saidani, secretary general of Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front (FLN), a vocal supporter of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika seeking a fourth term in April elections, called on General Mohamed “Tewfik” Mediene, powerful intelligence chief to resign .
Public criticism by senior Algerian officials of the man at the head of the intelligence agency since 1990 is very rare.
Saidani was controversially elected FLN secretary general in August last year, amid strong opposition from some within the ruling party, just a month before Bouteflika was reportedly curtailed the powers of the DRS.

[December 3 2013]
Fourteen parties, political and civil society personalities together in a new initiative, called November 26 to reject the revision of the Constitution and the establishment of an independent electoral commission.
Ahmed Benbitour, a former prime minister and presidential contender, warns of trouble among the middle classes, too. “We have 1.5 million students at university,” he said. “Each year 300,000 graduates come on to the jobs market. Can we create 300,000 jobs?”

The government commonly answers the rioting — over electricity, jobs and other services usually in outlying suburbs or other cities — through payouts to public sector workers, subsidies, and programs to support entrepreneurs and small businesses. When the unemployed recently began organizing in the south, the government offered some of the angry young men jobs with the police.

The government similarly manages the news media and political scene — allowing multiparty politics but manipulating the opposition, co-opting some and undermining others.

Ahmed Benbitour, a leading figure of the opposition group, explained.

If the election results in the election of a President who will change to a democratic system, we will create a political party. Otherwise, we innovate. But we do not abdicate because our country can not continue to live in hope constantly deferred. Recovery in the hands of our destiny can not be postponed any longer. Simply have the courage of our dreams and have faith in ourselves.
BIO EXPRESS:

Prime Minister from December 1999 to August 2000, Minister for the Treasury in 1992, Energy 1993 and Finance from 1994 to 1996, Benbitour Ahmed, 68, was nominated for the next presidential election in 2014. Economist, from Ghardaia, who was educated in Algeria and Canada, wrote a book in 2006 Fluoroscopy Algerian governance.

[November 1]

Algeria’s ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will run for a fourth term. Bouteflika has taken a series of measures including a shakeup of the country’s Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS), a strong government organ suspected of running the country behind the scenes.

[September 30]

Abdelaziz Bouteflika may seek re-election

Abdelaziz Bouteflika may seek re-election

Allies will back Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika should he seek re-election next year or extend his current term by two years through a constitutional amendment.

Bouteflika came to power in 1999 after he helped to end the country’s civil war. He is one of the few remaining veterans of the war of independence against France.
He a cabinet meeting on September 29 for the first time this year after suffering what his doctors described as a mini-stroke.

[Septemver 21]

Gen. Mohamed Mediene, DRS

Gen. Mohamed Mediene, DRS

 Bouteflika's brother, Said

Bouteflika’s brother, Said

Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced Sep. 11 ten new ministers, including for the defense and interior posts, all close allies of the president. Bouteflika took the unprecedented decision to usurp key powers from the feared and respected military spy agency — the Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS). The president has now taken over control of the judicial police by putting it under the control of the head of the army, Ahmed Gaid Salah, another key associate. The shuffle, overseen by Bouteflika’s brother, Said, was part of “a drive to curb the powers of the country’s security establishment” headed by Mediene. It was apparently triggered by international arrest warrants on corruption charges issued Aug. 10 by security authorities, headed by Mediene, against two of his closest political allies — former energy minister Chakib Khelil and, more importantly, Bouteflika’s longtime adviser and friend, Mohamed Reda Hemche.

The DRS is said to wield outsized influence in Algerian politics. And in the past year, it seemed as though the organization, and its notoriously secretive leader, Gen. Mohamed Mediene, had grown tired of Bouteflika’s now 14-year rule. Bouteflika, after three five-year terms, may not run again in April. He wants his younger brother Said to succeed him. Mediene will do all in his power to prevent that and to install his own man as president.

Mediene has pursued a campaign against Bouteflika’s allies for several years, particularly in the state-run oil company Sonatrach, largely conducted under the umbrella of rooting out official corruption.
DRS judicial police opened up a number of corruption investigations, including several involving the state-owned oil and gas company, Sonatrach. The inquiries forced the resignation of former energy minister and Bouteflika ally, Chekib Khelil.

When Bouteflika won [the presidency] in 1999, in 2004, and 2008, he won because of assistance from the intelligence institution, which has been from early on a sort of state within the state.
The reshuffle is to make sure the intelligence services will help him as they have in the past.

In the case of Sonatrach, the steady dismissal of senior managers linked to Bouteflika has seriously damaged Algeria’s all-important energy industry, which accounts for 98 percent of exports, at a time when it needs to be developing new oil and fields as the older ones are depleted.

Bouteflika has regained control of the Interior Ministry by installing Tayeb Belaiz, one of his closest associates in the Bouteflika clan’s inner circle.

Ahmed Gaid Salah, another longtime Bouteflika ally, who he promoted to chief of the general staff in 2004, was named deputy defense minister.

Although Algeria is supposed to be a multiparty democracy with regular elections, power resides, as it has since independence, in the hands of the president and the cabal of generals known throughout Algeria as simply”Le Pouvoir,” the Power.

Mediene has headed the DRS since September 1990, which makes him the world’s longest-serving intelligence chief. The DRS is the core of “Le Pouvoir.”

“The prospect of a dynastic succession was not what the DRS had in mind when it gave the green light for Bouteflika third term” in April 2009, al-Jazeera observed recently.

Jeremy Keegan of London’s School of Oriental and African studies, observed that Bouteflika twice tried to replace Mediene with his own people.

One died in a “road accident.” Mediene got rid of the other by using the DRS to destroy his reputation and his businesses.

Mediene may have suffered a setback with the January seizure of the In Aminas natural gas complex in the Sahara by jihadists, in which 37 foreign technicians were killed when Algerian Special Forces stormed the facility.

[July 19]

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika headed home from France on July 16, according to an airport source, after a lengthy stint in a Paris hospital which caused concern back home.

Bouteflika, who reportedly boarded an Algerian presidential jet in a wheelchair at Le Bourget airport near Paris, was admitted to hospital at the end of April after suffering a mini-stroke.

[May 23]

Maj. Gen. Ahcene Tafer, land forces commander of the People's National Army (ANP);

Maj. Gen. Ahcene Tafer, land forces commander of the People’s National Army (ANP);

 Maj. Gen. Ahmed Senhadji, secretary general of the Ministry of Defense

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Senhadji, secretary general of the Ministry of Defense

Rachid Bougherbal, his doctor in Algeria before he was transferred to Paris, referred questions about Bouteflika’s condition to the prime minister’s office when contacted by AFP, with the latter declining to provide an update.

“The paralyzed state,” ran the headline of an article in the independent Algerian daily El Watan on the “total blackout [which] surrounds the evolution of Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s health.”

The newspaper lamented that “after the terse statements about his hospitalization, followed by others reassuring about the state of his health, the political authorities suddenly decided to lock down communication channels.”
[April 30]
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is now in a hospital in Paris. If and when Bouteflika departs, competition for his job could upset a delicate balance of power within the ruling elite.

Former Prime Minister Ahmed Benbitour, 67, is the only declared candidate in the presidential election due in less than a year. Others may throw their hats in the ring only when Bouteflika, who took power in 1999, makes his intentions clear.

Among potential candidates is technocrat Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, 65, seen as a man of consensus, and another former premier, Mouloud Hamrouche, 70, a reformist whose parents were killed during the independence war. He might get the support of Hocine Ait Ahmed, an icon of Algeria’s revolution. Currently, the country is heavily reliant on its hydrocarbon sector, which accounted for almost 70 percent of government budget revenue and grants and about 98 percent of export earnings in 2011,

Algeria, dominated for decades by the National Liberation Front (FLN) that led the independence struggle, now has more than 100 smaller political parties, but their leaders are seen as too weak to stand a chance in the presidential race.

If Bouteflika proves too incapacitated to finish his term, Senate chairman Abdelkader Bensalah will replace him until elections are held within 60 days, under constitutional rules.

[February 12 2011]
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria said the country’s state of emergency would be lifted in the “very near future”.

Mr Bouteflika made the announcement at a meeting with government ministers in the capital Algiers, according to the country’s state-run media.

He said protests would be allowed everywhere in the country except in the capital. .

Public demonstrations are banned in Algeria because of a state of emergency still in place since 1992.

National Coordination for Change and Democracy protesters gathered at Algiers’ 1 May Square on Feb 12.

They chanted “Bouteflika out!” – in reference to the country’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Some demonstrators waved copies of a newspaper front page with the headline about the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Friday, Reuters reports.

About 30,000 police are reportedly deployed in and around capital, and extra police with water cannons are on stand-by.

At least 15 police vans, jeeps and buses were lined up at the square and about the same number on a nearby side-street outside the city’s Mustapha hospital.

Small military-style armoured vehicles were also parked at junctions around the city. The march was not backed by the country’s trade unions, nor its banned radical Islamist groups, which still have influence at the grassroots.

Algeria has seen several protests in recent days, with the last major one on January 22. It was organised by the same group behind today’s action, Rally for Culture and Democracy. It is part of the National Coordination for Change and Democracy, a coalition of civil groups, campaigners and others.

There is also said to be a crowd of supporters of President Bouteflika on the streets. The Algerian military élite has played a dominating role in Algerian politics ever since independence in 1962, when the army emerged as the only effective powerbroker in a shattered political landscape dominated by weak and competing political factions. Many high-ranking officers have held public office, and it is generally recognized that the army has been, and still is, consistently involved in national policy from behind the scenes. Under Col. Houari Boumediène (1965–1978) state and army leadership was joined under his dominant and highly authoritarian presidency, but after his death, factionalization and rivalries within the military and political élites has been a major factor in Algerian politics

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Before assuming office, Trump suggested he could end support for FSA. He has…well,

‘A claim March 17 2019 that the U.S. military is developing plans to keep nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is factually incorrect,’ General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.

Screenshot 2019-03-05 at 2.16.19 PM - Edited

[July 22 2017 ] 

beret202_0

Evidence in shooting of U.S. training personnel

 

In comments which appeared to take the CIA — which declined to comment — by surprise, “At least from what I know about that program and the decision to end it, absolutely not a sop to the Russians,” U.S. Special Operations Commander Tony Thomas said.

[July 19 ]

President Trump canceled the CIA’s secret program to arm and train Syrian rebels fighting the regime of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, phasing out the covert program as a way to improve relations with Russia and President Vladimir Putin, who strongly opposed the effort.
The support funneled to vetted FSA factions has included contributions from Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia – states that have opposed Assad. It is one of several foreign aid channels to rebels. Others still function.

Before assuming office, Trump suggested he could end support for FSA groups and give priority to the fight against Islamic State (IS), whose well-armed jihadists hold large tracts of eastern and central Syria. The president now made the call after an Oval Office sitdown with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster ahead of Trump’s meeting with Putin at the G20 in Germany on July 7.   Some said it simply reflected the reality of the situation on the ground, where Assad, backed by the Russians, appeared to be gaining the upper hand.

“It’s probably a nod to reality,” said Ilan Goldenberg, a former Obama administration official and director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

 

 

[January 17 Gen. Joseph Votel, U.S. Special Operations, to command CENTCOM? ]

The top U.S. Commander in Iraq, General Petraeus, talks to Iraqi police and army commanders during a patrol with the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Muqdadiyah

General David Petraeus in Muqdadyah July 26 2008

baghdad_ethnic_2003_sm

The White House will nominate a veteran Special Operations commander to lead U.S. Central Command,Senior officials approved Army Gen. Joseph Votel, who has headed U.S. Special Operations Command since Aug. 2014, as the White House nominee to command CENTCOM,Votel’s nomination, must be approved by the Senate.   The elevation of Votel to lead Central Command leaves Gen. John Campbell as the odd man out for the moment. Campbell, the top commander in Afghanistan, was a critical voice last fall in convincing Obama to abandon his pledge to withdraw American forces from the country by the end of his presidency.

