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Massacre in Mumbai

Jihad in India—How Neglect and Appeasement led to Mumbai

January 26th 2009

India Topics - Mumbai Massacre

India is a country on the cusp of joining Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq to form the quartet most affected by international terrorism. The three neighboring terror-prone states bear witness to the fact that terrorism flourishes where terrorists do. Recent events demonstrate that India offers several lessons to other democracies in how not to fight the War on Terror.

Jihadi terrorism first manifested itself in India in Kashmir in 1989 after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan made the Jihadi forces' Pakistan-based controllers turn their attention to Kashmir. So long as the virus was confined to that state and, excepting rare incidents in the rest of India, such as the 1993 terror attacks in Bombay, India continued to develop normally, because of the low economic linkage between Kashmir and the hinterland.

Indian leaders failed to understand that rather than being freedom fighters, terrorists are parasites that drain the host nation of its resilience and eventually its existence. Read more ..

The Surge Against Hamas

A Plan for Gaza: Demilitarization and Internationalization

January 11th 2009

Contributors / Staff - Walid Phares new

It may be too early to discuss both a comprehensive solution for the future of a Palestinian state and to anticipate an end to the global War on Terror at the same time, but here goes. In any discussion of peace in the Middle East it is important to remember the intentions of the Iranian and Syrian regimes and their proxy, Hezbollah, when we think about saving the civilian population of Gaza from war, shielding the Israeli population from rockets, and avoiding an escalation of violence that could engulf the entire region. The Iranian and Syrian regimes -- and their ally Hezbollah -- will always oppose the peace process and try to sink it.

So is there a plan to bring peace to the southern shores of the Levant? In an interview with Al Jazeera, Israeli President Shimon Peres said his country will stop military operations when the strikes by Hamas and its allies come to an end. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his Palestinian Authority (PA) is ready to assume responsibility for the sake of his people. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah said their governments are ready to solve the crisis in Gaza if the PA is part of it. The United States, the European Union, and the United Nations all affirmed that everything must be done to end the war in Gaza. Excellent.

If all the players listed above are ready to stop the violence, end the war, and save Palestinian and Israeli civilians from bloodshed, then the plan seems to be clear: demilitarization and internationalization of Gaza.

Establishing a fully-fledged U.N. sponsored and managed security system in the enclave has precedents across the planet: Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, and to some extent in Lebanon and possibly in the near future, Darfur. When an area slips under the control of a militia which is neither bound by a peace treaty nor operating under international law, and when a population comes under fire from any party because of the military actions of such a militia, until a recognizable and recognized sovereign state becomes responsible for such an enclave, the U.N. Security Council must step in and apply Chapter 7 of the charter, that is: to bring peace to civilian populations. Read more ..

Surge Against Hamas

Israel Faces Iran in Gaza

January 5th 2009

Terrorism - Hamas troops w/rocket
Iranian-supplied Grad Rockets

Those 40 km missiles Hamas is unleashing against Israeli cities are certainly not "amateur rockets… nagging the residents" of Israeli cities, as a Palestinian journalist recently wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

The press calls the rockets "Grads" or "Katyushas," the Russian name given several generations ago to the original Soviet-made surface-to-surface missiles. Today, it would be more correct to label some of the missiles by their real name, the "Arash," the name given to them by their Iranian manufacturers. The long-range 120 mm mortars raining down on Israel are also Iranian in origin. The mortars are equipped with auxiliary motors to increase their range from six to ten kilometers.

The longest range "Grads" were manufactured in China and but many of these too were smuggled to Hamas via Iran. Visitors to Sderot's rocket heap museum of spent missiles can view Iranian-made weapons for themselves.


Edge on Internet Security

Building Cyber Security Leadership in the Obama Administration

December 29th 2008

Technology - Cyber Warfare

The issue of cyber security, cyber competitiveness, and cyber warfare has weighed heavily on the minds of policymakers as the severity and complexity of malicious cyber attacks have intensified over the past decade. These attacks, directed against both the public and private sectors, are the product of a heterogeneous network of state and non-state actors whose actions are motivated by a host of factors. Helping to ensure that the federal government achieves a high level of competency on cyber security issues is an imperative for the next Congress.

Indicative of how important cyber security has become, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell raised this issue for the first time this past February as part of his testimony on the 2008 Annual Threat Assessment. When asked if he believed the United States was prepared to deal with cyber secu­rity threats to the civilian and military infrastructure, McConnell noted that the country is "not prepared to deal with it. The military is probably the best protected; the federal government is not well protected, and the private sector is not well protected. So the question is: How do we take some of the things that we've developed for the military side, scale them across the federal government? And then the key question will be: How do we interact with the private sector?" Properly answering these questions begins with developing cyber-strategic leadership skills in the U.S. government and private sector.

Even as Washington wrestles with issues concerning organization, authorities, responsibilities, and programs to deal with cyber competition, it must place more emphasis on developing leaders who are competent to engage in these issues. This will require a professional development system that can provide a program of education, assignment, and accreditation to develop a corps of experienced, dedicated service professionals who have an expertise in the breadth of issues related to the cyber environment. Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

Obama Urged To Trade European Missile Shield For Russian Help On Iran Sanctions In 60 to 90 Day Effort

December 22nd 2008

Contributors / Staff - Howard Berman
Rep. Howard Berman

The U.S. should consider making concessions to Russia on the placement of a missile-defense shield in Europe, in order to get Moscow to back "crippling" concessions against Iran if the time comes, suggests Howard Berman (D-Cal), the powerful Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Berman said that one reason for a limited dialogue with the Iranians to get them to suspend uranium enrichment would be to encourage other countries to "buy into crippling" sanctions if Teheran failed to do so.

The pivotal Congressman stated that the U.S.-Iran talks should be of a set duration, somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks, so the Iranians would not, as they have done in the past, use the negotiations as a cover to continue their nuclear program and their weapons development.

The chances of getting the international community to put its full weight behind sanctions are greater once dialogue between the U.S. and Iran is established, Berman said.

When asked whether he genuinely thought Moscow would cooperate with sanctions that would include a ban on refined oil exports to the Islamic republic, Berman said that the U.S. had "lots of different issues" with Russia, and that he did not think the Bush administration had "prioritized Iran on those issues." The Russians knew full well how important this issue was for the U.S., and at the same time were watching the U.S. "push policies that they deeply resent," such as the missile-defense system in Europe and the quick expansion of NATO, he said. Read more ..

