Quetta violence threatens CPEC

china pak corr

QUETTA, Pakistan/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Two suicide bombers stormed a packed Christian church in southwestern Pakistan on December 17, killing at least nine people and wounding up to 56. Violence in Baluchistan has fueled concern about security for projects in the $57 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link planned to run from western China to Pakistan’s southern deep-water port of Gwadar. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—will connect China’s western province of Xinjiang to the Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coastline in Balochistan province.

Pakistani Christians, who number around 2 million in a nation of more than 200 million people, have been the target of a series of attacks in recent years.

bethelquetta

[May 10 2016

https://twitter.com/KasimGillani/status/729584137426833409.

Unknown gunmen kidnapped Ali Haider Gilani, son of ex-prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, from a 2013 election rally belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in his native southern city of Multann .Afghan National Security Advisor Hanif Atmaar announced, “He has been recovered today in a joint operation carried out by the Afghan and U.S. security forces in Ghazni, Afghanistan.” Yusuf Raza Gilani was prime minister of Pakistan from March, 2008 until his retroactive disqualification and ouster by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 26 April 2012.
[MAY 6, 2016] Yousaf Raza Gilani and has been put on on the Exit Control List (ECL) on the request of National Accountability Bureau (NAB0 in a case pertaining to the appointment of the head of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA)

[August 10 2015 Pakistan has played a double game and seeks to keep Afghanistan unstable and vulnerable?]

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani lambasted Pakistan on August 10 over a recent wave of insurgent attacks in the capital Kabul that killed at least 56 people.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani lambasted Pakistan on August 10 over a recent wave of insurgent attacks in the capital Kabul that killed at least 56 people.

The present wave of violence in Kabul appears triggered by a power struggle within the Taliban between factions that favor negotiating with the Afghan government and those who want to continue fighting. Referring to an Afghan delegation scheduled to visit Pakistan shortly to discuss the suspended talks, Ghani said: “The reason we want to talk to Pakistan is that they have given sanctuary to [the insurgents]. This is why we are compelled to engage in talks. If Pakistan cannot bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, at least they can shut down their centers and not take their wounded to hospitals.” Many Afghans are convinced that Pakistan has played a double game and seeks to keep Afghanistan unstable and vulnerable.

April 2 non-bailable arrest warrant for former president and APML chief General (r) Pervez Musharraf]

Gen Pervez Musharraf  (retired)

Gen Pervez Musharraf (retired)

An Islamabad district and sessions court judge rejected Musharraf’s pleas for exemption from appearance and issued the non-bailable arrest warrant against the former president. The court adjourned the hearing till 27 April. 71-year-old Musharraf is living with his daughter in Karachi where he underwent a medical check-up on Aprill 1. The case was registered against Musharraf for the murder of the cleric and his mother during the Red Mosque operation of 2007. Ghazi was killed when army commandos stormed the mosque in the capital on Musharraf’s orders.=copy

[January 18 crack-down against militants has increased]

. Security forces have intensified their actions in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan after the announcement of National Action Plan to combat terrorism in the country. The crack-down against the militants has increased in the province in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on a school of Peshawar on December 16. -

. Security forces have intensified their actions in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan after the announcement of National Action Plan to combat terrorism in the country. The crack-down against the militants has increased in the province in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on a school of Peshawar on December 16. –

QUETTA: Security forces arrested four suspected militants from Killa Abdullah district of Balochistan on Sunday. According to reports, security forces conducted a raid in Jangle Pir Alizai area of Killah district. Reports said two suspected militants identified as Maulavi Shah Wali and Hafiz Niamatullah were picked up by forces during the raid. The suspects were later shifted for interrogation by security forces. In another raid, security forces arrested two suspected militants from Killi Tekhdar area of Chaman, Pakistan’s bordering town with Afghanistan. Forces also recovered weapons from their possession. In Quetta, police detained 31 suspects during various raids. Police said hate materials and CDs were recovered from the suspects possession.

[September 06 2013 Drone kills Mullah Sangeen Zadran]

Nov. 24, 2010 shows captive U.S. Army Spc. Bowe Bergdahl alongside his suspected captor, Mullah Sangeen Zadran.

Sangeen Zadran, named on US and UN blacklists, was among five killed when missiles were fired at a house in North Waziristan. The issue is hugely controversial in Pakistan, where parts of the government and military have often been accused of criticising the use of drones in public, but co-operating in private.

[Septeber 3]

 ISI Chief Zaheer ul Islam


ISI Chief Zaheer ul Islam

 ISI DG Zaheer ul Islam


ISI DG Zaheer ul Islam

The budget documents don’t disclose CIA payments to its Pakistani counterpart, the Inter-
Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI, which former officials said has totaled tens of millions of dollars. The documents do show that the CIA has developed sophisticated means of assessing the loyalties of informants who have helped the agency find al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan’s tribal region.

Those measures, which The Post has agreed not to disclose, have allowed the CIA to “gain confidence in each asset’s authenticity, reliability and freedom from hostile control.”

http://m.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/top-secret-us-intelligence-files-show-new-levels-of-distrust-of-pakistan/2013/09/02/e19d03c2-11bf-11e3-b630-36617ca6640f_story.html?tid=HP_lede

[22 January, 2012]

Gen Pervez Musharraf  (retired)

Gen Pervez Musharraf (retired)

Addressing an audience of 168 retired army officers through video-link at a local hotel under the banner of ‘Pakistan First’ on January 21, Former president and APML chief General (r) Pervez Musharraf has called for holding of transparent general elections under the army’s supervision, formation of a caretaker government three months before the polls and permission to him for taking part in the elections.
[January 17]“I don’t think army intends to take over. The environment is not at all conducive for the army to take over. I think the army understands that,” he said.

Gen Musharraf added; “I am reasonably sure that army coup will not take place but my support always remains with the army.

I’ve been an army man and I can never imagine to be against the army…I am with the army, I will stand by the army.” [January 15]

[January 11] Retired general Naeem Khalid Lodhi, has been removed from his post for gross misconduct.
Gen Lodhi recently wrote to the Supreme Court saying the government had administrative, but not operational, control of the army. State media said he lost his job “for creating misunderstanding between state institutions”. The army warned of “serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences” after the PM criticised military leaders
Mr Zardari’s government is also on a collision course with the judiciary, which wants to reopen old corruption cases in which the president argues he is innocent.
[January 8]Addressing a rally in Karachi, the country’s biggest city, from Dubai via a live video link to supporters, Musharraf said he will return to the city betwen Jan. 27 and Jan. 30 and stand for the elections from the city of Chitral in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The ex-army chief said court cases linking him to two political assassinations are “baseless” and he will fight them in the courts.
[January 7]The Chief of Pakistani Army Staff in October 1998. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will be arrested in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007 if he returns to Pakistani.
There is no need for any “fresh arrest warrants” for him as a court has already issued orders for his arrest, prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told reporters.
Hours earlier, Musharraf told a Pakistani news channel that he would come back later this month to contest the next parliamentary elections, which could be held later this year.
Musharraf has been living in London and Dubai since 2008 when the government, led by Bhutto’s party, forced him to resign.
Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack near the capital, Islamabad, after returning home to contest elections. Musharraf, at the time, had blamed the Pakistani Taliban for her murder, but the prosecution alleges he was part of the plot.
Musharraf now heads his own faction of the All Pakistan Muslim League, a small political party that does not have any major base in the country. Army
high command is totally loyal to Musharraf. The young commanders are all
handpicked by him. [2007]

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi captured in Iraq, now on U.S. base in Syria?

Rmelan-map

US forces have captured ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and he’s now held at one of the US bases in Syria.    According to the report, al-Baghdadi was captured in Iraq, then transferred to the US base in Syria’s Ras al-Ayn and then to the US base in Rmeilan. Additionally, US forces allegedly captured and transferred 7 high-profile members of ISIS.

[September 1 Baghdadi’s death? No? ]

syriamap20170513

There have been several previous reports of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death. But on August 31, Gen Townsend said there were “indicators in intelligence channels that he’s still alive”.
“We’re looking for him every day. I don’t think he’s dead,” he told reporters, repeating that he had “no clue” as to where the IS leader was.
“The last stand of Isis will be in the Middle Euphrates River Valley,” he added, using an alternative name for IS. “When we find him, I think we’ll just try to kill him first. It’s probably not worth all the trouble to try and capture him.”

[July 25 Clashes in Al-Shaddadi ]

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed up by the US-led coalition, is storming the neighborhoods of Nezlit Shehada and Al-Shaddadi in Raqqah city. According to pro-SDF sources, over 27 ISIS members were killed in the recent clashes and an IED plant was captured. According to ISIS, 8 SDF members were killed recently.

* [July 24]Near Al Shadaddi, seven strikes engaged five ISIS tactical units and destroyed two staging areas, two command and control nodes, an IED storage area, an observation post and a fighting position.

[July 14 ISIS attacking near Hasakah Syria ]

 

CENTCOM– Near Al Hasakah, July 13,seven airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and five ISIL tactical units destroying seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL armored personnel carrier.
Al Hasakah
a military source in the Kurdish-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), said most of the work on a runway in the oil town of Rmeilan in Hasaka was complete. The Rmeilan airstrip was being used by U.S. military helicopters for logistics and deliveries.[Reuters March 6 2016]

 

[March 26 Tabka:500 troops were airlifted behind enemy lines.]

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GPS steerable parachutes

U.S.-backed local forces fighting Islamic State in Syria said on March 26 they had taken full control of a former Syrian army airport near the city of Tabqa along the Euphrates River. Tabqa is located 25 miles west of Raqqa, ISIS’ self-declared capital,

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias supported by a U.S.-led international coalition, said in a statement they had seized the air base.

Earlier, SDF spokesperson Talal Silo said its fighters had seized “60 to 70 percent” of the airport but were still engaged in intense clashes with the ultra-hardline militants inside the air base and on its outskirts.
March 22, Washington (CNN)Fighters in Syria have begun a major ground offensive, backed up by US forces, to retake Tabka dam near Raqqa, Syria,
The attack also included an unprecedented air assault involving US helicopters landing behind enemy lines — flying about 500 local US allies and coalition military advisers across the Euphrates River and Lake Assad so they could attack the ISIS-controlled dam and neighboring town and airfield from the South.

“We have conducted an air movement, air assault, with the Syrian Arab Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces,” Col. Joseph Scrocca,
Scrocca would not say how many troops were involved, but a military source said about 500 troops were airlifted behind enemy lines. The attack was backed by US Marines firing M777 howitzers and close air support, including airstrikes carried out by Apache helicopters.