[April 7 2016 King of  Clubs al Douri: he is back  –with Saudis ]

Izzat Ibrahim al Douri has appeared in footage on al-Hadath TV wearing the green military uniform of Saddam’s Baath Party. The comments he made about the war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia has been leading a military intervention since March 2015 against the Iranian-backed Houthis, provided a rough time-frame. “In Yemen, there are two ways to expel the Persians (Iranians) and liberate it: the first way … is to force Iran and its agents to comply with the (U.N.) Security Council resolutions,” Douri said in the video. “The second course is to escalate the pursuit of Iranian agents to end all their abilities and potential.”
Iraq said in April 2015 that Douri had been killed in a military operation and Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia, later said it had conducted DNA tests to prove Douri’s death. Photographs of a man bearing some resemblance to him were circulated at the time, though Baghdad had previously announced Douri’s death several times in error.
His video may signal a new positioning. With his support for Saudi Arabia, which is also technically part of the US-led anti-Isil coalition, he may be indicating that he no longer supports the jihadists. Instead, he expresses support for the battle against Iranian-backed Shia rebels in Yemen – a battle also currently being led by Saudi Arabia
his alleged death

[September 8 2015 Central Command on key Daesh command base airstrike ]

[August 26 Central Command ‘reworked’ assessments of success against IS]

Stuart E. Jones, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, greets U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he arrives in Baghdad, Nov. 15, 2014.

Stuart E. Jones, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, greets U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he arrives in Baghdad, Nov. 15, 2014.

At least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command — the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State — were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.
Fuller details of the claims were not available, including when the assessments were said to have been altered and who at Central Command, or Centcom, the analyst said was responsible.
more happy talk

[June 1 Deficiencies of the Iraqi army reflect the realities of the society]

Islamic State fighters always have ammunition, they have backpacks of food and water, they maneuver to contact, seemingly aware of the maxim that the best way to stop someone from shooting at you is to shoot at them, and they integrate heavy, medium and light weapons together in a way that close resembles the American military’s combined arms doctrine, with the role of air support played by armored Humvees loaded with explosives and driven by suicide bombers.

The problems of the Iraqi Army reflect the problems of Iraq where Shiites and Sunnis don’t agree on what it means to be Iraqi and where the Kurds unanimously don’t want to be Iraqi at all. The deficiencies of the army cannot be corrected because they reflect the realities of the society.

[May 26 Ramadi:Al Asad Air Base, north-west of city blocked from Baghdad]

The fall of Ramadi meant that 3,000 American troops situated at Al Asad Air Base, north-west of the city, were now effectively cut off from the rest of Anbar province. it was highly unlikely the terrorist group’s fighters would move to seize Camp Taji training base. The Iraqi military is massing around Habbaniyah base, “Defence planning includes detailed threat and risk assessments that are designed to ensure that [MNF] personnel are as well protected as possible.”

another time

[May 24 ] the Iraqi Army repositioning was because of a sandstorm, you understand]

Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi, center
The Iraqi forces in Ramadi believed that because the weather was what it was, that they would not be able to receive air power support, ‘Weather did not impact our ability to conduct air strikes, but we are coming to the understanding that the commander on the ground believed otherwise and that was one of the factors that contributed to his decision to reposition’

[May 3 House bill arming Sunni insurgents angers Moqtada el-Sadr]
One of the best-known Sahwa leaders in Anbar, Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, was killed in a bomb attack near his home in September 2007, days after he met visiting US President George W Bush. One of the best-known Sahwa leaders in Anbar, Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, was killed in a bomb attack near his home in September 2007, days after he met visiting US President George W Bush.

On April 29 , influential Shiite cleric Moqtada el-Sadr threatened to attack U.S. interests if the provision in the $715 million defense bill to train the Iraqi army passed. The measure has also been loudly condemned by the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government.
Back in 2007, the military success of the famous “surge” in Iraq was due largely to the fact that many Sunni tribal leaders finally turned against al-Qaeda and began cooperating with the American army. This so-called Sunni Awakening was a key part of the tenuous peace achieved a year later.
It was a fragile peace, however, and eventually it broke down thanks to the lack of a serious political effort to include Sunnis in the central government.
Monday 11 June 2007 20.40 EDT The US military has embarked on a strategy in Iraq by arming Sunni insurgents in the hope that they will tackle the extremist al-Qaida in Iraq.
The US high command this month gave permission to its officers on the ground to negotiate arms deals with local leaders. Arms, ammunition, body armour and other equipment, as well as cash, pick-up trucks and fuel, have already been handed over in return for promises to turn on al-Qaida and not attack US troops.
The US military in Baghdad is trying to portray the move as arming disenchanted Sunnis who are rising up in their neighbourhoods against their former allies, al-Qaida and its foreign fighters.
[April 23 Anbar Sunni tribes of Albu Fahd, Albu Anwan, Albu Daib, Abu Risha fighting in Ramadi]

Apr 23, 2015 Members of Anbar provincial Council stated on April 22, that Ramadi clans are fighting alongside the security forces, urging the Defense and Interior ministries to supply tribal fighters with arms and ammunition to continue to fight.
, “the clans and fighters from sons of Ramadi are backing the security forces in the military operations to liberate and restore all the areas controlled by the ISIS group, the tribes of Albu Fahd, Albu Anwan, Albu Daib, Abu Risha and other tribes did not come out of Ramadi and remained so as to fight in defense of the city of Ramadi against terrorist and criminal groups.”

U.S. and coalition Fighter, attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 16 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
— Near Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL command and control facility.
— Near Fallujah, five airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL building.
— Near Ramadi, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL sniper position, an ISIL house rigged with explosives, and an ISIL vehicle.

more king of clubs

[April 21 King of Clubs found dead on battleground, body displayed]

The body of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who spent 24 years as Saddam’s deputy on the Revolutionary Command Council, was discovered on a battlefield after he was killed by Iraqi soldiers and allied Shia militiamen. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former top deputy to Saddam Hussein and more recently a key figure in Sunni extremist groups battling the Iraqi government, Al-Douri was killed in an operation by Iraqi security forces and Shia militia members in the Hamrin Mountains between Tikrit and Kirkuk, Iraq,, Al-Douri was the highest-ranking member of Hussein’s regime to evade capture — the “King of Clubs” in a deck of playing cards used by American troops read more

[March 13 Iraqi army attempting to keep rockets out of range of Baghdad]

Stuart E. Jones, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, greets U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he arrives in Baghdad, Nov. 15, 2014.

Stuart E. Jones, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, greets U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he arrives in Baghdad, Nov. 15, 2014.

APRIL 13, 2015. The US ambassador to Iraq, Stuart E. Jones, met with Anbar tribal leaders and provincial officials April 11 and expressed his dissatisfaction that Shi’ite militiamen were in the thick of a local offensive against extremists of the Islamic State near the provincial capital, according to two participants in the meeting. Unless they withdrew the militias, the ambassador warned, the United States would not be able to launch airstrikes to support the Iraqi forces there. “The American ambassador told us that the Americans will not carry out airstrikes if the popular mobilization stays in Anbar, and we understood him,” said Sabah Karhot, head of the Anbar Provincial Council and one of those at the meeting. He said that all of the popular mobilization forces, as the largely Shi’ite militias are formally known, were taken out of the fighting around Ramadi, the Anbar provincial capital, beginning April 10.
U.S. and coalition military forces Airstrikes reported April 11
— Near Hit, an airstrike struck a checkpoint.
— Near Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and a fighting position.
— Near Huwayjah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

Smoke billows from what is believed to be an oil field which was set alight by Islamic State (IS) group militants in the Mkeishifa area, south of the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, as government forces, supported by Popular Mobilization units, try to retake the area from Islamist rebels on April 9, 2015

Smoke billows from what is believed to be an oil field which was set alight by Islamic State (IS) group militants in the Mkeishifa area, south of the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, as government forces, supported by Popular Mobilization units, try to retake the area from Islamist rebels on April 9, 2015

[March 18

A masked insurgent prepares a rocket to be launched at a U.S. base in Ramadi, Iraq, Tuesday Sept. 28, 2004. On his mask is written “there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet”. Anbar accounted for more than 40 percent of all American combat deaths in Iraq between 2004 and 2006.

“There used to be one or two rocket attacks every week, four or five rockets at a time,” in attacks on the Baghdad suburbs.”Iraqi army’s 6th Division, is attacking IS gunmen, some from Anbar Sunni tribes, in Karmah, Iraq, near the western edge of Baghdad to push beyond the range where they could fire Grad rockets into two Shiite neighborhoods of the capital . So far, they have succeeded in this modest-sized city less than 10 miles from the Islamic State stronghold of Fallujah in Anbar province, much of which is under extremist control. “We took this area five days ago, and are preparing to push further.”
Anbar province — which comprises nearly a third of Iraq’s land mass and extends from the western edge of Baghdad to the borders of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia — could present an even bigger challenge than the north. Much of the province has fallen to the Islamic State, including Fallujah, which the insurgents have held since January 2014.
More than 90 percent of Anbar’s estimated 2 million people are marginalized Sunnis, many of whom oppose the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government. Other Sunni tribesmen there have turned against the Islamic State.

[March 15 Ayn Al-Assad base receives supplies by air from Jordan, not Baghdad say locals]

An Anbar leader of the Jaghaifa tribe said the US Ayn Al-Assad base receives military aid and supplies, as well as other logistics, by air from Jordan, not Baghdad. This is because of geographical proximity, and because the route is safer than flying over six towns controlled by the Islamic State group (IS), including al-Karma, Fallujah and Hayt.
The small seven square kilometre US base includes one of the three fighter jets runways in Ain al-Assad, one of which is out of service. It is equipped with rooms, halls and houses for around 400 US military personnel , that are surrounded by barbed wire fences. “The base has three US army helicopters; one is Chinook for transporting troops and two are Apache combat helicopters,” They do not leave their base except to train Iraqi troops or for workouts and other activities.

[ February 14 U.S. Apache Helicopters combat IS at al-Baghdadi]

Two U.S. Army Apache helicopters take off from Camp Victory, BIAP, Baghdad Province, Iraq in 2008.

Two U.S. Army Apache helicopters take off from Camp Victory, BIAP, Baghdad Province, Iraq in 2008.

UPDATED: 06:17 EST, 14 February 2015.: U.S. has retaliated by bringing in helicopter gunships to support Iraqi ground forces battling ISIS militants in al-Baghdadi, drawing them closer to combat with the terrorist organization.
more helo

An enormous installation, spread out across the desert of restive Anbar Province, covers about as much territory as Boulder, Colorado. The strike on the Ain al-Asad base, which is currently being plummeted with rocket fire, came after insurgents from the Islamic State took Al-Baghdadi, a neighboring town only nine miles away from the base
Robert Baer, a former CIA officer, told CNN.’The Iraqi army is not up to the task. And without the United States Air Force and the military on the ground, a lot of these … bases would be overrun.’ No American troops were injured during the ISIS attack early February 13.

another time

[February 13 Fighting in al-Baghdadi, reaching Ain al-Asad air base five km southwest of the town]

reports of ineffective indirect fire in the vicinity of the base

reports of ineffective indirect fire in the vicinity of the base

‘They were immediately engaged by members of the Iraqi army, the 7th Infantry of the Iraqi Army, and all were killed,’ said Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby of the ISIS militants.
Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Commander Elissa Smith confirmed the fighting in al-Baghdadi. She said there had been no direct attack on the air base, Ain al-Asad air base five km southwest of the town,adding: “There were reports of ineffective indirect fire in the vicinity of the base.”
Militants from the jihadist group had attacked the Ain al-Asad base February 13. A U.S. defense official said the Iraqi forces had stopped the attack and re-secured the facility. “Coalition forces were several kilometers from the attack and at no stage were they under direct threat from this action,” the official said.

