September 01, 2020

Meanwhile, in Mozambique

The Islamic State (remember them?) has seized the Mozambiquean port of Mocimboa da Praia. This is significant for three reasons:

1: This is a major achievement for a defeated organization. (and I'm not being sarcastic, they were thoroughly trounced in Syria). 
2: It is FAR outside the usual stomping grounds of The Islamic State and its affiliated groups. (West Africa, The Levant, North Africa, Afganistan and neighboring countries, and the Philippines) 
3: The city in question is a particularly strategic node, being a deepwater port and also very close to natural gas fields.
4: The actual defeat of the army and seizure of the town took place 19 days ago. The Jihadists have HELD the city and are moving on the nearby gas fields
 
The Islamic State had, at its height, expanded into or incorporated into itself, many similarly motivated organizations worldwide from Boko Haram to the Sultanate of Sulu. Many of these federal arrangements seem to have actually survived the collapse in Syria and  to have given the organization redundancy and staying power.  Moreover the Islamic State has a history of growing and moving very quickly. It is, after all a revolutionary religious movement and is quite charismatic in ideology to a certain segment of Dar al islam. The fact that they are this organized has implications going forward. While the IS is of little apparent direct threat, particularly at the ass end of the planet, they are an active and enthusiastic sponsor of terrorism. The organization has a history of financing themselves via creative smuggling of petrochemicals and have proved adept at bypassing blockades. If they secure the gas fields they may be able to turn that into financing to purchase weapons and support terrorists in the U.S., Europe and other places. The Islamic State and its confederated "Caliphates" are known to have close ties with certain Latin American drug cartels including technical assistance. The group can conceivably use their smuggling infrastructure to insert agents, and or weapons into the U.S., perhaps to contribute to our current domestic urban chaos. A safe haven for The Islamic State allowing them time to build infrastructure has other implications as well, though mainly in the longer term. 

Sallying forth to slay dragons in some awful land war in Africa is a dubious and daunting prospect with no political support here. It also would take attention off the primary strategic goal of deterring China.  Certainly the locals need to be given ample time to take care of the situation themselves, but this is a situation that should be watched carefully. 

For one thing 1500 Civilians are dead and 250,000 are displaced. The last time The I.S. did this it caused a humanitarian crisis that had notable effects in Europe, Mozambique is more isolated, but the effect on such  countries as Botswana, and South Africa, (the former one of the few stable Sub-Saharan states, the latter with its own problems) could be quite disruptive. 

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January 04, 2020

Meanwhile: In Hell



There are many good faith arguments to be had regarding the situation that we find ourselves in with regards to the Middle East. There are many concerns that people can have in good faith regarding how this recent assassination might set in motion truly frightening events.

However, this asshole needed to die. A long time ago. And it is a damming indictment of both Bush and Obama that he did not do so until now.

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September 15, 2019

Well...

Oil Prices just jumped 20%.

I hope everybody took our advice and filled up.

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September 14, 2019

Saudi Arabia's Oil Production Just Cut in Half by Houthi Drone Strikes (UPDATED)

Not much to add to the post title. It looks like The Houthis, have launched a coordinated drone attack and managed to blow up half of Saudi Arabia's oil production.



The view from Space...




Buy gas now.

UPDATE:
Via Pete, in the comments, we get this from the SecState:



Note that the Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility immediately after the attacks. However, they are Iranian proxies and not agents of the Yemeni government so the tweet may refer to afilliation rather than geography.

The advice stands however; buy gas now.

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September 11, 2019

18 Years




Kids are going off to college who nothing but the world since this happened. It's as distant to them as Pearl Harbor is to us. And yet 4 years after Pearl Harbor, the issue at hand as well as the issue in Europe was resolved.

Today we continue to play whackamole against this ancient enemy that has dogged our civilization for 1300 years and there is no real end in sight. The only successes of that day, the heroic, but bittersweet ending of Flight 93 and the amazing spontaneous evacuation of lower Manhatten were decentralized actions of a free people's militia....Many today wish to strip from our society both the societal and physical toolkits that make such holistic responses possible. Meanwhile,  the kids born that year march off to colleges from which many if not most will emerge as fearsome Janissaries, primed to hate and struggle against their own as China sits on the sidelines patiently sending money to their teachers and entertainers, drugs to our children and  patiently wait as we bleed ourselves on enemies foreign and domestic.

