18 July 2016

*** Erdoğan Appears to Regain Control in Turkey

July 16, 2016
The president appears to have control of the government after a coup attempt.

Dawn has come to Turkey and with it some clarity over the events that happened overnight on Friday and into Saturday morning in Istanbul and Ankara. The battle has shifted against the coup plotters and the momentum is with pro-government forces.
It would seem that we were premature when we published a piece a little over six hours ago in which we said that it appeared the coup had succeeded. We made that judgment after Turkish soldiers took over the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) and had TRT announcers read a prepared statement in which martial law was declared and a new governing “Peace Council” was announced.

From there, things seemed to go off the wheels for the coup. Military commanders began to publicly declare support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government. More mysterious is the fact that the coup planners, despite being organized enough to have tanks rolling in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara supported by helicopters and F-16s, failed to secure Erdoğan, who was as we correctly noted on vacation near Bodrum on Turkey’s Aegean coast.

The coup participants also did not shut down all media outlets or communications. They lost control of TRT and subsequently took over CNN Turk, only to lose control of that too – and did nothing in either case to halt the ability of the stations to broadcast. 
We continued to watch closely, as most of the positive news for Erdoğan and his supporters was coming out of Istanbul. There were much fewer concrete details out of Ankara, with reports of continued fighting and explosions there, including attacks against the parliamentary building. But in the span of about 15 minutes, multiple Turkish news outlets reported that the Turkish air force had taken out a rogue military helicopter and had struck pro-coup tanks stationed outside the presidential palace, both in Ankara. Then, CNN Turk ran footage of pro-coup Turkish soldiers surrendering their positions and their tanks on a bridge on the Bosporus.

It appears there is still some fighting in Istanbul and Ankara, but the government seems to have the upper hand. Even so, it should be noted that the planners of this coup, while they made some mistakes we do not currently understand, were sophisticated enough to coordinate air and ground forces in two major cities, and were able to do this all without Turkish intelligence realizing that anything was going on. A faction of the military carried this out and we still think that at least some senior officers were likely involved. A significant number of people died in fighting in Ankara and Istanbul. It should not be dismissed as a minor event.

There will be more analysis to come about how the coup fizzled out and its ramifications. But for now, we have to say that what had appeared to us as a military faction taking control of the country has turned into a failed attempt at a coup. There will be more violence and reckoning to come before it is over, but that is how it looks now. 

*** Coup in Turkey

July 15, 2016
The military has claimed a takeover of the government.

About an hour and a half ago, reports began to emerge out of Turkey that a coup was underway. As with all coups, the first reports were confused, conflicting and impossible to confirm. Recent developments, however, indicate to us that as of now the coup seems to have succeeded. 
Here is what we know. Some elements in the Turkish military high enough to organize this attempted a coup. It was a large segment of the military. A source told us that the special forces were involved and were deployed in Ankara and battling resistance from the national police. At first it appeared that control of the media, one of the first key goals of a coup, was not yet solidified by those attempting the coup. 

However, the military now seems to have control of Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT). The announcers at TRT said they were made to read a statement coming from the military. The statement said that martial law had been declared across Turkey, that airports were closed, and that a "Peace Council" guaranteed the freedom of Turkish citizens, a new constitution and a secular rule of law. The military, then, controls state media and Atatürk airport.
It is increasingly apparent to us that the coup in Turkey has succeeded. Turkish media is reading statements from the military. There is a guarantee of the Atatürkian tradition of secularism. Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who we believe was in Bodrum at the time of the coup, appeared on CNN Turk via FaceTime to attempt to tell supporters to come into the streets. There are various reports about Erdoğan’s whereabouts, including one from NBC citing a U.S. military source saying that Erdoğan is seeking asylum in Germany. None of that is clear yet, and more speculating beyond what we know, which is that a military faction appears to have taken control of the country. More analysis on what this means will follow as we have more details. 

