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The Battle for Syria

After Liberation, Will Mosul Fall to Iran?

July 20th 2017

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

 

 

After a brutal nine-month war, the Iraqi Army has liberated Mosul from ISIS. The city, Iraq's second largest, is all but destroyed.

The butcher's bill tallies 30,000 people dead and counting. Another 600,000, roughly a third of the population, have been displaced. Roughly three-fourths of Mosul's buildings are in ruins, two-thirds of its electrical grid is shredded, and much of what's left of the water system is booby-trapped. The price tag for reconstruction will be tens of billions of dollars that Iraq doesn't have.

Now comes the hard part.

Anyone with sufficient weapons and training can kill terrorists, and it's much harder to rebuild a city than level it. Harder still in a fractious sectarian place like Iraq is establishing enough political trust and goodwill that hardly anyone will be interested in picking up a rifle and shooting at the neighbors again. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Israel May Need to 'Take out' Iranian Bases in Syria

July 18th 2017

Drone Chopper

Israel may need to take military action to prevent Iran or Hezbollah from setting up permanent bases in Syria, former National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror said on Monday.

Amidror’s comments come a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told journalists in Paris that Israel was opposed to the Syrian cease-fire brokered recently by the US and Syria because it perpetuates Iran’s military presence in the the country.

If Israel's interests are not taken into account by those determining what the future arrangements will be in Syria – the Americans, Russians or others – “that might lead the IDF to intervene and destroy every attempt to build [permanent Iranian] infrastructure in Syria,” he said.

Amidror, a fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies who has remained in contact with Netanyahu, made his comments during a press conference with journalists organized by The Israel Project. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Taxpayer Support for Palestinian Terrorist Salaries Becoming Impossible to Defend

July 14th 2017

Edwin Black

The issue of government subsidies for Palestinian terrorist salaries is again in the international spotlight. What began in November 2013, as a barely believable revelation — that taxpayers in Great Britain, the US, and other Western nations were bankrolling terrorist salaries — has now become a universally-acknowledged, impossible-to-deny, and impossible-to-defend embarrassment for governments.

For years, officials dissembled and dodged when the question came up. After a period of silent disbelief, the mainstream media now openly confirms the salaries and routinely refers to the program with ipso factuality. Political challengers on both sides of the Atlantic stridently demand that incumbents terminate foreign aid that amounts to taxpayer-incentivized terrorism. A recent in-depth study in Israel calculates that all terror incentives and rewards paid by the Palestinian Authority over the past four years total a mind-numbing one billion dollars. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Apologists Gear Up for Rasmieh Odeh's Last Hurrah

July 13th 2017

FBI sting

Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Odeh likely will be deported shortly after a federal judge formally sentences her next month for naturalization fraud. Her supporters are planning one final bash in her honor featuring radical political activist Angela Davis.

A promotion for the Aug. 12 event in Chicago notes it costs $5 – $6.17 with service fees – and promises "a night of music, poetry, and struggle."

Odeh pleaded guilty in April, admitting that she failed to disclose her arrest, conviction and 10 years spent in an Israeli prison after being convicted in connection to two 1969 Jerusalem bombings. One bombing targeted a grocery store, killing college students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.

Her plea agreement with federal prosecutors calls for no additional jail time, but it includes a stipulation stripping Odeh of her American citizenship and says "she will not be allowed to remain in the United States" and can never return. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

Israel to Establish ‘South Syria Army’ to Stop Iranian Expansion

July 12th 2017

Proud Israeli tanker and tank

Israel is planning to establish a Syrian army in the southern region of Syria on the border with the Golan Heights and Jordan to stop Iranian expansion, according to informed Israeli sources.

The idea for the “South Syria Army”, which will be affiliated with Israel, is based on a close model of the South Lebanon Army that Israel founded and supported during the 1970’s. The South Lebanon Army was led by Saad Haddad and later on by Antoine Lahad.

The sources said that the idea is beginning to form in accordance with the US-Russian agreement to a ceasefire in southern Syria and prevent Iranian troops, “Hezbollah” and other regime affiliated militias from controlling the region.

Israel considers Daraa, Suwayda and other areas on the border with the Golan Heights as political and security interests. Tel Aviv has allies there, including the Druze “Fursan al-Joulan militia” and some sides that claim to be part of the Free Syrian Army. Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

North Korea Tests Missile it Claims Can Reach 'Anywhere in the World'

July 4th 2017

North Korean Rocket

North Korea claims to have conducted its first successful test of a long-range missile that it says can "reach anywhere in the world."

Tuesday morning's missile test, which was conducted on the orders of the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, reached a height of 2,802 kilometers (1,741 miles), according to state broadcaster Korea Central Television (KCTV).