Edge on Jihad

Behind The Shoe Bomber

December 22nd 2008

Islamic Topics - Shoe bomber rally
Rally in support of the Shoe Bomber

Observing the immediate aftermath of the shoe throwing incident in Baghdad, one may note that the most striking effect occurred among the Western public, particularly within the United States.

Commentators and regular citizens were asking themselves, seven years after 9/11, “why do they hate us?,” once again missing the fact that this particular violent expressionfar from being a unique emotional reaction by one individualis part of a war of ideas, a continuous organized confrontation over the future of the region.

In short, this is another form of Jihadism, one which we may refer to as Jihad by the Shoe (Jihad bil Hizaa). Here is why.

Western Awe of So-Called Arab Reaction

The main question on anchors’ minds and lips reflected the shock and awe felt by many Americans. It wasn’t really about the Iraqi journalist al Zaidi targeting President Bush with his two leather “missiles,” for in liberal democracies the scene of flying eggs, pies, or liquid in the direction of politicians, legislators, Prime Ministers, or Presidents is part of the political culture. Leaders are even on the receiving end of obscene gestures and words; this comes with the package of democratic freedoms. It ends up usually with a sensational picture on the front page, or as a joke on TV’s late night shows. The legal consequences, if any, are usually minor. Read more ..

Edge on Terrorism

Belgian Victory Over Al Qaeda Offers Lessons In War On Terror

December 15th 2008

Europe Topics - Belgian Police
Belgian anti-terror squad

Belgian authorities have arrested 14 suspected Al Qaeda terrorists, including a Jihadi who was allegedly planning a suicide attack, according to Agence France Presse and the Associated Press.

Sixteen raids were executed by 242 police officers in Brussels and in the eastern city of Liege on the eve of an important European economic summit scheduled to take place in Brussels. Security and judicial sources described the arrests as the “most important anti-terrorism operation in Belgium.” Citing the Federal prosecutor’s office, AFP reported that the move was targeting “a Belgian Islamist group involved in training as well as fighting on the Pakistan-Afghan border in cooperation with important figures in al Qaeda.” Read more ..

Edge of Terror

In 2009, Terror Attacks Will Only Worsen

December 8th 2008

Terrorism - Jihadi Salute

Mumbai’s bloody week has ended with shock and awe in India and around the world. Since 9/11, and even before, the jihadists have been leaping from one massacre to another, scarring democracies and civil societies with their violent imprints.

From New York and Washington to Madrid and London, from Beslan and Baghdad to Islamabad and Bali, the seekers of a Taliban-like Caliphate continue to adapt their tactics even as they stay the course. No civilization or continent has escaped their designs.

But after Mumbai, one has to expect more—and worse. Let’s look at what’s on the horizon:

1) Urban Jihad is Now Open for Business
My initial assessment of the Mumbai terror attacks leads me to predict that the Mumbai model is now a frame of reference for copycats. These attacks can happen again, in India, in the region, and around the globe.

Urban jihad is a siege of coordinated terror activities by Salafists or other adherents of Jihadism aimed at shocking, paralyzing, and seizing part of an entire city or a neighborhood. The goal of the jihad is to take the battle inside the cities of the enemy, in this case India. But the Beslan school massacre in Russia in September 2004, the terror attacks in Saudi Arabia in November 2003 the multiple killings in Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria, as well as the similar scenarios in Israel over several decades, tell us that this form of urban terrorism is now beyond the test phase—it is now open for business worldwide. They strike anywhere en masse.

2) Sub-Continental Jihadi Now Makes Claims Beyond Kashmir
Interestingly, the Jihadi propaganda machine reacted instantly to the attacks by invoking the issue of Kashmir. So did many in the international media. But the reality is the goals have mutated and now extend beyond the classical ethnic conflict in Kashmir. Read more ..

Mumbai Massacre

Indian Commandos May Have Killed Some Chabad Hostages

December 1st 2008

Israel Topics - Mumbai Chabad rabbi
Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and Rivka Holtzberg

Col. Yossi Turgeman, Israeli military attaché to India, said that the two Israelis previously announced missing by the Israeli Foreign Ministry were not among the dead, according to a report by Israel's Army Radio.

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry announced that the number of Israelis unaccounted for in Mumbai had dropped to two, after contact was made with two Israelis thought to be missing.

The Indian commando raid launched to save the lives of Jewish and Israeli hostages at Mumbai's Chabad House may have inadvertently ended the lives of one or more of the hostages, the head of a six-man rescue team in the terror-stricken Indian city told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Speaking by phone from Mumbai, Haim Weingarten, the head of the Mumbai ZAKA rescue team, said, "Based on what I saw, [although] I can't identify the type of bullets in the bodies [of the victims], I don't think the terrorists killed all the hostages, to put it gently."

All six Jewish and Israeli hostages found dead in the Chabad House were killed by either gunshot wounds or shrapnel from grenade blasts, or both, Weingarten said, adding that he didn't know who threw or fired the grenades that wounded the hostages. Read more ..

Inside Terrorism

Al Qaeda’s Message: Global Jihad Will Not Stop With Obama White House

November 24th 2008

Terrorism - Zawahiri

While observers waited for the release of the "official" al Qaeda position on the election of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States, seasoned experts on the Jihadist movement had little doubt about the substance of the main message. As I have outlined in my appearances on Arabic television channels since November 4, Osama bin Laden or his second in command, was expected to declare that their "Jihad" will continue despite the election of an African-American president and despite Obama’s intention to withdraw from Iraq. Ayman al-Zawahiri lived up to expectations in his latest message to both his supporters and his enemies. The message: Even if the war ends in Iraq, the global war will continue everywhere.

The tape was expected to appear a few weeks after the election—because that’s how the terror group does things. First, al Qaeda monitors the reaction from of the international community, both from the Arab and Muslim world and also from other Islamist authorities. The Bin Laden-Zawahiri style is to give the "last word," like a Caliph would. The points raised in the tape were almost all predicted by experts familiar with the Jihadi-combat mind set: Although a new president was elected—one who would reverse some of Bush’s policies—the new president will also devise new strategies to defeat al Qaeda. Read more ..