[January 18 Syria airdrops in December]

The Air Force conducted 16 airdrop missions in Syria last year, including six in December. Flights could depart from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus or the Incirlik air base in Turkey.
The U.S.-led coalition is directly providing supplies only to the Arab contingent within the Syrian Democratic Forces, partly to avoid antagonizing Turkey, a key ally.
Initially, Kurds made up the bulk of the coalition-backed forces fighting the Islamic State in northern Syria. But U.S. advisers have made an effort to recruit more Arabs. Today, about one third of the 45,000 troops in the Syrian Democratic Forces are Arabs.
The bundles are guided onto landing zones using GPS technology and steerable parachutes. “We’ll get it within 10 or 15 meters of the mark,” Everhart said. The supplies range from small arms ammunition to vehicles.The Air Force can drop supplies at night and vary where they are dropped to ensure militants are not able to seize U.S. equipment.

[January 7 Tabka Dam  one of last defense lines before Raqqa city ]

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January 06, 2017 5:34 PM The Pentagon said that SDF forces are only seven kilometers away from the dam, also known as the Baath Dam.

“Liberating the dam will allow us to control the town of Tabqa as well,” said Nasir Hajj Mansur, an SDF commander who is involved in the ongoing offensive. “It will also break the back of (IS) as it is one of the last defense lines before Raqqa city.”

The dam, which IS has controlled since 2014, is a hydropower facility that is one of the main sources of electricity in the country. It has also been vital for the irrigation of farms in the fertile region around Raqqa.

 

 

[December 24 2016 Syrian Arab Coalition,  supported by Coalition advisers and air strikes before Raqqah ]stephen-townsend

Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, left, XVIII Airborne Corps commanding general, during a visit to Fort Bragg, N.C., July 27, 2016. Now serving as commander of the Combined Joint Task Force — Operation Inherent Resolve, he spoke with The Fayetteville Observer from Baghdad on Tuesday and described some of the ongoing efforts. In Syria, he said Fort Bragg troops are supporting special operations forces and the Syrian partners with logistical, medical and artillery support. That includes teams from the 18th Field Artillery Brigade deployed into the country with High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.

December 10 The Syrian Democratic Forces announced the start of the next phase of their operation to isolate ISIL’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah, Dec. 10. The SDF, made up in part by local Arabs and its Coalition trained and equipped Arab component, the Syrian Arab Coalition, and supported by Coalition advisers and air strikes began the operation to isolate Raqqah on Nov. 5. In their march toward Raqqah, the SDF has already liberated dozens of villages and more than 700 square miles of ISIL-held terrain. Local Arab fighters continue to join the SDF and fight to liberate their own land. During the initial phase of isolation efforts, our Syrian partners have proven their ability in battle, pushing ISIL back and destroying ISIL heavy weapons, vehicles, fortifications, IED facilities, VBIEDs, armored vehicles, technical vehicles, bridges, decoys, and caches. The Coalition supports the SDF through training, advise and assist operations, airstrikes and material support to the SAC. Since the start of the operation the Coalition conducted more than 300 strikes delivering more than 850 munitions in support of its partners on the ground to enable the isolation of Raqqah and defeat of ISIL in Syria.

December 20 Near Raqqa, three strikes destroyed an oil tanker truck and damaged an ISIL supply route.

December 21 Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Syria: — Near Raqqah, 11 strikes engaged four ISIL tactical units; destroyed three oil storage tanks, two oil wellheads, two oil tanker trucks, two fighting positions, two tactical vehicles, a financial storage facility, an artillery system and a vehicle bomb; and damaged a supply route.

December 22 Near Raqqah, two strikes destroyed an ISIL mortar system and suppressed a tactical unit.

December 23 Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 strikes in Syria: — Near Raqqah, eight strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units; destroyed six oil storage tanks, two vehicle bombs and a technical vehicle; and damaged a supply route, a fighting position and a truck.

December 24 — U.S. and coalition military forces Strikes in Syria Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Syria: — Near Raqqah, 13 strikes engaged 10 ISIL tactical units, destroyed seven fighting positions, three vehicles, a car bomb and damaged a supply route

 

[September 8 Turks taking on SDF ]

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Turkey now wants to push the SDF out of Manbij, to the south of Jarabulus, back east across the Euphrates, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed anti-IS Kurdish-Arab alliance dominated by Kurdish fighters.. To the west, Turkey appears set to try to seize control of Dabiq, a small town and scene of a 16th-century battle that figures prominently in ISIS’s eschatological vision. “ISIS sees Dabiq as a kind of mystical place,” said Can Acun, an international relations expert specializing in Syria at SETA, Turkey’s government-supported think tank. “They believe in the future there will be a big fight there. They will try to defend it against Turkey.” Experts say Turkey is also contemplating taking control of al-Bab, an agricultural hub northeast of the major city of Aleppo, from ISIS, a move that would give Ankara and its FSA allies control over a significant crossroads to Aleppo.
“Turkey’s aim is Manbij and al-Bab, but our goal goes beyond that,” said Ahmad Othman, commander of the Sultan Murad brigade, a major FSA unit allied with Turkey.

[May 30   HIMARS for Syria delayed by Turkey   ]

HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)

The deployment of US HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) missiles on Turkey’s southern frontier to battle Islamic State has been held up until August without offering an explanation. The deployment was originally expected in May to help counter cross-border bombardments that have killed 21 people since Jan. 18, as the two governments tussle over the makeup of the assault force

However, the battlefield successes of the Syrian Kurdish PYD group in the course of their country’s civil war has haunted Turkey, which fears their territorial gains will embolden the separatist aspirations of Turkey’s own Kurdish minority. “The aim of those who are using the PYD terrorist organization to surround Turkey’s southern borders is clearly to cut Turkey’s ties with the Middle East and North Africa,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said may 29 at a ceremony marking the 1453 conquest of Constantinople, today’s Istanbul

[May 28 Special ops in Syria take off girls patch ]

a US special forces soldier wearing the patch of the YPJ

U.S. Special Forces troops in Syria have been ordered to stop wearing the arm patches of YPG a Kurdish rebel group regarded as an offshoot of a terrorist organization by Turkey, , the YPG [ and Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) ] dominates in the umbrella group SDF, which also includes Arab and Christian fighters, and has notched victories against ISIS in northeastern Syria.
“Wearing those patches was unauthorized and inappropriate and corrective action has been taken. We have communicated as much” to NATO ally Turkey, said Army Col. Steve Warren. Although the U.S. has backed the YPG/YPJ force with airstrikes and supplies, and its fighters have proven to be among the most effective in Syria’s multi-sided civil war, Turkey has branded the group as the military wing of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK. Both Turkey and the U.S. have labeled the PKK as a terrorist organization.
The images appear to show a US special forces soldier wearing the patch of the YPJ (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Jin‎, YPJ, pronounced Yuh-Pah-Juh) – a Kurdish female militia group. A Pentagon spokesman said troops often blended in with partners for safety. The series of images, by an AFP photographer, show the US soldiers operating alongside members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed anti-IS Kurdish-Arab alliance dominated by Kurdish fighters.

patch of the YPJ

An effort to rebrand the YPG as a coalition with Arab rebels called the Syrian Democratic Forces has brought only a small number of Arabs into the force so far.    A requirement that applicants sign a document pledging to fight only the Islamic State and not the government of President Bashar al-Assad deterred many from signing up at all.

 

[May 3 Mission Creep: “Special-operation forces exploitation operations. They pick up computers, cellphones. “ ]

The coalition couldn’t move faster than its partners on the ground—both Iraqi security forces as well as Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria.“Special-operation forces are especially adept at exploitation operations. They pick up computers, cellphones. ” said Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work in Brussels, April 29.

Attack, ground-attack and fighter aircraft conducted seven strikes in Syria:— Near Hawl, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position. — Near Shadaddi, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL staging areas and two ISIL vehicles. — Near Raqqah, a strike destroyed an ISIL crane. — Near Mara, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions.

ypgfighter

el-Hawl area Kurdish fighter November 2015

 

 

[April 30 Green Berets on the front lines during the assault on Shaddadi ]

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…have appearance of Green Berets?

 

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FDS forces before Shaddadi

 

A group of Special Forces soldiers on the front lines during the assault on Shaddadi, French, American and British advisors with the SDF forces. The soldiers in question have the appearance of American Green Berets and are clearly in combat.
April 25: The additional 250 U.S. forces will work with Kurdish militiamen and others as they seek to isolate Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria. The plan to move toward Raqqa follows last year’s successful northern Syria offensive that was led primarily by Kurdish forces, aided by U.S. airstrikes, with some support from a group of Sunni opposition fighters the United States has been struggling to support. Raqqa, farther to the south, is a Sunni city that Kurdish forces are not eager to move toward and where they would not be welcome.

[March 21 U.S. and its partners have supported capable and motivated local forces in Syria ]

The U.S. and its partners have supported capable and motivated local forces in Syria to retake the eastern Syrian town of Shaddadi, Carter said. That is the last major northern artery between Raqqa and Mosul — between ISIL in Iraq and ISIL in Syria, he pointed out.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter testified at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the fiscal year 2017 defense budget request. US Department of Defense -March 21, 2016

[March 14 work being done both east and west of Shaddadi]

“We are increasing the number of folks that we are supporting on the ground — in this case the Syrian-Arab Coalition,” he said. “Right now we don’t have a timeline for the operation for when we will take Raqqa. It’s going to be conditions-based — based on the size of the force we have, based on enemy dispositions, and of course, there is some other work being done both east and west of Shaddadi to consolidate the operation so far.”
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.

The campaign in eastern Syria is directed by about 50 U.S. Special Operations Forces now on the ground there, joined by about 20 French and perhaps a dozen British commandos. They’re working with about 40,000 Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters dubbed the Syrian Democratic Forces; all but about 7,000 are from the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG. The methodical campaign in eastern Syria contrasts with the messy battlefield to the west, where Syrian regime troops backed by Russia confront rebels supported by the CIA, Turkey and Saudi Arabia — all facing jihadists from the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. U.S. officials describe this confusing layering of forces as “marbling,” and it’s the reason the current cease-fire is so fragile.

 

[February 24 Shaddadi front using U.S. Javelin ]

First documented use of a FGM-148 Javelin in the war against the Islamic State

Raytheon-Lockheed Martin FGM-148 Javelin replaced the Cold War-era M47 Dragon portable anti-tank missile launcher.