‘Power’ful Plan: Tackling Left-Wing Extremism And Developing North-East In One Go

Swarajya Staff - July 15, 2016, 

Rs 1 lakh crore ‘power’ plan to connect the areas affected by left-wing extremism and the north-eastern states by electricity.
The power transmission company, Power Grid, in which the central government holds a majority stake (57.9 percent), is planning to spend Rs 1 lakh crore over the next four years to expand its network and connect areas affected by left-wing extremism (LWE) and the north-eastern states, Livemint reported yesterday (14 July).

In addition to the Power Grid’s existing network in Uttar Pradesh and the North-East, the company put into operation an 186 circuit km 400-kilovolt transmission line from Ranchi in Jharkhand to Gaya in Bihar the day before yesterday. This transmission line passes through the left-wing extremism affected areas like Lohardaga, Latehar and Chatra in Jharkhand.
The project will help break the monopoly of the incumbent actors operating in the region and give the household and industrial consumers more choice and freedom in purchasing power.
The company is hoping to put 84,500 ckm into operation in the next couple of years in addition to its existing network of 130,000 ckm, a more than 60 percent increase in infrastructure addition which is huge.
The company intends to aid connectivity and communications in the regions where it now seeks to penetrate. It plans to do this in two ways.

First, it plans to install telecom towers along transmission routes. It is still not clear who will build/operate these towers. LWE affected areas are generally known for poor connectivity and telecom operators are loath to operate in such areas.
Second, apart from telecom towers, Power Grid corporation will also run a fibre optic cable network . This diversification will have a multiplier effect on the development of the region that’s been neglected for long.
At the same time, the company will be contributing in the progress of Digital India programme.

Why South Kashmir has emerged as Hub of New Militancy

Brig Anil Gupta

Recently South Kashmir has been in news quite often. It has witnessed a number of terror acts and encounters in the past six months. In a recent encounter Burhan Wani, terrorist and regional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was gunned down by the security forces (SFs) along with his two colleagues. Burhan Wani had 20 criminal cases registered against him and carried an award of 10 lakh on his head. His killing led to a severe backlash resulting in 36 deaths, numerous injured, loot, arson, burning of public and private property, kidnapping of policemen and temporary suspension of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra. The situation is still tense and will continue to simmer for some time. One question must be haunting the minds of many readers as to why all this is happening in South Kashmir only? The question is justified and needs an analysis. Burhan Wani is credited with unleashing a wave of ‘New Militancy’ characterised by increase in number of local militants, extensive use of social media to extend the outreach of militancy with South Kashmir as its base, involvement of the locals in militancy characterised by huge outflow to attend funerals of terrorists and hampering the operations of SFs and penchant for imaginary ‘azadi’ particularly among the youth. The aim of this article is not to discuss Burhan Wani, who like any other terrorist commander was operating based on instructions received from across the LOC from mentors in Pakistan to support the Pak sponsored proxy war as an extension of Jihadi Terror. The aim is to analyse the advantages South Kashmir affords for sustaining the militancy because of which it has emerged as hub of ‘New Militancy’ in Kashmir, not to be confused with home-grown militancy. ‘New Militancy’ is part of a well- planned strategy unleashed by Pak’s Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI) to keep the pot boiling in Kashmir.