About 320 U.S. Marines are training members of the Iraqi 7th Division at the base, which has been struck by mortar fire on at least one previous occasion since December. Iraq’s Defense Ministry said on its website the Iraqi army killed eight assailants near the base, which is about 85 km (50 miles) northwest of Ramadi.
Sheikh Omar Alwani, a tribal leader based in Anbar’s provincial capital of Ramadi, said his fighters in al-Baghdadi had reported that the Islamic State reached within two miles of Ayn al-Asad before being pushed back by Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters backed by coalition airstrikes.

The attack began with a double suicide bombing at the town’s police station at 5 a.m., he said. Sulaiman al-Kubbaisi, a spokesman for Anbar’s provincial council, said security forces managed to retake some ground in the town by nightfall, with Islamic State fighters still holding the town’s council building. Coalition airstrikes had assisted in pushing back the militants, he said.
more

[January 22 Raghad Saddam Hussein: These are victories of my father’s fighters and my uncle Izzat Al-Douri]

Raghad Saddam Hussein,  46-year-old, daughter of Saddam Hussein, now in Jordan where she has lived as a 'guest' of the royal family since leaving Iraq - and is being funded by her hosts,   Baathists have even been helping ISIS take control of towns in northern Iraq. She expressed delight after militants captured Tikrit, her father’s hometown, last year, telling Jordanian newspaper Al-Quds: 'These are victories of my father’s fighters and my uncle Izzat Al-Douri.'

Raghad Saddam Hussein, 46-year-old, daughter of Saddam Hussein, now in Jordan where she has lived as a ‘guest’ of the royal family since leaving Iraq – and is being funded by her hosts, Baathists have even been helping ISIS take control of towns in northern Iraq.
She expressed delight after militants captured Tikrit, her father’s hometown, last year, telling Jordanian newspaper Al-Quds: ‘These are victories of my father’s fighters and my uncle Izzat Al-Douri.’

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was the king of spades

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was the King of clubs

helo

[December 24 2014 Ayn al-Asad gets Apache helicopters]

Two U.S. Army Apache helicopters take off from Camp Victory, BIAP, Baghdad Province, Iraq in 2008.

Two U.S. Army Apache helicopters take off from Camp Victory, BIAP, Baghdad Province, Iraq in 2008.

Sky News Arabic cited an anonymous security source on December 23 as saying that 300 soldiers and advisors and three Apache helicopters were dispatched to the base in Baghdadi. A number of U.S. military advisors are stationed in the Ayn al-Asad facility.

The news of the reinforcements comes after reports of attempts by Islamic State (IS) militants to assault and overrun the Ayn al-Asad base.

[December 18 First clash between U.S. trainers and IS]

An American force has fought its actual first battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “ISIS” organization during a counter-attack that was carried out by tribal forces

and other force of the Iraqi army near Ein al-Asad base, west of Anbar, in an attempt to remove them from the base of which includes about 100 US adviser in it.

A field commander of the Iraqi Army in Anbar province, said that “the US force equipped with light and medium weapons, supported by fighter force model” F-18 “, was able to inflict casualties against fighters of ISIS organization, and forced them to retreat from the al-Dolab area, which lies 10 kilometers from Ain al-Assad base .

US troops have entered with its Iraqi partner, according to Colonel  Salam Nazim, in line against ISIS elements and clashed with them for more than two hours, to succeed in removing them from al-Dolab area, and causing losses in their ranks, at a time American fighter jets directed several strikes focused on ISIS gatherings that silenced their heavy sources of fire. “He points out that the clashes took place between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Sunday night [December 14].

Sheikh Mahmud Nimrawi, a prominent tribal leader in the region, said that “US forces intervened because of ISIS started to come near the base , which they are stationed in so out of self-defense , they responded , welcoming the US intervention, which I hope will “not be the last.”

[December 11 U.S. Forces-trained sunni tribesmen, Army attack in big Hit/Anbar offensive; Two high ranking Iraqi officers were killed and ten people, including eight officers, were wounded]

Iraqi Armed forces launched a military operation against ISIL earlier in the morning which aimed to free the city of Hit from ISIL control, . Colonel Haitham Al-Deleemi and Brigadier General Abbas Ayid Amir, both from the same Iraqi army brigade, were killed in the clashes,” . Two high ranking Iraqi officers were killed and ten people, including eight officers, were wounded in the clashes,
ISIL retook control of the Al-Dolab region in the western province of Anbar in Iraq on December 11, forcing Iraqi soldiers to retreat. Al-Dolab is located seven miles west of Hit city in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. “ISIL surprised the Iraqi forces with a large group of tanks and armored vehicles which moved west from Hit city to the Al-Dolab area in a counter-attack. The maneuver forced the Iraqi forces to retreat towards Baghdadi, a town located 13 miles west of Hit city,”

 Brigadier Haytham Al-Juburi

Brigadier Haytham Al-Juburi

8:22 PM . In this first attempt to penetrate into Hit, the joint forces were unable to advance into the town. The commander of a special forces regiment of the 7th Brigade, Brigadier Haytham Al-Juburi was killed in the fighting.

[December 11 earlier ISIL militants evacuated armored vehicles and tanks from Hit city ; Col. Al-Deleemi killed]

Sunni tribesmen

Sunni tribesmen

BAGHDAD Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:45am EST The army, backed by Sunni tribal fighters and security forces attacked Islamic State fighters in the Euphrates River town of Hit, also in Anbar, but witnesses said the militants repelled them, seizing vehicles and shooting down a drone.
11 December 2014 14:11 (Last updated 11 December 2014 14:13)
“Colonel Haitham Al-Deleemi, a military commander, was killed during the operation,” Malullah Al-Abeedy, a government official, told The Anadolu Agency.
Iraqi armed forces started a military operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the western province of Anbar on Thursday. The operation aims to retake the city of Hit controlled by ISIL. Pro-government tribal fighters and police forces are supporting Iraqi army forces, a local government official said.

11 December 2014 16:43 (Last updated 11 December 2014 16:47) “ISIL militants moved with a group of armored vehicles and tanks from Hit city while taking Al-Jazeera road and managed to trap 450 fighters after controlling the Mahbubiya and Gurna areas,” the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Anadolu Agency. ISIL launched a counter-attack on Thursday, resulting in it controlling two areas in the western Iraqi province of Anbar. The areas are close to Baghdadi town, located around 13 miles west of Hit city in Anbar governorate. ISIL besieged around 450 Sunni tribal fighters in the region, a security source said.

[December 5 A major military campaign against Daesh in Hit, Anbar province]
In Hit, there are now massive troop concentrations around the town’s perimeter, and reports indicate that the major military campaign is on the verge of being launched. Sabah Karhut, chairman of the Anbar Provincial Council likened the Sunni tribal force to Iraq’s Kurdish Peshmerga army, which has been fighting ISIS since early August. Shiite militias have also been formed by the Baghdad government to fight the militants in the Iraqi capital and other Shiite-dominated areas. Most Arabic-speaking people have always referred to ISIS as Daesh.”Daesh” is the pronunciation of the acronym for ISIS in Arabic (Dawlat Al Islam fi Iraq Wa al-Sham)

[December 3 Back to Muqdadiya, shades of U.S. forces 2008 – Iranian jets join in.]

Iranian McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II jet, over Diyala Province November 30

Iranian McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II jet, over Diyala Province November 30

Four Iranian jets attacked Islamic State positions during an offensive in Iraq last month to retake two towns, Saadiya and Jalawla, less than 20 miles from the Iranian border in the eastern province of Diyala, Kurdish commanders have acknowledged receiving weapons and other aid from Iran in the battle to take back the two towns. Kurdish officials said there were no U.S. airstrikes during the offensive.
Fighting alongside Iraqi army units was the Badr Organization, a powerful Shiite militia in Iraq that is backed by Iran. The militia’s chief, Hadi Amiri, who is also transportation minister in the current Baghdad government, led the militiamen into battle, the Badr Organization said.
{December 1]
Diyala Province December 1 – The security forces have surrounded a number of villages north of al- Muqdadiya  and preparing to enter these villages and eliminate all the ISIL terrorists there.

An Iranian McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II jet has struck Islamic State targets in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala.  At least one F-4 is seen conducting a bombing run against ground targets , in footage shot by regional media which erroneously identified the aircraft as an Iraqi fighter

During the Persian Gulf War, most Iraqi pilots and aircraft (of French & Soviet origin) fled to Iran to escape the bombing campaign because no other country would allow them sanctuary. The Iranians impounded these aircraft after the war and returned seven Su-25s in 2014. Iraq has also taken delivery of five Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft from Russia and Belarus.

The top U.S. Commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, talks to Iraqi police and army commanders during a patrol with the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Muqdadiyah, in the Diyala province July 26, 2008. Sunni Islamist al Qaeda has sought to stoke tensions in Iraq's ethnically and religiously mixed northern cities, such as Diyala

The top U.S. Commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, talks to Iraqi police and army commanders during a patrol with the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Muqdadiyah, in the Diyala province July 26, 2008. Sunni Islamist al Qaeda has sought to stoke tensions in Iraq’s ethnically and religiously mixed northern cities, such as Diyala

A U.S. soldier from the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment holds his weapon next to a villager during a joint operation with Iraqi police near Muqtadiyah in Diyala province July 24, 2008.

A U.S. soldier from the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment holds his weapon next to a villager during a joint operation with Iraqi police near Muqtadiyah in Diyala province July 24, 2008.

[October 26 Nineveh militia aims for twelve thousand troop strength]

Atheel Nujaifi,  governor of Nineveh province


Atheel Nujaifi, governor of Nineveh province: Liberation of Iraq sought in talks to expand the strength of the National Guard and support the liberation of Mosul

According to MP Khalid al-Obeidi, before he assumed the office of the Ministry of Defense, who visited the camp after it opened, and said at the time, that it is expected to reach a troop strength of twelve thousand fighters in the first stage, with military and logistical support from the federal government and the international coalition, while the next step will be to open the door to volunteers from the people of Nineveh province to participate in the re-occupation of Mosul after being trained in the new camp.

[September 29 39-member council competes with Atheel Nujaifi, governor of Nineveh province, but no militia yet]

Nineveh Province police

Nineveh Province police

“It is clear that we, the people and leaders of Mosul, must take a lead role in liberating our city,” says Bashar Mahmoud, an ethnic Kurd who heads the provincial council. “We must have military officers and experts who know and understand our people.”

The formation of such a militia would dovetail with efforts by an international coalition that includes the US, the UAE, the Iraqi government, Iraq’s Kurdish leaders and other Arab countries to defeat ISIL

There are already deep divisions between the Mosul politicians over their contribution to the coalition effort. The 39-member council has been at odds with Atheel Nujaifi, the governor of Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital. He has been promoting his vision for forming his own local militia to remove ISIL from Mosul in Arab and foreign media.

Members of the council have threatened to exclude Mr Nujaifi from the planning efforts, accusing him of attempting to wrest control of the decision-making process.

