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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

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. 

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


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.


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?


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.


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.


The Edeg of Terrorism

DOJ Charges Hamas Member For 2001 Jerusalem Attack That Killed Americans

March 15th 2017

Hamas Terrorists


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.


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.

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.


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.


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


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 ..

The Weapon's Edge

The Stealthy Gallium War

November 23rd 2016


War is going on over special integrated circuits based on a material called Gallium Nitrite. Winning this war will effect not only the United States national security, but also its ability to protect key global partners in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Unfortunately the battle for Gallium Nitrite is very complicated, because the material has extensive commercial as well as military application.

But perhaps the single most important use for Gallium Nitrite is for detecting stealth aircraft and defeating long range weapons including so-called Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles launched from aircraft.

The United States is totally committed to stealth as the game changing technology of the present and future.  So deeply is the United States committed, that the only air superiority multi-mission aircraft being produced today is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).  The JSF is hugely costly and less stealthy than its big brother the F-22, but the F-22 was sacrificed so the JSF program could be financed, so mostly everything going forward hangs on this single airplane.

The Edge of Terror

Paris Jihadist Manages to Grow More Radical in Prison

November 22nd 2016

Prison bars

One year after jihadist commandos massacred 130 people in coordinated attacks across Paris, France remains under a state of emergency. Heavily armed gendarmes patrol the city streets, prepared for the next attack that even politicians admit is sure to come. And the one jihadist who survived the Nov. 13 attacks, Salah Abdeslam, rests in French prison, becoming more radicalized than ever.

This, at least, is what his former lawyer, Sven Mary, told Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant in a recent interview. "He has a beard now," Mary said. "He has become a real fundamentalist Muslim. He had been just a street kid with Nikes." Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Hamas Money Drying Up

November 15th 2016

Hamas head

Hamas in Gaza is facing an acute financial crisis as its overseas cash sources dry up. This is forcing the Islamist regime and its armed terrorist wing, the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, to resort to increasingly desperate measures, such as using international aid organizations to funnel cash away from Gazan civilians.

Hamas's dire financial situation has multiple causes. Egypt has effectively blocked off many smuggling tunnels linking Gaza to Sinai, which previously were used to transfer money into Gaza from Hamas donors.

Additionally, Hamas finds itself without a clear international backer these days. Not only is Egypt under the rule of President Sisi decidedly hostile, but relations between Hamas and Iran are unstable, rising and falling periodically due to disagreement over conflict raging in Syria. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Europe's Terror Challenges: The Returnee Threat

November 14th 2016

Syrian Rebel w/SAW

Another week, another barrage of headlines illustrating the depth of Europe's terror threat. The following examples came during a 24 hour window earlier this month: "Schiphol Airport Was Possibly A Target Of Terror Cell That Attacked Paris;" "Police In Brussels Stabbed In Possible Terror Attack;" and "MI5 Missed Chance To Foil Paris And Brussels Attacks."

It is news to no one that Islamic terrorism is everywhere now, and principally in Northern and Central Europe. But the three news stories, and the Schiphol and MI5 revelations in particular, demonstrate the enormity of the challenges now facing European counterterrorism officials. Read more ..

The Iranian Threat

Netanyahu To Russian PM: Red Line Needed On Iranian Nukes, Bases In Syria

November 11th 2016

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

Israeli PM spoke against the dangers facing Israel and the Middle East, with a focus on Iran, ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism
Iran must be prevented from producing nuclear weapons and from placing military bases in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian counterpart, Dimitry Medvedev, on Thursday.

Netanyahu spoke about the dangers facing Israel and the Middle East, with a focus on Iran, ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism, during an afternoon meeting with Medvedev in his Jerusalem office.

The Russian prime minister is in Israel for a brief visit as part of a year of events marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The desire for increased cooperation comes as Israel and Russia have stepped up coordination of military activities, particularly with respect to operation of their respective air forces in Syria. Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

Iran and Turkey Jostling for Power in Iraq

November 8th 2016


The most intriguing aspect of the Mosul campaign, however, has been the differing and often opposing agendas of the various components of the attacking force. These, with surprising rapidity, have now have come to the fore.

Just two weeks into the offensive, two of its most prominent backers – the Baghdad government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the Turkish government – are engaged in a war of words.

How has this crisis emerged, and what may be the direction of events in the next phase?

The Shi'a militiamen of the Popular Mobilization Units, or Hashd al-Sha'abi, are currently heading toward the town of Tal Afar, population 100,000, located 60 kilometers west of Mosul. Their mission will be to capture the town and prevent Islamic State fighters from escaping westward toward the Syrian border, on the highway adjoining it. Read more ..

The Battle for Iraq

U.S. Artillery and Airstrikes Pound ISIS Defenses in Mosul

November 3rd 2016

USAF Desert Storm

As Iraqi and Kurdish forces tighten the noose around Islamic State fighters in Mosul, the U.S. is helping them blast through enemy defenses.