[February 5 FSA’s Northern Division kill  a Russian officer with  TOW ]

On February 3, the FSA’s Northern Division, one of the 39 anti-Assad militias backed by the CIA, uploaded a video showing one of its soldiers firing a TOW missile at half a dozen or so unidentified uniformed men gathered on a rooftop of a building. The video, uploaded at 5:57 GMT, named the targets as Russian officers but gave no details about the exact location of the attack apart from noting that it was somewhere near Syria’s coast—the region of the country where Russia has recently constructed forward operating bases and airfields. There was little doubt that whoever was on that roof didn’t survive the resulting blast.
About an hour later, Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency reported that a Russian officer who had been advising the Assad’s army had indeed been killed in Syria—not by U.S.-backed rebels but by ISIS, which allegedly hit a military garrison with mortars. No location for this attack was given.

[October 29 Division 13 and Suqour al-Ghab fire Raytheon missiles at Syrian Army ]

Insurgent groups have also posted more than two dozen videos in the past few days showing them firing American-made TOW antitank missiles, deepening the impression that a proxy war between the United States and Russia is joining the list of interlocking conflicts in Syria

Insurgent groups have also posted more than two dozen videos in the past few days showing them firing American-made TOW antitank missiles, deepening the impression that a proxy war between the United States and Russia is joining the list of interlocking conflicts in Syria

Optically tracked, Raytheon wire-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles

Optically tracked, Raytheon wire-guided BGM-71 TOW missiles

Russia has focused its earliest operations on the insurgent coalition known as the Army of Conquest, or Jaish al-Fatah, rather than on the Islamic State, according to the official from the pro-government alliance, because it is the Army of Conquest’s positions that most urgently threaten the crucial government-held coastal province of Latakia, while Islamic State forces are farther to the east and can later be isolated and hit. Latakia is Mr. Assad’s family’s ancestral home and the heartland of his fellow Alawites, who provide a critical bloc of support. The Army of Conquest is an Islamist coalition that includes the Nusra Front. Often fighting alongside it are more secular groups calling themselves the Free Syrian Army, including some that have received American aid.

[October 7 Mission Creep: 4 Russian warships launch 26 cruise missiles at 11 targets]

anti-ship missile Klub. PKR 3K14 Kaliber

anti-ship missile Klub. PKR 3K14 Kaliber

The Russian cruise missiles are known as “Kaliber” missiles and are similar to the American Tomahawk missile. This is thought to be the first time they were used operationally, U.S. officials said. Four Russian cruise missiles aimed at antiregime forces in Syria during an aerial assault Wednesday instead landed inadvertently in Iran, U.S. officials said.
[earlier]A Russian flotilla of four warships in the Caspian Sea had struck 11 targets in Syria. The use of 26 sea-based cruise missiles marked one of the first known uses in combat of Russian missiles with this range The Russian minister of defense, Sergei K. Shoigu, told President Vladimir V. Putin in a televised .No civilians were harmed in the strike, he said. It is not clear yet why these particular weapons were chosen in preference to air strikes – but the missiles would have had to fly a considerable distance over Iraq and then Iran to reach Syria.
August 17, 2015 ISTANBUL — Washington would withdraw its Patriot missile batteries from the country in October after bolstering Ankara’s air defenses against threats from Syria’s civil war.
The NATO mandate for the two-year mission will run out in October and will not be renewed, but the US is prepared to return Patriot assets and personnel to Turkey within one week if needed, a joint Turkish-US statement said.

SEPTEMBER 24 2015 About 4,000 soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team will deploy to Kuwait later this year, the Army announced September 24, with some expected to serve in Iraq.

The soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, are deploying to backfill soldiers from 3rd BCT, 4th Infantry Division, who have been in country since February. As the brigade prepares to deploy to Kuwait, right across the border to the U.S. military’s ongoing efforts against the Islamic State terror group the soldiers are ready for the job

Oct 5, 2015 Members of the 682nd Engineering Battalion based in Willmar will be leaving later this month for a nine-month deployment to Kuwait. The units will be deployed to Kuwait and will be joined by subordinate companies from other parts of the country to form a large engineering battalion, said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon of Motley. He is the battalion commander and will be on his fourth deployment.

While based in Kuwait, “we will support U.S. soldiers wherever they are deployed in the Middle East,” he said. The deployment includes companies for “horizontal” and “vertical” engineering, “so we can build roads and buildings,” he said. “The busier we are, the faster it will go.”

There were 15,000 troops stationed at Camp Arifjan, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Camp Buehring, in Kuwait in June 1012.

[October 5 Komoyedov says Russian paid volunteers for Syria]

Adana-Incirlik Air Force Base

Adana-Incirlik Air Force Base

Vladimir Komoyedov, the former commander of the Black Sea fleet, told the Interfax news agency that Russians who had previously fought alongside rebels in eastern Ukraine “can’t be stopped” from going to fight for the Assad regime.

“A unit of Russian volunteers, conflict veterans, will probably appear in the ranks of the Syrian army,” Komoyedov said. “What brings volunteers there besides the cause? Of course, it’s probably money.”

[June 5, 2015 Mississippi, Kentucky, and Minnesota National Guard now in Kuwait]

HASTINGS, Minn.- Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard’s Hastings-based B Company and C Company, 834th Aviation Support Battalion, 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, will deploy for a seven-month mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

“The deploying Soldiers of the 834th Aviation Support Battalion are eagerly anticipating their upcoming deployment to Kuwait. With a 40-personnel manning requirement, the deploying unit received more volunteers for this deployment than we had slots available,” said Capt. Caleb Seelhoff, company commander.

“The task force has the mission to augment the 185th Theater Aviation Brigade from the Mississippi National Guard, and the 351st Aviation Support Battalion from the Kentucky National Guard, who are already stationed in Kuwait. Our Minnesota troops will be providing communication systems support and helicopter maintenance support,” said Seelhoff.

MRAP and Humvee vehicles in Kuwait

more U.S.Kuwait

[June 5 ISIL convoy coming into Iraq from Syrian territory at the al-Qa’im border crossing]

[March 16 Training at Camp Taji: “We’ll be ready for the real fight.”]
Coalition warplanes have today launched massive air strikes against an ISIL convoy coming into Iraq from Syrian territory at the al-Qa’im border crossing. The convoy included more than 40 armored vehicles and some mobile military equipment.

Iraqi Army troops move along the frontline April 14, 2015 near Al-Karmah, in Anbar Province, Iraq

Iraqi Army troops move along the frontline April 14, 2015 near Al-Karmah, in Anbar Province, Iraq

[April 14 ]

May 28, 2010 Taji-Bucks est. 2007. In December 2004 and until October 2010, Camp Taji reportedly boasted the largest PX facilities in Iraq, with Subway, Burger King and Pizza Hut franchises. Of some 106 bases used by the United States in Iraq, Camp Taji is considered one of 14 “enduring” bases.

The 300 American soldiers here, with a smaller number of United States Marines at Al Asad air base in Anbar Province, are the only American soldiers deployed outside Baghdad.
Sgt. Ali Mesin Hamid, the Iraqi squad leader, was clearly appreciative. “We’ve never had training this good,” he said after his men went through the exercise, exulting at having hit all the targets. “We’ll be ready for the real fight.” With the Taji training site running at maximum capacity, as it is now, that means the program will reach at most about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers by the end of this year, probably far less. The Marines at Al Asad train smaller numbers of regular soldiers.
Colonel Schwemmer said he was stunned at the state in which he found the Iraqi soldiers when he arrived here. “It’s pretty incredible,” he said. “I was kind of surprised. What training did they have after we left?” Apparently, not much. The current, woeful state of the Iraqi military raises the question not so much of whether the Americans left too soon, but whether a new round of deployments for training will have any more effect than the last.

Camp Taji [East of Nahiyat al Karmah]

Camp Taji [East of Nahiyat al Karmah]

<a id=”brigade”>Kuwait</a>

 

 

 

 

 

[March 12 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, arrived at Camp Buehring, Kuwait]

 Southwest Asia – “Pacesetters” of 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, download an M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer, March 9, 2015. Army Soldiers partnered with Air Force Airmen to safely transport the M109A6 Paladin.

Southwest Asia – “Pacesetters” of 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, download an M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzer, March 9, 2015. Army Soldiers partnered with Air Force Airmen to safely transport the M109A6 Paladin.

March 4, 2015. The transfer of authority ceremony, held on Camp Buehring, Kuwait, officially signified the passing of mission from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team “Devil” brigade, 1st Infantry Division, to 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team “Iron” brigade, 4th Infantry Division beginning the next chapter in the U.S. and regional partnership mission in the region.March 6, 2015 CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait — The “Iron Knights” of 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, arrived at Camp Buehring, Kuwait over the last several weeks.
more 3rd Brigade

[March 10 Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Kadhem Mohamed Fares Abu Kaf claims IS leader killed]

“The ISIL military commander in al-Baghdadi, Sheikh Awwad al-Satouri, and four bodyguards have been killed in a joint military operation carried out by the Iraqi forces in western Anbar,” said Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Kadhem Mohamed Fares Abu Kaf.
March 6 “precise and effective airstrikes on enemy positions in and around Al Baghdadi” help clear towns]

Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters from the Anbar region successfully cleared Al Baghdadi of ISIL

Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters from the Anbar region successfully cleared Al Baghdadi of ISIL

Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said in a news release that it had delivered “precise and effective airstrikes on enemy positions in and around Al Baghdadi, in support of the Iraqi government’s fight against ISIL.” According to CJTF-OIR, Iraqi security forces and tribal fighters from the Anbar region successfully cleared Al Baghdadi of ISIL, retaking both the town’s police station and three Euphrates River bridges, which had been held by the terror group since September. Additionally, CJTF-OIR said Iraqi security forces, with coalition support, succeeded in pushing ISIL from seven villages northwest of Al Baghdadi on the road to Hadithah.