Inside Terrorism

Message to Barack Obama from Al Qaeda in Iraq

November 17th 2008

Contributors / Staff - Walid Phares new
Walid Phares

As reactions to the election of a new U.S. President across the Arab and Muslim world reflecting the fundamental interests of the various regimes and movements, the most radical groups including al Qaeda have been sending messages in different directions. Of particular interest is one message to Barack Obama.

Al-Furqan, a Jihadi outlet, released on November 8 an audio recording of a speech by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who describes himself as "Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq." The less than half hour internet broadcast was titled "Message to the New Governors of the White House (and other Christian leaders)." It can also be translated as "to the new rulers," i.e. the President and Vice President elect.

After a mandatory "theological" segment taking on Christians, Jews, and apostate Muslims, the speech wandered erratically between issues high on the Jihadist agenda worldwide, particularly the necessity for the United States to call it quits and pull out of the Mideast region. In essence, al Baghdad, who is one of al Qaeda's most lethal "generals," demands the United States under the Obama administration to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and remove its military presence from the Muslim world.

Interestingly, this message to the Obama White House connects with a dominant theme not only of al Qaeda's but also the Jihadist forces and regimes around the world. Despite their divisions and diverse strategies, the Salafists and Khomeinists have a common ideological approach on how to deal with the United States. This attitude has been embodied by multiple speeches, statements, and declarations since the early 1990s. From the powerful doctrinal positions of Sheikh Yusuf al Qardawi on al Jazeera, al Qaeda's Usama Bin laden and Ayman Zawahiri, to President Ahmedinijad, the "agenda" is single-minded: The United States must pull its forces outside the region and keep them inside its own borders.  Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

Could Israel Strike Iran Before Obama's Inauguration Day?

November 10th 2008

Israel Topics - Israeli Jets Parked

On December 8, 1988, under the cover of night, IDF warplanes, helicopters, guided-missile frigates and an elite force of Flotilla 13 naval commandos and Golani Brigade reconnaissance fighters infiltrated Lebanon.

Their target was a cave-based headquarters 20 km. south of Beirut, serving the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, headed by Ahmed Jibril.

The raid, code-named Operation Blue and Brown, involved the first known use of the IDF's secretive Oketz K9 dog unit.

Four soldiers found themselves left behind, forcing the air force to conduct a dramatic helicopter rescue. The soldiers clung to the helicopters' railings as they choppers took off, with Palestinian gunmen in pursuit. Lt.-Col. Amir Meital, commander of Golani reconnaissance unit, was killed by enemy fire during the raid. Read more ..

America With No Plan for an Oil Interruption

Iran Defiantly Increases Threat to Strait of Hormuz with New Naval Base

November 3rd 2008

Iran - Iranian Warships
Iranian Warships near Strait of Hormuz

Iran opened a new naval base on October 27, 2008, at the southern mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic chokepoint for Persian Gulf oil. 

About 20 percent of the world’s petroleum and 40 percent of the searborne crude traverse the Strait daily. As such, some 20 percent of America's daily oil needs, passes through the Strait, according to the Energy Information Administration. The EIA has dubbed it, “by far the world’s most important chokepoint.”

Author Edwin Black in his book, The Plan, has spotlighted the fact that the United States has no plan in the event of an oil interruption. The threat to American oil was a point not lost on Iranian naval chief Habibollah Sayyari who was quoted as saying the base at the town of Jask (1,050 miles from Tehran) would enable Iran to block the entry of an "enemy" into the Gulf. Read more ..


OPEC Regimes: The "Change They Need" in U.S. Foreign Policy

October 27th 2008

Contributors / Staff - walid Phares new

Americans should not be surprised to learn that a number of regimes on three continents badly want a fundamental change of direction in U.S. foreign policy. But let’s quickly note that what binds these ruling establishments together in their desire for a different America is that they are authoritarian, afraid of democracy and oil producers. Furthermore, they control the destiny—and thus the economic firepower—of a collaboration of the wealthiest rulers in history, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, better known as OPEC.

Indeed, it initially was formed in September 1960 in Baghdad to "coordinate and unify petroleum policies among member countries in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers." It mutated gradually, however, into a world cartel that lobbies for the comfortable survival of most of its member regimes.

The free world witnessed OPEC's first "economic terrorism" against consumer states, including against the United States and Europe during the 1973 oil boycott. That year, European citizens were forced to bike in freezing temperatures to their jobs and homes, and Americans were humiliated at the pumps in their own country. Since that shock, and because of the West’s need for oil, OPEC's hard core regimes exported immense political influence into the West; multinational corporations, universities and foreign policy chanceries were virtually colonized by the imperial power of the oil producers. Read more ..

America's Economic Collapse

OPEC Is A Convenient Villain In Current Economic Collapse But Not The True Culprit

October 20th 2008

Energy / Environment - Saudi Group

There is so much blame to go around in the wake of the financial crisis that there is no wonder OPEC’s name shows up high in the list of culprits. After all, soaring oil prices and loss of wealth in 2008 to the tune of $1.2-$1.9 billion each and every working day, depending on the price of crude, not only helped pop the U.S. mortgage bubble but have also helped create the economic conditions that brought the U.S. economy to its current dire straits.

I don’t like the oil cartel and have even been called "the most hated man in Riyadh." My positions on OPEC and its methodical price manipulation and looting of the world’s poor are well documented.


Economic Terrorism

Is OPEC Warring Against America's Economic Independence?

October 13th 2008

Energy / Environment - Saudi Oil

In the fog of economic mayhem ravaging American and international economies, experts are having a hard time determining the root causes of the current financial crisis. One parameter is established: The Ground Zero of this economic fear is located in Wall Street, a few blocks away from the other Ground Zero, where al Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center and massacred thousands of Americans and other nationals.
While we know who caused the destruction of the Twin Towers and why they did it, the question of who is causing the crumbling of the world economy, starting with America, and why, remains unanswered. It will take probably years and the best economists to investigate the web that led to the most dangerous crisis in international finance since the late 1920s. But to political economists and international relations analysts, there are some leads to explore while pure economists are proceeding with only their reconstruction of the crisis.
The latter may not ever reach definitive conclusions, and for political reasons. Too many strategic interests are at stake in the convulsions we are witnessing. From a stratospheric view, we see a U.S. economy bleeding intensely; and as its government, in the midst of an electoral transition, is trying to administer some financial medicine, we can see that serious illnesses are breaking out in several economies around the world. The international community is waking up to watch another dimension of globalization: the lethal domino effect. When the greatest economy goes down, the international economic system follows.  Read more ..