That's the highest altitude ever reached by a North Korean missile, and puts the US on notice that Pyongyang could potentially hit the US mainland.

The regime appears to have timed the launch for maximum political effect, giving the order to fire on the eve of the July 4 holiday, just days after US President Donald Trump spoke with Japanese and Chinese leaders about the North Korea threat and before this week's G20 meeting.

The fear is that North Korea may one day develop the technology to mount a miniature nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, something analysts say it may have already achieved.

 

How true is claim?

Euan Graham, director of the International Security Program at Sydney's Lowy Institute, said that one apparently successful test doesn't necessarily mean that North Korea has the global capability it claimed.
 
"If the North Koreans are claiming they can launch an ICBM (to) anywhere in the world, that needs to be looked at through a technical lens," he said, using the acronym for intercontinental ballistic missile.
Read more ..

The Edge of Surveillance

Drones Can Map Building Interiors Through the Walls

July 3rd 2017

Flying Robot

In a recent paper presented at last ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing (IPSN), researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara demonstrated how using two drones flying in tandem, one carrying a WiFi transmitter and the other a WiFi receiver, fly paths could be optimized so as to efficiently reconstruct a 3D image of a walled-up or occluded area, based on WiFi's Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) measurements alone.

Such 3D through-wall imaging would be very useful in disaster scenarios for search and rescue missions, or for surveillance operations.

In their paper titled "3D Through-Wall Imaging with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Using WiFi", the researchers note that although through-wall imaging based on WiFi's RSSI measurements had already been successfully demonstrated in 2D using unmanned ground vehicles (but only yielding a 2D footprint), moving up to the third dimension was much more challenging, especially with the constraint to estimate rapidly a high number of voxels (the volume) from only a relatively small number of measurements.


(left) An L-shaped brick construction measuring 2.96x2.96x0.5m, (middle) its 3D binary ground-truth image, and (right) the reconstructed 3D binary image based on RSSI measurements.

In search and rescue situations, time is of essence, hence limiting the number of measurement paths and making 3D-reconstruction more difficult based on how the WiFi signal is being affected by the obstacles within the unknown area.

The researchers solved this problem using Markov random field (MRF) modelling, loopy belief propagation and sparse signal processing, together with optimized path planning to fly the drones (two octo-copters) along zigzagging parallel 3D routes, on each side of the walled-up area.

With their experiments, the researchers demonstrated how they were able to obtain high-quality through-wall images of different test setups made up of thick brick walls, with less than 4% of measurements.

 

University of California Santa Barbara - www.ucsb.edu

In a recent paper presented at last ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing (IPSN), researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara demonstrated how using two drones flying in tandem, one carrying a WiFi transmitter and the other a WiFi receiver, fly paths could be optimized so as to efficiently reconstruct a 3D image of a walled-up or occluded area, based on WiFi's Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) measurements alone.

Such 3D through-wall imaging would be very useful in disaster scenarios for search and rescue missions, or for surveillance operations.

In their paper titled "3D Through-Wall Imaging with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Using WiFi", the researchers note that although through-wall imaging based on WiFi's RSSI measurements had already been successfully demonstrated in 2D using unmanned ground vehicles (but only yielding a 2D footprint), moving up to the third dimension was much more challenging, especially with the constraint to estimate rapidly a high number of voxels (the volume) from only a relatively small number of measurements.


(left) An L-shaped brick construction measuring 2.96x2.96x0.5m, (middle) its 3D binary ground-truth image, and (right) the reconstructed 3D binary image based on RSSI measurements.

In search and rescue situations, time is of essence, hence limiting the number of measurement paths and making 3D-reconstruction more difficult based on how the WiFi signal is being affected by the obstacles within the unknown area.

The researchers solved this problem using Markov random field (MRF) modelling, loopy belief propagation and sparse signal processing, together with optimized path planning to fly the drones (two octo-copters) along zigzagging parallel 3D routes, on each side of the walled-up area.

With their experiments, the researchers demonstrated how they were able to obtain high-quality through-wall images of different test setups made up of thick brick walls, with less than 4% of measurements.

 

University of California Santa Barbara - www.ucsb.edu

In a recent paper presented at last ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing (IPSN), researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara demonstrated how using two drones flying in tandem, one carrying a WiFi transmitter and the other a WiFi receiver, fly paths could be optimized so as to efficiently reconstruct a 3D image of a walled-up or occluded area, based on WiFi's Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) measurements alone. Such 3D through-wall imaging would be very useful in disaster scenarios for search and rescue missions, or for surveillance operations.

see the video

In their paper titled "3D Through-Wall Imaging with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Using WiFi", the researchers note that although through-wall imaging based on WiFi's RSSI measurements had already been successfully demonstrated in 2D using unmanned ground vehicles (but only yielding a 2D footprint), moving up to the third dimension was much more challenging, especially with the constraint to estimate rapidly a high number of voxels (the volume) from only a relatively small number of measurements. Read more ..


