--Advertisement--
Ad by The Cutting Edge News

The Cutting Edge

Tuesday June 27 2017 reaching 1.4 million monthly
--Advertisement--
Ad by The Cutting Edge News

The War on Terror

The Threat Posed by Somalian Al Shabaab Terrorists to Neighbors

April 26th 2012

Somali Militants

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, released a message April 23 informing U.S. citizens in the country that it had received credible information regarding a possible attack against Nairobi hotels or prominent Kenyan government buildings. According to the message, the embassy has reason to believe the attack is in the last stages of the attack planning cycle.

The warning comes as thousands of Kenyan troops occupy much of southern Somalia. Along with a force of Ethiopian troops, local militias and a contingent of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, the Kenyans are placing heavy pressure on the al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group al Shabaab in southern Somalia.

This external military pressure has exacerbated internal frictions within al Shabaab between nationalist elements and those with a more transnationalist ideology. Mukhtar Robow, aka Abu Mansur, leads the nationalist faction, which is based in the Bay and Bakool regions. Ahmad Abdi Godane, aka Abu Zubayr, leads the transnationalist faction, which is based in Kismayo.

It has been almost two years since we last examined al Shabaab's interest in conducting and ability to carry out transnational terrorist operations. The current warning in Nairobi provides a convenient opportunity to do so once again.

Al Qaeda in East Africa and the Birth of al Shabaab

Al Qaeda and Somali militants have long interacted. In a 1997 CNN interview, Osama bin Laden told Peter Bergen that his fighters helped the Somali militants in the 1993 battle of Mogadishu, the events memorialized in Mark Bowden's book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (1999). Bin Laden and a good portion of the al Qaeda leadership relocated to Sudan in 1992, where they remained until 1996. During that period, they established a network of business and operational contacts across East Africa. By that point, they had trained militants in camps in Afghanistan for years. They could well have had operatives in Mogadishu in 1993 and could have provided training to militants involved in the incident. Read more ..


Korean Peninsula on Edge

North Korea Boasts of Ability to Destroy US Military in “Single Blow”

April 25th 2012

Kim Jong-Un

North Korea’s army marked its 80th anniversary Wednesday with a vow to retaliate against what its chief of staff terms the traitors in the South. The remarks are the latest in a series of harsh threats directed at Seoul in recent weeks. North Korea is boasting of “powerful, modern weapons” that can defeat in a single blow the United States, which it accuses of plotting a war against it.

Chief of general staff, Ri Yong Ho, gave no further details about the weaponry in his speech to mark North Korea’s Army Day. His address, from Pyongyang’s House of Culture, was broadcast later in the day on North Korean television.

Vice Marshal Ri says the blood of North Korea’s military and civilians is boiling in anger with a desire for revenge against South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-bak. He reiterates a threat of “sacred war,” transmitted earlier in the week, to crush the bases of provocation in the South.

North Korea’s new, young leader Kim Jong Un was in the audience for Ri’s remarks. But Kim—who holds the rank of a four-star general—did not address the gathering.

North Korea’s failed rocket launches

North Korea, on April 13, launched a multi-stage missile which exploded about two minutes into its flight over the Yellow Sea. Pyongyang claimed it was trying to launch a peaceful satellite into space. The international community condemned the launch as a violation of U.N. Security Council sanctions forbidding North Korea from utilizing ballistic missile technology. The failure only intensified fears that North Korea is preparing a third claimed nuclear test.

Pyongyang has made no announcement it is planning such a test. But satellite images from the beginning of this month showed fresh digging at the underground site where North Korea claims to have conducted two previous nuclear detonations. Those tests followed failed long-range rocket launches in 2006 and 2009. Read more ..


Sudan on Edge

South Sudan's President goes to China to Iron out Oil Deal

April 24th 2012

Salva Kiir Mayardit of Sudan, Hu Jintao of China
Sudanese Pres. Salva Kiir Mayardit (l) and Chinese Pres. Hu Jin Tao (r)

The president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit began a state visit to Beijing on April 23. The Chinese are major supporters of the Sudanese regime of Omar al-Bashir and are heavily invested in petroleum interests in Sudan. While South Sudan continues to struggle to define its boundaries with the Muslim-dominated Sudan to the north, President Kiir hopes to get China's help to improve relations with Khartoum and especially to obtain funds to build an alternative pipeline to the one currently in the hands of Sudan. India, besides China, is also heavily invested in the north.

South Sudan is rich in oil and natural gas. However, it is landlocked and dependent on Sudan - from which it broke away in July 2011 - for downstream services such as pipelines and refineries. The oil wells are in the Christian majority South, while the refineries and infrastructure necessary for the extraction and transportation of crude oil are in the Muslim majority north. On April 10, South Sudan troops invaded the disputed Heglig oil fields just to the north of the disputed border with Sudan. However, his troops have now retreated following intense bombardment by Sudan's air forces and skirmishes between the two countries armies. Troops from Sudan occupied Heglig, but have since pulled back. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

US Lawmaker Dismisses Iran’s Claims of Building Drone Copy

April 22nd 2012

X band radar

The chairman of the U.S. Senate's Homeland Security Committee is dismissing Iran's claim that it has reverse-engineered a U.S. spy drone it captured last year. Lawmaker Joe Lieberman said Sunday on U.S. television that he considered the claims little more than “Iranian bluster.” Earlier Sunday, a senior Iranian commander declared Tehran had reverse-engineered the drone and begun building a copy. Iranian news agencies quoted General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the aerospace division of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, as saying experts also are recovering data from the RQ-170 Sentinel drone captured in December in eastern Iran.

U.S. officials have acknowledged losing the surveillance drone. They have said Iran will find it hard to exploit any data and technology aboard it because of measures taken to limit the intelligence value of drones operating over hostile territory. Hajizadeh said the drone contained many “secret codes,” but he implied that these had been cracked, saying the spy plane now had “no hidden points.” He said exact information about the drone's history had been recovered indicating that it had flown “above [al-Qaida leader Osama] bin Laden's Pakistani hideout two weeks before he was assassinated.”