The major advantage South Kashmir enjoys over the other parts of the Valley is favourable terrain. The terrain is characterised by the Pir Panjal ranges and its various off-shoots, thick jungles, river Jhelum flowing from South to North running almost parallel to the National Highway (NH), densely populated with large built up areas and towns, well connected internal network of roads. South Kashmir also has the best surface connectivity with rest of the state across Pir Panjal. NH 44 connecting Jammu with Srinagar through the Banihal tunnel, the Mughal road connecting Poonch – Rajauri via Pir Ki Gali, Road Kishtwar-Anantnag via Sinthan Top and broad gauge railway connecting Banihal-Baramullah. The terrain in South Kashmir is being exploited by the terrorists to their advantage. With availability of additional avenues of ingress/egress the infiltration pattern has changed. Gulmarg-Poonch-Mughal Road-South Kashmir is becoming a favourite route for the reason that it provides a free run to the terrorists across the Mughal Road. Mughal Road is being extensively used for smuggling of arms and ammunition as well. Lack of the presence of SFs on the Mughal Road provides the terrorists a free run. It is also being used for spreading the arc of radicalisation and Hurriyat ideology South of Pir Panjal particularly in Poonch-Rajauri belt. There is an urgent need to establish SFs camps on the Mughal Road to choke the free movement of salafi preachers, Hurriyat leaders, arms and ammunition and terrorists. Another avenue available to terrorists for entry/exit is the road Anantnag-Kishtwar. This also enables the terrorists to move into South Kashmir using the International Border (IB) route. Any move to make this road as well as Mughal Road as all-weather by tunnelling needs to be strongly resisted because it will facilitate the move of terrorists into and out of South Kashmir throughout the year making it further attractive to the terrorists. Another boon to the terrorists has been the rail. It has facilitated their move between North & South Kashmir. Whenever, SFs exert operational pressure on terrorists in North Kashmir they melt into their hideouts in South Kashmir which also provides the terrorists three escape routes to run away South of Pir Panjal. Forests and jungles are in plenty providing suitable hideouts.

Nabil release secret docs about Pakistan’s support to Afghan militants

Posted: 14 Jul 2016  

The former Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS) Chief, Rahmatullah Nabil has released classified documents about the support of Pakistan to the Afghan militant groups, specifically the notorious Haqqani terrorist network.
The six documents released by Nabil include formal letters by Pakistani military and the military intelligence of the country, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
Nabil says the Haqqani network not only remained intact from Zarb-e-Azb operations but the Pakistani military shifted the network’s fighters, families, weapons and other equipment to safe places.
He said the Afghan and American intelligence agencies were undoubtedly aware of the move and National Directorate of Security has hundreds of classified documents of the Pakistani military regarding its support to Afghan militants.

A summary of the six letters released by Nabil is as following:

According to Nabil, the first classified document he has shared is regarding the relocation of Haqqani terrorist network commanders to Miranshah in North Waziristan as Inam Rabbani belonging to MI-422 in Peshawar formally informs Gen. Khalid the head of MI-22 regarding the move amid Zarb-e-Azb operations.
The second document is regarding the current condition of the Haqqani terrorist network as CTC in Islamabad sent a formal letter to CTC in Nowshera asking regarding the personnel and commanders of the network based in Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi.
The letter states that the central office of ISI has instructed the 945 and 935 departments to bring the Haqqani network militants to Miranshah, Tochi and Mir Ali under the escort of the military.

ISI has also instructed the relevant authorities to ensure the security of the families of the Haqqani network commanders until they reach Miranshah.
The third document is regarding a formal letter by MI in Islamabad to MI-422 regarding the arrangement of accommodation for two Taliban commanders identified as Hafiz Gulbahar and Mawlavi Hamdullah who were displaced due to operations and had shifted to Hayatabad in Peshawar.

Hafiz Saeed, Leader of Pakistani Terrorist Group LeT, Is Free Despite His Group[’s Bloody History

Militant with US bounty walks free in Pakistan
Associated Press
July 14, 2016
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – The United States has put a $10 million bounty on his head, labeling him a terrorist. He is one of the most wanted men in India. Yet, Hafiz Saeed walks free in his home country of Pakistan, denouncing Washington and New Delhi in public speeches.
Now the man identified by the U.S. as a founding member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group is weighing in on the flare-up of violence in Kashmir, the mountainous region divided between Pakistani and Indian control, where dozens have died in clashes with protesters after Indian security forces killed a top rebel leader.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Saeed accused the U.S. of giving India a free hand to crush the anti-India protests in its Himalayan territory, warning that will only lead to an escalation of violence.

“America is supporting this oppression by India by saying it is an internal matter,” the 66-year-old Saeed said in the interview, which took place Wednesday at his two-story home behind a steel barrier separating it from the narrow streets of the eastern city of Lahore.
“This has given India encouragement, and because of this, the killings and violence” will continue, he said.
Washington has said it will not intervene. But U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau, speaking to reporters Thursday, disagreed with the suggestion by Saeed and others that the U.S. is aloof and therefore partly responsible for the crackdown. She said the U.S. has had discussions with both India and Pakistan about the violence in Kashmir.