[February 25 Families displaced from Al Baghdadi District, Anbar province]
Combined Joint Task Force [CJTF] – Operation Inherent Resolve News Release February 24, 2015 Iraq
* Near Al Asad, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL IED location. The following strikes took place between 8a.m., Feb. 22, and 8 a.m., Feb. 23, local time. These airstrikes were inadvertently omitted from yesterday’s release. * Near Al Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

[February 23 al-Baghdadi in Anbar province: Iraqi security forces begin a military operation]

Iraqi special operations forces (ISOF) in al-Baghdadi, western Anbar uploaded 2:08 ET February 23 2015

Iraqi special operations forces (ISOF) in al-Baghdadi, western Anbar uploaded 2:08 ET February 23 2015

“I believe a major victory will be achieved in the next few hours if our forces maintain a steady advance,”

Iraq’s Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi said Iraqi security forces began a military operation on Sunday ,February 22,to drive Islamic State fighters out of the western town of al-Baghdadi in Anbar province. “I believe a major victory will be achieved in the next few hours if our forces maintain a steady advance,” he said. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi noted that international support to Iraq had increased in recent days, his office said, without giving details. He also pointed to progress “mobilizing and recruiting people in Nineveh, Anbar and Salahuddin to liberate them from terrorist gangs” referring to the main areas of Islamic State control.

[February 22 Ayn al-Asad base, about 1,000 U.S. troops arrived February 21, reported]

Guests, service members and journalists came to see one of the last convoys of service members cross the border from Iraq into Kuwait on Dec. 18 [2011] . The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was the last unit out of Iraq. The soldiers were welcomed into Kuwait by soldiers from the 1st Theater Sustainment Command and 3rd Army.

Guests, service members and journalists came to see one of the last convoys of service members cross the border from Iraq into Kuwait on Dec. 18 [2011] . The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was the last unit out of Iraq. The soldiers were welcomed into Kuwait by soldiers from the 1st Theater Sustainment Command and 3rd Army.

[

[February 22] There are reports that a broad military operation will be launched within the next few hours, accompanied by about 1,000 U.S. troops who arrived at the base yesterday evening.

[February 20] Supplies and weaponry have been arriving February 19 and will be deployed soon to take part in the military effort at al Baghdadi.
{February 15] an armored brigade has reached the Ayn al-Asad base to take part in the military operations in and around Baghdadi. Which, Whose

primary hub

[February 15 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division back to Kuwait, the primary hub for troops moving in and out of Iraq]

3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, will serve as U.S. Central Command’s Reserve force in the Middle East. The Army has kept a brigade in Kuwait since the end of the Iraq war in 2011. Those soldiers, including two units from Fort Carson, have worked to train local troops from throughout the Middle East. In its most recent deployment to Kuwait, Fort Carson’s 2nd Brigade Combat team conducted training missions with allies including Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, which have joined the coalition against Islamic State fighters. For years, Kuwait has been the primary hub for troops moving in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of the troops there were merely transiting through on their way to war or back home. December 29th, 2014: U.S. has stockpiled over 3000 military vehicles, mostly mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), in a depot in Kuwait.

MRAP and Humvee vehicles in Kuwait

[February 12 Not a combat mission: resolution to Congress asking to authorize the use of force against ISIL]


Commander in Chief Barack Obama sent a draft resolution to Congress asking to authorize the use of force against ISIL.

[November 26 In Hit, Anbar: Senan Meteeb, the so-called ISIS “emir” of the western Anbar province, reportedly killed]

Senan Meteeb, the so-called ISIS “emir” of the western Anbar province

Senan Meteeb, the so-called ISIS “emir” of the western Anbar province

An air strike in west Iraq reportedly killed on Wednesday a senior figure in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.

Senan Meteeb, the so-called ISIS “emir” of the western Anbar province, was reportedly killed by a coalition air raid in the Anbar city of Hit. Twenty-four other ISIS fighters were also reportedly killed.
November 25: Baghdadi and the Ayn Al-Asad Base are now the only places where preparations are being made for the campaign to liberate the rest of Anbar.

[November 24 U.S. armed Sunni Tribesmen to attack HIt – FOB Eden- Hagel resigns]

Reports from within Hit indicate that large numbers of ISIL gunmen have been fleeing the town following the announcement of the impending operation to liberate the town.
“Tactically, the guerrilla army would avoid any confrontation with large units of enemy troops, but seek and eliminate small groups of soldiers to minimize losses and exhaust the opposing force. ”
In the areas around Hit today, Iraqi aircraft dropped large quantities of leaflets, calling on the civilian population to leave the town immediately in preparation for a major military operation in the town. Eyewitnesses are reporting that hundreds of families have been leaving since this morning, making their way to Baghdadi, Haditha, and also toward the capital, Baghdad, and other parts of Iraq.
Also today, security forces have airlifted military equiment to the Ayn Al-Asad military base in Baghdadi, describing the equipment as being sufficient for implementing a military operation to liberate Hit from ISIL forces. The areas around the Fedayee Hit have also been brought under security forces control.

The Vietnam and Algerian wars have demonstrated that the overwhelming conventional military superiority of major powers is no guarantee against their defeat in wars against small nations. For external powers such wars are necessarily “limited,” which constrains escalation above certain levels. With no direct survival interest at stake, fighting the war does not take automatic priority over the pursuit of other social, political, and economic objectives. Prosecuting the war consumes resources—economic, human, and political—which are thus not available for the pursuit of these other objectives. In the absence of a quick victory this creates the potential for those political divisions which historically have shifted the balance of forces in the metropolis in favor of withdrawal. For the insurgents, the fact of invasion and occupation generates cohesion, minimizes constraints on mobilization, and maximizes the willingness to incur costs. Precisely the opposite effects tend to characterize the war effort of the external power. A conceptual framework for the analysis of the evolution and outcome of such conflicts is presented and its applications and limitations discussed.
Andrew Mack – World Politics / Volume 27 / Issue 02 / January 1975, pp 175 – 200
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure from President Barack Obama’s Cabinet,. He has battled behind the scenes with Rice , about the National Security Council’s micromanagement of national security and the growing centralization of decision-making by the White House, even sending her a memo sharply critical of the administration’s strategy for Syria.
Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey have sought to preserve maneuvering room for U.S. commanders to send troops to Iraq to help Iraqis in their battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
http://www.c-span.org/video/?193594-1/book-discussion-soldiers-promise

[November 24 Turkey bombs P.K.K. from former U.S. bases, U.S. airstrikes support P.K.K. in Kobani]

Pirinçlik Air Base, U.S. closed 1997, Diyarbakır, r

Pirinçlik Air Base, U.S. closed 1997, Diyarbakır, r

Kürecik Air Base, U.S. closed 2010, in Malatya, Malatya, which the U.S. now wants to use for support,r

Kürecik Air Base, U.S. closed 2010, in Malatya, Malatya, which the U.S. now wants to use for support

“Today there were American air strikes throughout the day, which is a first. And sometimes we saw one plane carrying out two strikes, dropping two bombs at a time, the strikes are still continuing. In the afternoon, Islamic State intensified its shelling of the town The fact that they’re not conducting face-to-face, close distance fight but instead shelling the town from afar is evidence that they have been pushed back a bit.”

Turkish warplanes struck positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the P.K.K., in southeastern Turkey late October 13.
“Turkish F-16 and F-4 warplanes which took off from (bases in the southeastern provinces of) Diyarbakir and Malatya.
The dynamic of twisted allegiances has been on display in the fight for Kobani. While Turkey took military action against the P.K.K., the United States ramped up its bombing runs over Kobani in support of the P.K.K.’s Syrian splinter group, the Democratic Union Party, or P.Y.D. — even though the United States and its European allies have listed the P.K.K. as a terrorist group.

[October 14 Militants occupy Hit military camp, with all its equipment and very large quantities of munitions, Forward Operations Base Eden 2003]

ISIL gunmen today took control of the Hit military camp, with all its equipment and very large quantities of munitions. The seizure followed fierce clashes and bombardment exchanges that continued for about 8 hours between last night and this morning.
Also today, gunmen have seized Al-Doulab village in the Baghdadi township. Along with the military camp, these are considered ‘sensitive’ strategic centers lying between the eastern and western regions of Anbar Province.

Forward Operations Base Eden, Hit, former presidential palace site
On 05 May 2003 Company B/54 (-) moved to FOB Eden, 94th Military Police Brigade-Reserve unit out of Saco , Maine assigned to F.O.B. Eden have been some of the chief players in getting the local police force up and running. They have worked with 3d squadron to enforce the Coalition mandated curfew and worked with groups like PSYOP and Civil Affairs to ensure the local police get the support of the community. They have also provided escorts for U.S. and Coalition convoys in their area.

[October 13 Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib has been infiltrated, airport threatened ]

Abu Ghraib, only 40 kilometers (24 miles) from Baghdad

Abu Ghraib, eight miles from the city’s airport

Islamic State fighter wielding what appeared to be MANPADS - Man Portable Air Defense System- it has the characteristics of an SA-18 and other Soviet MANPADS.

Islamic State fighter wielding what appeared to be MANPADS – Man Portable Air Defense System- it has the characteristics of an SA-18 and other Soviet MANPADS.

 Baghdad Central Correctional Facility or BCCF at Abu Ghraib 2007

Baghdad Central Correctional Facility or BCCF at Abu Ghraib 2007

When ISIS fighters were within 20 to 25 kilometers of the strategically important Baghdad airport, Apache helicopters were called in to assist Iraqi forces. The strikes, were launched Ocxtober 4-6 amid heavy fighting in the western approaches to Baghdad, around both Fallujah and Hit. AH-64 Apache attack helicopters were deployed to Baghdad International Airport in June to provide protection for U.S. military and diplomatic facilities.
An outer suburb of Baghdad located only eight miles from the city’s airport has now been breached. The suburb of Abu Ghraib has been infiltrated by ISIS militants who are currently engaging in hit-and-run style attacks on local Iraqi security forces. According to the Institute for the Study of War, ISIS controlled most of the territory from Qaim on the Syrian border to the city of Abu Ghraib, only 40 kilometers (24 miles) from Baghdad, as of October 7.

[October 12 Dutch and U.S. planes strike near Tal Afar and Hit in Anbar ]

The U.S. military is conducting air strikes in Iraq against the Islamic State, two-thirds of them, the majority, are from bases. The U.S. military will not disclose where the warplanes being deployed over Iraq are based, citing political sensitivities. The Pentagon has relied on several large air bases it has built up in the region

The U.S. military is conducting air strikes in Iraq against the Islamic State, two-thirds of them, the majority, are from bases. The U.S. military will not disclose where the warplanes being deployed over Iraq are based, citing political sensitivities. The Pentagon has relied on several large air bases it has built up in the region

Ali Al Salem Air Base (ICAO: OKAS) is a military airbase situated in Kuwait, approximately 23 miles from the Iraqi border

Ali Al Salem Air Base (ICAO: OKAS) is a military airbase situated in Kuwait, approximately 23 miles from the Iraqi border

U.S. and Dutch militaries also carried out three airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq near Tal Afar and Hit on October 10-11. The air strike north of Tal Afar struck a small Islamic State unit and destroyed an armed vehicle, while two small units of the group were targeted in two strikes northwest of Hit.