The offensive to liberate Mosul is in its third week. Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters plan to advance to the center of the city, but the Islamic State group has thrown suicide car and truck bombs against them to slow their progress.  Bad weather has led to a temporary halt in the operation.

Islamic State fighters have had more than two years to prepare fortifications in and around Mosul, but the U.S. is providing air and artillery support to obliterate obstacles in the Iraqis and Kurds’ path, said Lt. Gen. William Beydler, head of Marine Corps Forces Central Command. Read more ..

The Defense Edge

Plants Can Now Be Used to Detect Explosives

November 3rd 2016


Scientists at MIT have successfully bioengineered spinach to wilt if explosive material is detected in groundwater, according to a paper put out in the prestigious Journal of Nature Materials.

The research paper is titled “Nitroaromatic detection and infrared communication from wild-type plants using plant nanobionics.”

Here, we demonstrate that living spinach plants (Spinacia oleracea) can be engineered to serve as self-powered pre-concentrators and autosamplers of analytes in ambient groundwater and as infrared communication platforms that can send information to a smartphone,” the paper’s authors said their introduction.

As the plant absorbs water from the ground it will also absorb the explosive material. Thanks to deliberately created adaptations in the plant’s leaves, the plant will wilt in response to the presence of the explosive compounds.

Fixed sensors nearby will monitor the spinach using infrared technology and will pick up on the change in the plant.  

The project was funded by DARPA, the body of the U.S. military in charge of research and development. It has an annual budget of nearly $3 billion and funds a vast array of different technologies that either have or could potentially have military application. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Post 'Caliphate': The Future of the Salafi-Jihadi Movement

November 2nd 2016


The future trajectories of al-Qaeda (AQ) and the Islamic State (IS) do not leave cause for optimism, nor do the faulty paradigms that have been widely accepted about both groups in recent years. Five years ago, many argued that AQ was on the verge of strategic collapse: its founding leader was dead, a succession of key lieutenants had been eliminated, and the Arab Spring was seemingly poised to bring about the changes that terrorists had promised for years. Yet when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before the Senate this February, he painted a bleak picture of a newly resurgent AQ that was "positioned to make gains in 2016." Read more ..

The Weapon's Edge

Russia Develops World’s First Para-drop Air Defense Complex

October 28th 2016

Russian soldiers Red Square

An air-droppable missile defense complex is being developed for Russia’s airborne forces to ensure that after landing, troops have the means to secure the skies and prevent inbound airstrikes. The system will be the first operating version of its kind in the world.

Russia’s airborne troops will soon have the means to effectively establish local no-fly zones with the help of a mobile crawler-mounted Ptitselov (Fowler) air defense complex, a hybrid of the well-known Pantsir-S1 (NATO designation SA-22 Greyhound) cannon-missile system mounted on an air-droppable BMD-4M armored vehicle.

“The Russian Army is going to become the very first to obtain air-droppable SAM complexes,”

Viktor Murakhovsky, a member of the advisory council of the Military-Industrial Commission, told TASS.

Until now, paratroopers could only defend themselves from air assault using close-range Igla and Verba MANPAD systems.


The Weopon's Edge

The Air Force Doesn’t Know How to Test Its Future Robotic Wingmen

October 23rd 2016

Cyber warriors

U.S. military leaders are spending billions of dollars to develop the robotic autonomy they say will drive technological dominance in the next decade or two. Here’s a question for the next five years: how do you test artificially intelligent weapons in a way that is both safe and yet credibly represents a battle environment?

Maj. Gen. Robert McMurry Jr., who leads the Air Force Research Lab, or AFRL, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio,  is accustomed to testing dangerous and futuristic weapons, such as lasers. Read more ..

The Iranian Threat

Iranian Proxies Attack US Ships

October 11th 2016

Iranian Admiral Habibullah

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said today that two missiles were fired at the USS Mason -- a Navy guided missile destroyer  -- while it patrolled international waters near the coast of Yemen yesterday. According to the Department of Defense, neither of the two missiles struck the ship, having landed in the sea. No one was injured during the incident. "At approximately 7 p.m. local time today (October 9), while conducting routine operations in international waters in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, USS Mason detected two inbound missiles over a 60-minute period," said Davis. "Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship," said Davis. "There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship."

The Race for Wearable Energy

Photovoltaics and Energy Storage Threads For Smart Fabrics

October 10th 2016

US Marines post battle Iraq

Weaving two types of specially designed fibres with cotton yarn and conductive copper-coated threads, a team of researchers from China and Singapore has devised a smart fabric that can both harvest energy from light and store it as a supercapacitor would do.

As its main threads (used as flying shuttle), the textile combines fibre-shaped photo-anodes interlaced with counter electrodes (CEs) for the energy harvesting functionality, with TiN nanowire-based fibre supercapacitors (FSCs) for the energy storage part.

Published in the ACS Nano journal, the paper "Tailorable and Wearable Textile Devices for Solar Energy Harvesting and Simultaneous Storage" details the fabrication process of both types of specialty threads as commercially viable for production in any length.


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