“We are very concerned about the deaths of the protesters,” Trudeau said. “That’s of grave concern to us. We continue to be in touch with the government of India. We’ve been in discussions with the government of Pakistan as well.”
Saeed said he will lead nationwide demonstrations in Pakistan to force its government to sever ties with the U.S. if it cannot convince Washington to intervene in the decades-old Kashmir dispute. The two countries, which also possess nuclear weapons, have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.
Militants demand that Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country. At least 31 people have been killed in Kashmir in street protests after Indian troops last week killed Burhan Wani, a charismatic Kashmiri insurgent.

** Remembering the Forgotten War: Assessment of the Security Situation in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Partial Threat Assessment: June 30, 2016
Institute for the Study of War
July 15, 2016
By Caitlin Forrest
President Obama announced on July 6 that the U.S. will maintain 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through the end of January 2017 instead of the planned drawdown to 5,500. He then stated that the only way to achieve a full drawdown of forces is to reach a peaceful political settlement between Taliban militants and the Afghan government. A peace agreement is unlikely, however, as militants have steadily regained territory since the bulk of U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan beginning in 2011. While recent efforts have forestalled militant advances, current troop levels do not sufficiently threaten militant operations to bring them to the negotiating table or prevent additional extremist groups from reconstituting in Afghanistan.

Taliban militants announced their summer campaign, “Operation Omari,” onApril 12, 2016, the day ISW published the last version of this map. The group has since held back from launching major offensives, likely in response to increased pressure from the U.S. A U.S. drone strike killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the successor to Mullah Omar, on May 21in Balochistan, Pakistan. Mansour’s death shifted some of the decision-making power back to the Taliban’s Quetta Shura Council, possibly slowing operations. The Taliban quickly announced new leadership to maintain cohesion within the movement, selecting Haibatullah Akhundzada as the new Emir and Sirajuddin Haqqani and the late Mullah Omar’s son, Mullah Yaqoob, as his deputies. Yaqoob originally challenged Akhtar Mansour’s leadership, but Sirajuddinfacilitated his reconciliation with the group in early 2016. The appointment of both Sirajuddin and Yaqoob circumvented the likely factional infighting that might follow the choice of either of the deputies and averted the international sanctions that Siraj Haqqani’s appointment would have brought. Akhundzada’s appointment came less than two weeks before Ramadan began on June 5, and observance of the holy month may have also delayed offensives. If the group’s Operation Omari remains stalled after the end of Ramadan on July 5, it could indicate that leadership change has negatively affected operations over the medium term.

Successful joint U.S.-ANSF operations have likely also stalled major Taliban militant operations. President Obama broadened the authorities of the U.S. military in Afghanistan on June 10 to allow it to conduct joint operations with the ANSF and for U.S. airpower to offensively target Taliban militants. Resolute Support Commander General John Nicholson stated on July 12 that the U.S. used new and previous authorities to support the ANSF in successfully defending the Kunduz and Uruzgan provincial capitals from Taliban militants. These operations represent important progress of the ANSF’s capabilities to defend key population centers, but does not eliminate surrounding militant sanctuaries that threaten the integrity of cities in the long-term. Meanwhile ISIS’s Wilayat Khorasan is currently resurgent in eastern Afghanistan despite broadened U.S. authorities in December 2015 to target them directly. ISIS has launched new offensives, increased recruitment, and claimed to capture areas in Nangarhar Province since March 2016, when ANSF forces with U.S. airstrikes dislodged them.

** 3D printing goes to war


David Szondy May 1, 2016
From the bow to the bunker buster to the hydrogen bomb, new technologies have changed the face of warfare, and 3D printing looks set to be just as revolutionary. It's been around since the 1980s, but as key patents expire and access to the technology becomes more readily available, its effects on the military promise to be considerable – though the biggest and most immediate impact may be from a surprisingly humble quarter.