Read more ..

The Cyber Edge

Industrial Cyber Attacks, a Costly Spy Game

April 22nd 2012

Shadowy Computer User

Cyber espionage has cost U.S.-owned businesses about $14 billion in reported economic losses since last October, according to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI). But private security experts said this is a fraction of a huge problem that will take a cultural shift to put corporate America ahead of today’s high-tech spies.

Martin Libicki, a Washington-based senior management scientist with RAND, a non-profit research and analysis institution, said nobody knows how big the problem is. “It takes a lot more worth than we’ve been willing to give it to try to estimate the size of the problem.” He added,“I don’t have an even good theoretical estimate, much less a practical estimate.” Companies are often too embarrassed to announce a security breach because people don’t always notice it when it first happens. “It takes an average of a year and a half before you realize that something is wrong,” said Libicki.

"In the US ... most companies are careful about their source code, but they send people into the field with sales leads and customer lists stored on mobile devices or unencrypted laptops," says Damien Miller, CEO of Comet Way. Canada’s telecommunications company, Nortel, for example, told the Wall Street Journal in February that it lost data for nearly a decade before realizing it was being spied on. Randall Coleman, FBI Section Chief at the agency’s Counterintelligence department in Washington said hacking by both organized groups and state-backed actors has taken off in recent years. “It is certainly the wave of the future,” he said. “There are state-sponsored corporations throughout the world that spy on the United States and attempt to steal our technology,” Coleman added. Read more ..


Soft Jihad

The Failed Flytilla--A Matter of Perception

April 22nd 2012

Israel Airport

At the start of this week, hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists planned to board passenger planes and fly to Israel. Their plan, according to Israeli intelligence assessments, was to join Palestinian demonstrations in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, events that had a high potential to turn violent. The activists, operating under an umbrella group called "Welcome to Palestine 2012," presented themselves as peace seekers who had come to visit Palestinians in the West Bank. Their true motive, Israel suspected, was to create possibly violent provocations, generate media publicity, and attempt to delegitimize the state of Israel.

Hundreds of unarmed plain clothes and uniformed police officers were mobilized to the airport on Sunday, in accordance with a detailed plan drawn up by the head of the Israel Police's Central District, Commander Bentsi Sao. The airport is located in the heart of Sao's Central District, and the Israeli government appointed the veteran officer to head up a national operation to prevent the activists from entering the country. Sao's chief aim was to keep the airport running smoothly on one of its busiest ever days, when nearly 50,000 passengers were expected to pass through, many of them Israelis completing their Passover vacations abroad. Read more ..


The Cyber Edge

House Gears Up For 'Cyber Week,' But Security Bill’s Fate Rests With Senate

April 21st 2012

guy fawkes masks

The House is set to vote on a host of cybersecurity bills next week, but the fate of the legislation rests in the Senate. The House is expected to approve the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which would tear down legal barriers that discourage companies from sharing data about cyber attacks. The goal of the legislation is to help companies beef up their defenses against hackers who steal business secrets, rob customers’ financial information and wreak havoc on computer systems.
CISPA, sponsored by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), has more than 100 co-sponsors. But the White House and Senate Democrats argue CISPA is inadequate. They say any cybersecurity legislation should include tougher privacy protections and should require critical infrastructure systems to meet minimum security standards. "Legislation without new authorities to address our nation’s critical infrastructure vulnerabilities, or legislation that would sacrifice the privacy of our citizens in the name of security, will not meet our nation's urgent needs," White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said, without explicitly mentioning CISPA. The White House has endorsed a cybersecurity bill from Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) that would empower the Homeland Security Department to set mandatory security standards for critical systems, such as electrical grids or chemical plants. A Democratic aide said the Lieberman-Collins bill is a "priority" for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and "we expect to take up the legislation in the next few weeks." But it is unclear whether there are enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is rallying opposition to the measure and has introduced his own alternative bill, the Secure IT Act. Like CISPA, Secure IT focuses only on voluntary information-sharing about cyber threats. The bill has attracted seven GOP co-sponsors. McCain argued Lieberman-Collins would impose regulations that “would stymie job creation, blur the definition of private property rights and divert resources from actual cybersecurity to compliance with government mandates.” Read more ..


The Biometric Edge

Facial Recognition Technology Offers Security at Airports and on the Battlefield

April 20th 2012

Eye biometrics

AOptix, a developer of advanced optical technologies and products, announced that Morpho, a high-technology company of the Safran group, has become an AOptix strategic partner in the area of biometric technology. With this agreement, AOptix products, including the combined face capture and iris recognition system, InSight® Duo, will be integrated into Morpho’s solutions offered to countries around the world to check the identities of persons crossing their borders on land, sea and air. Morpho provides advanced solutions for border control, detection, identity management, criminal justice, and secure biometric access.

“For years, we have respected AOptix’s commitment to innovation in enhancing iris usability in biometric identification systems. The match between our two companies is natural as we unite to offer biometric solutions for a vast array of applications,” says Bernard Didier, Senior VP, Technology & Strategy at Morpho. “Combining the knowledge and expertise of our two companies in iris and facial recognition solutions will offer tremendous benefits in security and time savings for governments, airports, airlines and the traveling public.” Read more ..


Mexico on Edge

Mexico's Use of Military to Combat Narcotics does not Address Corruption in Society

April 19th 2012

Mexican Drug Police2

Institutional Revolutionary Party presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, the front-runner in the lead-up to Mexico's presidential election in July, told Reuters last week that if elected, he would seek to increase the size of the current Mexican federal police force. Peña Nieto also expressed a desire to create a new national gendarmerie, or paramilitary police force, to use in place of the Mexican army and Marine troops currently deployed to combat the heavily armed criminal cartels in Mexico's most violent hot spots. According to Pena Nieto, the new gendarmerie force would comprise some 40,000 agents.