The Edge of Survillance

Hi-Speed Real-Time Face Recognition in a Moving Crowd

June 30th 2017

Eye biometrics

NEC's NeoFace Accelerator is a PCI Express low profile 68.9x167.65mm board that performs super-fast face authentication based on 4K video acquisition and face matching with an existing photo database.

Drawing up to 25W, the board can track multiple persons from a crowd of hundreds of people as they move by in large venues, transit stations or shopping malls.

Intel proudly notes that its technology is what powers the card's face recognition engine. NEC, it says, relies on Intel Arria 10 field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) operating on Intel Xeon processor–based servers to increase the performance of its NeoFace facial recognition engine to a level where an individual can be identified smoothly from a high-resolution image with dozens of faces.

“Facial recognition in a moving crowd requires highly advanced techniques when compared to still images because these cameras are affected by many factors: camera location, image quality and lighting, along with the subject’s size, walking speed and face direction,” explains Tadashige Kadoi, general manager of IoT Platform Development Division, NEC Corporation.

“Intel FPGAs and their parallel processing capability help NEC to enable fast and accurate collection and processing of images from even 4K high-resolution remote cameras.”

Last March, NEC NeoFace was ranked No. 1 in almost all tests by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) specifically for face-in-video evaluation. The NIST tests evaluated the accuracy of the technology in two real-life test scenarios including a test for entry-exit management at an airport passenger gate. It determined whether and how well the engine could recognize people as they walked through an area one at a time without stopping or looking at the camera.

NEC's face recognition technology won first place with a matching accuracy of 99.2 percent. The error rate of 0.8 percent was less than one-fourth of the second place error rate, claims Intel.

In the second test, the technology was asked to detect suspicious individuals at an indoor stadium. This test was conducted with an individual situated far from the camera, with their face direction changing frequently. NEC's face recognition technology won first place with an

NEC's NeoFace Accelerator is a PCI Express low profile 68.9x167.65mm board that performs super-fast face authentication based on 4K video acquisition and face matching with an existing photo database.

Drawing up to 25W, the board can track multiple persons from a crowd of hundreds of people as they move by in large venues, transit stations or shopping malls.

Intel proudly notes that its technology is what powers the card's face recognition engine. NEC, it says, relies on Intel Arria 10 field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) operating on Intel Xeon processor–based servers to increase the performance of its NeoFace facial recognition engine to a level where an individual can be identified smoothly from a high-resolution image with dozens of faces.

“Facial recognition in a moving crowd requires highly advanced techniques when compared to still images because these cameras are affected by many factors: camera location, image quality and lighting, along with the subject’s size, walking speed and face direction,” explains Tadashige Kadoi, general manager of IoT Platform Development Division, NEC Corporation.

“Intel FPGAs and their parallel processing capability help NEC to enable fast and accurate collection and processing of images from even 4K high-resolution remote cameras.”

Last March, NEC NeoFace was ranked No. 1 in almost all tests by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) specifically for face-in-video evaluation. The NIST tests evaluated the accuracy of the technology in two real-life test scenarios including a test for entry-exit management at an airport passenger gate. It determined whether and how well the engine could recognize people as they walked through an area one at a time without stopping or looking at the camera.

NEC's face recognition technology won first place with a matching accuracy of 99.2 percent. The error rate of 0.8 percent was less than one-fourth of the second place error rate, claims Intel.

In the second test, the technology was asked to detect suspicious individuals at an indoor stadium. This test was conducted with an individual situated far from the camera, with their face direction changing frequently. NEC's face recognition technology won first place with an

NEC's NeoFace Accelerator is a PCI Express low profile 68.9x167.65mm board that performs super-fast face authentication based on 4K video acquisition and face matching with an existing photo database.

Drawing up to 25W, the board can track multiple persons from a crowd of hundreds of people as they move by in large venues, transit stations or shopping malls.

Intel proudly notes that its technology is what powers the card's face recognition engine. NEC, it says, relies on Intel Arria 10 field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) operating on Intel Xeon processor–based servers to increase the performance of its NeoFace facial recognition engine to a level where an individual can be identified smoothly from a high-resolution image with dozens of faces. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Hizballah-linked Paraguayan is Charged in Miami in a Drug Conspiracy

June 28th 2017

Mexico marijuana seizure

A Paraguayan man with ties to Hizballah pleaded not guilty in Miami federal court on Monday, after being charged with conspiring to distribute massive amounts of cocaine to the United States, the Miami Herald reports.