Also Donald Trump is president...so....Yeah....'didn't really see any of this coming. I suspect others failed to foresee these developments as well. Perhaps one of many lessons we should take as we reflect upon the last dozen and a half years is just how hard predicting the future is.


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April 13, 2018

I Have a few Questions

They may be silly questions.

But they are mine.

As the bombs begin to fall, I find myself wondering;

1) Given that Trump had announced that he was preparing to leave Syria, what possible motivation could Assad have had for doing the one thing likely to invite a violent response?

2) If The U.S. , France, the U.K and Russia (all of whom are nuclear powers) have a 'tiff', who, praytell, would benefit in the long term geostrategically? (I don't think it includes the U.S., The U.K., France or Russia).

3) What else is happening in the world this week? 

4) Could we have picked a more auspicious date to start our operation than Friday the 13th?


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October 31, 2017

New York...Again

Reports are that someone drove a rental truck 14 blocks down a Manhattan bike path crushing people in the process, hit a school bus, got out of his truck, engaged police with what may, or may not have been paintball guns and, before being shot, shouted "Allah Ackbar!".


No word as to motive, though a talking head on Fox is pushing the "lone nut" theory hard..


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June 18, 2017

Well Then: That's Not a Good Thing to See When One Clicks on Drudge




This  hellish bundle of razor wire still has the potential to develop in unexpected unpleasant ways.

Let's review:
We have over 1000 troops on the ground in Syria, a country whose government has not given us permission to be there and which is a very important ally of Russia. Russia, in addition to possessing items of some interest also has thousands of troops on the ground in Syria helping to protect that country (an important ally of their's) by shooting at the Jihadists we are defining as moderates and ostensibly backing. Meanwhile, while we are fighting the (mostly) different jihadis in ISIS (which Russia is also fighting). So, Russian and U.S. troops are on opposite sides of a civil war, armed and both sides are shooting at people who are trying to kill them and that the other side is trying to defend in an area where at least two factions are using poison gas. Iran also has large forces engaged against ISIS and in support of Syria but additionally is giving support to...Hezbollah. Turkey, which happens to have of one of the largest armies in the world, is also involved...mainly as a spoiler but also to exterminate our nominal allies the Kurds, who are a completely different group from the aforementioned revolutionary groups we are backing and are also fighting ISIS.  

The shootdown aside, this mess in Syria is a lot more consequential than the coverage it's been getting would seem to indicate. 

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June 03, 2017

Well, Crap

Reports are still early, but it looks like the mess in London was separate, simultaneous (and therefore most likely coordinated) terrorist attacks.


The U.K is in for a rough ride. 

As are we all. 


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December 16, 2011

The Mighty Hitch has Passed

   Christopher Hitchens has died. More here. (via)

   Whatever disagreements one may have had with him on matters of philosophy, there was no one who was a stronger, more articulate advocate for the value of western civilization.

   He was a great mind and he passed far too early. He was only 62.

 UPDATE: Very thoughtful missives on his passing from CDR Salamander, R.S. McCain, Michelle Malkin, and The Anchoress.

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September 11, 2011

10 Years On

10 years on Bin Laden is dead. AlQuaeda is scattered. Young girls in Afganistan go to school where they once would have gone to the soccer stadium for execution.

...and yet.

Here at home our greatest fear seems to be offending the murderers. PC Quislings ensured that no one from the clergy or first responders is going to be allowed at the place the buildings fell, for it is a secular place....except for the mosque that is to be erected.

Our oikophobic, orientalist ruling class condemns anything that might "offend". They then congratulate themselves on their sophistication and tolerance, and in their implacable ignorance expect reciprocity. What these smug provincial sophisticates cannot comprehend is that our enemies are not sophisticated, or tolerant...or even literate for the most part.