As previously noted, soldiers are not optimal for law enforcement functions. The use of the military in this manner has produced accusations of human rights abuses and has brought criticism and political pressure on the administration of President Felipe Calderon. However, while the Calderon administration greatly increased the use of the military in the drug war, it was not the first administration in Mexico to deploy the military in this manner. Even former President Vicente Fox, who declared war on the cartels in 2001, was not the first to use the military in this manner. For many decades now, the Mexican government has used the military in counternarcotics operations, and the Mexican military has been used periodically to combat criminals and bandits in Mexico's wild and expansive north for well over a century. Read more ..


Thailand on Edge

Thailand Courting 'Financial Pariah' Status

April 16th 2012

Money Bands=Happiness

This past February, Thailand was added to a high-risk blacklist by an international organization many people have never heard of. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was established by the Group of Seven (G7) in 1989 to combat money laundering and terrorism finance. Being added to the FATF "high-risk" country list may not sound terrible, but in many circles, it is akin to being labeled a financial pariah.

Thailand now joins the ranks of countries that include North Korea, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and Myanmar, to name just a few. In most contexts, these are not countries people normally wish to be associated with.

The FATF's best practices, known as the "international standard," are meant to have universal application and to serve as a comprehensive framework against the movement of illicit money. FATF's principal contribution has been Forty Recommendations on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation. Countries are assessed and rated against this standard. In the case of Thailand, the country's financial regime was found to be woefully inadequate and in act, among the worst in the world. Read more ..


Oil Addiction

Are We Prepared if Saudi Oil Production Collapses?

April 15th 2012

Saudi Oil

Iranian threats to block oil shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, if acted upon, could disrupt the global energy supply and cause oil prices to spike. However, as this report suggests, this scenario is relatively short term. It leaves the oil-producing infrastructure intact, and prices would stabilize if military action, led by the United States, and a coordinated international response successfully restore security to the sea-lanes.

However, policymakers need to consider a more dangerous scenario: the collapse of Saudi Arabia’s oil production caused by a massive social upheaval like those that have toppled regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.

In 2006, 2008, and 2010, simulations were conducted to assess the strategic and economic impact of a major disruption of energy supply caused by Iranian military action in the Strait of Hormuz or by coordinated terrorist attacks on key nodes in the global energy infrastructure. This report uses the methodology developed in these previous reports and builds on their findings and models. It examines a situation in which an “Arab Spring” uprising disrupts Saudi oil production, causing a total cessation of oil production for one year—a drop of 8.4 million barrels per day (mbd)—followed by a two-year recovery. Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

The Free Syrian Army: A Military Assessment

April 14th 2012

Free Syrian Army

The Free Syrian Army is not a static or perfect military instrument. Rather, it is evolving along with the situation in Syria and emerging as a powerful actor. As it develops and its capabilities improve, its influence over the crisis will only increase. The FSA is thus worthy of outside support, both lethal and nonlethal, including assistance in increasing its organizational effectiveness.

The events of January-February help shed light on the FSA's development and current status. In January, the militia made significant gains against Bashar al-Assad's forces, taking full or partial control of Zabadani, Homs, Rastan, the suburbs of Damascus, and parts of Idlib. In response, the regime launched a sustained offensive against the FSA later that month. Regime forces reasserted themselves in areas previously thought to be held by the militia, with the goal of destroying FSA formations, punishing those who supported them, and retaking the areas. By early February, Assad's forces had successfully reclaimed the Damascus suburbs, Zabadani, Bab al-Amr, Homs, and portions of Idlib, and conducted suppression operations in Deraa, Hama, Aleppo, and Deir al-Zour. Read more ..


The Battle for Bahrain

Bahrain Embroiled in Saudi-Iranian Proxy War

April 12th 2012

Bahrain enraged protesters

Since February 2011, Bahrain has been undergoing its version of the Arab Spring. Unlike in other countries, however, the island’s troubles have increasingly become a proxy for Saudi-Iranian political rivalry, and perhaps for the centuries-old antagonism between Sunnis and Shiites. By mid-March 2011, the situation had become so chaotic that Saudi forces were deployed to the island. For their part, Bahraini authorities bulldozed the Pearl Monument, where the most significant protests had taken place, and converted the surrounding traffic circle into “al-Farouq Junction,” named for a famous Sunni figure.

Bahrain’s majority Shiite population has always been at a political and socioeconomic disadvantage. In their view, the Shiite slice of the national cake has diminished over the years while the ruling al-Khalifa family has grown increasingly rich. This is the essence of the continuing political crisis, though other factors have further muddied the situation. The dilemma for the United States lies in Bahrain’s status as an important ally. The headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is situated on the outskirts of the capital—a crucial element in maintaining strategic balance in the Gulf and preventing energy-supply disruptions that could threaten the global economy. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Why Paying Bounties for Terrorists Often Fails

April 12th 2012

Bundles of Cash

U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman announced April 3 that the U.S. government's "Rewards for Justice" (RFJ) program was offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). In other Rewards for Justice cases involving Pakistan, suspects such as Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abdel Basit and Mir Amal Kansi have hidden in Pakistan and maintained relatively low profiles. In this case, Saeed is a very public figure in Pakistan. He even held a news conference April 4 in Rawalpindi announcing his location and taunting the United States by saying he was willing to share his schedule with U.S. officials.

While the Saeed case is clearly a political matter rather than a pure law enforcement or intelligence issue, the case has focused a great deal of attention on Rewards for Justice, and it seems an opportune time to examine the history and mechanics of the program.

Rewards for Justice

In the shadow of the 1983 and 1984 bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon, the U.S. Congress established the Rewards for Justice program under the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service, which was established by the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986. Read more ..