Paraguay's authorities arrested Ali Issa Chamas in August at an international airport for attempting to smuggle 39 kilos of cocaine. Chamas was extradited to Miami in June and now awaits trial.

But Chamas' indictment failed to reference his intimate relationship to Hizballah associates and operatives.

Chamas is of Lebanese origin and lived in Paraguay over the last decade. In addition to Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay is part of the Tri-Border Area (TBA), a region that enables Hizballah to cultivate a major base of operations. With a large Muslim population featuring significant numbers of Hizballah sympathizers, the terrorist organization uses this area for recruitment, arms smuggling and drug trafficking, and logistics planning for terrorist operations. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

CCTV, Drones Part of New Security at Damascus Gate

June 27th 2017

Dome-of-the-Rock

Read more ..

Military Money

Pentagon Wasted $28M on 'Forest' Camouflage Uniforms for Afghan Army

June 24th 2017

Afgan Troops

The Pentagon has reportedly spent $28 million dollars on "forest" camouflaged Afghanistan military uniforms rather than give them other patterns that cost nothing.

The "forest" pattern that was selected by the Afghan Defense Minister is privately owned, whereas other camouflage schemes owned by the U.S. government are free.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, released a 17-page report on Wednesday, noting that "forests cover only 2.1% of Afghanistan's total land area" -- making the forest pattern highly ineffective in the desert nation.

SIGAR's report said the Defense Department has spent $93 million on uniforms for the soldiers since 2007. Read more ..


Palestinians on Edge

Red Crescent: Hamas Engaged in War Crimes, Fired Rockets From Hospital to Provoke Israel

June 20th 2017

Gaza Militants

The secretary-general of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates accused the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas on Monday of provoking Israeli forces by firing rockets from a field hospital during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, a war crime under international law, Ynet reported.

According to Secretary-General Mohamed Ateeq Al-Falahi, the Red Crescent’s staff was stationed at a UAE field hospital in Gaza when Hamas fighters began firing rockets from their facilities to provoke an Israeli response.

“This shows (Hamas’s) wicked intentions and how they scarified us,” said Al-Falahi. “They always claim the enemy targets humanitarian envoys, but the betrayal came from them,” he added. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Growing Terrorism Threat in Sweden

June 17th 2017

Muslim Brotherhood

SAPO -- Sweden's security service -- reports that the numbers of persons holding extremist views has grown to the thousands. Most appear to sympathize with radical strains of Islam. SAPO chief Anders Thornberg told Swedish news agency TT on Friday, "We have never seen anything like it," and admitted that Islamic State (ISIS) propaganda is central to the growth of radicalization.

Thornberg said that the numbers of extremists have grown from just a few hundred in recent years. The current situation, he said, is "a historic challenge with extremist environments growing."

According to the agency head, SAPO receives approximately 6,000 pieces of intelligence on extremists every month, which is a significant increase from 2,000 of five years ago. Currently, the threat assessment for the Scandinavian country is holding steady at three on a scale of five.

Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Libyan Security Committee Calls U.S. Muslim Leader a Terrorist

June 13th 2017

Libyan opposition fighters

A prominent Muslim American political activist is included on a list of 75 terrorists issued by a Libyan parliamentary committee.

Esam Omeish is a former president of the Muslim American Society and remains a prominent figure at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va. He is among 75 people the Libyan House of Representatives' Defense and National Security Committee labeled Friday as enemies.

Libya's government remains fragmented, with the House of Representatives based in a city called Tobruk. It is considered closely aligned with Egypt.

Omeish is the 29th name listed on the terror list and is described as an "international member of the Muslim Brotherhood." Another American, Aly Abuzaakouk, appears just after Omeish's, also identified as an international Muslim Brotherhood member. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

The Islamic State Strikes Tehran: Reactions and Repercussions

Iranian Revolutionary Guard

The two coordinated Islamic State (IS) attacks on the Iranian Parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini are not only the first IS attacks in Iran, but also the first terror attacks of this kind in the country. These attacks are the realization of threats articulated by IS in late March to strike Iran. This was also the first “official” threat to Iran in the Persian language.

The level of execution, preparedness, and magnitude of the attack suggest professional intelligence gathering. These factors combined leave little room for doubt that the Islamic State is behind the attacks. IS generally prioritizes the targeting of symbolic sites, as was the case in Iran. The locations of the attacks–the parliament and the tomb of the founder of the Islamic Republic–were not chosen at random. There is certainly some irony in the fact that Khomeini’s tomb was attacked by suicide bombers. Read more ..


Turkey on Edge

Turkey’s Indigenous Weapons Industry: A Rover with Rolls-Royce Ambitions

June 2nd 2017

Turkish military parade with flags

A former US ambassador to Ankara once described Turkey’s regional (i.e., neo-Ottoman) foreign policy aspirations by saying that the country had “Rolls-Royce ambitions but Rover resources.” The same could be true for Turkey’s ambitious indigenous weapons programs.