Edge on Terror

Experts Often Misunderstand Jihadi Tactics

October 6th 2008

Terrorism - Jihadi Salute
Jihadis in Hitler Salute

 The main finding of the last 19 years since the Soviet collapse is that Jihadi-led terrorism has become a central threat to democracies worldwide. The debate among Jihadi Salafists since the Khartoum conferences in the early 1990s wasn’t between those who advocated violent Jihad as a concept and those who rejected it, as many experts in the West continue to erroneously affirm. The gist of that Jihadi debate was between two schools, as to which enemy to target and how.

Combat-Jihad (al Jihad al Qitali) is a tool, a weapon, not a sui generis doctrine by itself. As I advanced in my first post-9/11 book, Future Jihad, the realist school—the classical Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood—advocated a reserved attitude towards engaging the West militarily before being able to achieve strategic parity with the West. Unfortunately, a number of analyses in the West confused this strategic approach with an alleged commitment to non-violent means. Hence, we’ve had a very poor understanding of Jihadi penetration for more than one decade. Today we see the emergence of a similar understanding within the Western counterterrorism community, which argues that the classical Jihadists are philosophically non-violent, thus they can be partnered with liberal democracies against the philosophically violent Jihadis such as al Qaeda. Read more ..

Inside Lebanon

Lebanese Shiites: Torn Between Dying for Iran and Living for Lebanon

September 29th 2008

Hezbollah banners
Hezbollah on the March

The world continues to grasp the importance of Lebanon as a major front in the global battle between the forces of moderation and the forces of extremism. Vital to that battle are the large numbers of Lebanese, especially the Shias, who continue to support Hezbollah as it serves the interests of Iran while dragging all of Lebanon onto the wrong side of the fight.

Under the pretense of representing Shia interests, Hezbollah exploits the intrinsic sectarian divisions in order to continue gnawing at Lebanese sovereignty.  The false sense of empowerment that the “divinely” guided Hezbollah has successfully casted over the Shias has blinded them from uncovering the party’s real intentions.  Their apparent willingness to suffer huge losses caused by Hezbollah’s adventures allows its leaders to remain irrationally defiant as Hassan Nassrallah did after his criminal blunder of 2006 by claiming a “divine victory” while hundreds of mutilated corpses were still under the rubbles of the mostly Shiite devastated neighborhoods. 

The Shias’ support emboldens the leaders of Hezbollah to challenge the demands for disarming even if Israel withdraws from the disputed Shebaa farms area, thus indirectly exposing their true mission, which goes beyond the conflict with Israel, to serve their Iranian masters and to achieve the hegemony of the Iranian regime over the Lebanese Shias. Read more ..

Edge on Jihadism

Hellish Jihadi Message to Pakistan

September 22nd 2008

Terrorism - Marriott Explosion Pakistan
Blast at Islamabad Marriott Hotel

As shown by world networks, the hellish flames ravaging the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad seemed like a vision of the Apocalypse. That's how many survivors of the terror attack that massacred more than 60 and wounded hundreds have described it: "The end of the World." But beyond the barbaric bloodshed and the human suffering, the heavy question fast arises: How to read this Jihadi mayhem, and what is the message behind the bombing?
When a war is raging, as is the case in Pakistan for the last years, analysts won't wait on the procedural investigation to determine the identity of the perpetrators of this attack. local police and security forces will get somewhere sometime. But the graver question is about the big picture. What are al Qaeda and their Taliban herds up to by terrorizing the people and Government of the second largest Muslim country in the world and—more important—the first Islamic nation to possess nuclear weapons? Read more ..

Edge on Russia

The Bear Ain't Back--It Never Left

September 15th 2008

Russian Topics - Russian bomber overflying Kremlin
Russian Jets Overfly the Kremlin

Many of Washington’s elite foreign policy analysts and media voices have been decrying the return to the Cold War and that the Russian Bear is back.

Many experts would answer: the Bear never left.

Russian military action in Georgia was met with shock, surprise, dismay, and disdain by the West, which believed that Russia had accepted its place in the world as a minor player. The West never understood that Russia has always seen itself as powerful empire. The Soviet Union's disintegration did nothing to disturb that view.

But Russia wasn’t just sitting back remembering the old days. Rather, under Vladimir Putin’s leadership, Russia was rebuilding, redefining, and re-equipping itself to once again play a role on the global stage. In the same length of time it took the American economy to nearly collapse, and the United States to be embroiled in a devastating and questionable war in the Middle East, Vladimir Putin brought Russia from bankruptcy to financial affluence, rebuilt the Russian military, established new and strong international partnerships, and expanded its influence into new strategic arenas.

One of those strategic arenas is right in America’s backyard.

Russian air and naval forces will join with the Venezuelan military in joint exercises. The Venezuelan navy and air force, together with four Russian warships carrying 1,000 soldiers will participate in the exercises scheduled for November 10-14 in Venezuelan territorial waters, according to a statement from the Venezuelan military. Russia said its ships would include the heavy cruiser Peter the Great. Anti-submarine planes would also be temporarily sent to Venezuela. Since Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took office, Venezuela has boosted its military cooperation with Russia. Read more ..

The Bear is Back

Kosovo was the Spark That Produced the Flame in Georgia and Ossetia

September 15th 2008

Russian Topics - Georgia Civilian Distress
A Victim of the Russia-Georgia War

It is obvious that the current conflict in Georgia has been greatly influenced by the United States' and the European Union's decision to initiate, support and recognize Kosovo's independence. Over the last few days this connection has been made in newspapers from Spain to China. Prominent European statesmen such as Lech Walesa and Jiri Dienstbier also have linked the current violence in the Caucasus to the "irresponsible" decision to recognize Serbia's breakaway province.