[September 24 Sunni tribes rejecting the expansion of ISIS’s authority; Iraqi Shiite Army reordered after Saqlawiya/Riviera camp lost]

Lieutenant Gen. Bob Cone, USF-I deputy commanding general for operations and III Corps commanding general, meets with Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, Iraqi Ground Forces commander,

Lieutenant Gen. Bob Cone, USF-I deputy commanding general for operations and III Corps commanding general, meets with Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, Iraqi Ground Forces commander,

Last week in Fallujah, fighting that led to the death of around 12 people from both sides after Sunni tribes rejected the expansion of ISIS’s authority within the city and their interference in people’s social life. Sunni tribal rebels represent the majority in the city, nevertheless ISIS seems to be in control and the rise of foreign jihadists in Fallujah began to provoke “tribal and social tensions.”
Iraqi Prime Minster Haider abolished the Office of Commander-in-Chief and ordered the retirement of Gen. Abboud Qanbar, acting secretary-general of Iraq’s Ministry of Defense, and Gen. Ali Ghaidan, former commander of Iraq’s land forces and ordered the arrest of two military officers in command of Saqlawiyah military base in Anbar, which took heavy casualties in an ISIS attack on September 21, “officials have confirmed 300 troops killed and about 500 unaccounted for”.

[September 23 Saqlawiya camp near Fallujah surrounded, stormed, few escape -FOB Riviera for 2007 U.S. Marines]

Soldiers, officials and tribal sources gave differing accounts of what happened on September 21 when the militants stormed the camp at Saqlawiya that they had been besieging.

Soldiers, officials and tribal sources gave differing accounts of what happened on September 21 when the militants stormed the camp at Saqlawiya that they had been besieging.

Marines with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment conduct a foot patrol to assess the damage after a car bombing near Forward Operating Base Riviera in April 2007 -

Marines with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment conduct a foot patrol to assess the damage after a car bombing near Forward Operating Base Riviera in April 2007 -” forward operating base. FOB Riviera was ten klicks west of Fallujah, nestled into a small town named Saqlawiyah, near a sharp bend in the Euphrates River.”

Sunni fighters inflicted heavy losses in a chaotic raid on Saqlawiya camp just an hour’s drive from Baghdad,. The insurgents sent a Humvee vehicle rigged with explosives into the camp. Guards mistakenly assumed that an army driver was at the wheel. An estimated 1,000 soldiers in Saqlawiya, only about 200 had managed to flee. Islamic State insurgents had gained control of Sijir, near Falluja, a week ago, allowing them to surround the Saqlawiya base. An army convoy sent in to break the siege on September 21 was ambushed by Sunni fighters. Many soldiers were killed, others were taken prisoners and a few managed to flee.

A remote camera screen grab provided by the French Army shows two Rafale jet fighters flying over Iraq on September 19. French President Francois Hollande announced that the fighters had carried out their first airstrikes in northern Iraq.

A remote camera screen grab provided by the French Army shows two Rafale jet fighters flying over Iraq on Friday. French President Francois Hollande announced that the fighters had carried out their first airstrikes in northern Iraq.

07:25 EST, 19 September 2014
An Iraq military spokesman said four French airstrikes hit the town of Zumar, killing dozens of extremist fighters. Four French airstrikes have killed dozens of fighters from the Islamic State after targeting a logistics depot in northern Iraq.
President Francois Hollande said Rafale fighters ‘entirely destroyed’ the complex.
Zumar and surrounding towns have remained heavily contested by Islamic State fighters, even though Iraqi and Kurdish security forces have managed to make headway in nearby regions with the support of US airstrikes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014: A Kurdish commander said some 50 members of the Islamic State (IS) have been killed in the US[French?] jets’ bombings on the jihadist group around Zomar in Iraqi northern province of Mosul.
Speaking with Xendan website Rashid Saber said two large group from the militants arrived from western Mosul and sheltered in two buildings that were bombed by US planes and according to reports 50 IS militants have been killed and dozens of others have been injured.

[September 18 Allied support against ISIL: one reconnaissance, one ECM and lots of promises]

An active electronically scanned array (AESA), also known as active phased array radar (APAR), is a type of phased array radar whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules (TRMs).

An active electronically scanned array (AESA), also known as active phased array radar (APAR), is a type of phased array radar whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules (TRMs).

No.2 Squadron personnel prepare the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle for operational deployment.

No.2 Squadron personnel prepare the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle for operational deployment.

Australia: On Sunday, the Australian government responded to a request by the United States and said it is preparing to deploy to the United Arab Emirates up to eight Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 combat aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft and a KC-30A multirole tanker and transport aircraft. Australia will also help to stem the humanitarian crisis. Australia will send military advisers to Iraq.
Australian combat troops will not participate in ground fighting.
Great Britain: United Kingdom would help arm Kurdish forces, support the Iraqi government, keep supplying humanitarian help and coordinate with the United Nations to battle ISIS.
“This is not about British combat troops on the ground,it is about working with others to extinguish this terrorist threat.”

The AREOS Reco NG pod, an integral part of the F3 standard for Rafale fighters,

The AREOS Reco NG pod, an integral part of the F3 standard for Rafale fighters,

France: France has begun reconnaissance flights over Iraq. Two Rafale air force planes took off from an air base in the United Arab Emirates, the ministry said.
France has contributed 18,000 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition. France’s air force was also part of a recent operation in the Iraqi town of Amerli that pushed back ISIS fighters and, along with Australia and Great Britain, has performed humanitarian aid drops in Iraq.
Germany has also said it was sending military assistance to the Kurdish region to fight ISIS. German paratroopers are offering training in the overall effort to fight ISIS.
Canada: more than 50 Canadian special operations troops are being deployed to Iraq as part of an adviser mission but that there would be no direct military intervention by the country, according to CTV.
On Sunday, State Department officials also called out Italy, Poland, Denmark, Albania and Croatia for providing equipment and ammunition in the fight against ISIS. New Zealand, Romania and South Korea were also named for providing humanitarian assistance, with specifics on South Korea giving some $1.2 million.
Turkey: U.S. officials say Turkey has taken steps to cut the flow of money to ISIS and denied entry to or deported several thousand foreign fighters heading to Syria.
Jordan’s key role would be providing intelligence to the WestJordan’s intelligence on ISIS is “second to none.”
Saudi Arabia:Saudi Arabia has offered to train rebels on its soilSaudi Arabia has “always taken initiatives with regard to a firm position towards terrorists and against them. So there is no limit to what the Kingdom can provide in this regard.”
The United States also wants Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt to use Arab television networks to spread anti-ISIS messages and encourage more clerics to speak out against the group.
Saudi Arabia has also put $500 million into the coffers of the U.N. humanitarian aid agencies in Iraq, a senior State Department official said Sunday.
Egypt: Egypt’s grand mufti condemned the terror group, saying that its actions are not in line with Islam.
Qatar: Qatar has flown a number of humanitarian flights, State Department officials said.
Iraqi Kurdistan: Leaders of the semiautonomous region of Iraq are willing to send their Peshmerga forces to fight beyond their borders if there’s a comprehensive international strategy put in place.
A senior U.S. military official “more than one Arab nation” has offered to carry out what the official described as “kinetic” actions, such as airstrikes against ISIS.
They are “indigenous” forces; that is, Syrian and Iraqi troops, including trained Syrian rebels, Iraqi forces, Kurdish forces and Sunni tribes, the officials said.
stop IS

[September 16 Dempsey confident can stop the Islamic State]

 Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Kristol


Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Kristol

[September 16 2014]Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress on September 16 that he would recommend deploying United States combat forces against Islamic extremists in specific operations if the current strategy of airstrikes was not successful, raising the possibility of the kind of escalation that President Obama has flatly ruled out. The ground forces would likely be Special Operations commands who could call in airstrikes from the ground. He was confident in the ability of the coalition of American, European and Middle Eastern governments to stop the Islamic State.

Washington Post Foreign Service Thursday, September 28, 2006 But in recent days, senior U.S. military commanders have suggested that if the Maliki government fails to take action soon, they may have to step in and pressure the government to go after militias holed up in neighborhoods around Baghdad.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 Posted: 2:12 AM EDT (0612 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush dismissed what he called “revisionist history” about the war in Iraq. The president is still confident a Pentagon-led search will find Iraq’s suspected weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein “is no longer a threat to the free world,” he said

July 11th, 2002 Richard Perle [ chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a Pentagon advisory group, and a former assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan.]: Support for Saddam, including within his military organization, will collapse at the first whiff of gunpowder. Now, it isn’t going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn’t going to be months either. And if I had to guess I would guess that a strategy that combines effective collaboration with the opposition and a readiness to send in Americans if necessary is where we’ll wind up.

Deputy Secretary for Defense Paul Wolfowitz in 2002: “It is entirely possible that in Iraq, you have the most pro-American population that can be found anywhere in the Arab world.”

[September 8 IS militants withdraw to areas southwest of Zumar]

A private Peshmerga unit went deeply into Zumar to chase the remaining IS members, while another army unit continued surrounding the region.

Local sources confirmed that IS militants withdrew to areas southwest of Zumar.

More than 100 IS members were captured while some of them surrendered to the Peshmerga.

[August 20 Peshmerga troops have entered Zumar Iraq without US air strikes]

Zumar in distance

Zumar in distance

ZUMAR, Iraq — Peshmerga troops have entered Zumar northwest of Mosul and are engaged in fierce battles with Islamist militants for control of the district,. The operations in Nineveh province over the past week were carried out without the support of US air strikes.

[August 27 Kurdish forces have advanced to the outskirts of Zumar]
Kurdish forces have advanced overnight to the outskirts of Zumar, about 15 km west of the Mosul Dam as part of a push to retake the Syrian border crossing of Rabia.

Peshmerga special forces who retook the Mosul dam last week have been fighting Islamic State group fighters in the vicinity of the dam, and have pushed through two other towns held by the fighters to reach Zumar.

“If the Kurds manage to take Zumar they will disrupt a main IS supply line and route from the group’s base in Mosul.”
by Ted.Regencia August 25 at 4:00 AM

[August 23 Kurdistan forces move past the Mosul dam towards Zumar]

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Mughdeed who commanded the Mosul Dam, seen on August 1

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Mughdeed who commanded the Mosul Dam, seen on August 1

Brig. Hussein Hado,  Peshmerga commander said on August 22 that his forces had expelled IS militants from the villages of Sufya and Khan Sufya near Zumar and Rabia.   Control of Sahrij cuts off Islamist militants in Zumar from Mosul.   After the control of the Mosul road and a number of villages in the area, the IS fighters “are demoralized tremendously” and that the Kurdish forces have advanced 10km towards the town of Zumar.

[August 20 Kurdistan region special forces  recapture the Mosul dam  with 200 from Iraqi special forces, then scuffle

A Kurdish fighter, in camouflage, scuffles with an Iraqi special forces soldier near Mosul Dam on August 19 a day after a U.S.-backed victory.

A Kurdish fighter, in camouflage, scuffles with an Iraqi special forces soldier near Mosul Dam on August 19, a day after a U.S.-backed victory.

Gen. Mansour Barzani, the Kurdistan region special forces commander who led the operation to recapture the Mosul dam, said he had asked the most prominent Iraqi special forces unit, the Golden Division, to help his troops with the offensive.

“But if they say ‘we controlled this here by ourselves,’ this is a big lie,” he said, speaking from the main bridge over the dam. Asked about the incident at the checkpoint, Gen. Barzani said only: “Some Peshmerga are sensitive about the Iraqi flag. Some 200 men from the most prominent Iraqi special forces unit, the Golden Division, were critical in the final hours of battle at the dam, said Gen. Barzani. Alongside the Peshmerga, the elite Iraqi fighters battled insurgents in fierce and close clashes at the eastern side of the dam for hours on August 18 afternoon.