Turkey suffers from a “sizing” malady. When, in the late 1950s, Kemal Nejat Kavur was serving as the Turkish ambassador to Moscow, Andrei Gromyko, the then Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, asked him: “Your Excellency, your country has the highest number of men under arms in Europe. If you turned them against your traditional enemies, the Greeks, you would be too much for them. But if you turned them against us, it would be too small. What’s the reason for this?” Read more ..


Financing the Flames

Norway Demands Palestinian Youth Center Return Money, Remove Logos

May 28th 2017

Hamas girls demonstration flags and minaret

Within hours after PMW reported that a Palestinian youth center built with Norwegian and UN money was named after terrorist murderer Dalal Mughrabi, Norway condemned it and demanded their money be returned. 

On Friday, Palestinian Media Watch reported that a Palestinian youth center built with Norwegian and UN money and with the involvement of the PA's Ministry of Local Government had been named the "Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Center" after the terrorist who led the murder of 37 in a bus hijacking. The very same day, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende condemned the center and demanded that the Norwegian money be returned:
 
"The glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable, and I deplore this decision in the strongest possible terms. Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way... We have asked for the logo of the Norwegian representation office to be removed from the building immediately, and for the funding that has been allocated to the centre to be repaid."
Norwegian Foreign Ministry website, May 26, 2017 Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Pentagon Eyes Iran-North Korea Military Connection

May 8th 2017

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

When Iran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a “midget” submarine earlier this week, Pentagon officials saw more evidence of North Korean influence in the Islamic Republic – with intelligence reports saying the submarine was based on a Pyongyang design, the same type that sank a South Korean warship in 2010.

According to U.S. defense officials, Iran was attempting to launch a Jask-2 cruise missile underwater for the first time, but the launch failed. Nonproliferation experts have long suspected North Korea and Iran are sharing expertise when it comes to their rogue missile programs.

“The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. “Over the years, we've seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other's countries, and we've seen all kinds of common hardware.” Read more ..


Broken Borders

Maryland and New York Prosecutors Give Immigrants Lesser Charges to Avoid Deportation

May 5th 2017

Stop the Raids immigration protest

Prosecutors in New York City and Baltimore have ordered their staff to refrain from charging illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes because these could result in deportation. New York District Attorney Eric Gonzalez of Brooklyn was the first such official to create this dual track for prosecution. According to a statement from his office, the goal is “minimizing collateral immigration consequences of criminal convictions.” 
 
Brooklyn has contracted with two immigration attorneys to train staff members on immigration issues and advise prosecutors when making plea offers and sentencing recommendations. The training is for the purpose of avoiding “disproportionate collateral consequences, such as deportation while maintaining public safety.” Brooklyn District Attorney Gonzalez said nevertheless that he remains committed to equality before the law. 
Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Hamas Wants Quiet As It Prepares For Next Assault on Israel

April 27th 2017

Hamas head

Strategically, Hamas remains as committed as ever to its objective of destroying Israel and toppling the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in the process. Tactically, however, Hamas exhibits pragmatism and won't rush into wars with Israel when conditions are ill suited.

Hamas looks at the long run, and remains convinced that it can eradicate Israel, even if it takes decades or centuries. Yet it would prefer to bide its time, and build up its force until the next clash while working to decrease its acute regional isolation. For this to happen, Hamas needs to avoid plunging Gaza into a new war any time soon. Yet it remains far from clear that it will be able to do this.

Should a war erupt in the near future, it likely will be triggered by unplanned dynamics of escalation. Read more ..


The Battle Against the Caliphate

What We Know About the GBU-43/B, 'Mother of All Bombs'

April 15th 2017

Land Mine

The “Mother of All Bombs,” the GBU-43/B Massive Air Blast, is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in America’s arsenal, and it was used for the first time in combat on April 13 in Afghanistan against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

If you’ve never heard of this bomb, you’re likely not alone. To help you get educated about it, here are some facts to know:

According to globalsecurity.org, it’s the largest-ever satellite-guided, air-delivered weapon in history, made to replace the unguided 15,000-pound BLU-82 Daisy Cutter that was used in Vietnam and early on in Afghanistan.

The MOAB was developed in only nine weeks in 2003 to be available for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said it was created to put pressure on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to stop fighting against the coalition. The smart bomb was never used during that war.

The MOAB was loaded into a C-130 Hercules, where it sat in a cradle on an airdrop platform until the whole platform was pulled off the plane at a high altitude by a drogue parachute, which is used to slow it down. Once in the air, the weapon was quickly released from the platform to keep up its forward momentum. The grid fins then opened to stabilize it and guide it to its target.