Even the major protagonists in the current crisis have embraced this connection. The South Ossetians and Abkhazians have cited Kosovo's independence as an argument for their own separatist ambitions; the Russians have referred to Kosovo to slash at the credibility and legitimacy of EU and American criticisms. Georgian leaders who had warned about the dangerous precedent of Kosovo's independence and had refused to recognize it are now desperately attempting to find differences between the two situations in order to deny any possible legitimacy for the case for independence of its own separatist regions. Read more ..

The Economics of Terror

All Eleven Appellate Judges in Chicago Hear Appeal in Hamas Funding Case

September 8th 2008

Terrorism - Hamas Terrorists

A rare public session of all eleven active judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will be held on Wednesday, September 10, in Chicago. The court will hear the appeals of the Holy Land Foundation and other American organizations that supported Hamas against a 156 million dollar judgment in favor of the family of a 17-year-old American-born yeshiva student, David Boim, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in May 1996 while standing at a bus stop in Beit El on the West Bank. Boim’s parents were the first to sue American-based organizations under a 1991 federal law granting American victims of international terrorism the right to recover treble damages.

The Boims have been represented by noted Washington attorney Nathan Lewin of Lewin & Lewin LLP and his partner-daughter Alyza D. Lewin. Mr. Lewin filed the case in May 2000, and a court of appeals decision sustaining his novel legal theory has been the leading precedent in post-September 11 lawsuits against financers of terrorism.

The jury trial in Chicago was presented for the Boims by Stephen J. Landes of the litigation firm Wildman Harrold. A 2-to-1 ruling by three appellate judges in Chicago, reversing the Boims’ judgment on the ground that the evidence did not establish that the Holy Land Foundation’s contributions were the “cause in fact” of the murder of David Boim, was vacated by the full 11-judge bench, and all 11 judges will now decide the appeals after oral arguments are presented in Chicago by attorneys Lewin and Landes. Read more ..

Iran in the Americas

Hezbollah Finds Fertile Ground in Latin America Thanks to Iran--Venezuela Axis

September 1st 2008

Iran - Chavez and Ahmanijad
Presidents Ahmadinejad and Chavez

Iran's increasingly close ties with Venezuela are causing concern to western terror analysts, given that Iran has long been a sponsor of Hezbollah. President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran in an embrace accompanied by increasingly strident anti-US rhetoric from the Latin strongman. That has increased scrutiny of Hezbollah’s activities in Latin America.

Although the Shiite Muslim terrorist organization based is in Lebanon, the group has long been linked to terrorism elsewhere in Latin America. Hezbollah has been held responsible by international experts for the deadly 1990s attacks in Argentina against the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center that killed 114. At least one Western government terrorism expert expressed concern that Hezbollah may be able to more easily engage in moving personnel and materiel within Latin America precisely because of the close ties between Venezuela and the Islamic Republic.

Assistant Secretary of State Thomas A. Shannon said in June 2008 that the Islamic Republic "has a history of terror in this hemisphere, and its linkages to the bombings in Buenos Aires are pretty well established." In 2006, Shannon had warned about Venezuela’s closer ties to both Cuban and Iranian intelligence saying, “Cuban intelligence has effectively cloned itself inside Venezuelan intelligence to the point that [our] ability to cooperate and have a relationship with Venezuela on the intelligence side is very difficult," and "We are worried about the kind of relationship [Mr. Chavez] wants to have with Iran on the intelligence side." Read more ..

Edge on Jihadism

Europe Must Realize Jihadism is both an Ideology and a Theology

August 25th 2008

Terrorism - Jihadi Salute
Palestinian Jihadis in Hitler Salute

Jihadi terrorism is one of the largest threats Europe and the international community are facing in this era. Hence studying Jihadi terrorism beyond the formation and the dismantling of cells is highly relevant to Europeans because of the impact of its actions on security, politics, and economy.

Jihadism is putting significant pressure on European foreign policy regarding where and when Europe can intervene in an international crisis such as those in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Darfur. It is also putting pressure on the European economy through the choices made in foreign policies. But the inability to explain these pressures is a major reason behind the strategic failure in containing and reversing the threat which continues to expand and grow across the continent.

As some members of the European Parliament have declared, the issue is about "identification" of that threat. We need to "ID" it so that we can address it properly. Western democracies have had a failure in perception of the threat; for the countries that have been fighting this movement are still debating it seven years after 9/11 and several years after Madrid and London attacks. World War II took five years to win, and, in this confrontation, the identification of the menace is still not completed properly after seven years.

Hence, we will offer a few suggestions of strategic guidelines to address this issue.

First: The Identification Problem

1. Self Identification: The Jihadists talk about themselves, their agenda and their views. Let's not ignore this literature, but let's analyze it and learn from it. These movements certainly use theology in their discourse, but they have developed an ideology. They do define themselves as Jihadis, Islamists, Takfiris, and others, but the most accurate term to identify them is "Jihadists." Read more ..

Russian Invasion of Georgia

Apply Kosovo's Model to South Ossetia?

August 11th 2008

Russian Topics - Russian Tanks Invade Georgia
Russian Tanks Invade Georgia

The conflict over South Ossetia -and possibly over Abkhazia's- regions is a dangerous development in international stability, particularly for the efforts deployed worldwide in the campaign against Terror forces. For this local ethnic and territorial confrontation involving now Georgia, the Russian Federation has the potential of absorbing energies and resources otherwise needed and applied elsewhere in resisting Jihadi offensives and networks.

Georgia is an important ally in the US-led coalition overseeing the stabilization of Iraq and the containing of Khomeinist offensive in that country. An escalation over South Ossetia and Abkhazia will lead (and has already significantly) to a full withdrawal of Georgia from Iraq and eventually drawing US and other Western diplomatic efforts and resources for the defense of Georgia in the Caucuses. This will weaken the position in Iraq, in the Middle East, and open an unnecessary front in a different region against a superpower, also drawn into the conflict because of local conflicts. Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

Tehran Ignores Latest Diplomatic Nuke Deadline as Israel Ponders Strike

August 4th 2008

Iran - Iran Nuclear Equipment
Iranian Nuclear Equipment

Iran will not give up "a single iota of its nuclear rights," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced last week, snubbing an informal deadline to stop expanding uranium enrichment or face more sanctions. The Iranian president declared, "In whichever negotiation we take part ... it is unequivocally with the view to the realization of Iran's nuclear right, and the Iranian nation would not retreat one iota from its rights.”