The Edge of Piracy

Navy Plans to Detect Pirates from Above

April 10th 2012

Pirate

Navy unmanned aircraft will be able to distinguish small pirate boats from other vessels when an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-funded sensor starts airborne tests this summer, officials said April 5. Called the Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker (MMSS), the sensor is a mix of high-definition cameras, mid-wave infrared sensors and laser-radar (LADAR) technology. It will be placed on a robotic helicopter called Fire Scout. Carrying advanced automatic target recognition software, the sensor prototype will allow Fire Scout to autonomously identify small boats on the water, reducing the workload of Sailors operating it from control stations aboard Navy ships. “Sailors who control robotic systems can become overloaded with data, often sifting through hours of streaming video searching for a single ship,” said Ken Heeke, program officer in ONR’s Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department. “The automatic target recognition software gives Fire Scout the ability to distinguish target boats in congested coastal waters using LADAR, and it sends that information to human operators, who can then analyze those vessels in a 3-D picture.”

Navy-developed target recognition algorithms aboard Fire Scout will exploit the 3-D data collected by the LADAR, utilizing a long-range, high-res, eye-safe laser. The software compares the 3-D imagery to vessel templates or schematics stored in the system’s memory. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

U.S. Intelligence Estimates and the Iranian Nuclear Program

April 9th 2012

Bushehr plant panoramic

Recent media reporting about the U.S. intelligence findings on Iran’s nuclear weaponization program has focused on the relatively narrow technical question of whether the Iranian regime has made the decision to restart an effort to actually build nuclear weapons. The recent reporting shows that the U.S. intelligence community assesses that this decision on restart has not yet been made.  However, this reporting does not address the broader question of whether Iran decided many years ago to seek nuclear weapons and put in place specific nuclear capabilities to allow it to do so expeditiously. As a result, the NIE conclusion about restart, as reported publicly, may provide false comfort about the status of Iran’s nuclear effort and the likelihood of Iran building nuclear weapons.

When or if Iran will actually decide to breakout and make nuclear weapons depends on a range of political and technical factors. At the upcoming negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, the priority should be achieving both a set of interim measures that reduce the chance of Iran breaking out and the outlines of a long-term agreement that can establish confidently that Iran will not pursue nuclear weapons. For a more thorough discussion

Read more ..

Egypt after Mubarak

The Muslim Brotherhood and its Rising Road to Power in Egypt

April 8th 2012

Egyptian Muslim bros
Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

Israel has been concerned about the stability of the regime in Egypt since the signing of the 1979 peace treaty. The growing struggle between the ruling authorities and radical Muslims was one of those concerns.  In 2005 the Muslim brotherhood won 88 out of 454 seats in the Parliament. This relatively minor success was seen by Hosni Mubarak as proof that the MB was a growing radical political force which could exploit elections continuously to seize control of the country.

In the 2010 elections the 2005 achievement of the MB was not permitted to be repeated by the regime’s manipulation of the results. However, this move backfired. The Egyptian rulers cheating in the elections, created a growing resentment among the population at large, not only within the MB, which helped trigger and escalate the uprising in February 2011. Now, with the recent achievements of the MB and the Salafis in the Egyptian elections, Mubarak’s warning seems very realistic.

The MB may not want to collaborate with the Salafis because they are too radical. The MB would not want the Salafis pushing them to implement extreme steps, at least not too quickly, a move that carries the risk of creating a strong backlash against the MB both from inside and outside Egypt. Thus, they could resort to playing by the rules, forming a government with secular and more liberal ones, and making a deal with the military. Read more ..


The Defense Edge

Marines Struggle to Get Care as Wounded Warriors

April 7th 2012

Soldier Crying

Terrible medical care, long delays in service, and soldiers who felt like they were in a “petting zoo”: Those are just some of the issues identified in a Department of Defense Inspector General report issued March 30th on the Wounded Warrior Regiment.

Founded in 2007 as a way to help guide wounded Marines and sailors towards accepting and living with their injuries, the WWR has supported nearly 27,377 wounded, ill, and injured Marines. With camps throughout the country, WWR is among the leading groups in rehabbing both injured service members and their families. But it has been seriously shortchanged by the Marines, according to the IG’s report. Both staff and service members undergoing treatment had a litany of complaints. Some beefed that they were forced to endure visits from VIPs, nonprofit groups and reporters looking for “visibly wounded” Marines with whom they could talk. One said he felt like he was in a “petting zoo.” Prescriptions were poorly monitored and frequently given in excessive quantities, creating a potential for drug misuse. The health care privacy act known as HIPPA was not respected at one location, causing medical information to be passed around loosely.

Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Tactical Realities of the Toulouse Shootings

April 5th 2012

Mohammed Merah, the suspect in a string of violent attacks culminating with the March 19 shooting deaths of three children and a rabbi at the Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse, France, committed suicide by cop March 22 after a prolonged standoff at his Toulouse apartment. Authorities believed Merah also to have shot and killed a paratrooper March 11 in Toulouse and two other paratroopers March 15 in Montauban.

While Merah's death ended his attacks, it also began the inevitable inquiry process as French officials consider how the attacks could have been prevented. The commissions or committees appointed to investigate such attacks normally take months to complete their inquiries, so the findings of the panel looking into the Merah case will not be released in time to have any impact on the French presidential election set to begin April 22. However, such findings are routinely used for political purposes and as ammunition for bureaucratic infighting. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Chechen Separatist Leader Unfazed By Reported Murder Plot

April 3rd 2012

Akhmed Zakayev CHECHENYA exile
Separatist Akhmed Zakayev

Akhmed Zakayev, the Chechen separatist leader exiled in London, says a reported plot to murder him has not taken him by surprise. In an April 1 report, Britain's "Sunday Telegraph" said it had seen documents in which the MI5 security service outlines the assassination plot and expresses fears that Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed head of Chechnya, wants Zakayev dead. Zakayev stated RL that MI5 had warned him of similar threats in the past. "They regularly inform me about threats, new information, they advise me on how to act and what to do," he said.

