As you’ll probably have guessed, I’m not terrified by the pantsbomber. As Spencer Ackerman puts it: it doesn’t do any good to blow this out of proportion, since blowing things out of proportion to spur an overreaction is Usama bin Laden’s explicit strategy However, as more details have filtered out, I’ve revised my original view…Read More the boy’s a time bomb!
More mystery jets. In the last couple of weeks there’s also been some progress on the 727 abandoned in North-Eastern Mali. For a start, it’s a 727, which is something. And, finally, there are pictures. The National of Abu Dhabi – a newspaper that is developing into a surprisingly useful source – has a good…Read More mystery jet update: Malian 727
We had a post about the MQM in Karachi and the Taliban. Strangely enough, Reuters got a fascinating interview with the MQM mayor of Karachi a couple of days later. It’s a must-read – one of the main points that comes through is the way in which the struggle up on the frontier and in…Read More revenue engine
Peter Beaumont goes for a Holt’s battlefield tour of southern Lebanon: Cruising through the serene green wadis that connect south Lebanon to the Litani river to the north, the commander explains what happened at the end of the last war. “We knocked out three of their tanks on the first day, as they tried to…Read More we flippin’ murdered them
This won’t be a substantive post, but more a notice to myself to build one. A seriously under-reported story on the global guerrilla beat is that the Nigerian government has succeeded, at least for the moment, in either defeating the Niger Delta rebels or making deals with them. It’s worth rolling back a little; time…Read More it is never too late to MEND
An American PR man in Afghanistan speaks some Pashto. Actually, the fact he speaks some Pashto is the news he’s currently engaged in pushing on the press. As David Petraeus says, they managed to teach noddy German to hordes of US servicemen going there in peacetime. More to the point, the British army managed to…Read More eternal September
Remember those Tuareg uranium guerrillas? Back in the summer of 2007, just before the crash, they were busy raiding Chinese prospectors and intriguing with both the French and the Nigerien government. And blogging, ISTR, on their Thuraya satphones. Now look what’s happened: they’ve been recruited by the Algerians to fight Al-Qa’ida, or more specificially the…Read More making an arrest
Wired reviews a book on the media of the Middle East, The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday. Well, even pirates have press spokesmen these days. It sounds like it could be interesting, but it strikes me that this piece by Tom Griffin about trolls sponsored by various Middle Eastern actors…Read More twitbook: book of twits
People are talking about using “cyberwar” to assist the Iranian opposition. Let’s put some of our new cyber-warfare capabilities to the test, quietly and covertly of course, to disrupt Tehran’s ability to shut off the flow of information to Iranians and between them This makes no sense at all, even less sense than “cyberwar” usually…Read More what is cyberwar?
Just to finish off this gruelling series, I wanted to flag Kilcullen’s take on Afghanistan and opium. In short, his argument is that counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics in Afghanistan are identical; the poppy mostly grows where the Taliban are, it provides something up to 50% of the movement’s income, and it is anyway impossible to do…Read More Accidental Guerrilla, Part 4: Kilcullen on Drugs