Ahmadinejad made the remarks during discussions with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who arrived in Tehran for a two-day visit. Assad was in Tehran to discuss Iran's uranium enrichment at the behest of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Many observers viewed Assad’s visit as an almost “last ditch” effort to avoid a military confrontation.

Tehran was given an informal two-week deadline, set July 19 by the UN Security Council's five permanent members, plus Germany, to stop expanding uranium enrichment – at least temporarily – in exchange for their commitment to stop seeking new UN sanctions. Ahmadinejad's stance signaled both a failure of Assad's mission and a rejection of the deadline. Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

Iran’s S-300 Delivery Debated as Israel Delays Pre-emptive Strike Allowing Diplomatic Progress a Chance

July 28th 2008

Iran - S-300

Israeli and American military officials are now publicly differing on whether Iran will receive its pivotal S-300 Russian anti-aircraft batteries by September of this year or well into 2009, according to media reports. However, informed sources tell this reporter that while some of the first components have already arrived in Iran, they are still disassembled in boxes and undeployed. Hence, the difference between Washington and Jerusalem military sources may be parsing over the operational nature of the state-of-the-art batteries, not their actual delivery.  Read more ..

Iran’s Nukes

Iran Stalling, Not Serious at Nuclear Talks, Says Rice as New Two-Week Deadline Issued

July 21st 2008

Iran - Saeed Jalili at News Conference in Geneva
Saeed Jalili at Geneva Press Conference

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran of making "small talk" and "not being serious" during last weekend’s crucial Geneva talks about suspending its controversial nuclear program. The collapse of those talks has hastened the moment of a profound diplomatic and military showdown in the minds of many in the international community. The new deadline seems to be two weeks.

Rice said Iran wasted the time of diplomats from the US and five other world powers with a mere "runaround." Many in the international community were especially disappointed because also in attendance was America’s highest ranking negotiator, William J. Burns, Undersecretary of State for political affairs. In an historic turnaround for U.S. policy, Burns joined senior diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China. Envoys all sat around the table hoping for a response to a package of ramped up incentives with a guarantee of a six-week freeze of new sanctions in exchange for a six-week freeze in nuclear enrichment.

Although representatives from the six nations attending pushed for some evidence of compromise from Iran, they were met with an astonishing display of cryptic and cultural small talk. Rice told reporters that some of the bizarre Iranian answers amounted to a "meandering" monologue full of irrelevant "small talk about culture" that appeared to annoy the delegates seated around the table. Read more ..

Iran’s Nukes

Iran Orders Secret Network of Civilian Companies to Resume Nuclear Weapons Production

July 14th 2008

Iran - Ahmadinejad at Iranian nuclear plant
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tours nuclear site

Teheran’s Revolutionary Guard, responsible for all nuclear programs in Iran, has been instructed by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to set up private companies to pursue the acquisition and development of P2 advanced centrifuges, according to recent Western intelligence.

The Bush Administration reacted by imposing financial sanctions on any entity participating in Iran’s nuclear programs.

"Iran's nuclear and missile firms hide behind an array of agents that transact business on their behalf," said Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

P2 centrifuges enrich uranium two to three times faster than centrifuges currently in use. They are a key component of a blueprint for atomic bombs sold to Iran by Dr. A.Q. Khan, the "father" of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, in the 1990s. Nuclear experts confirm that the P2 centrifuges are used primarily for atomic weapons.

The private front companies, hidden on the outskirts of Teheran, are designed to operate undetected by the United Nations nuclear inspection teams. Concerns that nuclear weapon production will continue despite Iran’s proclamations of peaceful use only have circulated among Western experts. Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

How Would U.S. React to Israeli Strike on Iran?

July 7th 2008

Military - Israeli Jets Parked

As the question of an Israeli attack on Iran edges from if toward when, a new question looms: What would the United States do?

The question is preoccupying not just the White House but the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns, although neither would address the matter on the record.

A number of neoconservatives in Washington, known for their closeness to the Israeli defense establishment, now predict that Israel may strike between the election in November and the inauguration of the next president on January 21, if only because that’s a time when Israel can count on U.S. support.

"Israel would be unlikely to do it before the U.S. election," said John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who is close to the pro-Israel community in the capital. "But after the election and before the inauguration would be a window."

Israeli officials will not name a date, but some have grown more pronounced in recent weeks about the increased prospect of a strike should Iran develop nuclear weapons capability. "A year from now Iran will be very, very close to the completion of its first nuclear bomb," Ephraim Sneh, a member of Israel's ruling coalition, said earlier this month at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference. "I may predict that there is – will be – no government in Jerusalem which would allow it to happen." Read more ..

The LNG Threat

Liquefied Natural Gas: A Growing Economic Target?

June 30th 2008

Energy / Environment - LNG Tanker
LNG tanker at sea

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is more than just a potential weapon of mass destruction in the right locale. It also offers terrorists an awesome economic target wherever in the world it can be found--even on the high seas.

During a March 21, 2007 hearing, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, of the second district of Mississippi, observed that although it is important to consider the dangers of LNG, it is equally important to try to assess the economic impacts that an LNG incident might incur. “…Terrorists would just as well like to keep a port out of business for a week or two and that would be an absolutely significant incident… So, I think part of our challenge is how we look at all the consequences associated with the handling of LNG. Clearly, we want to know the hazards initially, but we also want to look at economic conditions that relate to it.”

The variables that would affect the economic impact are too numerous to make such a predetermined calculation possible. Additionally, as time passes and the role of LNG grows worldwide, the potential impact of a terrorist attack on these tankers or terminals increases. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), LNG imports comprised only three percent of overall natural gas consumption in the U.S. in 2005. Energy analysts expect LNG imports into the U.S. to increase by 8.7 percent annually through 2030. Conversely, natural gas piped in from Canada, which is the number one source of imported natural gas to the U.S., is expected to decrease by 4.6 percent. At this rate, by 2030, approximately 17 percent of all natural gas required to meet U.S. consumption needs, will be supplied via LNG imports.  Read more ..