"This has been going on for seven or eight years, so it was no news to me," he added. "It will go on as long as Russia retains its criminal regime, this is obvious to me." According to the "Sunday Telegraph," Kadyrov ordered Zakayev's killing though a London-based middleman known only as E1. Britain's top police official sought to expel the suspected middleman as a threat to national security in 2010, but judges have thus far allowed him to remain in the country, the "Sunday Telegraph" reports. Some details are known about E1: he is a 45-year-old Russian who came to Britain with his family in 2003 and claimed political asylum from the war in Chechnya. He has six children and is believed to have served as a Chechen soldier. Zakayev said he thought he knew the identity of E1, but did not offer specifics. Read more ..


The Defense Edge

Widows Seek Exoneration For Marine Pilots In 2000 Osprey Crash

April 2nd 2012

Osprey
Osprey

For a dozen years, two widows say, the Marines have unfairly blamed their husbands for the death of 19 Marines in a fiery V-22 Osprey crash.

Connie Gruber and Trish Brow have been fighting to get the Marines to say their husbands, pilots Maj. Brooks Gruber and Lt. Col. John Brow, should not be blamed for the April 2000 crash when the tiltrotor aircraft rolled over sideways trying to land in a training exercise. Their cause has been championed by Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who has lobbied the Marines for a decade to remove “human factors” as a cause and say the pilots weren’t at fault.

“I have children who are 19 and 20 now, and they deserve that for their father,” Trish Brow said in an interview. But Jones’s efforts have failed to persuade Marine leaders, who say there’s no reason to change the crash report, which found numerous factors contributed to the accident, including human ones. “The Marine Corps is unaware of any new evidence in the case and therefore has no basis to second-guess the judgments of the many professionals who were involved,” a spokesman for Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos said in a statement. “We believe this matter to be closed.” Read more ..


The Defense Edge

New Report on Technical Issues behind Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

April 1st 2012

Nuclear Bomb MK17

The United States is now in a better position than at any time in the past to maintain a safe and effective nuclear weapons stockpile without testing and to monitor clandestine nuclear testing abroad, says a new report from the National Research Council. The report, requested by the Office of the Vice President and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, reviews and updates a 2002 study that examined the technical concerns raised about the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The report does not take a position on whether the U.S. should ratify the treaty.

“So long as the nation is fully committed to securing its weapons stockpile and provides sufficient resources for doing so, the U.S. has the technical capabilities to maintain safe, reliable nuclear weapons into the foreseeable future without the need for underground weapons testing,” said Ellen D. Williams, chair of the committee that wrote the report. “In addition, U.S. and international technologies to monitor weapons testing by other countries are significantly better now than they were a decade ago.”

U.S. verification of compliance with the CTBT would be accomplished through a combination of information gathered by the U.S. military and intelligence agencies, the International Monitoring System (IMS), which is now more than 80 percent complete, and other publicly available geophysical data. U.S. global monitoring capabilities are superior to those of the IMS and can focus on countries of national concern, the report says. However, the IMS provides valuable data to the U.S., both as a common baseline for international assessment and as a way of disclosing potential violations when the U.S. needs to keep its own data classified. Therefore, the U.S. should support both the completion of the IMS and its operations regardless of whether CTBT enters into force, the report says. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Defense Department Seeks New Authorities For Counterterrorism Fight

April 1st 2012

NYPD and flag

As the Pentagon begins to wind down the war in Afghanistan, the smaller conflicts elite U.S. forces are fighting around the world are heating up.

But DoD needs more than just men and materiel to meet these challenges. It needs additional authority from Congress to do so. "Most of the authorities that we have right now are narrowly construed to counterterrorism ...  [but] I think for some countries we may need a little bit more flexibility to go in there," Michael Sheehan, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, told lawmakers on Tuesday.

The majority of counterterrorism missions by U.S. special forces have been focused on al Qaeda and Taliban cells in Afghanistan and the Middle East region. But growing numbers and types of threats, particularly in Africa and South America, require a new approach to U.S. counterterrorism operations, Sheehan told members of the Senate Armed Services’ subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities. "If we have a broader range of authorities, we can respond with more agility to each country with a different set of programs," Sheehan said. "I think that's the direction we're thinking." Subcommittee chairwoman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and subpanel member Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) pressed Sheehan on what exactly DoD was looking for, in terms of legislative authorities. Read more ..

Iraq on Edge

Iraq Starts New Year with Violence

March 31st 2012

Baghdad bomb

There has been a rapid and widespread deterioration of security in Iraq since the mid-December end of the U.S. military mission there. Yet a detailed analysis of the upsurge in violence reveals that withdrawal of U.S. troops was a less significant driver of violence than the U.S. policy of providing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki with a blank check in his campaign to consolidate power.

Tracking Iraq's Regression

Perceptions of security in Iraq are often based on the number of mass-casualty attacks -- such as car bombs and suicide-vest attacks in crowded places -- undertaken in high-visibility locations like Baghdad or the number of deaths reported by the Iraqi government. According to Washington Institute for Near East Policy metrics sourced from the Iraqi security forces, Iraq witnessed thirty-six confirmed attempted mass-casualty attacks in January 2012, a significant increase on the average of twenty-three attacks a month in the quarter ending December 2011. Officially reported deaths are also increasing, with 340 civilian deaths reported in January 2012 compared to 155 in December 2011.

Yet a closer look at violence in Iraq's provinces produces an even dimmer view of what has occurred since mid-December 2011. Mass-casualty attacks tell only part of the story of violence in Iraq, and mortality statistics overlook the targeted nature of violence in today's Iraq, where a high proportion of victims are local progovernment community leaders. For every one person of this kind who is killed, an exponential number of others are intimidated into passive support for insurgent groups. Read more ..


The Defense Edge

New Study Fails to Resolve Differences over Risks to U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

March 31st 2012

Nuclear Missile in Silo

On March 30, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a report that is already starting to be described as having resolved all of the technical issues surrounding the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Descriptions of the NAS study by CTBT advocates are certain to be overstatements. There are disagreements among technically knowledgeable people regarding these issues. It was just these kinds of disagreements that caused the Strategic Posture Commission to report in 2009 that it could not reach a consensus position regarding U.S. ratification of the CTBT. For example, the opponents of CTBT ratification on the commission stated that “maintaining a safe, reliable nuclear stockpile in the absence of testing entails real technical risks that cannot be eliminated by even the most sophisticated science-based program because full validation of these programs is likely to require testing over time.” Further, there is an array of narrower technical questions that surround the debate over the value of the CTBT. It is worth examining some of these questions, most of which are raised in the NAS study. Read more ..