According to globalsecurity.org, on Sept. 11, 2007, the Russian military announced it had tested the “Father of all Bombs,” the world’s most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered munition. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

WhatsApp Message Links German Bus Bombing to ISIS

April 13th 2017

ISIS Army

Notes left at the scene of Tuesday's bombing of a bus carrying the German Borussa Dortmund soccer team and circulated among ISIS supporters via WhatsApp suggest a connection to the terror group.

Three pipe bombs hit the bus as the team left its hotel before a Champions League match. One player and a police officer were injured and the bus's glass shattered.

A copy of the note circulated on WhatsApp claimed the attack came in reaction to Germany's participation in the fight against ISIS. It refers to the deaths of 12 "unbelievers" who were killed by "our blessed brothers in Germany." Britain's Daily Star newspaper reports this refers to the December attack on a Berlin Christmas market. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Iran Sponsored Shi'a Militia Launches Terror Group to Fight Israel

April 10th 2017

Golan Heights

An Iranian supported Shi'a militia, Al-Nujaba, says it formed the "Golan Liberation Army" to fight Israel, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports.

"This army has been trained and has detailed plans. If the Syria regime asks us to, we are ready to act to liberate the Golan [from Israel] along with our allies," Al-Nujaba spokesman Hashem Al-Mousawi said in a March 8 interview with Iran's Tasnim news agency.

Al-Mousawi also admitted that the new militant group is "part of the PMU [Popular Mobilization Units]," an Iraqi-backed umbrella organization comprised of numerous Shi'a militias, including some with close ties to Iran. The Golan Liberation Army emerged from the Iranian led "resistance" axis and consists of "special forces who have received training and equipment," he said. Read more ..


The Edge of Defense

Glove Biosensor Detects Nerve Agents

April 6th 2017

Worker contemplates nuclear waste

An international team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego and the Australia-based Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have devised a disposable 'lab-on-a-glove' enabling the wearer to identify health-threatening biochemical agents through a simple and secure swipe across a surface to be tested.

The researchers used tailor-made printable inks stencil-printed as serpentine patterns on regular purple nitrile powder-free exam gloves to create stretchable, yet robust conductive circuits. The thumb is used as a sample collection surface and only sports a printed stretchable carbon disk to ensure the adhesion of analyte residues.

At the tip of the index, part of an electrochemical cell is printed, immobilizing the enzyme organophosphorus hydrolase (OPH) capped with a conductive semi-solid gel matrix (covering an enzymatic OPH/Nafion layer) for analyte diffusion from the collection pad towards the OPH enzyme layer on the working electrode. The enzyme reacts to the presence of organophosphate (OP) compounds, also known as nerve agents for their high neurotoxicity.

Read more ..

The Battle Against the Caliphate

Who Will Dominate Iraq and Syria after ISIS?

April 1st 2017

War Damage Syria

On the surface, the wars in Syria and Iraq are continuing at full intensity. The fight between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State in western Mosul is proving a slow, hard slog.

This week, government forces captured the police directorate and the courts complex in the city, moving toward the denser warren of the Old City. The jihadists are fighting for every inch of ground.

Further west, the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) succeeded in cutting the last road from the Islamic State capital of Raqqa to its stronghold in Deir al-Zor.

In the fight between the Assad regime and the Sunni Arab rebellion against it, a rebel attempt at a counterattack in the city of Deraa has led to renewed bloodshed. The regime is continuing its attacks on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta east of Damascus, despite a new Russian-brokered cease-fire. Read more ..


The Battle Against IS

Against the Islamic State, the U.S. Focuses on the Battle, Not the War

March 27th 2017

Syrian Jihadis

During his campaign for office, U.S. President Donald Trump promised a plan to defeat the Islamic State. Now, his administration is taking steps to deliver on that promise. On Wednesday, the global coalition to counter the Islamic State held its first meeting since the Trump administration took power — and its first congress with representatives from all 68 members since mid-2016. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opened the session, held at State Department headquarters in Washington, by declaring the fight against the Islamic State as the United States' chief priority in the Middle East. But notably absent from the meeting's agenda was a clear answer to arguably the most important question hanging over the campaign to oust the jihadist group from Iraq and Syria: What happens after the military operations in Mosul and Raqqa are over?

Read more ..

Japan on Edge

In Japan, Russia and China Find Common Ground

March 23rd 2017

sunset in japan

For the first time in three years, Russia and Japan have revived an avenue of negotiation that had stalled in the face of enduring tension between the two nations. Foreign and defense ministers from both countries met in Tokyo on Monday to hold 2+2 talks on security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. As expected, Japan took the opportunity to question Russia's recent attempts to bolster its defenses on the southern Kuril Islands, to which Tokyo has long laid claim. Russia fired back with its own objections to Japan's desire to build up its ballistic missile defenses as North Korea pushes ahead with its nuclear program.