[August 3 Sunni capture of the Mosul Dam after offensive of barely 24 hours – strong Kurdish resistance only in town of Zumar.]

Mosul Dam

Mosul Dam

Capture of the Mosul Dam after an offensive of barely 24 hours could give the Sunni militants the ability to flood major Iraqi cities, sharply raising the stakes in their bid to topple Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-led government. Sunni forces seized the Ain Zalah oil field, adding to four others already under their control, and three towns.
They faced strong Kurdish resistance only at the start of their latest offensive when taking the town of Zumar. A Peshmerga official said that the IS militants had broken through the barriers of the Kaske military base near Mosul at 4:00 am on August 3, but that “they were able to hold the base for only a few minutes before a Peshmerga counterattack expelled them.” Kaske was an Iraqi military base that was abandoned by the army in June and Kurdish forces took over the base.

[August 2 Sunni fighters in pickup trucks mounted with weapons attacked Kurd town of Zumar from three directions early]

 Kurdish troops fought off a Sunni attack on an oil facility and a dam

Kurdish troops fought off a Sunni attack on an oil facility and a dam

A Kurdish police official in Zumar Iraq said Sunni fighters in pickup trucks mounted with weapons attacked the town from three directions early on August 2. Kurdish peshmerga reinforcements’ were on the way.’

ARBIL: Kurdish troops fought off a Sunni attack on an oil facility and a dam but lost 14 of their number in intense combat, Kurdish sources said August 2.

Sunnis attacked a peshmerga post in Zumar (August 1) and a fierce battle erupted,” an official in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said. 14 peshmerga fighters were killed, a toll confirmed by a senior officer in the Kurdish force.

Control of Zumar by Sunni fighters would give them access to the small Ain Zalah oil field and a nearby refinery. The insurgents have already seized four oil fields, which help fund their operations.

Shi’ite militias and Kurdish fighters now rival the U.S.-trained and funded Iraqi army in their ability to challenge the insurgents.
The Sunni insurgents have stalled their advance towards Baghdad just before the town of Samarra, 100 km (62 miles) north of the capital.

[July 27 Inability to recapture Fallujah from Sunnis underlines Shi’ite problem]

Smoke rises from buildings in May after shelling on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which is currently held by anti-government fighters.

Smoke rises from buildings in May after shelling on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which is currently held by anti-government fighters.

Residents of Fallujah and the nearby town of Garma said helicopters fired artillery and dropped three barrel bombs on the former and two on the latter. A mid-level security officer in Anbar province has confirmed that barrel bombs have been dropped on Fallujah
The government’s inability throughout the first half of 2014 to recapture the Sunni city of Falluja, just 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, underlines how ill equipped it is to reverse far greater militant gains since then which have displaced more than a million people.
In Samarra, 110 km (70 miles) from Baghdad and one of the most northerly cities under government control, a Reuters photographer saw Shi’ite militiamen on patrol rather than army troops.
“We are better than the army because we are fighting for our beliefs,” said lawmaker Hakim Zamili, who supervised deployment of the Mahdi Army’s “Peace Brigades” militia around Samarra.
A U.S. military official who served in Iraq predicted four “warring statelets” could emerge, based around Shi’ite power south of Samarra, Kurdish control in the northeast, and separate Sunni power centers on the Tigris and Euphrates.

[July 21 Iraq Army attacking to clear Karma, one of the closest districts to the capital Baghdad]

Fallujah, 40 miles from Baghdad

Fallujah, 40 miles from Baghdad

 July 11, 2014 photo, an ISIL terrorist speaks to people at a mosque in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq.


July 11, 2014 photo, an ISIL terrorist speaks to people at a mosque in Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq.

Iraqi military sources say the government troops conducted the massive military attack on the al-Karma district near Fallujah city to clear the area of ISIL terrorists.

Karma is one of the closest districts to the capital Baghdad that had fallen into the hands of militants.
Baghdad lost control of portions of its territory, most notably the city of Fallujah, months ago.Extremist militants have controlled the cities of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in Iraq’s mainly Sunni western Anbar province since early January, and last month ISIL terrorists overran vast tracts of Iraq’s north. The takeovers in Anbar province were the first time anti-government forces have exercised such open control in major cities since the bloody fighting that followed the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.

[July 19 “We believe that they will fight to defend Baghdad”Iraqi security forces stiffen themselves to defend the capital]

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2014 Iraq is again a dangerous, “contested” place,Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said. “There are still innocent Iraqis suffering as a result of ISIL and their activities inside Iraq,” he said.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant still poses a legitimate threat to Baghdad and its environs, the admiral said. “We continue to see Iraqi security forces prepare themselves and stiffen themselves to defend the capital,” he said. “We believe that they will fight to defend Baghdad. We also have seen Iraqi security forces go on the offensive in places like Tikrit, which they are still fighting for right now.” [But see below]

[July 16]
Iraqi forces have withdrawn from the militant-held city of Tikrit after their new offensive met heavy resistance, in a blow to the government effort to push back Sunni insurgents controlling large parts of the country.

[July 1]
The insurgents appeared to have repelled the military’s initial push for Tikrit and remained in control of the city Sunday, but clashes were taking place in the northern neighborhood of Qadisiyah. The US has counseled Iraq against rushing to retake cities, for fear that its army would become bogged down in urban warfare as the US military was during its occupation of Iraq. But the alternative may be to let the insurgents secure their territory and plan an offensive against Baghdad itself.
The United States has deployed 300 more troops to Baghdad in the last two days, with some of them assigned to secure Baghdad’s international airport. Troops were moved to Baghdad after American officials determined that Islamist fighters had consolidated their grip on the western outskirts of the capital in recent days. The movement “convinced us this would be prudent”. Baghdad’s airport would be critical to any evacuation of Americans from the capital, where hundreds remain assigned to the U.S. Embassy, the largest American diplomatic mission in the world.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/baghdad_navigator/

http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/iraq.shtml

Green – Shiite majority Red – Sunni majority  2003 Baghdad Ethnic Blue – Christian majority Yellow – Mixed Sunni

Green – Shiite majority
Red – Sunni majority
Blue – Christian majority
Yellow – Mixed Sunni

Majority Sunni areas were Hurriya in the north, Washash, Mansur, and Karkh in the central region, Sadiya in the south, and Adhamiya on the eastern bank of the Tigris River. The majority of the capital however was mixed Sunni-Shiite, especially in the central, southern, and northeastern regions.
Sunnis were reduced to 12% of Iraq’s population because of the fighting. Many became refugees in Syria and Jordan. While the exact percentage Sunnis made up of Iraq and Baghdad are disputed, a general number used in sources such as the CIA Factbook is around 30%. How much they made up of Baghdad before the U.S. invasion is an even harder figure to calculate. In the December 2005 national elections however, the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front and Iraqi National Dialogue Front pulled 22.9% of the vote in the capital, while the Iraqi National List, even though led by a Shiite, former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, also draws strongly from Sunnis, got 13.4%. That’s roughly 30% of Baghdad as well. If Izady is to be believed than just over half of the Sunnis fled the country.

[June 27]
de-Baathification: Baathist “return” cocooned within a nationalist uprising?

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was the king of spades

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was the King of clubs

A handful of U.S. intelligence officers predicted a subterranean Baathist “return” cocooned within a nationalist uprising. Failing a unified response by Iraq’s political factions, JRTN may also represent the best chance of stopping ISIS from forming an Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri. Douri has a patronage network ,the Men of the Naqshbandi.
The Naqshbandi is a Sufi Islamic religious order associated with dervish mystics capable of entering deep trances. A strand of Iraq’s Naqshbandis had uses the movement as a political and business fellowship—somewhat similar to freemasonry—to advance their joint interests. The order cultivated Douri as their sponsor, and he was rushed through the process of confirmation as a Naqshbandi sheikh, officially connecting his spiritual lineage directly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Douri initiated numerous military families into the Naqshbandi order from the 1980s onward. Douri and the Naqshbandi kept a low profile after Hussein’s fall, until he was hung by Shia militiamen on December 30, 2006. Thereafter Douri took full command, publicly announcing the activation of JRTN as a militant group.

[June 21]
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri was the King of clubs in decks of playing cards distributed to U.S. soldiers during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. Among the more noteworthy of the parties aligned with ISIS is the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order. The Naqshbandis, located primarily in Mosul, were formed in 2007 by former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party. al-Douri , Saddam’s former deputy and the head of the Baath party following Saddam’s execution in 2007, is in charge of the group.
On June 15, Isis jihadists, backed by local Baathist remnants from Saddam’s old regime, overran Tal Afar, causing the exodus of most of the city’s Shia community.
It is Baathists from Tal Afar who enabled Isis to take over the town. They have a strong presence and are very well organised. This is the return of Saddam’s men.
ISIS is at least to some degree a creature of Al-Douri or both of them are united by a common backer, likely to be found in Qatar. Tony Blair described “the oil conspiracy theory” as “the most absurd”[2011]. Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages does not mean they don’t exist. – [Wolfowitz 2003] Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said June 11 that the seizing of northern city Mosul, was a “trick and conspiracy”.

[June 6 2011]

Musa Kusa

Musa Kusa

“No de-Baathification!” William Hague said, before adding, “They now need to publicize that more effectively, to be able to convince members of the current regime that that is something that would work.” Mr. Hague said, the rebels should learn from Iraq’s experience, in which a mass purge of former Saddam Hussein loyalists occurred under the American-backed program of “de-Baathification,” and shun any similar undertaking. The reference was to a policy that many analysts believe helped to propel years of insurgency in Iraq by stripping tens of thousands of officials of jobs. British officials lead the Stabilisation Response Team, a multinational unit assessing what the international community will have to do to ensure order if Gaddafi departs and leaves a power vacuum.
Around 40 diplomats and development specialists are in Benghazi assisting the Transitional National Council.

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“Whether this meant he was not the original issuer we cannot say.”

While the king has been a staunch supporter of his son despite previous controversies and his stance is unlikely to change, Prince Mohammed did not attend two of the most recent weekly meetings of cabinet ministers, which are headed by the king.

The crown prince has also not attended other high-profile talks with visiting dignitaries, including one last week with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

Prince Mohammed also wasn’t present at a meeting with senior economic and finance officials earlier this week, a meeting between the king and the grand mufti, a meeting with the head of the World Health Organisation, and meetings with the prime minister of Lebanon, and ambassadors from India and China.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman , who was designated “deputy king” during the Egypt trip, as is customary, signed off two major personnel changes while the king, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was away. They included the appointment of a female ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, and that of his full brother, Khalid bin Salman, to the ministry of defence.

The latter appointment has further centralised power in one branch of the ruling family.

Although the changes had been mooted for some time, the source said the announcement was made without the knowledge of the king, who was especially angered by what he believed was a premature move to elevate Prince Khalid to a more senior role.

Royal appointments are almost always announced in the name of the king, but the 23 February decrees were signed by the “deputy king”. One expert said the title of deputy king had not been used in this way for decades.

The king and his team learned about the reshuffle via television. The prince was not among those sent to welcome the king home. An official press release listing the guests at the airport in Riyadh confirmed Prince Mohammed was not among them, adding to speculation it was intended as a pointed snub to the crown prince.
James Pothecary, security expert for Healix International : ‘I would suggest that whatever conflict is going on, the internal forces supporting cohesion will triumph, and it [the perceived rift] might just be a way to control Bin Salman’s impulses.”

The crown prince has faced international condemnation over Khashoggi, who was killed and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi government has denied any involvement by the prince, who was found by the CIA to have ordered the killing.

[December 13 2018]

 

 

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Egypt

At G20:   Trump later said he and the crown prince “had no discussion.”   “We had no discussion. We might, but we had none,” Trump told reporters.