The Weapon's Edge

Want to Test Your Nuclear Weapon? The World Will Know

March 31st 2012

Trinity Test July 16, 1945
Trinity Test Shot, July 16, 1945; estimated yield: 20kT (credit: LANL)

Beneath the oceans, on distant islands, in barren deserts, on icy hillsides, and at hundreds of other spots around the globe, special sensors are sniffing the air, measuring ground motion, watching for a particular kind of light, and listening for unique sounds. Their function is to pick up the telltale sign of a nuclear explosion, and according to a scientific report released in Washington on March 30, they can now do it very well.

The sensors, deployed at more than 260 sites under the supervision of an international organization based in Vienna, are singly or collectively able to discern the distinctive traits of such blasts anywhere in the world, down to a level of explosive force “well below” the equivalent of 1000 tons of TNT, or a fraction of the force of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, a panel of the National Research Council told the White House in its report.

U.S.-owned intelligence gear deployed around the globe and on satellites can do even better, the report said, without disclosing how much. Its overall message was that if the United States decides to join a global treaty banning nuclear tests—a expressed goal of many U.S. officials since the treaty was completed in 1996—it would not have to worry about militarily-significant, undetected cheating by others. Read more ..


Colombia on Edge

Colombia's New Counterinsurgency Plan

March 30th 2012

Colombian Death Squads

Colombian security forces attacked a camp belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on March 26 in Vistahermosa, Meta department, killing 36 members of the guerrilla group and capturing three. The operation, which Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said resulted in the deaths of more FARC members than any other single strike in the 50-year-long conflict between the Colombian government and Marxist guerrilla groups, came shortly after a similar action in Arauca state in which 33 FARC members were killed and 12 were captured.

The operations were launched as part of an aggressive new Colombian counterinsurgency strategy dubbed Operation Espada de Honor ("Sword of Honor"), created in response to the increasing violent activity by the country's guerrilla groups. The plan expands the list of targets for security forces and the locations where they will engage guerrillas, with the goal of crippling the FARC both militarily and financially.

Espada de Honor is the latest of several plans by the Colombian government to combat militancy in the country. To fully understand the plan and its implications, it is helpful to examine the nature of Colombia's guerrilla groups, previous government counterinsurgency strategies and how the FARC has reacted to them. Read more ..


Defense on Edge

More than $2 Billion for Financial Software—And Few Results

March 30th 2012

Military Accountant

A costly and lengthy effort by the Pentagon to bring its financial ledgers up to modern standards continues to encounter serious problems, according to a new General Accountability Office report that spotlights shortcomings in accounting software now being tested by the Army and the Air Force.

The software, on which the Pentagon has spent $2.665 billion since 2003, was meant to streamline archaic, hand-written ledger accounting practices and enable the services to meet a 2017 legal deadline for producing their first, auditable financial statements. But the GAO’s report, released on March 29, cites a series of weaknesses that have produced inaccurate data, “an inability to generate auditable financial reports, and the need for manual workarounds.”

The GAO based its assessment on its own research as well as internal Army and Air Force reviews that it said had confirmed problems existed in “data quality, data conversion, system interfaces, and training.” The troubles were evident in trials that so far involve only a fraction of the estimated 529,000 Army and Air Force employees that are slated to use the software while monitoring $471 billion worth of spending or inventory every year. Read more ..


The Defense Edge

Nearing Coffin Corner: US Air Power on the Edge

March 29th 2012

KC-135, A-10s, and F-16s

The administration’s decision to prioritize the Asia-Pacific region represents an important step forward in realigning military forces with America’s global interests.

It follows the wisdom of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, led by William J. Perry, Bill Clinton’s secretary of defense, and Stephen Hadley, George W. Bush’s national security adviser, which found that the force structure in the Asia-Pacific area needs to be increased. In order to preserve U.S. interests, the United States will need to retain the ability to transit freely the areas of the Western Pacific for security and economic reasons. The United States must be fully present in the Asia-Pacific region to protect American lives and territory, ensure the free flow of commerce, maintain stability, and defend our allies in the region.

However, the credible projection of effective and sustainable power requires more than rhetoric. It also requires investments in capabilities and capacity to protect America’s interests in the region. Air power uniquely affords leaders the ability to wage mobile and adaptive campaigns that maximize economy of force relative to wars based on attrition and occupation. However, policymakers must not assume continued de facto US preeminence in the skies. Combat operations in the Asia-Pacific would require an ample inventory of aircraft with adequate range, speed, and stealth. This does not mean limited “silver bullet” fleets that try to perform nearly every mission with only a few select aircraft.
"Allies’ commitment to the United States and its interests depends directly on their perceptions regarding American presence, staying power, and resolve." Read more ..


The Disaster Edge

35,000 Gallons of Prevention

March 28th 2012

Subway tunnel and inflatable plug
Tunnel credit: Alex Masters; RTP credit: E.M. Sosa, WVU

Twenty years ago in Chicago, a small leak in an unused freight tunnel expanded beneath the Windy City and started a flood which eventually gushed through the entire tunnel system. A quarter-million people were evacuated from the buildings above, nearly $2 billion in damages accrued, and it took 6 weeks to pump the tunnels dry.

How much more costly—in lives and infrastructure—would a flood in a heavily used, underwater subway tunnel be today?

In January 2012 the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) successfully tested an unprecedented technology for containing flooding or dangerous gases in mass transit tunnels: a giant plug.

S&T’s Resilient Tunnel Project (RTP) has developed an enormous inflatable cylinder, tunnel-shaped with rounded capsule-like ends, that can be filled with water or air in minutes to seal off a section of tunnel before flooding gets out of control.

