4GW

Am I right in thinking this is a form of “superempowerment”, of the NATO forces on the border, the Taliban, and the Pakistani Frontier Corps on the other side? Pakistani authorities say that the checkpoint guards tried to alert the US helicopters that they had strayed into Pakistani territory by firing in the air, but…

Read More the frontier

This Clinton person is making sense, on Israeli politics, on settlements, and on this: Moreover, Clinton said, Hamas militants will soon have military technology that will allow their relatively low-damage attacks on Israeli population centers to have greater accuracy and lethality. “It’s just a matter of time before the rockets have a GPS system on…

Read More now you tell us

Adam Elkus has a piece out entitled The Hezbollah Myth and Asymmetric Warfare, in which he criticises what he sees as a tendency to over-rate the power of guerrillas in the light of the 2006 war. Having read it, I think the real question here is about expectations and goals. Hezbollah didn’t defeat the Israelis…

Read More 2006 again, and a brief history of recent wrong

Here’s something interesting. We must also consider the alternative that many of the most prominent and powerful Afghans are in fact motivated by greed and opportunism. [harrowell: ya think?] It is therefore in their interest to maintain the status quo of massive US and international spending that fuels the Afghan “rentier state” economy. This isn’t…

Read More cutting down on your mercenary miles

Here’s an interesting follow-up on the recent raid on the Iraqi central bank, from Joel Wing. You may recall that the attack, a classic NOIA multi-layered assault using suicide bombers, snipers, and infantry, successfully took over the building and held off the Iraqi army for some time before disengaging, and that although a large quantity…

Read More probably a robbery

Ackerman links to an interesting piece from Antonio Giustozzi (direct here); one of the things that comes over strongly is the degree to which the expansion of the Taliban hasn’t been driven by the acquisition of public support, still less by conquest, but rather by branding, co-option, and freelancing by significant leaders in Afghan society.…

Read More their law

Shia rage in Basra, over electricity that goes north to Baghdad. Joel Wing has more, including that the trouble spread to Nasiriyah. He also provides a short history of the Iraqi grid since 1991, including the fact that the first Gulf War reduced capacity to the level of 1920. A few years ago, even suggesting…

Read More re-re-wind….

I’ve finally got around to reading Ahmed Rashid’s Taliban and Descent into Chaos. They are as good as everyone says. Specifically, there are perhaps three things that set Rashid apart as a writer on Central Asia. (His contacts book is outstanding, but then, he’s not the only one.) First of all, he writes about Central…

Read More writing about Afghanistan, rather than about Brunssum or Qatar