Senior U.S. officials have indicated to Saudi courtiers that they would support Prince Ahmed, who was deputy interior minister for nearly 40 years. Prince Khalid bin Farhan al-Saud, who lives in exile in Germany, said that an opposition group has formed in Saudi Arabia with one goal: to unseat Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.    Military personnel and assets have reportedly been moved from eastern and western Saudi Arabia to Riyadh while Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman attends the G20 summit in Argentina.

11/27/18 02:11 PM EST it is possible that Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could speak informally on the sidelines of the summit, has no plans to formally meet with him.  Algerian Energy Minister, Mustapha Guitouni, has officially confirmed the upcoming visit of the Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, to Algeria without specifying the date.   [December 2 2018] Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Algeria from Mauritania, resuming a tour of Arab countries after attending the G20 summit in Argentina.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman flew to the U.A.E. on November 22, moving onto Bahrain and stopped by Egypt for a two-day visit before heading to Tunisia November 27. At the G20 Buenos Aires November 30-December 1 2018 there will likely be a meeting between Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed, “MBS.”

NOVEMBER 19, 2018 / 5:11 PM In a letter dated May 15, seen by Reuters, the crown prince requested that the defense ministry “focus on purchasing weapon systems and equipment in the most pressing fields” and get training on them, including the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system.    [daggers are drawn]

Germany has imposed European travel bans on 18 Saudi nationals believed to be connected to the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the country’s foreign minister said on Monday.

Heiko Maas told reporters in Brussels the ban was for the 26-nation Schengen zone and was issued in close coordination with France, which is part of the Schengen area, and the UK, which is not.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert: “Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate”…with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi

mutreb m

Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb

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the prince’s brother – Khalid bin Salman

A travel ban has been imposed on a former top aide to the crown prince, Saud al-Qahtani, while investigations continue over his role. The order to repatriate Khashoggi had come from former deputy intelligence chief General Ahmed al-Asiri.

The U.S. sanctioned Saudis are: Saud al-Qahtani; Maher Mutreb; Salah Tubaigy; Meshal Albostani; Naif Alarifi; Mohammed Alzahrani; Mansour Abahussain; Khalid Alotaibi; Abdulaziz Alhawsawi; Waleed Alsehri; Thaar Alharbi; Fahad Albalawi; Badr Alotaibi; Mustafa Almadani; Saif Alqahtani; Turki Alsehri; and Mohammed Alotaibi.

[ October 28 2018   ]

“We know the orders came from a member of the royal circle but have no direct information to link them to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Whether this meant he was not the original issuer we cannot say.”

[October 24 2018   Khashoggi : 21 “Saudi suspects” not named   ]

Visa records are confidential and Pompeo was not more specific about who the revocations would affect, but the State Department later said 21 “Saudi suspects” would have visas revoked or would be declared ineligible to enter the U.S.

[October 23 2018   “Bring me the head of the dog”: U.S. response to Khashoggi?   ]

saudi intel - Edited

Major General Ahmed al-Asiri was fired as the deputy head of the Saudi intelligence services, fingered by the royal household.

saudiadviser - Edited

Saud al-Qahtani was Saudi Arabia’s royal court adviser .” I will remain a loyal servant to my country for all times,”

Saud al-Qahtani; His biography on Twitter changed in recent days from royal adviser to chairman of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones. He was not believed to be under arrest. The audio of Qahtani Skype call is now in the possession of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. The sources say he is refusing to release it to the Americans.

khaled-al-tuwaijri-6714b095-0bfa-4e57-8a10-4313a14e799-resize-750 - Edited

Khaled al-Tuwaijri, former head of the royal court, who hired him, house arrest

Dr. Salah al-Tubaigy

Dr. Salah al-Tubaigy, equipped with a bone-saw

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Another member of the group identified by Turkish official media and appearing in the alleged passport scans is Muhammad Saad al-Zahrani, who has appeared on Saudi state TV alongside Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

saudidrone

The U.S. military carries out drone strikes in Yemen from its base in Djibouti, while the CIA flies armed drones from a separate base in Saudi Arabia.

It is hard to argue that a remote, heavily guarded air base would have been at serious risk of compromise or terror attack. Nor would the Saudi state have been jeopardised.
The argument presented to the Washington Post and others seems mainly designed to save the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from embarrassment, rather than save American lives. Any military cooperation by the royal family with the US rankles influential conservative clerics.

[December 4 2017  Saleh dead: Yemen explained 2017    ]

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.55.45 AM - Edited

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.43.15 AM - Edited

Sources in the Houthi militia said its fighters stopped Saleh’s armored vehicle with an RPG rocket outside the embattled capital Sanaa and then shot him dead. Sources in Saleh’s party confirmed he died in an attack on his convoy.   Al-Masirah TV network, run by the Shiite Houthis rebels,  showed footage of what appeared to be Saleh’s forces handing themselves in

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In further fighting in Sanaa on December 2,  explosions and gunfire were concentrated in the southern suburb of Hadda where relatives of Mr Saleh live.
The Saudi coalition bombed Houthi positions in Sanaa on December 3, with the aim of supporting Mr Saleh’s forces.

Ali Abdullah Saleh,, former president of Yemen has suggested that he is open to talking to the Saudi-led coalition that his forces have been fighting for years.
Clashes between Mr Saleh’s forces and Houthi fighters broke out on November 29.
The Houthis are backed by Iran but have been his allies against the internationally-recognised government since 2014.
There were reports of further fighting on the streets of the capital, Sanaa, on December 2. Explosions and gunfire were concentrated in the southern suburbs of the city, where relatives of Mr Saleh live.Mr Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party said four people were killed in fighting at the main mosque in the capital, Sanaa, on November 29.

On November 25, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi appeared to accuse Mr Saleh’s supporters of failing to “understand the concept of alliance and partnership”. It came after the GPC referred to Houthi fighters as “cartoonish mercenary things”.

The Houthis, who champion Yemen’s Zaidi Shia minority, fought a series of rebellions against Mr Saleh between 2004 and 2010. It also supported an uprising in 2011 that forced Mr Saleh to hand over power to Mr Hadi, then his deputy.
Mr Saleh’s supporters formed a surprise alliance with the Houthis in 2014, when they seized Sanaa amid widespread disillusionment at the political transition and Mr Hadi’s failure to tackle corruption, unemployment and food insecurity.
In early 2015, the allies ousted Mr Hadi, forcing the president to flee initially to the second city of Aden and then to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition responded by launching a military campaign to restore Mr Hadi’s government.

[October 17 Yemen strike by U.S. Forces, Yakla and al-Abl in southern al-Bayda province ]

hh-60_pave_hawk_camp_lemonnier_400x300

HH-60 Pave Hawk Camp_Lemonnier, Djibouti

New Yakla raid, which included helicopter gunships and armed Reaper drones, targeted al-Qaeda leaders.    U.S. forces killed dozens of ISIS members in a strike on two Islamic State of Iraq and Syria training camps today in Yemen’s al Bayda governorate.    Reports indicated that about 50 “Islamic State (IS) fighters were killed in two airstrikes, both manned and unmanned.    Unmanned U.S. drones launched around 12 missiles at militant positions in Yakla and al-Abl in southern al-Bayda province.

drone base saudi

drone location  ‘way, way out in the Rub al Khali,

[January 31 Trump’s first strike in south central Yemen against AQAP ]

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The US military said it killed 14 members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on January 30 in a dawn raid in the province of al-Bayda Yemen that involved missiles and helicopter machine guns.

In a statement, the Pentagon did not refer to any civilian casualties, although a US military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they could not be ruled out.

The official also said that one US Navy Seal died, three others were wounded and that military forces did not take any prisoners from the site, and the strike was not one that was originally ordered by former President Obama.   It involved ‘boots on the ground’ at an al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen. An eight-year-old died two hours after being shot, Nora, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American al Qaeda leader, born in New Mexico, who was killed in a US strike ordered by President Obama five years ago. Al-Awlaki, who was born while his father was a graduate student in the United States, moved to Yemen and became a prodigious propagandist The girl’s grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, Yemen’s former agriculture minister identified his granddaughter as the dead girl from a photo taken at the scene of the raid but based his description on what happened at the camp on conversations with what he characterized as Yemeni sources.

“My granddaughter was staying for a while with her mother, so when the attack came, they were sitting in the house, and a bullet struck her in her neck at 2:30 past midnight. Other children in the same house were killed,” al-Awlaki said. He said the girl died two hours after being shot. The child’s mother, Anwar al-Awlaki’s widow, survived the raid with a minor woun., Anwar al-Awlaki’s brother-in-law was killed in the raid. The raid, said the official, was directed from a U.S. base in Djibouti, across the Gulf of Aden from the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula and the western edge of Yemen. United States was searching for “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.” Nawar’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone on Sept. 30, 2011, not far from Sunday’s raid. The U.S. Justice Department had approved killing him in a memorandum that was disclosed in 2014. The memo concluded, “We do not believe that al-Awlaki’s U.S. citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action” by the U.S. military or the CIA.

[October 30 2016 October 2016: CIA drone strikes targetting ]

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GCHQ listening hub Cheltenham

Target information for middle eastern drone strikes may be acquired in Britain.

Around a third of all US military communications in Europe already pass through Croughton, which has a direct cable link to GCHQ, the intelligence services’ giant listening hub at Cheltenham. A high-speed fibre-optic line connects the base to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, from where the US flies drones that target terrorist groups in Somalia.

The Ministry of Defence insists that the US does not operate drones from the UK. A senior MoD source said: “Despite the continuing conspiracy theories and associated hype in the media, the reality is that there are no US Remotely Piloted Air System support facilities operating anywhere in the UK.”

read more

[October 16 2015 CIA v. Military: Drones, baseball cards and the kill list ]

The military’s portrayal of an overworked, underfunded drone program needed to be taken with a grain of salt. It was part of a well-documented military turf war with the CIA, which has its own, supposedly more careful drone program.

The “baseball cards” are detailed profiles of each potential target. It took on average 58 days for President Barack Obama to sign off on striking a target, giving 60 days for the strike to be carried out. it takes an average of six years to determine whether someone in Somalia is a target but just a little over eight months to kill that person after President Barack Obama had added the name to the kill list.

Since the Obama administration largely shut down the CIA’s rendition programme, choosing instead to dispose of its enemies in drone attacks, those individuals who are being nominated for killing have been discussed at a weekly counter-terrorism meeting at the White House situation room that has become known as Terror Tuesday. Barack Obama, in the chair and wishing to be seen as a restraining influence, agrees the final schedule of names. Once details of these meetings began to emerge it was not long before the media began talking of “kill lists”.

[April 11 Yemen: In the soup: Iranian Quds Force officers caught in Yemen, maybe]

Southern People's Resistance militants gather at the Al-Anad air base in Lahej, March 22 2015.   President Hadi: Backed by military and police loyalists, and by militia known as Popular Resistance Committees, he is trying to fight back against the rebels

Southern People’s Resistance militants gather at the Al-Anad air base in Lahej, March 22 2015. President Hadi: Backed by military and police loyalists, and by militia known as Popular Resistance Committees, he is trying to fight back against the rebels

A colonel and a captain, from an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards , were seized in two different districts rocked by heavy gun battles. “They are from the Quds Force and are working as advisors to the Houthi militia,” one of the militia sources said. Three sources in the southern Yemeni city of Aden’s anti-Houthi local militias confirmed.
The Quds Force (also spelled Ghods or Qods) (Persian: نیروی قدس‎ Nīrū-ye Qods or سپاه قدس Sepâh-e Qods), in English: the Jerusalem Force, is a special forces unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and is responsible for their extraterritorial operations. The situation in Aden in particular is “catastrophic”, a descent into urban warfare, with control of the air and seaports shifting daily between rival groups.10 April 2015.