For years, mass transit experts have pondered ways to block off a section of a tunnel to quickly contain the spread of water. Ideally, the tunnel could be plugged, much as a drain is plugged by a rubber stopper. But is it actually possible to isolate part of a tunnel at a moment’s notice? Retrofitting a transit system with retractable, watertight doors might seem an obvious solution, but doing so could be cost-prohibitive and incredibly disruptive.

S&T’s new tunnel plug provides an affordable, easily installed, quickly deployable solution to protect vital mass transit systems. Developed in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL); West Virginia University (WVU); and ILC Dover, longtime maker of NASA space suits, the plug inflates (with water or air) to dimensions of roughly 32 feet long and by 16 feet wide, and holds 35,000 gallons, about the same capacity as a medium-sized backyard swimming pool. When not in use, the plug packs down to a small storage space in the tunnel, ready for remote, immediate inflation in an emergency from the tunnel system’s command center. Read more ..


The Weapon’s Edge

The Coming Cyberwar With Iran?

March 27th 2012

Shadowy Computer User

On January 17th, 1991, as the 34-nation coalition of Operation Desert Storm prepared for its first aerial bombardment of targets in Iraq, the U.S. military sprung a surprise.

Iraqi radar screens suddenly blinked and went dark, momentarily blinding Saddam Hussein’s military. The “Kari” radar control system had been infected with a computer virus, planted and controlled by the Pentagon. “It was a French system,” notes intelligence historian Matthew Aid of the Iraqi radar control. “They gave us the schematics and we found a way to insert some buggies into their system as the first wave of American bombers streaked toward Baghdad.”

It worked brilliantly. Iraq’s defenses were paralyzed, allied bombers faced no serious opposition, and the U.S. became the first-ever nation to launch a documented cyber-attack.

Since then, war and conflict—like many other things—have increasingly moved online. In Kosovo, Lebanon, Estonia, Georgia and elsewhere, digital weapons have been deployed to create mischief, havoc and damage. Now, as tensions rise between Iran and the U.S. and Israel, serious questions are being asked about whether the coming months may bring a new cyberwar, and what it may mean for the world. Read more ..


The World on Edge

World Leaders Call For More Nuclear Security Cooperation

March 27th 2012

Lee and Obama at Nuke Summit
Presidents Lee Myung-Bak of S. Korean, Barack Obama of the U.S.

World leaders gathered for a nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea, have pledged tough action to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism but have agreed no new concrete measures.

A statement at the close of the gathering on March 27 said it was the “fundamental responsibility” of all states to safeguard nuclear materials and keep them out of the hands of terrorists.

It added that “nuclear terrorism continues to be one of the most challenging threats to international security” and said countering that threat requires “strong national measures.” However, the statement provided no specific details on how governments intend to combat the threat.

U.S. President Barack Obama said that threats remain due to “bad actors” actively seeking unsecured nuclear materials. “Of course, what is also undeniable is that the threat remains. There are still too many bad actors in search of these dangerous materials and these dangerous materials are still vulnerable in too many places,” Obama told the summit. Read more ..


The Weapon’s Edge

Will the $55 Billion Bomber Program Fly?

March 26th 2012

B-2 Bomber
B-2 Bomber (credit: Gary Ell/USAF)

When the Obama administration dispatched three B-2 bombers from a Missouri air base on March 19 last year to cross the ocean and reach Libya, it put roughly $9 billion worth of America’s most prized military assets into the air. The bat-shaped black bombers, finely machined to elude radar and equipped with bombs weighing a ton apiece, easily demolished dozens of concrete aircraft shelters near Libya’s northern coast.

The Air Force points to that successful mission, and thousands of others against insurgents in Afghanistan conducted by older B-1 bombers, while arguing that long-distance, pinpoint expressions of U.S. military power are best carried out by strategic bombers. As a result, the Air Force says, the country needs more and newer versions of them, at the cost of tens of billions of dollars.

Its claims over the last year have impressed Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who called the idea “critical” to national security in February budget testimony. They also charmed Congress, which in December slipped an extra hundred million dollars into the defense budget to speed the creation of a top-secret new “Long-Range Strike Bomber.” Only that bomber—among the dozens of major new weapons systems now in development—was honored with a specific endorsement in the Pentagon’s new strategic review, released on January 5. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Iran Promises Complex and Devastating Retaliations for Attacks on Islamic Republic

March 26th 2012

Iran holy missiles

The Islamic regime in Iran issued a warning on March 24, promising that any attacks on the Persian state will lead to retaliations more complex and devastating then ever before, the Daily Caller reports:

   The [Fars news agency] analysis, titled “The Secret War Against Iran’s Nuclear Program Will No Longer Be Unanswered,” quotes the Islamic regime’s supreme leader, Khamenei, who said in his Iranian New Year message last week that while Iran does not want a nuclear bomb, any attack on Iranian nuclear sites will spark the same level of force against the attacking country. That statement is in line with what Iran’s defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi, said recently — that Iran has “secret weapons yet unknown to the West that will be used in response to any attack on Iran.” Vahidi is on Interpol’s most-wanted list for the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people and injured hundreds more. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Boko Haram: Addressing the Threat Before It Strikes

March 24th 2012

Nigeria Oil

Boko Haram, a Nigerian Islamist insurgency, is emerging as a threat not only to Nigeria, but also to the African continent and the United States. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has proven unable to address the growing security crisis that has targeted government officials, police forces, and hundreds of innocent civilians. Ongoing instability across the Sahel has also created an atmosphere ripe for tribal conflict, weapons proliferation, and terrorism. The region’s mounting instability is facilitated by a cultural interconnectedness providing Boko Haram with access to terrorist and militant groups.