For the Russians, not to mention Pyongyang's Chinese backers, the deployment of U.S. antiballistic missile (ABM) technology around the world is becoming a bigger and bigger concern.

Read more ..

The Iranian Threat

Iranian-Backed Militia Forms "Golan Liberation Brigade"

March 16th 2017

Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Equipped with Russian-made tanks (via the Syrian army), Iranian rockets and operating as an elite unit trained by the Islamic Republic, a brigade formed by the Iraqi Shiite militia declared that its target is to liberate the Golan. This brigade is the reason behind the message Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed in Russia, according to which Israel will not tolerate permanent Iranian presence in Syria.

"The declaration regarding the formation of the liberation of the Golan brigade is not only a media campaign, but the real goal of the movement," said the secretary general of the militia, Akram al-Kabi. So who is this militia? Intelligence researcher Ronen Solomon, owner of the Intel Times blog, traced this significant branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

Read more ..

The Edeg of Terrorism

DOJ Charges Hamas Member For 2001 Jerusalem Attack That Killed Americans

March 15th 2017

Hamas Terrorists

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The Battle for Syria

Kurdish Factions Turn Guns on Each Other in Yazidi Homeland

March 14th 2017

PKK (Kurdish Worker's Party) Fighter

Yazidis living in Iraq's Sinjar region are on edge in the wake of fighting last week between rival Kurdish factions. Some Yazidis joined in the fighting against Peshmerga belonging to Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Some Yazidis, who are ethnic Kurds, believe the KRG failed to protect them from marauding ISIS fighters in 2014, leading to a genocide.

The KRG denies deliberately abandoning the Yazidis, emphasizing that ISIS simply overran the Peshmerga's positions, and affirming that it supports the Yazidis.

The Yazidi-dominated Shengal (Sinjar) Constituent Assembly released a statement Monday asking the United Nations and other "benevolent" states to intervene and end the fighting. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Iran Is Progressing Towards Nuclear Weapons Via North Korea

March 9th 2017

Simurgh booster

While the Vienna Nuclear Deal (VND) is focused on preventing (or at least postponing) the development of nuclear weapons (NW) in Iran, its restrictions are looser with regard to related delivery systems (particularly nuclear-capable ballistic missiles) as well as to the transfer of nuclear technology by Iran to other countries. Moreover, almost no limits have been placed on the enhancement of Tehran's military nuclear program outside Iran. North Korea (NK) arguably constitutes the ideal such location for Iran.

The nuclear and ballistic interfaces between the two countries are long-lasting, unique, and intriguing. The principal difference between the countries is that while NK probably already possesses NW, Iran aspires to acquire them but is subject to the VND.

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The Edge of Terrorism

America is Ill-Prepared for Convicted Jihadis Ending Their Prison Sentences

February 8th 2017

Prison bars

The old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind" does not apply to dealing effectively with the threat of Islamism especially in the case of terrorists who have been captured or incarcerated.

Radical Islamic organizations such as al-Qaida and ISIS never forget their members. To them, going to prison is part of the pathway to paradise. Both groups' leaders, Ayman al-Zawahri and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, spent considerable periods of time locked up. It did nothing to diminish their zeal, but rather, fueled their fervor. Often, as in their cases, what comes out of prison is worse than what went in.

This is further illustrated by the increased number of terrorists released from Guantanamo who rejoin the fight against U.S. military personnel. Almost one in three released prisoners return to the jihadists' fold. This recidivism can be attributed in part to the admonitions terrorists receive to assist those who are captured or imprisoned. That support may include financial help for their families and for legal fees. Read more ..


Obama and Israel

Obama Gave Unwritten Consent to Iran on anti-Israel Missiles

February 4th 2017

Iranian Qiam missile launch

On January 30, 2017, U.S. sources announced that Iran had conducted a failed test of a new ballistic missile,the Khorramshahr. According to reports, the missile exploded after a 965-km flight.[1] Both Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif (on January 31) and Defense Minister Dehghan (on February 1) stressed that Iran "asks permission from no one in the matter of its defense program."[2]

It should be emphasized that contrary to statements by Iranian regime spokesmen who say that Iran's missile program is defensive, missiles with a 2,000-km range are strictly offensive and strategic. This is why Iran has faced constant demands to stop developing them. Read more ..