The actions of the fighter aircraft are coordinated from the Joint Forces Air Component Command in Kuwait. Dutch officers are among the staff working at this joint command post. The Netherlands is contributing:
• 6 F-16s (plus 2 reserve aircraft);
250 military personnel (flight personnel and personnel for maintenance, weapon and communication systems, mission planning and logistics)

[October 11 Sunni Militants advancing from Hit towards Ramadi, shades of 2006]

Euphrates River in Ramadi, Iraq, taken April 23, 2008 from a U.S. Marine Corps UH-1N Huey Helicopter flown by Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 169, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Euphrates River in Ramadi, Iraq, taken April 23, 2008 from a U.S. Marine Corps UH-1N Huey Helicopter flown by Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 169, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

ISIL gunmen have launched an assault on Hit, in an attempt to seize control of the southern and southwestern sectors which they have not been able to seize since their first attack on the town. Clashes and bombardment targeted a number of the town’s districts. 3 civilians have been killed and 7 wounded.

Most of the areas lying between Hit and Ramadi are not controlled by either the security forces or the gunmen, and there have been clashes there, with both sides trying to establish control.

 2006 Feb 6, In Iraq 3 US Marines were killed by a bomb blast in Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad. Toby Keith while visiting Hit, Iraq. June 04, 2007


2006 Feb 6, In Iraq 3 US Marines were killed by a bomb blast in Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad. Toby Keith while visiting Hit, Iraq. June 04, 2007

US troops take cover from small arms fire while investigating a car bomb explosion in Tameem, Ramadi, August 10, 2006

US troops take cover from small arms fire while investigating a car bomb explosion in Tameem, Ramadi, August 10, 2006

[October 7 U.S. Apache helicopters attacking Sunni Militants west of Baghdad, as in 2007

 AH-64D Apache flying over Baghdad, Iraq in 2007


AH-64D Apache flying over Baghdad, Iraq in 2007

WASHINGTON—Four “strikes northeast of Falluja struck two mortar teams, a large ISIL unit and two small ISIL units,” because Iraqi forces were close to ISIS forces, the Apaches were used because they fly low and can strike with precision. Apache AH-64 helicopters come equipped with a wider array of sensors and targeting devices than other aircraft used in the military. [October 6] The triangle formed by Fallujah, Garma, and Samarra is now (as of noon today) in ISIL hands following the withdrawal of the army units from that area.
In Ramadi, there is astonishment over the decision to withdraw of army units from the residential districts of Anbar’s cities and towns; the Anbar Council has once again called for the replacement of the Anbar Operations commander, Gen. Rashid Flayyih; it has also warned that the coming few hours will be disastrous unless positive steps are taken to spare the governorate a further expansion by ISIL forces. Only three areas –
Baghdadi which is the location of the Ayn al-Asad military base, Sufiya, and Habbaniya – are still controlled by security forces. Al Asad Airbase (ICAO: ORAA) was the second largest US military airbase in Iraq and is located in the largely Sunni western Province of Iraq Al Anbar.

President George W. Bush, center, stands over a map as he is briefed at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, Sept. 3, 2007

President George W. Bush, center, stands over a map as he is briefed at Al-Asad Airbase in Anbar province, Iraq, Sept. 3, 2007

[October 6 RAF planes bomb Ramadi…heard this song before?]

Ramadi, Anbar, what a victory, twice... three times?

Ramadi, Anbar, what a victory, twice… three times?

Paveway smart bomb adaptation

Paveway smart bomb adaptation, cost £13698 plus bomb

Two RAF Tornado jets used Paveway guided bombs to attack militants who were firing on Iraqi troops from a building near Ramadi, west of Baghdad.General Lord Richards says “It isn’t actually a counter-terrorist operation, this is a conventional enemy.”

After Cyprus won independence in 1960, it opposed the 250 square kilometres of land Britain retained as “sovereign” territory for two miliary bases being used in offensive action against neighbouring Arab states. But Cyprus sees ISIL’s staggering brutality as a threat.
President Nicos Anastasiades, a conservative elected last year, has swiftly reoriented Cyprus’s foreign policy, bringing it closer to the West after five years of rule by a communist-led government that leaned more towards Russia. Some Gulf Arab states, where recession-hit Cyprus is trying to drum up investment, are part of the coalition against ISIL and involved in the US-led bombing of the terrorist organisation in Iraq and Syria.

Brimstone missile (UK)

Brimstone missile (UK)

RAF planes bomb Islamic State targets in Iraq for the first time. In the course of an armed reconnaissance mission , based in Cyprus, from RAF Akrotiri, two Tornados were tasked to assist Kurdish troops in north-west Iraq who were under attack from Isil (Isis) terrorists”,The Tornado patrol subsequently identified an Isis armed pick-up truck in the same area and conducted an attack on the vehicle using a Brimstone missile. [cost: £175,000 inc development, weight, 48.5 kg. A Toyota Tacoma weighs about 1247 kg.]

[September 29 And so it goes: somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.]

U.S. Iraq casualties since 2003

House Speaker John Boehner:
“At some point somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.”
“American?” Stephanopoulos asked…somebody’s boots have to be there.”
“If no one else will step up, would you recommend putting American boots on the ground?”
“We have no choice,”

[August 12 Save the Yazidis: American forces in direct confrontation with Sunni fighters]

The U.S. is weighing a military mission in Iraq that risks putting American forces in direct confrontation with Sunni fighters for the Islamic State.

The US has sent another 130 US military personnel to Iraq on what the Pentagon described as a temporary mission to lay the groundwork for a rescue of thousands of displaced Yazidis trapped on Sinjar Mountain.

Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary announced the deployment saying that “this is not a combat boots on the ground kind of operation”.

Another defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the extra troops were Marines and special operations forces whose mission was to assess the situation in the Sinjar area and to develop additional humanitarian assistance options beyond current US efforts there.

The 130 troops, who are in addition to 250 US military advisers already in Baghdad and Erbil, arrived on Tuesday in the city of Erbil, well east of Sinjar.

Even in Europe the process of creating national identities accepted by the masses was long and difficult and in some ways and places is not complete. Indeed one could ask if that process is is complete in the US.

W. Patrick Lang

[August 11 Biden called Iraqi President Fouad Massoum and Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Ibadi to express U.S. support]

Fouad Massoum, Iraq’s new president, on August 11 nominated Haider al-Ibadi, the deputy parliament speaker to form the new government, in a televised address.

Al-Ibadi, was nominated for the post by the Iraqi National Alliance, a coalition of Shia parties that al-Maliki’s State of Law is part of, but has turned against. The White House says Biden called Iraqi President Fouad Massoum and Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Ibadi August 11 to express U.S. support

[August 10Pro-Maliki Shi’ite militias station a tank at the entrance to Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government buildings.]
Special forces loyal to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad on August 10 after he delivered a tough speech indicating he would not cave in to pressure to drop a bid for a third term, police sources said. After al-Maliki’s speech, Brett McGurk, a deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, expressed support for Massoum. Note he tweeted after Maliki and before Massoum

Pro-Maliki Shi’ite militias stepped up patrols in the capital, police said. An eyewitness said a tank was stationed at the entrance to Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses government buildings.

In a speech on state television, Maliki accused Iraq’s Kurdish President Fouad Masoum of violating the constitution by missing a deadline for him to ask the biggest political bloc to nominate a prime minister and form a governmen

[August 8 Recep Erdogan wins Turkey’s first presidential election]

Recep Erdogan is predicted to win Turkey’s first presidential election.
To claim victory and become president after the first round on Sunday, Erdogan must secure an absolute majority of the popular vote. If he fails, he will have to go to a runoff against the candidate with the second highest percentage – widely expected to be Ihsanoglu – on 24 August.

Analysts point out that a failure to claim first round victory would be a catastrophe for Erdogan and the AKP.

“Going into a second round would be a major defeat for the AKP and would represent a detrimental blow to the legitimacy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as president,” said Gencer Özcan, professor for international relations at Bilgi University in Istanbul. “It would put in question his project to change the constitution and transform Turkey’s government into a presidential system.”

[August 7 Save Qaraqosh? Administration is considering US air strikes and air drops in Iraq]

The Obama administration is considering US air strikes and humanitarian air drops to help besieged religious minorities chased up a mountain by militants in Iraq.
The move comes as Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian city, was all but abandoned as the jihadist group Islamic State (Isis) advanced through minority communities in the country’s north-west and towards the Kurdish stronghold of Irbil.
Over the past several weeks, hundreds of American “advisers” – mostly elite military forces – have established joint operations centres in Baghdad and in the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil. Those operations centres host US forces capable of spotting for potential air strikes.
One option for US air missions is to launch from Incirlik air base, which the Americans share with the Turks and Britain’s RAF, just outside the city of Adana on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coastline.
In the absence of central government authority, Shia militias are taking dominant roles, amplifying sectarian enmity between Islam’s two most dominant sects.
Without any protection, Yazidis, Christians and Turkmen are being uprooted from communities they have lived in for millennia and the geo-social fabric of Iraq is being rapidly shredded.
The past 11 years of war and insurrection since the US invasion have led to most of Iraq’s Christians fleeing. Numbers have plummeted starkly from an estimated one million before 2003 to around 150,000 now. A large number of those who remain are now displaced.
The capital of the Kurdish north is already home to a new Chaldean Christian community, which fled Baghdad in the wake of an Isis-led massacre inside a cathedral in October 2010. Many fleeing Christians have headed for the Ainkawa neighbourhood, which is home to Baghdad’s Christian exiles. Incirlik in Syria civil war

[November 14 2011 [Predators from Iraq moving to Turkey]

Adana-Incirlik Air Force Base

Adana-Incirlik Air Force Base

Four Predator drones are flying out of Incirlik Air Base, a joint U.S.-Turkish military installation as part of a joint Turkish-American counterterrorism operation in northern Iraq, with U.S. troops scheduled to leave Iraq by year’s end.
U.S. forces have been flying the drones from Iraqi bases since 2007.