The United States should not overlook the threat Boko Haram poses to U.S. interests in the region and potentially to the homeland. Boko Haram’s connections to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Shabab in Somalia have provided militants with the means to wage deadly attacks against international facilities, as seen by the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Abuja last August. The Obama Administration should not wait until a U.S. target is hit to take action. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Party of Fraud: Hizballah’s Criminal Enterprises

March 23rd 2012

Hezbollah rally

Given the growing confluence of drugs and terror, Washington needs to be more focused on Hizballah’s illicit activities, particularly in the Western Hemisphere. A long-established relationship with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Qods Force provides Hizballah, Iran’s trusted proxy group, opportunities to build operational capacity in the global illicit drug trade.

Hizballah entered the global narcotics trade approximately seven years ago by acquiring relatively small amounts of cocaine in 15kg–20kg quantities. Trafficking the drugs from the Tri-Border Area (Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina), across the Atlantic, and into locations like Europe, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, this initial investment produced hefty profits almost overnight. Today, Hizballah is moving tons of cocaine into West Africa, onward to North Africa, and eventually into European markets.

For decades, Hizballah has been a master at identifying and exploiting existing smuggling and organized crime infrastructure. Conservatively, the DEA has linked at least half of the U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations to the global drug trade. Hizballah’s illicit activity is directly linked to the group’s ability to build contacts and relationships globally. Read more ..


Edge of Terrorism

Sarkozy Wants to Imprison Those Viewing Terrorist Websites

March 23rd 2012

Online Jihad

In reaction to the recent spate of murders carried out by a Moslem extremist in France, its president, Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled proposed legislation that has stunned both legal experts and journalists. 

The proposed law would jail those who visit extremist web sites, and is just one plan in a list of new measures under consideration in the wake of Toulouse terrorist Mohamed Merah’s killing spree that took the lives of three French paratroopers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi.

The opponents of the new measure claim that it can prevent free expression and possibly infringe on an individual’s privacy.  Sarkozy, in defense of the measure, said, "Anyone who regularly consults Internet sites which promote terror or hatred or violence will be sentenced to prison," suggesting that it was time to consider people who follow extremist websites as we would someone perusing pedophilia and child pornography websites. "What is possible for pedophiles should be possible for trainee terrorists and their supporters, too." Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Keeping Terrorism in Perpective is Good Policy

March 22nd 2012

NYPD and flag

By design, terrorist attacks are intended to have a psychological impact far outweighing the physical damage the attack causes. As their name suggests, they are meant to cause terror that amplifies the actual attack. A target population responding to a terrorist attack with panic and hysteria allows the perpetrators to obtain a maximum return on their physical effort. Certainly, al Qaeda reaped such a maximum return from the Sept. 11 attacks, which totally altered the foreign policy and domestic security policies of the world's only superpower and resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan and military operations across the globe. Al Qaeda also maximized its return from the March 11, 2004, Madrid train bombings, which occurred three days before the 2004 Spanish general elections that ousted the ruling party from power.
 
One way to mitigate the psychological impact of terrorism is to remove the mystique and hype associated with it. The first step in this demystification is recognizing that terrorism is a tactic used by a variety of actors and that it will not go away, something we discussed at length in our first analysis in this series. Terrorism and, more broadly, violence are and will remain part of the human condition. The Chinese, for example, did not build the Great Wall to attract tourists, but to keep out marauding hordes. Fortunately, today's terrorists are far less dangerous to society than the Mongols were to Ming China. Read more ..


The Iranian Threat

Washington and Israel on Iran: Unresolved Differences

March 22nd 2012

Israeli Jet

The March 5 summit between President Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu marked an important milestone in the U.S.-Israeli decisionmaking process on Iran's nuclear program. The meeting helped clarify positions and narrow gaps, yet significant differences remain to be addressed in the coming months.

According to Israeli government sources, the two leaders refrained from sharpening their differing red lines on Iran. This is understandable given that neither country is likely to forsake its freedom of action on such a crucial issue. Israelis are pleased that the Iranian nuclear file has moved to the top of the U.S. and global agenda, with the international community adopting sharp sanctions for the first time. They also appreciate Obama's strong public statements rejecting containment, depicting a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to U.S. national security, pledging to keep all options on the table -- including the military one -- and, above all, respecting Israel's sovereign right to protect its vital national security interests. Such statements are important to Israeli ears because they create a sense of commitment no less significant than what is said behind closed doors.

Yet respecting Israel's sovereign rights or appearing open to Israeli requests for certain military wherewithal does not mean that Washington has given its ally a green light to strike Iran. The White House apparently reiterated its negative attitude toward a premature strike during the summit, urging Israel to allow sufficient time for sanctions and diplomacy to work first. For its part, the Israeli leadership clarified that it had not yet made a decision and would wait to see whether Iran yields to international pressure. In interviews with the Israeli media following his return from Washington, however, Netanyahu stated that the time to decide is measured "not in days or weeks, but also not in years." Read more ..


The Defense Edge

Obama Prepares for War with Sweeping Executive Order

March 20th 2012

Barack Obama in Thought

Last Friday, March 16, President Barack Obama may have quietly placed the United States on a war preparedness footing, perhaps in anticipation of an outbreak of war between Israel, the West, and Iran. A newly-propounded Executive Order, titled "National Defense Resources Preparedness," renews and updates the president's power to take control of all civil energy supplies, including oil and natural gas, control and restrict all civil transportation, which is almost 97 percent dependent upon oil; and even provides the option to re-enable a draft in order to achieve both the military and non-military demands of the country, according to a simple reading of the text. The Executive Order was published on the White House website.

The timing of the Order -- with little fanfare -- could not be explained. Opinions among the very first bloggers on the purpose of the unexpected Executive Order run the gamut from the confused to the absurd. None focus on the obvious sudden need for such a pronouncement: oil and its potential for imminent interruption. If Iran was struck by Israel or the West, or if Iran thought it might be struck, the Tehran regime has promised it would block the Strait of Hormuz, which would obstruct some 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil, some twenty percent of the global supply, and about 20 percent of America's daily needs. Moreover, Tehran has promised military retaliation against any nation it feels has harmed it. The United States is at the top of the list. Read more ..



See Earlier Stories 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41

Copyright © 2007-2017The Cutting Edge News About Us