The Weapon's Edge

Israeli Air Force Deploys Operational Arrow-3 Missile Defense

January 19th 2017

Iron dome

The Israeli Air Force declared initial operational capability on Wednesday of the Arrow-3 intercepting system, the nation’s newest, upper-tier layer of a multi-tiered defense network against ballistic missiles. The Arrow-3 interceptor, part of the joint US-Israel Arrow Weapon System (AWS), was delivered into Air Force hands in ceremonies today attended by MoD developers and defense industry representatives, including prime contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and its US partner Boeing Co.
 
Representing the Pentagon was US Air Force Brig. Gen. William Cooley, program executive for the Missile Defense Agency.
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The Edge of Terrorism

Israel’s War on Hezbollah’s Accurate Missiles

January 17th 2017

Jet Fighter

All signs indicate that the strike which took place early Friday morning near the Mezzeh Military Airport west of Damascus, according to Syrian reports, was aimed at destroying a shipment of accurate Iranian surface-to-surface missiles to Hezbollah.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and senior commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards announced recently that the Lebanese organization was receiving missiles, and even accurate missiles, from Iran—likely satellite-guided missiles (GPS) that could reach central and even southern Israel and threaten most of the essential facilities and civilian and military airports in the State of Israel.

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The Battle for Syria

Assad's Palestinian Mercenaries

January 3rd 2017

Mahmoud Abbas and Yassir Arafat

Over the past century, various Palestinian leaders have fostered alliances that were either unsuccessful or not particularly useful to them.

Take the alliance formed by the grand mufti of Jerusalem during the British mandate period, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who during World War II supported Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Al-Husseini hoped the Germans would win the war and Hitler would become fuhrer of the Middle East. After the Nazis lost the war, however, the West did not forgive al-Husseini, which severely damaged the Palestinian cause for over two decades.

Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat erred in 1990 when he supported Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait. Palestinian public support for the invasion led to a great deal of suffering for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians then living in Kuwait and the Persian Gulf, who paid the price for Arafat's support of the tyrannical Saddam Hussein.

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The Caliphate

The Meaning of an Israeli Clash with an Islamic State Affiliate

December 22nd 2016

IDF Soldiers

On November 27, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) clashed for the first time with the Islamic State-linked group called Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed (“The Army of Khalid bin al-Waleed”) on the border between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and the Yarmouk Basin region of southwest Deraa province. Though no casualties were reported on the Israeli side, at least three members of Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed were killed. Do these clashes mean the Islamic State is opening up a front against Israel via the Golan borderlands? And what do they tell us about the ever-shifting puzzle of jihadist groups in Syria?

Jaysh Khalid bin al-Waleed is named for a companion of the Prophet Muhammad who led the Muslim armies that defeated the Byzantines in the Yarmouk Basin, leading to the conquest of the Levant region. It was formed in late May as a merger of three main factions, the most important being the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade that is native to the Yarmouk Basin area. Read more ..


The Caliphate

'Islamic State' Claims Responsibility for Berlin Attack

December 21st 2016

ISIS Army

The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) on Tuesday said the driver of the truck that plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday evening was "targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition," according to the group's news agency Amaq. 

Earlier, German prosecutors announced the release of a 23-year-old Pakistani detained in connection with the truck attack, citing a lack of evidence.

On Tuesday night, following the announcement that the suspect had been released, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told broadcaster ZDF that "it is true that one cannot rule out that the perpetrator is still at large." He also warned that it was too early to draw political conclusions from the incident.

Authorities had arrested the asylum seeker on suspicion of driving the truck, which killed 12 and injured at least 48.  Read more ..


The Caliphate

The Islamic State Comes to Russia

December 6th 2016

ISIS Group with Flags

On June 23, 2015, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, declared the formation of a new wilayat, or governorate, in Russia’s North Caucasus.(1) The announcement was a watershed; as news agencies noted at the time, never before had the group made a territorial claim inside Russia. But it was also a sign of something bigger; al-Adnani’s announcement came just days after reports that thousands of Islamic militants in Russia’s restive regions of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria—four provinces of the Caucasus Emirate, Russia’s most potent jihadi group—had formally pledged allegiance to IS. In doing so, they echoed an earlier, December 2014 declaration by several of the Emirate’s senior militants.(2) Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Iranian Navy to Escort Tankers Through Red Sea

November 28th 2016

Iranian oil tanker

In response to a rising threat of piracy and terrorism, Iran's Navy will be escorting all Iranian tankers in the waters off Somalia, in the the Bab al-Mandeb Strait and in the Red Sea.

Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, the commander of the Islamic Republic Navy, told state-owned media that the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) had requested the heightened naval security presence. Sayyari said that the service would extend to other merchant vessels as well, including the vessels of other nations. 

Sayyari pointed to the service's eight-year track record in defending Iran's commercial vessels off Somalia: over the course of 3,800 escort transits, there have been no negative outcomes, he said.  Read more ..



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