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Syria: Jarrard: query how long we will be there supporting the SDF

bukamal

abukamal - Edited

 

“Current estimates are that there are less than 3,000 #Daesh fighters left – they still remain a threat, but we will continue to support our partner forces to defeat them,” U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon tweeted, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

U.S.-led Coalition’s Support to Continue After Raqqa’s Liberation, Official Says

Daesh continues to displace. They were in Manbij, then they were in Tabqa, then they were in Raqqa, then they moved down to Deir ez-Zor, then they moved to Mayadin, and they continue to move down — and right now, the last bastion of their existence is around Abu Kamal and Al-Qa’im in Iraq.

There are hundreds and thousands of Arabs that are fleeing from around the Euphrates River Valley, from Deir ez-Zor, to Mayadin, to down around Al-Qa’im.

And they are fleeing… the regime liberation of those cities. And they’re not going south into Arab-controlled territories. They’re going north into the SDF-controlled territories. And so that tells me that they — they understand the risk to both, and that they would much rather be in the SDF-controlled territories.

And so I think that those examples, plus the examples in Manbij, in Tabqa, where everybody — the stabilization efforts are underway and everything is going well — are clear examples that this may not be one of those areas that we need to be concerned about.

…how long we will be there supporting the SDF is not for me to answer. But I will say that we are committed to making sure that the region is stable and secure, and the evil of Daesh is not welcome in that area, and the SDF are able to provide security and the local civil structures are able to provide governance.
Major General James B. Jarrard, commander, Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve; Eric J. Pahon, Defense Department Spokesman
Oct. 31, 2017

 

[October 27 Trump gives up?]

Fabrice Balanche, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, argued that the United States had already almost lost that contest.

“The United States and their allies wanted to take the Iraqi-Syrian border. They wanted to create an Arab force capable of running this area, that also would have cut the corridor the Iranians are building,” he said.

“But they don’t have the means to do that, or indeed maybe not the will. [US President Donald] Trump appears to want to get rid of the Daesh and not see any further.”

Defeating the Daesh will be the easy part. The hard part will be securing the peace, making sure that the forces converging on Deir Ezzor don’t start fighting among themselves.

The stakes for Deir Ezzor could not be higher, an oil-rich eastern Syrian province.
The Iranians want an overland route to the Mediterranean. The Kurds want a buffer between Assad’s forces and their territory further to the north.

[October 24 SDF to clear area North of Bukamal ]

The next major prize is the town of Bukamal [Abu Kamal], which straddles the highway linking the Iraqi capital of Baghdad to the Syrian capital of Damascus. Control over the border town (and al-Qaim on the Iraqi side of it) would enable Iran to reopen a vital land route between Tehran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in Beirut, deepening its strategic reach into the heart of the Middle East.

October 24 The United States and its SDF allies are planning to advance toward Bukamal, where the Islamic State has now concentrated its forces, Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S. military said. First, however, they will have to clear and consolidate their hold over the large area that was seized Sunday, October 22.

[October 10 engagements against ISIS terrorists in Abu Kamal ]

SOUTHWEST ASIA – On Oct. 9, Coalition military forces conducted 11 strikes consisting of 15 engagements against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

 

In Syria, Coalition military forces •Near Abu Kamal, three strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit, destroyed a vehicle and a weapons storage facility.

[ October 16 2012 EU New sanctions list ]

A Suleiman Maarouf

A Suleiman Maarouf

The EU has announced sanctions against a further 28 individuals and two companies connected with the Syrian regime. Most of the individuals are government ministers, though two of them are not.

One is Raza Othman, wife of the prominent businessman Rami Makhlouf. The official notice says:

She has close personal and financial relations with Rami Makhlouf, cousin of president Bashar Al-Assad and principal financer of the regime … as such, associated with the Syrian regime, and benefiting from it.

The other is Suleiman Maarouf, who holds a British passport. He is described in the official notice:

Businessman close to President al-Assad’s family. Owns shares in the listed TV station Dounya TV. Close to Muhammad Nasif Khayrbik, who has been desig­nated. Supports the Syrian regime.

Rami Makhlouf’s wife is called Razan, not Raza.

Name

Identifying information

Reasons

Date of listing

1.

Dr. Qadri Jameel

Vice Prime Minister for Economic
Affairs, Minister of Domestic
Trade and Consumer’s Protection.
As Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

2.

Waleed Al
Mo’allem

Vice Prime Minister, Minister of
Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

3.

Major general Fahd
Jassem Al Freij

Minister of Defence and military
commander. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

16.10.2012

4.

Dr. Mohammad
Abdul Sattar
Al Sayed

Minister of Religious Endowments.
As Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

5.

Eng. Hala
Mohammad
Al Nasser

Minister of Tourism. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

6.

Eng. Bassam Hanna

Minister of Water Resources. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

7.

Eng. Subhi Ahmad
Al Abdallah

Minister of Agriculture and
Agrarian Reform. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

16.10.2012

8.

Dr. Mohammad
Yahiya Mo’alla

Minister of Higher Education. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

EN L 282/10 Official Journal of the European Union 16.10.2012

Name

Identifying information

Reasons

Date of listing

9.

Dr. Hazwan Al
Wez

Minister of Education. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

10.

Dr. Mohamad
Zafer Mohabak

Minister of Economy and Foreign
Trade. As Government Minister,
shares responsibility for the
regime’s violent repression against
the civilian population.

16.10.2012

11.

Dr. Mahmud
Ibraheem Sa’iid

Minister of Transport. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

12.

Dr. Safwan
Al Assaf

Minister of Housing and Urban
Development. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

16.10.2012

13.

Eng. Yasser
Al Siba’ii

Minister of Public Works. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

14.

Eng Sa’iid Ma’thi
Hneidi

Minister of Oil and Mineral
Resources. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

16.10.2012

15.

Dr. Lubana
Mushaweh

Minister of Culture. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

16.

Dr. Jassem
Mohammad
Zakaria

Minister of Labour and Social
Affairs. As Government Minister,
shares responsibility for the
regime’s violent repression against
the civilian population.

16.10.2012

17.

Omran Ahed
Al Zu’bi

Minister of Information. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

18.

Dr. Adnan Abdo
Al Sikhny

Minister of Industry. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

EN 16.10.2012 Official Journal of the European Union L 282/11

Name

Identifying information

Reasons

Date of listing

19.

Najm Hamad
Al Ahmad

Minister of Justice. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

20.

Dr. Abdul Salam
Al Nayef

Minister of Health. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

21.

Dr. Ali Heidar

State Minister for National
Reconciliation Affairs. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

16.10.2012

22.

Dr. Nazeera Farah
Sarkees

State Minister for Environmental
Affairs. As Government Minister,
shares responsibility for the
regime’s violent repression against
the civilian population.

16.10.2012

23.

Mohammad Turki
Al Sayed

State Minister. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

16.10.2012

24.

Najm-eddin Khreit

State Minister. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

16.10.2012

25.

Abdullah Khaleel
Hussein

State Minister. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

16.10.2012

26.

Jamal Sha’ban
Shaheen

State Minister. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

16.10.2012

27.

Suleiman Maarouf
(a.k.a. Sulayman
Mahmud Ma’ruf,
Sleiman Maarouf,
Mahmoud
Soleiman Maarouf)

Passport: in possession of a UK
passport

Businessman close to President Al-
Assad’s family. Owns shares in the
listed TV station Dounya TV.
Close to Muhammad Nasif
Khayrbik, who has been designated.
Supports the Syrian regime.

16.10.2012

28.

Raza Othman

Wife of Rami Makhlouf

She has close personal and
financial relations with Rami
Makhlouf, cousin of president
Bashar Al-Assad and principal
financer of the regime, who has
been designated. As such,
associated with the Syrian regime,
and benefiting from it.

16.10.2012

EN L 282/12 Official Journal of the European Union 16.10.2012

B. Entities

Name

Identifying information

Reasons

Date of listing

1.

Megatrade

Address:
Aleppo Street
P.O. Box 5966
Damascus, Syria
Fax: 963114471081

Acts as a proxy for the Scientific
Military research Institute (SSRC),
which is listed. Involved in trade
in dual use goods prohibited by
EU sanctions for the Syrian
government.

16.10.2012

2.

Expert Partners

Address:
Rukn Addin
Saladin Street, Building 5
PO Box: 7006
Damascus, Syria

Acts as a proxy for the Scientific
Military research Institute (SSRC),
which is listed. Involved in trade
in dual use goods prohibited by
EU sanctions for the Syrian
government.

16.10.2012

II. The entries for the persons and entities set out in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 listed below shall be
replaced by the entries below.

Name

Identifying information

Reasons

Date of listing

1.

Dr Wael Nader
Al-Halqi

Born 1964 in the Daraa
Province

Prime Minister and former
Minister for Health. As Prime
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

27.2.2012

2.

Muhammad
Ibrahim Al-Sha’ar
(aka Mohammad
Ibrahim Al-Chaar)

Born 1956 in Aleppo

Minister for the Interior. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

1.12.2011

3.

Dr Mohammad
Al-Jleilati

Born 1945 in Damascus

Minister for Finance. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

1.12.2011

4.

Imad Mohammad
Deeb Khamis
(aka Imad
Mohammad Dib
Khamees)

Born 1 August 1961 near
Damascus

Minister for Electricity. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

23.3.2012

5.

Omar Ibrahim
Ghalawanji

Born 1954 in Tartus

Vice-Prime Minister for Services
Affairs, Minister for Local Administration.
As Government Minister,
shares responsibility for the
regime’s violent repression against
the civilian population.

23.3.2012

6.

Joseph Suwaid
(aka Joseph Jergi
Sweid)

Born 1958 in Damascus

Minister of State. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

23.3.2012

EN 16.10.2012 Official Journal of the European Union L 282/13

Name

Identifying information

Reasons

Date of listing

7.

Eng Hussein
Mahmoud Farzat
(aka Hussein
Mahmud Farzat)

Born 1957 in Hama

Minister of State. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

23.3.2012

8.

Mansour Fadlallah
Azzam
(aka Mansur Fadl
Allah Azzam)

Born 1960 in the Sweida
Province

Minister for Presidency Affairs. As
Government Minister, shares
responsibility for the regime’s
violent repression against the
civilian population.

27.2.2012

9.

Dr Emad
Abdul-Ghani
Sabouni
(aka Imad Abdul
Ghani Al Sabuni)

Born 1964 in Damascus

Minister for Telecommunications
and Technology. As Government
Minister, shares responsibility for
the regime’s violent repression
against the civilian population.

27.2.2012

10.

General Ali Habib
Mahmoud

Born 1939 in Tartous

Former Minister for Defence.
Associated with the Syrian regime
and the Syrian military, and its
violent repression against the
civilian population.