Mention 3D printing and it's likely to conjure up images of wonky key fobs brought home as trophies from middle school science projects. But the ability to print solid objects in three dimensions (also known as additive manufacturing) is more than just squirting out molten plastic under the direction of a CAD file. Modern printers can now handle metals, wood, fabric, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, and even living cells with not only greater precision than ever before, but also in combination with one another in complex patterns that simply cannot be matched by conventional techniques.
With the ability to work with such a range of materials, 3D printing allows engineers to create prototypes of components and even complete devices in a fraction of the time previously needed and at much lower cost. Not surprisingly, such capabilities have attracted the attention of defense contractors and military planners. The question is, how will 3D printing actually change life for the soldier of the 21st century?
Weapons of war

The most obvious area is that of weaponry. When Cody Wilson unveiled hisLiberator printable plastic gun, it caused a conniption among lawmakers and gun control advocates. Keeping track of firearms so they don't fall into the wrong hands has always been a major headache on the national and international scene, but the idea that anyone with as printer and access to the internet could print a handgun stacks up as a nightmare scenario.
Worse, it soon became apparent that such printable weapons weren't restricted to plastics. Using lasers and electron beams, more advanced printing systems can fuse metal alloy powders layer by layer to form complex objects. A case in point is Solid Concepts' creation of a fully functional 1911 semiautomatic pistol from 3D printed parts. This not only looked identical to a conventional firearm, but it had all the necessary parts and could be fired.

A fully functional 1911 semiautomatic pistol made by 3D printing

If this wasn't enough, modern firearms are sometimes better described as weapons systems built along modular lines, allowing for a remarkable range of customization. The AR-15, for example, has been the focus of many American efforts at gun control. The AR-15 is really a vast range of parts that are fitted together as the owner desires. The only thing that they all have in common, and the only thing that can be legislated against, is the trigger assembly called areceiver – and that becomes a problem when someone starts printing them.
These examples are all of small arms, but the same problems could apply to armaments of any scale. Imagine a future where terrorists or rogue regimes could simply email one another digital files of bombs, missiles, and other weapons that could be tweaked and printed locally to make a mockery of any arms embargo. And it doesn't even need to be whole weapons. When the US Air Force retired the F-14 Tomcat, the planes didn't end up in museums or storage yards, but were fed into shredders to prevent spares from the aircraft ending up sold to Iran on the black market to keep their own pre-revolutionary F-14s flying. 3D printing would very effectively eliminate the middleman, as is illustrated by BAE Systems equipping a Tornado with 3D-printed parts.
A firearm made with a 3D-printed AR-15 receiver

Of course, 3D printing for the military is more than just weapons. The ability to create complex bespoke items on demand opens up a world of possibilities. We now live in a world where the armed forces not only routinely use robots, but we now have the technology to print small, fully functional robots – no assembly required.

The Economics of Counterfeit Money

July 14th, 2016 
by Philip Pilkington
Endogenous money theory, which is usually associated with the Post-Keynesian school of economics, has long told us that central banks do not control the supply of money in the economy. Instead the amount of money is determined by the demand for money which, in turn, is determined by the demand for credit. This idea, however, leaves out what is actually a rather important component: counterfeiting.
Follow up:

Of course, endogenous money theory is not at odds with the counterfeiting of money — after all, why would anyone counterfeit if it were not for their demand for money — but it is rarely discussed. I assume that the reason for this is that endogenous money theorists think that it is a small-scale phenomenon. But this is simply not the case; when one looks into it, it is actually extremely widespread. In Britain, for example, some 1% of banknotes are counterfeit, while one in thirty-three pound coins are fakes.
That is an enormous number, so why aren’t economists more aware of this? Well, it would seem that the central banks don’t want to be too vocal about this because, frankly, it undermines some of their perceived powers. The Independent says,
The Bank of England plays down the gravity of the situation. “It’s not serious,” said a spokesman. “Less than l per cent of the pounds 18bn of genuine money in circulation is fake.”