The Next Mideast War

Washington Planners, Obama and McCain Aides Agree: U.S. Must Prepare for Israeli Strike on Iran's Nukes

June 23rd 2008

Contributors / Staff - Rosner
Shmuel Rosner

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WI) has just published the final version of a report by the Task Force on the Future of U.S.-Israel relations. One fascinating conclusion asserts that achieving peace between Israelis and Arabs while Iran is going nuclear will be difficult. "Moreover, our collective ability to wage peace or prevent conflict will, in many ways, be shaped by the success of Iran's nuclear ambitions."

Giving insight into the pending question of the day, the report is entitled, "How to Deepen U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge." No less insightful is the list endorsing this report: Tony Lake and Susan Rice of the Obama campaign, Vin Weber, James Woolsey of the McCain camp.

The list of endorsers also includes other important people, some of whom are also close to the presidential campaigns. Among them, former counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke, Bob Blackwill of the Council on Foreign Relations, former Senator Bob Kerry and others.

Dennis Ross, former Mideast peace envoy, and Rob Satloff, of the WI, were the two main movers behind the report.

The collective group of Washington thinkers raise some concerns regarding the depth and content of U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue. They think this dialogue should be enhanced, especially so because of the challenge Iran poses to both countries.

The gist, in a journalistic headline format is: Obama, McCain advisors agree: US-Israel should discuss preventive military action against Iran. But this is, of course, the simplistic way of describing this document which merits a more nuanced reading.

All signatories agreed upon other points:

The NIE report of Iran was as bad as many people thought it was: "Regrettably, however, the NIE's crediting past efforts to pressure Iran with partial success had the unintended consequence of reducing the sense of urgency for additional pressure. The result is that the prospects for significant strengthening of international resolve to raise the cost to Iran of continuing to pursue objectionable policies in the nuclear field are less hopeful today than they were prior to the publication of the NIE." 


Inside Lebanon

Nasrallah’s Speech: How Hezbollah Ruled, How the West is Fooled

June 16th 2008

Islamic Topics - Nasrallah

In the coming days, a major battle in the “War of Ideas” will be unfolding worldwide, particularly through the international media—a massive campaign by Hezbollah's strategic communication machine to frame the outcome of the battle for Lebanon, significantly lost by the United States, the West, and the forces of Democracies in the region.
The main issue at hand in the Iranian-funded war room is not about convincing the international community and the Arab and Muslim world that Hezbollah has defeated its opponents in that small but strategically located republic, but that an overwhelming majority of Lebanese are now firmly standing behind secretary general of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in his vision for the future of the Eastern Mediterranean and probably the Greater Middle East.
The propaganda machine, living off Khomeinist Petrodollars, enlists not only the traditional Hezbollah outlets such as al-Manar but also a network of friends in the multi-layered world of the foreign press and active pens in newsrooms around the world. The power of the Iranian Oil lobbies is almost as influential as the power of the Wahabi Petro pressure group.
In his more than significant speech in the first week of June, Nasrallah uncovered the bulk of his agenda for Lebanon, the region, and perhaps his international open alignment with Tehran's ambitions. This speech, delivered after the invasion of West Beirut and southern Mount Lebanon and collapse of the Siniora Government is indeed a declaration of victory. Usually, Hezbollah's commander produces these benchmark-speeches when a new era is already underway, indicating that the Tehran-backed militia in Lebanon has already scored its victory on the ground, in the institutions, and diplomatically. Read more ..

Inside Lebanon

Hezbollah Exposed and Deconsecrated as Iran’s Puppet in Lebanon Following May Uprising

June 9th 2008

Unknown - Hezbollah

Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Shiite mullahs executing Khomeini’s will to export the “Islamic revolution” remain on their self-assigned mission to slay the “Great Satan,” the U.S. They were finding their campaign stumbling in all the pertinent places throughout the Sunni-dominated Mideast. This forced the Iranians to concentrate on multi-religious Lebanon in order to compensate for the major grounds lost lately in Iraq. The projection of Iranian power comes mainly in the form of Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s most recent pretext to disrupt and dominate the nation was simple decisions of sovereignty by the Lebanese government on May7, including extending control over the Hezbollah communications network. Hezbollah refused. The group launched an armed revolt in Beirut, conquering districts, trashing government buildings, burning TV stations, and looting the city at will.

But six days of violent confrontations between the well-armed and trained Hezbollah fighters and untrained individual Lebanese did not lead to the fall of the government or plunge the country in complete chaos as it was intended. Lebanese citizens improvised strategies to defend their neighborhoods. Hezbollah fighters lacked necessary logistical support in order to remain in the areas they invaded. So Hezbollah had to hand the zones back to the Lebanese army. The Arabs, realizing the gravity of the Iranian assault, started an initiative culminating in a summit in Qatar. Ultimately, the factional and governmental representatives left with the Doha Accord. Pacification returned to the smoldering streets of Beirut. Read more ..

The LNG Threat

Terrorist Threats to Liquefied Natural Gas: Fact or Fiction?

June 2nd 2008

Energy / Environment - LNG Tanker
LNG Tanker at Sea

“Once ignited, as is very likely when the spill is initiated by a chemical explosion, the floating LNG pool will burn vigorously…Like the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, there exists no relevant industrial experience with fires of this scale from which to project measures for securing public safety.” Professor James Fay, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

On 14 February 2007, the Saudi Arabian arm of al-Qaeda put out a call to all religious militants to attack oil and natural gas sources around the world. Through such attacks, according to the call, al-Qaeda hopes to “strangle” the U.S. economy. Such proclamations give fodder to those who highlight the possibilities that liquefied natural gas (LNG) could be used as a lethal weapon of mass destruction. Industry officials on the other hand point out the improved security measures in place as a result of 9/11.

While the U.S. continues to pursue LNG as a way to diversify its natural gas resources, in order to meet anticipated future shortfalls and increase energy security, the opponents and proponents of LNG have been locked in a bitter debate with no solid conclusion.

Proponents are correct in that both safety and security measures currently in place make LNG terminals and ships extremely hard targets for terrorists. However, it would be imprudent to believe that terrorists are either incapable or unwilling to attack such targets. Read more ..