1.8.2011

11.

Tayseer Qala
Awwad

Born 1943 in Damascus

Former Minister for Justice.
Associated with the Syrian regime
and its violent repression against
the civilian population.

23.9.2011

12.

Dr Adnan Hassan
Mahmoud

Born 1966 in Tartous

Former Minister for Information.
Associated with the Syrian regime
and its violent repression against
the civilian population.

23.9.2011

13.

Dr Mohammad
Nidal Al-Shaar

Born 1956 in Aleppo

Former Minister for Economy and
Trade. Associated with the Syrian
regime and its violent repression
against the civilian population.

1.12.2011

14.

Sufian Allaw

Born 1944 in al-Bukamal, Deir
Ezzor

Former Minister for Oil and
Mineral Resources. Associated
with the regime and its violent
repression against the civilian
population.

27.2.2012

15.

Dr Adnan Slakho

Born 1955 in Damascus

Former Minister for Industry.
Associated with the regime and its
violent repression against the
civilian population.

27.2.2012

16.

Dr Saleh Al-Rashed

Born 1964 in Aleppo Province

Former Minister for Education.
Associated with the regime and its
violent repression against the
civilian population.

27.2.2012

17.

Dr Fayssal Abbas

Born 1955 in Hama Province

Former Minister for Transport.
Associated with the regime and its
violent repression against the
civilian population.

27.2.2012

EN L 282/14 Official Journal of the European Union 16.10.2012

Name

Identifying information

Reasons

Date of listing

18.

Ghiath Jeraatli

Born 1950 in Salamiya

Former Minister of State.
Associated with the regime and its
violent repression against the
civilian population.

23.3.2012

19.

Yousef Suleiman
Al-Ahmad

Born 1956 in Hasaka

Former Minister of State.
Associated with the regime and its
violent repression against the
civilian population.

23.3.2012

20.

Hassan Al-Sari

Born 1953 in Hama

Former Minister of State.
Associated with the regime and its
violent repression against the
civilian population.

23.3.2012

III. The persons and entity listed below shall be removed from the list of natural or legal persons, entities or bodies set
out in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 36/2012:

1. Salim Altoun

2. Youssef Klizli

3. Altoun Group

EN 16.10.2012 Official Journal of the European Union L 282/15

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Blackwater spy network for U.S.?

deepstate - Edited

Executive Office figures are considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer — with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal — to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies.
https://theintercept.com/2017/12/04/trump-white-house-weighing-plans-for-private-spies-to-counter-deep-state-enemies/

[July 11 Erik Prince & Bannon on the use of mercenaries for US soldiers in Afghanistan ]

ap_-_pakistan_-_muhammad_sajjad_0

Afghan Pakistan border

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and another senior advisor, Steve Bannon, asked two military contractors, including the founder of Blackwater, to help form an alternative defense strategy in Afghanistan.
Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon asked Stephen Feinberg, the owner of DynCorp International, and Erik Prince, of Blackwater fame, to submit proposals on the use of contractors in place of US soldiers in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon is known to be considering a troop surge in the country where the US battled the Taliban for 16 years.
Bannon brought up the contractor approach to Defense Secretary James Mattis July 8 but the Pentagon chief was not interested. Mattis and Lt. Gen. HR McMaster both support a troop surge in Afghanistan. Late last month, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan left the post of Special Representative – commonly known as SRAP – along with her deputy, triggering speculations that Trump might eliminate the post altogether.

Eliminating the post created in 2009 by then-President Barack Obama to monitor and handle the volatile situations in Kabul and Islamabad would go in line with Trump’s announced pledge to cut the State Department’s budget.
Senator John McCain during his visit to Rawalpindi on July 5.“We have made it very clear that we expect they (Pakistan) will cooperate with us, particularly against the Haqqani network and against terrorist organizations.”

[April 3 Prince met with Putin aide ]

web-1484683812-article-header

Trump supporter Erik Prince reportedly met Russian close to Putin in meeting coordinated with United Arab Emirates officials

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4377426/Did-Trump-Russia-connection-run-Seychelles.html#ixzz4dEOZ5lbk

[February 17 Prince’s Frontier Services contracting with Chinese]

Erik Prince — founder of the private military company Blackwater, financial backer of President Donald Trump, brother to the new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has been offering his military expertise to support Chinese government objectives and setting up Blackwater-style training camps in two Chinese provinces

Frontier Services Group said all of its security services were unarmed and therefore not regulated. “FSG’s services do not involve armed personnel or training armed personnel.” The training at the Chinese bases would “help non-military personnel provide close protection security, without the use of arms.”
Asked about Frontier’s claim that Prince was planning “unarmed” security projects, both sources dismissed it, and emphasized that was not their understanding. It is “ridiculous,” said one.
“Are they using sonic weapons,” joked the other. “Is it psychic powers?”

[January 17]

Erik Prince, the chairman of Hong Kong stock exchange-listed Frontier Services Group (FSG) and ex-CEO of Blackwater, private security firm which gained notoriety during the invasion of Iraq and who now leads FSG,a Hong Kong company aiming to play a key role in China’s “new Silk Road” initiative , received a “personal invitation” to the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.  Prince has described his relationship with the newly installed 45th president as one of “mutual respect” but rejected suggestions that he is offering advice on intelligence matters to Trump.

[January 18 ]

Erik Prince has been advising the Trump team on matters related to intelligence and defense, including weighing in on candidates for the defense and state departments says a former senior U.S. official who has advised the Trump transition. . Prince sold Blackwater and now heads up a Hong Kong-based company known as Frontier Services Group.

[June 7 2011 Reflex Responses: State refuses to say whether licensed ]

R2 president, Michael Roumi

R2 president, Michael Roumi

A State Department spokesman said the Obama administration was aware of R2’s operations, but would not say whether the company was operating with licenses from the department.
In letters sent to lawmakers and Obama administration officials, the head of Reflex Responses, a company based in Abu Dhabi, said that Mr. Prince “has no ownership stake whatsoever” in the business.

“He is not an officer, director, shareholder, or even an employee of R2,” wrote the company’s president, Michael Roumi, referring to the company by its common name.
Five former employees, speaking on condition of anonymity because they had signed confidentiality agreements, said Mr. Prince had overseen the hiring of American military and law enforcement veterans for the project, as well as European and South African contractors. They said he made occasional trips to the desert camp where the foreign troops, many of them Colombians, were being trained. And some of R2’s top managers had worked with Mr. Prince at Blackwater.

The former employees said that Mr. Prince took pains to mask his role in the operation, and that his name did not appear on contract documents between R2 and the U.A.E. that were provided to The Times. R2’s origins and affiliations are unclear; most corporate records are not public in Abu Dhabi. R2’s commercial license lists two other companies as partners, and the name of a third business was posted outside the office suite R2 had been using in the last year.

American laws governing the export of defense technology are murky, but American citizens involved in training foreign troops run legal risks if the State Department does not grant permits for the training. A State Department spokesman said the Obama administration was aware of R2’s operations, but would not say whether the company was operating with licenses from the department.
NYT Corrections
An article on May 15 about efforts to build a battalion of foreign mercenary troops in the United Arab Emirates referred imprecisely to the role played by Erik Prince, the founder of the security firm Blackwater Worldwide. He worked to oversee the effort and recruit troops. But Mr. Prince does not run or own the company Reflex Responses, which has a contract with the government of the U.A.E. to train and deliver the troops, according to the company president, Michael Roumi. An article on May 16 repeated the error.

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 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

 

 

 

98834322_who_controls_yemen_640_20112017-nc

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 ]

4b4fada305ff48ceaa817472550793a4_18

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 ]

croughton_zpsps6z0itd

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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Hazimiyoun: a return to the Near Enemy after ISIS?

hqdefault

Ahmad bin Omar al-Hazimi

In the attack on the Rawda mosque near the northern Sinai town of Bir al Abed, followers of an ultra-extremist IS faction known as “Hazimiyoun” played a role, observers suspect, or were behind the mosque attack. Detained Egyptian IS suspects have told their interrogators that they are followers of the Hazimiyoun and consider some IS leaders as infidels.

The faction is named after a radical cleric, Ahmad bin Omar al-Hazimi, who has been imprisoned in his home country of Saudi Arabia since 2015. It considers as infidels — and therefore as legitimate to kill — all Muslims who do not accept the Islamic State group’s interpretation of Islam. Even further, it says those who don’t consider such people as infidels are also infidels deserving of death. Al-Hazimi himself is not known as an IS member but his ideology has gained support within IS ranks.
The Hazmiyya misinterpreted a fatwa issued by Saudi cleric Omar bin Ahmed al-Hazimi, who is also identified as a member of the Sahwa generation that merged Islamist ideas with Salafi concepts. The fatwa, which al-Hazimi later recanted, forbade “the excuse of ignorance” in matters of faith, suggesting that a Muslim would be accountable for an act of disbelief even if that person did not intend to do so. “Hazmiyya say that ignorance is not an excuse,” Sheikh Hassan al-Dagheem, a prominent Syrian cleric, said in an interview.

http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/06/13/sectarianism-of-islamic-state-ideological-roots-and-political-context-pub-63746

 

AL QAEDA emerged out of the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s. As the Soviets prepared to withdraw, Osama bin Laden and a few of his close associates—high on their perceived victory over the mighty Soviet Union—decided to capitalize on the network they had built to take jihad global. Bin Laden’s vision was to create a vanguard of elite fighters that could lead the global jihad project in a clear, strategic direction. His goal was to bring together under a single umbrella the hundreds of small jihadist groups struggling, often feebly, against their own regimes. By the mid-1990s, he wanted to reorient the movement as a whole, focusing it on what he saw as the bigger enemy underwriting all these corrupt local regimes: the United States.

Al Qaeda’s emphasis on fighting the “far enemy” (the United States) over the “near enemy” (repressive regimes in the Muslim world) was a break from the traditional jihadist agenda, but for local jihadists, pledging allegiance to bin Laden and adopting the Al Qaeda brand meant obtaining access to a wide range of assets: money, weapons, logistical support, expertise and, of course, training. Al Qaeda training camps were the Ivy League of jihadist education. For jihadists facing annihilation at the hands of their regimes, the choice was easy—join Al Qaeda, adopt an anti-Western agenda and live to fight another day.

https://www.brookings.edu/articles/isis-vs-al-qaeda-jihadisms-global-civil-war/

It may also be possible that other IS militants carried out the November 24 attack, feeling pressure from the Hazimiyoun faction’s rising power to show they are not “soft.”