 These savages are not the Muslim dentists or professors we know who came here to escape the terror under which they once lived. Our enemies are that terror.   For 1432 years they've adhered to a creed that explicitly says to look for any signs of weakness and then attack. They do not appreciate nuances beyond signs of strength and weakness, and the signs they see are overwhelmingly of the latter. They see a people that back down and censor themselves to avoid a potential riot. They see a people that allows them to build a victory marker at the site of their greatest victory.

10 years on we pause to remember the 2,996 people who died that day.
We should also reflect on how best to remember them.
I would suggest that taking pains not to offend those who celebrate their passing is not it.

UPDATE: To wit...


Via

The Anchoress has a roundup of links here.

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August 22, 2011

VL Day?

It looks like the rebels in Libya have overrun Tripoli.

Whatever ones thoughts on this adventure we can all rejoice that having staked our reputation on this, the US has achieved a proxy victory. Really, we ALL can come together on this  which is rare in these partisan times. The reason for this happy convergence is that those of us who thought this was a dumb idea understand that once the nation has crossed the rubicon to war then we damned well better win the thing for the good of the country. Those that don't understand this...supported this war kineticism. (Bipartisanship FTW!)

Perhaps I'm being unfair. I mean its not like there was a vote in congress or anything.

Oh well, lets call out the purple suit cheerleaders and rejoice at a NATO victory together in a bipartisan fashion. 


Yay!

(Also, lets have a big bipartisan thank you to the crews of HMS Liverpool and FS Charels De Gaul. )

Galrahn has thoughts.


Update: Oh dear.

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July 22, 2011

Norwegian Parliament Bombed

ABC (US) is reporting a massive vehicle bomb has gone off at the Norwegian Parliament, destroying the PMs office. At least one person has died. No word on if the fatality was an MP.


Image via ABC News

There is video here, at Hot Air, which also reports that there are at least two other bombs that have not gone off yet.

UPDATE: Now there has been a shooting at a summer camp in Norway. Some reports indicate 25 kids may be dead.

An eyewitness told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that he saw 20 to 25 bodies at the youth camp on Utoya island where a gunman dressed in a police uniform opened fire.

Police did not immediately confirm the account, but Acting Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim said a suspect in the shooting has been arrested.

The official death toll seems to be 16 as I type this.

Utoya Island Youth Camp via Associated Press

However, many of the children reportedly tried to swim across the fjord (lake?) to shore (the camp is on an island) and reports are still confused regards a second gunman at the camp so this could get worse still.

There seems to have been a claim of responsibility made by an Islamist group though the suspect is reportedly "tall blonde and Nordic looking". It could be anyone at this point.  

More here, here, and here. Lots of pictures, most of them really depressing, over at the Sun.

UPDATE: It seems that it was a xenophobic lunatic. It looks like he acted alone, but I would not rule out at least tangential involvement of others. He left 85 dead at the youth camp alone. Posing as a cop, he called everyone out into a large area and shot them. Sick.



Note that while I am pleased I did refrain from jumping to conclusions on this one, in defense of the bloggers who were pretty sure it was islamists, the facts at the time did seem to strongly support that theory.
*There had been a claim of responsibility by a muslim group.
*There is a current issue with the arrest of a radical cleric.
*There had been threats regarding that arrest.
*This looked like Mumbai, and the African embassy bombings combined, particularly with the cop impersonation (the Mumbai killers used ambulances for transport)
*I can't think of anything like this in Europe aside from the leftist bombings of the 70's/80's.

To their credit, virtually all of those bloggers amended their coverage as soon as the facts became apparent.





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February 14, 2011

Worrisome Rumors

I agree with Instapundit. One would think this from the Daily Mail would be bigger news. As it is the best coverage seems to be in the UK at the moment.



‘So, specifically, you're looking for the dirty bomb? You're looking for the nuclear device?’ asked Mr Blacher.

‘Correct. Weapons of mass effect,’ said Mr Hallor.

‘You ever found one?’ asked Mr Blacher.

‘Not at this location,’ Mr Hallor said.

‘But they have found them?’ asked Mr Blacher.

‘Yes,’ said Mr Hallor.