But those who run businesses disagree,
John Hall, head of security at the 1,700-strong Co-Operative Wholesale Society chain, reckons it is getting worse: “Over the last year, counterfeit money through our stores has jumped 20 per cent,” he said. “The quality of the forgeries has improved enormously and the counterfeiters have switched from photo-copying to computer-generated graphics, which give a cleaner image and are more difficult to detect.”
Clearly the Bank of England are trying to play down the problem. I would argue that this is not just because it undermines their perceived autonomy in controlling the money supply but also because, if examined carefully, money counterfeiting is actually in agreement with the Bank’s present policy goals.
One of the aims of the Quantitative Easing programs was to fill private banks with reserves so that they would loan them out and increase the quantity of money in circulation. This did not occur, but where the QE program fails, counterfeit money succeeds. There is no doubt that every time a £20 note is counterfeited it circulates in an identical manner to a real one, generating incomes and profits, until it is discovered and removed from circulation. In a time where even the central banks recognise that there is a major output-gap money counterfeiting actually goes some way to filling this.

So, what is the magnitude of this hidden stimulus? Well, in 2009 it is estimated that cash transactions totaled £266bn. In the same year, nominal GDP — that is GDP in nominal money terms — was estimated to be £1.417trn by the OECD. That means that about 19% of nominal GDP in 2009 was made up of cash payments. If we assume that 1% of these cash payments are counterfeit then about 0.19% of total nominal GDP is being driven by counterfeit payments in the UK.
In a world where every tenth of a percent of GDP growth matters, this is a not insignificant number. No wonder then, that economists at the Bank of England are so reticent to discuss the phenomenon of money counterfeiting in any detail.

July-August Military Review Now Online

Military Review - July-August 2016
The complete edition as well as all articles in pdf format. Individual articles can be accessed by clicking on the article title below.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, U.S. Army
The director of the Army Office of Business Transformation believes good leadership and effective management are both necessary for organizational success. He espouses strengthening Army management to drive high performance levels in Army units.

Lt. Col. William Jay Martin, U.S. Air Force, Retired and Emily Kaemmer
The authors recognize that tactical-level Army leaders need to identify potential cyberspace threats and opportunities. They advocate an approach that would effectively provide commanders with situational understanding of the cyberspace domain.

Col. James Lowry Kennedy Jr., U.S. Army, Retired
The author stresses the importance of developing force-management skills in mid-grade Army leaders, touting those skills as necessary for success in nonoperational assignments.

Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, U.S. Army; Col. David P. McHenry, U.S. Army; Lt. Col. Christopher Cline, U.S. Army
According to the commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command, the growing use of electronic warfare, cyber warfare, and information operations in hybrid war requires a culture in our Army that values innovation in cyberspace operations.

Gen. Carlos A. Ospina, National Army of Colombia, Retired; Thomas A. Marks, PhD; David H. Ucko, PhD
The authors counsel caution for Colombia when dealing with the insurgent group FARC, citing the challenges faced in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and El Salvador when those countries faced similar circumstances against other insurgent groups.

Heloisa Cristaldo, Agência Brasil, Reporter
An official press report on comments by Gen. Eduardo Villas Bôas, commanding general of the Brazilian Army, rebuts claims that the Army is planning to assume control of the country during the current political crisis involving efforts to remove the Brazilian president through a constitutional impeachment process.

1st Lt. Matthew E. Miller, U.S. Army Reserve
The threat of terrorist attacks in Europe will continue to increase, according to this author. He believes NATO special operations forces should be the one central institution to respond to an overwhelming terror crisis, and he recommends making counterterrorism one of their principal missions.

Brig. Gen. James B. Burton, U.S. Army, Retired; Col. F. John Burpo, U.S. Army; Capt. Kevin Garcia, U.S. Army
Former leaders of the 20th CBRNE Command draw from their institutional knowledge to recommend reorganizing this one-of-a-kind unit into three multifunctional, regionally aligned CBRNE brigade task forces to meet the challenges of future operations.