April 5 Joint Arab Force pan-Arab effort

CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT – Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, March 31, 2015

CAMP BUEHRING, KUWAIT – Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, March 31, 2015

The joint Arab force provides a formula for broadening the Egyptian-Saudi relationship, now essential for both countries, into an Arab arrangement. The Saudi vision is for using the Arab force in the growing chaos in Yemen, while the Egyptian vision is for using it in the growing chaos in Libya. For most others outside the Gulf Cooperation Council, the pan-Arab effort is about reaping economic and political rewards. That may be enough to make it work.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has something to lose: If he sends troops to a futile war in Yemen, a comparison to Egypt’s former popular leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, which Sisi has sought to cultivate, could come back to haunt him. For Nasser’s 1960s intervention in Yemen was a failure. Riyadh’s biggest worry is Iran’s expanding political influence in Arab lands, especially in its neighborhood.
That competition is, at its core, not sectarian. The Saudis do worry about the rise of Iranian-backed Shi’ite Arabs. But what they have discovered is that sectarianism can also nurture the type of Sunnis who want the Riyadh regime’s demise even more than some of the Shi’ites do.
Sun Apr 5, 2015 U.S. and allied forces conducted 15 air strikes in Syria and Iraq against Islamic State militants during the past 24 hours, the combined joint task. Three of the strikes, part of a continuing operation against Islamic State, targeted militants in Syria. Twelve strikes were aimed at targets in Iraq, including five near the city of Mosul, the joint task force said in a statement.

[April 1 U.S. restores military aid to Egypt — 1963 Yemen Egyptian intervention]

the royalists lost, sort of

The royalists lost, sort of

British Hussars in Aden 1967

British Hussars in Aden 1967

President Barack Obama will resume military shipments and aid to Egypt in an effort to improve relations since imposing an arms freeze in October 2013.
The United States will supply Egypt with 12 F-16 fighter jets, 20 Harpoon missiles and up a to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits. The delivery of the military equipment was suspended after a military-backed coup ousted former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. Obama spoke with Egyptian President Abdelfattah al-Sisi on March 31. Obama told a-Sisi that he will continue the request of an annual $1.3 billion in military assistance to Egypt. The warplanes are part of a deal the United States and Egypt reached in 2009 for the delivery of 20 F-16 C/D fighters during 2013. The first batch of aircraft were delivered.

January 26th, 1963: With a sharp increase of Russian and Soviet bloc personnel, An Egyptian expeditionary force–put at between 12,000 and 15,000–fought a savage guerrilla war in north and east Yemen against tribes loyal to the Imamate who will not accept the republican couip d’etat by which Sallal overthrew the royalist government. These Egyptian forces–Nasser’s crack combat units–were trained for desert not for mountain warfare. Their expensive equipment, their Soviet-built tanks, armored personnel carriers and Ilyushin jet bombers, are not ideally suited for operations in the crazy maze of narrow defiles and boulder-strewn mountains of northern Yemen.
British mercenaries fighting with the royalists were “a private enterprise.” Withdrawal of U.A.R military forces began as of 23 November 1965 and be completed by 23 September 1966. The result was a shattering military and diplomatic setback to the U.A.R. The Yemen civil war officially ended with the Compromise of 1970, a political agreement between the republican and royalist factions. A republican government was formed in Yemen, incorporating members from the royalist faction but not the royal family.

[March 29 four months to organize ground attack]

“The Arab leaders have decided to agree on the principle of a joint Arab military force,” at a Sharm el-Sheikh summit, said hosting Egyptian President Abdel Sisi . The summit final communique called for “coordination, efforts and steps to establish an unified Arab force” to intervene in countries such as Yemen. The Egyptian leader said a high-level panel will work out the structure and mechanism of the future force. The work is expected to take four months.

[March 26 Saudi ‘Decisive Storm’ waged to save Yemen]

Pakistan and Egypt announced their participation in the ongoing Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen Houthi-allied forces with air and naval forces, The UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan have also deployed fighter jets to join the Saudi air force in the ongoing air campaign.
“President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

/// In the soup experiencing a difficult situation Saudis’ Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen a ‘dangerous step,’ Iran warns

[March 23 Brits follow U.S out]

Al-Anad base located in Lahj province in southern Yemen. The drone operation was led by American experts either inside the now abandoned U.S. Embassy in Sanaa or in the Yemeni military base housing U.S. experts in Lahj province, al-Anad, now evacuated,

Al-Anad base located in Lahj province in southern Yemen. The drone operation was led by American experts either inside the now abandoned U.S. Embassy in Sanaa or in the Yemeni military base housing U.S. experts in Lahj province, al-Anad, now evacuated,

Britain reportedly has withdrawn its remaining special forces from Yemen, days after a similar U.S. move, in response to the worsening security that the U.N. envoy for Yemen described as the “edge of civil war.”

[March 21 Drone operation shifts to Camp Lemonnier Djibouti]
A group of U.S. military forces, including Special Forces commandos, have evacuated an air base after al-Qaida seized the southern city of al-Houta.nearby .There are about 100 American troops and Special Forces commandos believed to be at al-Annad air base. The base is where American and European military advisers help Yemen battle the country’s local al-Qaida branch through drone strikes and logistical support. Intelligence gathering has not been curtailed or has been shifted to other countries.
The flight distance from Hodeidah International Airport (HOD)to Djibouti-Ambouli Airport (JIB) is 222 miles (358 kilometers, 193 nautical miles). Estimated flight time is 0 h 55 min. According to a press report in October 2012, “Camp Lemonnier[situated at Djibouti’s Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport] is the centerpiece of an expanding constellation of half a dozen U.S. drone and surveillance bases..”.

[September 30 2014 Yemen: U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen is a model]

Drone searching for terrorist crashes

A drone crashed in the mountains of Al-Saha village,Baihan district, Shabwa, southeast of Sana’a. The drone had been hovering over the village on and off for the preceding ten days.
Shortly after the incident, two other drones could be seen hovering over the same area.
The White House insisted September 29 that the U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen is a model for the fight against the Islamic State. But in light of violence against the Yemeni government, the United States is “stepping up efforts” to pursue sanctions against the perpetrators.
A deal calls for the formation of a new government within a month. But the Hawthis and their rivals have thus far failed to agree on a new prime minister. The new agreement would grant the Hawthis some executive power as it stipulates that the president name two advisers, one from the Hawthis and one from the southern separatist movement.

[September 24 Separists win, another country fails]
Under the UN-brokered deal, a new government will be formed and the Houthis and southern separatists will nominate a new prime minister. Takeover of key parts of the capital, Sanaa, termed a “successful revolution”.
The Houthis belong to the minority Zaidi Shia community. They have staged periodic uprisings since 2004 to win greater autonomy for their northern heartland of Saada province.
[September 19 Riots in capital kill 120]

Hawthi Shiite rebels chant slogans during a demonstration demanding the government to step down in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Shiite rebels and Sunni militiamen battled in the streets of the Yemeni capital for a second day Friday in fighting that has killed at least 120 people, driven thousands from their homes and virtually shut down the country’s main airport. The battles are raising fears of greater sectarian conflict, unseen for decades in Yemen.

The Shiite rebels known as the Hawthis have become one of the country’s most powerful players. They have surged from their stronghold in the north, taking a string of cities and have fought their way to the capital, Sanaa. The are allied with Shiite-led Iran .

Their main opponents have been Sunni Muslim hardliners – militias and army units allied with the Islah party, which is the Muslim Brotherhood’s branch in Yemen, or tribal fighters sympathetic with the Brotherhood or al-Qaida.

The government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, an ally of the United States, appears largely caught in the middle between the two forces.

[May 11 Both were shot by the American waiting outside the barber shop – CIA officer and lieutenant colonel with Special Ops target of kidnappers]

 a stone’s throw from the US Embassy grounds, near the intersection of the Ring Road on what locals call Sheraton Street.

a stone’s throw from the US Embassy grounds, near the intersection of the Ring Road on what locals call Sheraton Street.

Concrete barriers are seen at the entrance to the Sheraton Hotel where U.S. diplomats and members of the embassy are residing in Sanaa .

Concrete barriers are seen at the entrance to the Sheraton Hotel where U.S. diplomats and members of the embassy are residing in Sanaa

U.S. Marines on the roof of the Sheraton Sana'a Hotel where U.S. diplomats and embassy staffers stay in Sana'a

U.S. Marines on the roof of the Sheraton Sana’a Hotel where U.S. diplomats and embassy staffers stay in Sana’a

 Concrete barriers block the entrance of Sheraton Hotel, which houses the U.S. Mission, in Sanaa


Concrete barriers block the entrance of Sheraton Hotel, which houses the U.S. Mission, in Sanaa

Two officers at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen shot and killed a pair of armed Yemeni civilians during an attempted abduction of the Americans at a Sanaa barber shop on April 24. A CIA officer and a lieutenant colonel with the elite Joint Special Operations Command were simply getting a haircut in an upscale district in Yemen’s capital. “Yemeni attackers approached the barbershop while one of the Americans was inside. A second armed American was a couple of metres away in the vehicle. Both Yemenis were shot by the American waiting outside the shop.”. A ministry spokesman had said the two Yemenis killed were linked to Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has increased kidnappings to finance their operations. Both Americans have left Yemen.
.
The Sanaa Sheraton is officially part of an expanded US Embassy estate that some are calling Yemen’s “Green Zone,” the plush, heavily guarded civilian headquarters for revised twenty-first-century “rules of engagement” in the Yemeni “theater.”
Behind the Sheraton’s Disneyesque two-story front gate, security cage and walls lie 15 acres with verdant irrigated gardens, an outdoor swimming pool and cabanas, a gymnasium, tennis courts, restaurants serving flown-in Chinese and Mediterranean cuisine, well-stocked liquor cabinets, 255 guest rooms, additional premier suites, cleaning services, meeting facilities, a business center, 30 in-house cable television channels available 24/7, high-speed Internet, vehicle repair garages, security cameras, stations and personnel, and temperamental water supply and heating/cooling systems. As of January 1, 2013, all of this is under new management: the US Department of State.
Starwood Hotels, a worldwide chain that manages Sheraton, Westin and other five-star properties, discontinued operations in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, at the end of 2012. The listed owner, the Kuwaiti Investment Authority, leased it to the State Department so that State could provide secure, comfortable lodging just a stone’s throw from the US Embassy grounds, near the intersection of the Ring Road on what locals call Sheraton Street.
“It’s a dump. It screams 1959.” The embassy took over the hotel last year as demonstrations to unseat the then- president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, turned violent. Diplomats are now shuttled from the hotel to the embassy, which is nearby, and otherwise don’t get out much unless they’re on official business.
Two days after gunmen shot dead a French security guard working with the European Union mission in the capital Sanaa (May 8) , “we have temporarily suspended operations of our Embassy in Sana’a to the public. We continue to evaluate the security situation every day, and we will reopen the embassy to the public once it is deemed appropriate,”

[August 14 2013]

Roadway in Shabwa

Roadway in Shabwa

In a drone missile strike in Yemen’s southern Shabwa province late on August 12,
“The car was completely obliterated and the two men inside it were killed.”

[August 11]
lahijclick to view
Two militants have been killed in a suspected US drone strike in southern Yemen, officials and witnesses say.

Two other militants were reportedly wounded when the vehicle in which they were travelling was destroyed near al-Askariya in Lahij province.