While it is no surprise to me that someone has tried to sneak something really bad into the U.S. it would seem that this would get some more US coverage.


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January 08, 2011

A Very Merry Coptic Chtristmas

With all the bad happening today one very uplifting story is getting left by the wayside.

In Egypt, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Moslems, resonse to the bloody New Years Day bombing of a Coptic church are standing as human shields to protect the Coptic churches from violence during their Christmas celebrations.

Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”



This is the most hopeful story I've seen in years.
via.

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December 06, 2010

Wikileaks Open Thread

Any ideas?

Seriously.

There are several genuine computer geniuses who occasionally drop in here. I'm curious what your thoughts are on the feasibility of preventing/mitigating a future fiasco of this magnitude given the realities of technology.

Are there any realistic options?

Given that there seems to be a good deal of info unreleased and getting it back is pretty much impossible, is it feasible to somehow try and 'lance the boil' so to speak on this current catastrophe so we don't have to deal with the 'drip...drip...drip' effect while trying to conduct   all manner of delicate negotiations?

Any ideas?

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September 11, 2010

9 Years On


more...

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September 08, 2010

Will Somebody Explain to Me

...why a lunatic preacher with less than 50 people in his flock, who is associated with Fred effing Phelps is getting worldwide media attention for an exercise in assinity.

Seriously, this is a major info war defeat for the US and it is an issue at all because it is getting coverage out of all proportion to reality.

Why did this irrelevant  asshat get so much coverage?

Allahpundit has some thoughts on the idiocy and reactions to it here.

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June 01, 2010

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

As is being reported everywhere, a boarding operation by the Israeli Navy went south yesterday.

This was a no win situation for the Israelis and a win-win for the Palestinians.

The operational realities seem to have been as follows.

The ships were carrying supplies of an uncertain nature on behalf of an NGO vehemently hostile to Israels existence to an entity (Gaza) that has been shooting rockets into Israeli schools.

This shipment had to be stopped.

Space on the ship was at a real premium.

There were 3 options to achieve this goal, sanity amongst the crew of the blockade runners, sink the vessels or board them.

Given that #1 was not going to happen, The more humane was #3. #2 is, of course, pretty much unthinkable, especially given the presence of children.

Grapnels were untenable, so the IDF chose to rappell. I've seen it suggested in various comments on this matter that water-cannons and CS gas be used to clear the deck.
Those options are NOT safe (you might end up washing people off the vessel and drown them or start a aresol fire ala' Waco. ) Again this is especially true given the fact that the NGOs had children aboard as part of their PR strategy.

Attacked by civilians with knives, rebar and guns the boarding team returned fire.  Just as I would have were I put in their situation.  Lethal force was justified by any use of force policy or Rules Of Engagement that I'm aware of.

Note that the other ships SEEM (at this time) to have been boarded without loss of life. Note too that video released seems to indicate that prior to the operation at least some of the "activists" were boasting of their willingness to achieve martyrdom if the ships did not make landfall.

 

What transpired seems to be the least awful option available to the IDF forces.

But it was pretty damned awful.

CDR Salamander
has thoughts, and links to this piece which gives the IDF side. Meyryl Yourish actually has some good things to say about the Obama administrations response here.

There are two long posts over at Information Dissemination here and here. I don't agree with Galrhan's premise in the later post that Israels actions were "stupid" as I see precious few other options. However, the larger points regards the need to prepare for this sort of thing are spot on.
More here, and the BBCs take is here .


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May 02, 2010

Fortuitous Ineptitude Foils Domestic Contingency Operation

 As I type this Times Square is evacuated due to an unexploded car bomb. Not much info right now other than that the bomb was incompetently fused.

 Oh...and there is no terrorism here, no sirree.

A federal official said that domestic security officials had been informed that the event did not appear to be a terrorist threat.


Idiot quote caught by Steven Den Beste

(So would this be a parking violation then?)

UPDATE: Just saw Napoliatano on FOX and she acknowledged that it was potentially terrorism.
More here here and here.
Also: Authorities just found a pipe bomb in Pittsburgh set to detonate at a marathon.

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