UNRWA: Refuge for Rejection

Hamas Bombmakers and Fighters Need Not Quit Their UN Day Jobs

May 26th 2008

Islamic - Palestinian Rally

Today, Hamas is a central beneficiary of a bizarre system of refugee perpetuation operated under the auspices of the United Nations. A multimillion dollar internationally funded program employs Hamas fighters and even nourishes its ideology and agenda. That UN agency in question is UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East). UNRWA was virtually developed by the PLO, and today stands as a monolithic nexus between the international community and terrorism.

It began shortly after the State of Israel declared independence in 1948. About eighteen months later, on December 8, 1949, the United Nations General Assembly (GA) passed Resolution 302, establishing an agency dedicated to "direct relief and works programs" for the Palestinian Arab refugees. Thus UNRWA was born with a clear humanitarian mandate.

Clearly, UNRWA is a unique body within the UN system. Millions of refugees worldwide—over 130 million since the end of World War Two—had previously come under the responsibility of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), charged with resettlement and rehabilitation of refugees. UNRWA was created as a separate body with jurisdiction solely over the Palestinians. Read more ..

Inside Lebanon

Lebanon's "300" Hold Out Against Hezbollah Takeover

May 19th 2008

Islamic - Burning of TV Stations in Beirut
TV Stations Burning in Beirut

While the West is busy living its daily life, a beast is busy killing the freedom of a small community on the East Mediterranean: Lebanon. Indeed, as of last week, the mighty Hezbollah, armed to the teeth with 30,000 rockets and missiles and aligning thousands of self described "Divine soldiers" has been marching across the capital, terrorizing its population, shutting down media, taking its politicians and the Prime Minister as hostages, and looting at will. The hordes of Lebanon’s "Khomeinist Janjaweeds" have conquered already half of the Middle East’s cultural capital, Beirut. As I have reported before, Hezbollah has occupied West Beirut and has since sent its storm troops in multiple directions to resume the blitz.

Unstoppable, including by the Lebanese Army, which Commander Michel Sleiman has allowed the slaughter to occur, the Pasdaran-founded militia is now hurtling towards the Druze Mountain and positioning its forces against the Sunni North and the Christian Mount Lebanon. Ironically, the geographical bases of Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon, are well guarded by the United Nations Interim Forces (UNIFIL). Per UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701 in 2006, more than 10,000 international troops are stationed across the southern parts of Lebanon, technically protecting the 200 Shia towns and villages from where the bulk of Hezbollah fighters came from. Hence, free from guarding their own areas, a dozen thousands well trained "Hezbollahis" have marched north to join another 5,000 already based in the southern suburbs of Beirut. Read more ..

The Next Mideast War

The Palestinian "Right of Return" Remains a Lasting Threat to Lebanon

May 12th 2008

Islamic - Palestinian Rally


In 1948 tens of thousands of Arabs fled the war in Palestine to take a "temporary refuge" in neighboring countries. In 2008, their numbers have swollen to over 5 million. They remain stateless while living in squalid refugee camps mainly in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

As the years went by, Israelis have grown more adamant towards allowing the detrimental return of millions of hostile Palestinian refugees to their midst. Despite this fact, the Arab and Palestinian leaders refuse to consider any feasible and practical solution to the refugees’ problem besides the "Return" and, out of blind fanaticism, do equate any other suggestions as treacherous advancements of the "Zionist plot." Meanwhile the refugees’ sufferings continue and the impoverished camps remain the fertile breeding grounds for futureless and hopeless generations of expendable youth that are easily attracted by radical and extreme ideologies.

After the 1964 establishment of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Refugee camps, under the pretense of fighting Israel, where quickly turned into armed bunkers. While the totalitarian regimes of other hosting nations succeeded in ruthlessly controlling and violently restraining the Palestinians living on their lands, the consensus governed Lebanon failed to effectively confront their growing military presence.



Israel and Syria Edge Closer to a Golan Deal

May 5th 2008

Headshots Leaders - Bashar Assad headshot
Syrian President Bashar Assad

After several false starts over the past few years, Israel and Syria finally seem serious about peace negotiations. What's changed?

Both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Syrian President Bashar Assad have gone public about their readiness for talks. An active and determined mediator, Turkey, has been accepted by both sides. And in a recent interview with the Qatar-based newspaper al-Watan, Assad said Olmert told him via the Turks that he is ready to return the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace deal -- a claim Olmert did not deny.

But the main difference is the impending change of administration in Washington. Israel and Syria are preparing for a new U.S. president who may be ready to invest in an Israel-Syria peace deal, primarily to detach Syria from an alliance with Iran. The Turkish mediation effort is moving into high gear. In a lightning visit to Damascus over the weekend, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a detailed meeting with Assad focusing mainly on the question of negotiations with Israel. A Turkish envoy is expected in Jerusalem soon to brief Olmert on that exchange, and set up a follow-up meeting in Turkey between Israeli and Syrian officials. Read more ..

The Next Mideast War

Iran is "Hell-Bent" on Nuclear, But Consider the Three Axioms of Warfare

April 28th 2008

 - Robert Gates headshot
Defense Sec. Robert Gates

Generals Ike Eisenhower and George Marshall, of course, are legends—icons etched in granite. Both were influenced by another senior Army officer who is not nearly as well-known. His name is Fox Conner, and he served as a tutor and mentor to both men. Conner had three principles or rules of war for a democracy that he imparted to Eisenhower and Marshall. They were:

     • Never fight unless you have to;
     • Never fight alone; and
     • Never fight for long.

All things being equal, these principles are pretty straightforward and strategically sound. We have heard variants of them in the decades since—the Powell Doctrine being the most famous of recent times. But, of course, all things are not equal, particularly when you think about the range and complexity of the threats facing America today—from the wars we are in to the conflicts we are most likely to fight. So, I’d like to discuss how you should think about applying Fox Conner’s three axioms to the security challenges of the 21st Century—challenges where you will be on the front line.

“Never go to war unless you have to.”

That one should only go to war as a last resort has long been a principle of civilized people; we know its horrors and costs. War is by nature unpredictable and uncontrollable. Winston Churchill wrote in January 1942, “Let us learn our lessons. Never, never believe that any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter... Once the signal is given, [the statesman] is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. Read more ..

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