Three suspected al Qaeda militants were killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen’s southern province of Lahj, two local security officials told CNN on Saturday.
Two others were injured in the Askariayah district strike, one of whom was critically injured, the officials said.
A second vehicle in the same area carrying suspected militants escaped undamaged after a strike missed its target.

Sana’a, Aug 11: At least five suspected al-Qaida militants were killed Saturday evening when US drone strikes hit their vehicles in Yemen’s Lahj province, an official said.

The suspected terrorists were killed when an air raid targeted their convoy of two pick-up trucks in the eastern suburbs of Lahj province, Xinhua reported citing a security official.

saut.

[August 10]

  al-Qaida leaders  include Nasser al-Wahishi, a onetime aide to Osama bin Laden; Qassem al-Raimi, believed to be the military commander; and Ibrahim al-Asiri.

al-Qaida leaders include Nasser al-Wahishi, a onetime aide to Osama bin Laden; Qassem al-Raimi, believed to be the military commander; and Ibrahim al-Asiri.

hadramoutclick to enlarge
Five suspected al Qaeda militants were killed in an air strike in eastern Yemen on July 9, a U.S. drone fired the missiles.

The men were attacked while they were travelling in a vehicle in the province of Hadramout in an area called Ghail Bawazeer, 45 km (28 miles) from the provincial capital Mukalla.
Aug. 9, 2013 at 7:07 AM. At least 14 suspected al-Qaida militants in Yemen were killed in three drone attacks. A drone attack killed four suspected militants in Wadi al-Jadd in the southern province of Hadramout.

In two other attacks in Marib and Hadramout provinces, 10 suspected militants were killed, Seven people died in a drone attack July 7.
First reported drone attack on August 9 hit a car carrying suspected militants in the district of Wadi Ubaidah, about 175 kilometers (109 miles) east of Sanaa, and killed six, a security official said.

Badly burned bodies lay beside their vehicle. Five of the dead were Yemenis, while the sixth was believed to be of another Arab nationality.

The second drone attack killed three alleged militants in the al-Ayoon area of Hadramawt province in the south. The third, also in Hadramawt province, killed three more suspected militants in the al-Qutn area. al-Qaida leaders include Nasser al-Wahishi, a onetime aide to Osama bin Laden; Qassem al-Raimi, believed to be the military commander; and Ibrahim al-Asiri. al-Wahishi is believed to be trying to recruit informants in the mountainous areas of Marib in central Yemen, especially in the Wadi Ubaidah valley, where tribal allies of ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh are concentrated.

Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi became president in 2012 after a year of mass protests demanding Saleh’s ouster. Since then, Hadi has accused Saleh’s men, who are still in key positions in security agencies and municipalities, of trying to hinder his reforms.

Marib is one of the few places known to be al-Qaida strongholds, and the Yemeni military has not tried to carry out a large offensive there because of the strong presence of anti-government tribes.

The official said al-Raimi is believed to be moving in southern Yemen, while al-Asiri is believed to be in the north, close to the border with Saudi Arabia, his home.
[August 8]
The CIA resumed drone strikes in Yemen 11 days ago to disrupt al-Qaida’s terrorism plot. The CIA has mounted four drone strikes in Yemen over the past 10 days.

U.S. officials said the CIA and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, which operate parallel drone campaigns in Yemen, have refrained from launching missiles for several months in part because of more restrictive targeting guidelines imposed by President Obama this year. Those new rules, however, allow for strikes to resume in response to an elevated threat.

A few dozen U.S. Special Operations forces have been stationed in Yemen since last year to train Yemeni counterterrorism forces and to help pinpoint targets for airstrikes against al-Qaeda targets in the country. The U.S. military carries out drone strikes in Yemen from its base in Djibouti, while the CIA flies armed drones from a separate base in Saudi Arabia.

The CIA and the U.S. military have carried out 16 drone strikes in Yemen this year. Last year, a record 54 strikes occurred.

[August 7]

Some of Yemen 25

Some of Yemen 25

Hazim Mohammed Naji al-Qulasy from Yemen was born in 1995

Hazim Mohammed Naji al-Qulasy from Yemen was born in 1995

Salehal-Hadial-Tays Waeli

Saleh al-Hadi al-Tays Waeli

It was a five-missile drone strike had killed four alleged al Qaeda members in Yemen’s central Marib province. The hit targeted a vehicle, turning it into “a ball of fire”, Saleh al Tays al Waeli. among them.

Nasser al-Wuhayshi, The head of al-Qa’ida in Yemen, comes from a wealthy family and once served as Bin Laden’s personal secretary in Afghanistan. He was one of 23 prisoners who tunnelled their way out of a maximum-security prison in Sanaa, in 2006. Yemeni military officials claimed to have killed him in August 2011, a claim denied by Aqap.

The wanted list confirmed by the editor of Yemen Post, Hakim Alma Mari.

1) Mohammed Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish

2) Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri

3) Mishal Mohammed Rashid al-Shadukhi

4) Jalal Mohsen Mansour Baleid

5) Yahya Mohamed Nasir Sanhoub

6) Hussein Abdullah Hussein Quob

7) Ali Ahmed Shawki al-Badani

8) Saleh al-Hadi al-Tays Waeli

9) Hafiz Jaafar al-Nasir Masoud Waledi

10) Ahmed Mohammed al-Atteq Radei al-Azani

11) Hazim Mohammed Naji al-Qulasy

12) Mohamed Ahmed Ali al-Asadi

13) Eman Ahmed Shas

14) Muslih Abdul Allah Ahmed al-Hulaysi

15) Abdulelah Ali Qasem al-Musbahi

16) Abdullah Ghaleb al-Zeyadi

17) Wajeeh Fadhl Mohammed Uthman al-Amoudi

18) Anas Khaled al-Marfadi

19) Majed Hameed Mohammed al-Zubayri

20) Ahmed Ali al-Wahashi

21) Mujahid Jayer Saleh al-Shabwani

22) Abdulkhaleq Mohammed Mohammed al-Kibsi

23) Zia Mohammed Mohammed al-Hanaq

24) Jamal Ali Abdu Barèges

25) Hamzah Ahmed Zaid Qutaish

[August 6]

location of drone base, they say

location of drone base, they say

Marib Province, Yemen

Marib Province, Yemen

A drone strike in Yemen on August 6 struck a vehicle, killing four suspected Al-Qaeda militants. The U.S. military carries out drone strikes in Yemen from its base in Djibouti, while the CIA flies armed drones from a separate base in Saudi Arabia.

One of the four was on a list released by Yemeni authorities of 25 Al Qaeda operatives suspected of plotting attacks to coincide with the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan later this week. a suspected U.S. drone targeted a moving car in the impoverished nation’s Marib province, killing four alleged al-Qaeda militants.

It was the fourth drone attack targeting leaders of the group in less than two weeks. One of the dead is believed to be Saleh Jouti, a senior al-Qaeda member.

The United States, along with Britain and France, closed diplomatic missions amidst concerns of possible terrorist attacks. Yemen’s government sharply criticized the evacuation, suggesting it was unwarranted and rewarded extremists. “Yemen has taken all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and security of foreign missions in the capital Sanaa,” said a statement issuedAugust 6 by the Yemeni Embassy in Washington. “While the government of Yemen appreciates foreign governments’ concern for the safety of their citizens, the evacuation of embassy staff serves the interests of the extremists and undermines the exceptional cooperation between Yemen and the international alliance against terrorism. Yemen remains strongly committed to the global effort to counter the threats of al-Qaeda and its affiliates.”

[February 9]

Commentary: the willingness of leading US media organisations not to reveal the location of a CIA drone base for two years raises serious questions about media cooperation with officialdom on national security issues.
Would the hunt for him have been adversely affected if the existence of the base in Saudi had been revealed?
It is hard to argue that a remote, heavily guarded air base would have been at serious risk of compromise or terror attack. Nor would the Saudi state have been jeopardised.
The argument presented to the Washington Post and others seems mainly designed to save the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from embarrassment, rather than save American lives. Any military cooperation by the royal family with the US rankles influential conservative clerics.

Telegraph

[February 8]

location of drone base, they say

location of drone base, they say

Looks like a new drone base in Saudi Arabia's south

Looks like a new drone base in Saudi Arabia’s south

The other officer described the location as ‘way, way out in the Rub al Khali,

[February 6]
In June 2010, the C.I.A. began building a drone base in Saudi Arabia to carry out strikes in Yemen. American officials said that the first time the C.I.A. used the Saudi base was to kill Mr. Awlaki in September 2011.
Yemen’s military is fighting its own counterinsurgency battle against Islamic militants, who gained and then lost control over large swaths of the country last year. Often, American military strikes in Yemen are masked as Yemeni government operations. more

[October 28, 2011]

Arba Minch Airport HAAM Eithiopia

Arba Minch Airport HAAM Eithiopia

Arba Minch University, Ethiopia

Arba Minch University, Ethiopia

The Air Force has been secretly flying armed Reaper drones [General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (originally the Predator B)] on counterterrorism missions from a remote civilian airport in southern Ethi­o­pia as part of a rapidly expanding U.S.-led proxy war against an al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, U.S. military officials said.

The Air Force has invested millions of dollars to upgrade an airfield in Arba Minch, Ethi­o­pia, where it has built a small annex to house a fleet of drones that can be equipped with Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs. The Reapers began flying missions earlier this year over neighboring Somalia, where the United States and its allies in the region have been targeting al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group connected to al-Qaeda.It is the home of Arba Minch University and the Southwest Synod of the Mekane Yesus Church. The town also is served by an airport, (ICAO code HAAM, IATA AMH).

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Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq

By CJTF-OIR PAO | March 13, 2019 On March 2, the 7th Iraqi Army conducted large scale clearances across the Wadi Hawran region and discovered approximately 43 improvised explosive devices across four different caches; all of the explosives were either marked or destroyed during the clearance operation.

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Iranian drone war in Yemen

YEMEN-CONFLICT

A drone exploded above Yemen’s al-Anad airbase in the government-held southern province of Lahj on January 10, 2019 by the Houthis, a Shia group that swept across the country in 2014 and is backed by Iran. The drones are “made in Iran”, said Yemen’s internationally-recognised government on Saturday. It added that the country’s military did not possess such aircraft and it was “impossible to manufacture them locally”.

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Erik Prince met Jr, Saudis,UAE on Iran

gettyimages-99571625-1513005456

Donald Trump ally Erik Prince may have committed perjury, a congressman has said, after the former Navy Seal said for the first time he held a meeting with one of the US president’s sons to discuss “Iran policy”.

Mr Prince, founder of controversial military contractor Blackwater USA, admitted he met Donald Trump Jr and an emissary for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Trump Tower ahead of the presidential election.

The admission comes more than a year after the 49-year-old, brother of US education secretary Betsy DeVos, failed to disclose the meeting under oath to the House intelligence committee, according to a public transcript.

 

[May 16 2011   UAE: Spectre, Horizon, Reflex Responses, R2 would be used to thwart internal revolt   ]

General Juma Khalaf al-Hamiri

General Juma Khalaf al-Hamiri

The United Arab Emirates has confirmed that the crown prince of Abu Dhabi has hired the founder of private security firm Blackwater Worldwide to set up an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the UAE. The unit being formed by Erik Prince’s new company Reflex Responses with $529 million from the UAE would be used to thwart internal revolt, etc. al arabiya
General Juma Ali Khalaf Al Hamiri, Head of HR and Administration, GHQ, UAE Armed Forces, said : “The UAE armed forces currently engage a number of third parties, such as Spectre, which delivers academy training capabilities; Horizon, a pilot training partner and R2 which provides operational, planning and training support.
“As you would expect of a proactive member of the international community, all engagements of commercial entities by the UAE Armed Forces are compliant with international law and relevant conventions.” mideast times

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