 

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U.S. support to Kurds to prevent ISIS from returning ‘adjusted’

1413448011012_wps_4_a_supplied_image_obtained

November 27. “Consistent with our previous policy, President Trump also informed President Erdogan [on November 24] of pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria, now that the battle of Raqqa is complete and we are progressing into a stabilization phase to ensure that ISIS cannot return,”
Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning told reporters that the department is “reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided to our Kurdish partners in as much as the military requirements of our defeat-[Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] and stabilization efforts will allow us to prevent ISIS from returning.”

[July 14 Isis recruiting, financing, propaganda and external operations gone from Raqqa ]

July 14 — Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes destroyed five oil tanks, a front-end loader and a wellhead

 

0320fbf6-8e4a-40fd-9c7d-fd5a4e17f825_cx0_cy2_cw0_w1023_r1_s

Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) stand in a house in Raqqa, Syria, June 21, 2017. While welcoming the ouster of jihadist from the city, local Arabs are suspicious of the advancing Kurds’ long-term intentions.

About one week ago, with coalition assistance, “our Syrian Democratic Force partners, mostly Arabs”, the SDF, breached into the ancient citadel of Old Raqqa in the central part of the city. We should not forget that ISIS has had more than three years to prepare the defense of Raqqa. While SDF operations are off to a good start, resistance has been stiffening, and we know this is not going to be an easy fight. Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, July 11, 2017,    [VOA July 11] In the 1970s, Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, displaced tens of thousands of Kurds in the province of Raqqa in order to resettle Arab families. Raqqa’s Arabs fear the Kurds now may seize the opportunity to even the score and engineer a Kurdish expansion, which would result in an upending of current demographics. If the Kurdish-led SDF fails to oversee the city and its outlying villages evenhandedly and within traditional Arab and tribal power structures, the odds of future sectarian conflict will increase, providing an opening for the jihadists.

[July 11]

On July 8, 2017, the Already Happened Twitter account, which bills itself as “independent media,” pointed out satellite imagery from June 2017 that appears to show a small airstrip in southern Syria a few miles from the trinational border where Jordan, Iraq, and Syria meet.

 

serrinairbaseraqqa

Pictures of the military base of Serrin in Raqqa western countryside.

 

July 10]

96872828_iraq_syria_control_19_06_2017_624_16x9_map

IS still controls territory in three areas of Iraq – around Hawija, 130km (80 miles) south-east of Mosul; around Tal Afar, 65km west; and from Ana to Al-Qaim in the Euphrates river valley, 250km to the south-west.
IS also holds a string of towns along the Euphrates in Syria, including Albu Kamal and Mayadin, but its stronghold of Raqqa is besieged by US-backed fighters.

[July 8]

al mayadiin

Many have relocated to Mayadeen, a town 110 miles southeast of Raqqa near oil facilities and with supply lines through the surrounding desert. They have taken with them the group’s most important recruiting, financing, propaganda and external operations functions, American officials said. Other leaders have been spirited out of Raqqa by a trusted network of aides to a string of towns from Deir al-Zour to Abu Kamal.

40 min (46.6 km) via Route 4

[July 5 Isis melts into desert in Syria? ]

zenobia

Zenobia, Arab rebel against Rome

After Raqqa, from a military perspective,  many of ISIS’s fighters, including its commanders, will simply melt away into the desert.   The northern Palmyrene mountain range ts said to be new base to transfer its first and second line commanders, who are considered its fighting, political, and security elite, and to transfer its military and financial stocks to that region located in the desert, east of Raqqa.   The rugged mountainous region that is of desert nature and void of villages and population groups portends a long-standing guerrilla war, making the restoration of stability very difficult.

 

This region extends to the villages of the eastern countryside of Salmiya, at the end of Bala’as mountain range to the west, and is connected in the south to the northern Palmyrene mountain range that reaches al-Qalamoun mountains.

 

This region is a central point between three countries: Jordan, Iraq and Syria, through which ISIS can reach most of the Syrian regions; from the predominantly Druze Sweida, adjacent to Israel in the far south, to Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in the east.

 

From this mountain range, ISIS can easily cross the international road between Homs and Damascus and can have easy access to the countryside of Homs and Hama, which include Alawis and Christian villages, to the countryside of the Ismaili-majority Salamiyah and Idlib, a stronghold of the Nusra Front in al-Tamanah town, and can enter Damascus countryside from Dumair.

[June 25 Iran not Russia: Deir al-Zour hit by Iranian missiles ]

IS has moved most of its leaders to al-Mayadin in Syria’s Euphrates Valley, southeast of the group’s besieged capital there, Raqqa. Among the operations moved to al-Mayadin, about 80 km (50 miles) west of the Iraqi border, were its online propaganda operation and its limited command and control of attacks in Europe and elsewhere, they said.

 

“A number of mid-range surface-to-surface missiles” were launched from bases in Iran’s western border provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan, delivering “fatal and crushing blows” to targets in Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor area, according to a statement from the IRGC’s office of public affairs, published by Tasnim.   U.S. and Coalition jets around Sept. 17, 2016 hit oil pipelines, fuel trucks and other parts of the Islamic State’s oil infrastructure in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour, according to daily statements from Centcom.   Some Trump appointees saw Iran’s missile strike as an illustration of Tehran’s regional ambitions, making it an existential enemy. Blaming enemies for unpredictable bad things restores their sense of personal control. A situational threat to control over an external hazard strengthens the belief in the conspiratorial power of a political enemy. Basically, turning enemies into scapegoats makes them feel more in control. Political Existentialism. Some remarks on Schmitt’s enemy reflections in the light of Heidegger .
These Iran hawks are pushing for a Syria strategy that calls for concentrating first on defeating Islamic State, then turning on Iran and its allies, including Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Iraq’s Shi’ite militias, and Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to three U.S. officials.

U.S.-led coalition forces killed Turki al-Bin’ali, a top cleric of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in an airstrike. The cleric and self-proclaimed “Grand Mufti” was killed in an airstrike on May 31 in Mayadeen, Syria It is the capital of the Mayadin District, part of the Deir ez-Zor Governorate. Mayadin is located about 44 kilometers southeast of Deir ez-Zor. The Euphrates River flows through the town.

[May 15 Qaboun, on the northeastern edge of Damascus, in evacuation deal. ]

About 1,500 rebels and civilians have been evacuated from the Qaboun district of Damascus after enduring months of bombing attacks. The discovery of a network of tunnels forced their hand.

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The rebels were cornered overnight in a small section of Qaboun, on the northeastern edge of the Syrian capital, and agreed to the evacuation deal. After a nearly three-month-long bombing campaign, which included air strikes and artillery shelling, much of the area has been reduced to rubble.

[May 19 2014 Lt. Gen. Hussein Ayoub Ishaq, the general in charge of Syria’s air defense, dies of wounds ]

Lt. Gen. Hussein Ayoub Ishaq, the general in charge of Syria’s air defense

Lt. Gen. Hussein Ayoub Ishaq, the general in charge of Syria’s air defense

Lt. Gen. Hussein Ayoub Ishaq, the general in charge of Syria’s air defense has been killed in fighting near Damascus. The officer, , one of the highest-ranking officers to die during the country’s three-year conflict, commanded 60,000 troops in Syria’s air defense forces. But it was unclear what impact General Ishaq’s death would have on the battlefield, given that Syrian opposition fighters possess no aircraft. Rebel fighters fired toward what they said was a government helicopter dropping supplies to forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad last week in the Idlib countryside.
He died of injuries sustained on May 17 in Mleha, a district on the outskirts of Damascus where there have been intense battles in recent weeks. Iit was unclear how General Ishaq had been wounded.

[September 5 2012]

Brig. Gen. Issa al-Khouli

Brig. Gen. Issa al-Khouli

Brigadier General Dr, Issa al-Khouli

Brigadier General Dr, Issa al-Khouli

In Beijing September 5, talks between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese leaders failed to narrow gaps on how to end the crisis in Syria. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said his country backs a “political transition” in Syria to end worsening bloodshed after 18 months of unrest, but repeated China’s opposition to forceful foreign intervention in the crisis.

Clinton acknowledged it is “no secret” the U.S. government is disappointed by Chinese and Russian policy on Syria and repeated that the best course of action remains tough U.N. Security Council measures.
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February 12]The Revolution Leadership Council, an anti-Assad group in Damascus, alleged that the government had carried out the killing itself.
Tunisia will host a “Friends of Syria” meeting on February 24 to attempt to build an international consensus on how to end the violence. Tunisia’s foreign minister said the meeting will include Arab, regional and international states, and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, who is also the country’s foreign minister, said he backed the proposal.The Arab League will ask the United Nations to form a joint peacekeeping force and appoint a special Arab envoy to try to halt the violence in Syria, members have agreed.The request for a peacekeeping force raised a number of questions, including whether Syria would agree and which Arab countries might contribute troops.

Arab foreign ministers have been engaging in “intensive talks” with Russia and China and are hoping they can help encourage Assad to accept a peacekeeping force as an alternative to escalating conflict,
The league also agreed to step up economic sanctions and provide the Syrian opposition with political and financial support, though it again refrained from recognising the Syrian National Council – the most prominent of anti-Assad groups.

“Its a very difficult process to recognise the SNC – the Arab League made it clear to the opposition that the body as a whole cannot do it, but rather the individual countries will need to do that on their own,”
[February 11: Issa] came from an Alawite family with close ties inside the Assad government and believed to have been the nephew of Mohamed al-Khouli, the former head of the widely feared Air Force Intelligence Directorate, the most powerful of the multiple security agencies that cement the government’s power. The elder Mr. Khouli was a security adviser to President Hafez al-Assad until the president died in 2000.
In the first killing of a high ranking military officer in the Syrian capital since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in March. Capt. Ammar al-Wawi of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group that wants to bring down the regime by force, denied involvement in the assassination, which came a day after two suicide car bombers struck security compounds in Aleppo. Western and Arab countries are considering forming a coalition to help Syria’s opposition, though so far there is no sign they intend to give direct aid to the FSA. Director of Hamish Hospital in Damascus Brigadier General, Dr. Issa al-Kholi,was assassinated before his house at Rukn Eddin Neighborhood. Three gunmen awaited al-Kholi till he got out of his home and shot him dead. Brigadier General al-Kholi held a Bachelor’s Degree of Medicine in the Joints from the Romanian universities and is a specialist from Parisian Universities and Hospitals.

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