Maj. Travis Robison, U.S. Army; Capt. Alex Moen, U.S. Army
During warfighter exercises, members of the recently reactivated division artillery units found themselves relearning common skills and overcoming new challenges. Based on their lessons learned, the authors recommend best practices for common fires issues.

Maj. Robert Chamberlain, U.S. Army
The author discusses why Germany lost the bloody World War I battle at Verdun. He analyzes similarities between the failed German theory of warfare from that battle and contemporary American theory.

Lt. Col. J.B. Shattuck, U.S. Army, Retired
Creating a viable communications network requires a wide variety of integrated communications platforms. However, according to this author, a single, Internet-like unifying network with data for all to see in real time is currently unattainable.

Col. Michael J. Forsyth, U.S. Army
The author compares inaccurate perceptions of modern Chinese leaders to those of pre-World War I German leaders who thought their neighbors were trying to contain them. The delusions of German leaders led to war. U.S. policy toward China should demonstrate that the United States is not trying to contain China in order to avoid conflict.

Col. John C. McKay, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
A Spanish linguist discusses the need for U.S. military officers to study foreign languages and history as part of their strategic education.

Robert E. Smith, PhD
A research engineer argues the merits of tailoring equipment for specific functions, regions, or battles instead of developing multipurpose systems based on exotic and expensive technologies. He believes this will boost innovation while reducing costs.

Lt. Col. Chad R. Foster, U.S. Army
The Army is challenged to balance deployment mission requirements with the imperative to sustain an appropriate level of unit readiness. The author defines the relationship between the concepts of regionally aligned forces and sustainable readiness. He provides specific examples illustrating a way to tailor readiness efforts to the needs of regionally aligned forces.

Lt. Col. John H. Modinger, PhD, U.S. Air Force, Retired
The reviewer critiques a book that provides a fascinating look at the early years of the “space race” between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the often diverging mind-sets of President Eisenhower and senior Air Force leaders concerning the direction of the U.S. space program.

Newly Released 9/11 Report Chapter Highly Critical of CIA and FBI

Long-secret pages of 9/11 report finally made public
James Rosen and Hannah Allam
McClatchy News
July 15, 2016
When two of the Sept. 11 hijackers moved to San Diego in February 2000, they found a friend in fellow Saudi national Omar al Bayoumi.
Bayoumi, suspected by the FBI of being a Saudi intelligence officer, let his two compatriots crash at his apartment, co-signed the lease when they moved into their own flat and paid the security deposit on it. Bayoumi threw a welcome party for them, then introduced them to an associate who helped them get driver licenses – and search for flight schools.
That web of tantalizing relationships is described in a long-withheld 28-page section of what was the first U.S. report on the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The section was declared classified for national security reasons and withheld when the original report was released in June 2003.

On Friday, Congress finally released it after years of pressure from relatives of some of the almost 3,000 people killed on that tragic day.
What that suppressed chapter spelled out was a series of possible links between the hijackers and Saudi officials that the congressional investigators said believed deserved more attention.
“Only recently, and at least in part due to the Joint Inquiry’s focus on this issue, did the FBI and CIA establish a working group to address the Saudi issue,” the investigators wrote. “The Intelligence Community needs to address this area of concern as aggressively and as quickly as possible.”

Sen. Bob Graham, a Miami Lakes Democrat who chaired the inquiry as the then chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and a long proponent of the release of the 28 pages, welcomed their release. But he said the FBI continues to hold back the results of its investigations of 9/11 hijackers who lived in and around Sarasota, Florida.
“This (newly released chapter) will accelerate the time when we have the full facts of what happened before and on 9/11,” the former Florida governor told McClatchy “It will give us more information to form a judgment as to who our friends are and who are enemies are.”
Most of the newly released section focuses on three Saudi hijackers and two alleged Saudi officials who lived in San Diego.

Bayoumi, the suspected intelligence officer, was on the payroll of a company backed by the Saudi government, according to the newly released section. Even though he never showed up for work, he drew a salary and received a raise around the time that two of the future hijackers, Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, arrived in California.
The FBI believed that Bayoumi had “extensive ties to the Saudi government,” at one point receiving $20,000 from the Finance Ministry in Riyadh, the report found.
Al Qaida founder Osama bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia, whose government later exiled him for fomenting radical Islamic activities.
Bassman and his wife received financial support from the Saudi ambassador to the United States, including “a significant amount of cash” from a member of the Saudi royal family during a trip to Houston in 2002.
Bassman, who other Muslims told the FBI might also be a Saudi intelligence agent, lived across the street from the two hijackers and boasted to an FBI undercover agent that he’d done more than Bayoumi to help them, according to the newly released document.
The FBI considered Bassman an Islamic extremist who’d shown support for al Qaida founder Osama bin Laden and other high-profile militants.

Turkish Military Coup Attempt Fails; Thousands of Soldiers Arrested; 265 Killed in Fighting

Turkey Detains Thousands of Military Personnel in Bid to Regain Control
New York Times
July 16, 2016
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s government rounded up thousands of military personnel on Saturday said to have taken part in an attempted coup, moving swiftly to re-establish control after a night of chaos and intrigue that left hundreds dead.
By noon, there were few signs that those who had taken part in the coup attempt were still able to challenge the government, and many declared the uprising a failure.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the insurrection “a stain in the history of democracy” at a news conference on Saturday in Ankara, the capital. He raised the death toll in the clashes to 265, and he said that 2,839 military personnel had been detained.

As the insurrection unfolded Friday night, beginning with the seizure of two bridges in Istanbul by military forces, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not heard from for hours. He finally addressed the nation from an undisclosed location, speaking on his cellphone’s FaceTime app — a dramatic scene that seemed to suggest a man on the grip of losing power. But in the early hours of Saturday morning, he landed at Istanbul airport, a strong sign that the coup was failing.
Mr. Erdogan blamed the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, who was the president’s ally until a bitter falling out three years ago, for the intrigue. Mr. Gulen’s followers were known to have a strong presence in Turkey’s police and judiciary, but less so in the military.

Speaking Saturday morning, Mr. Erdogan said, referring to Mr. Gulen: “I have a message for Pennsylvania: You have engaged in enough treason against this nation. If you dare, come back to your country.” The cleric denied in an emailed statement that he had been involved in the coup attempt.
Mr. Erdogan also said that Turkish fighter jets had bombed tanks on the streets of Ankara, the capital, and that a military helicopter being used by the coup plotters had been shot down.
There was also a battle early Saturday morning at Turkey’s main intelligence headquarters in Ankara, which was later secured by government forces, and a Turkish official said the intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, had been taken to a secure location.

Coup Attempt in Turkey Took US Intelligence by Surprise

U.S. intelligence analysts have been worried about tensions in Turkey, official says
Brian Bennett
Los Angeles Times
July 15, 2016

Friday’s coup attempt in Turkey took U.S. intelligence officials by surprise, a U.S. official said. But intelligence analysts have been concerned for months about simmering tensions between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish military brass as Erdogan has consolidated and expanded his power, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal assessments.

The Turkish military sees itself as a protector of moderate and secular institutions in Turkey, the official said, and Erdogan has recently been moving more aggressively to silence dissent inside the country, expand his control of the courts and clamp down on freedom of the press.
In March, the Turkish government raided the Istanbul offices of the largest-circulation opposition newspaper, Zaman. Columnists critical of the government have been fired in response to government pressure, and reporters have been imprisoned on terrorism charges.

Matt Gurney: Fundamentally, the only country that can improve China’s behaviour is China

Matt Gurney 

July 14, 2016
Source Link

China has long sought to convince the world that it is a responsible, co-operative member of the international community. In many ways, it has been. Western powers justifiably criticize Beijing for its repressive measures and human rights abuses at home, but on the world stage, while it has not always been an ally of the West, it has generally moved with caution and care.

In recent years, however, and in one littoral area in particular, that has been changing. China claims much of the South China Sea comes under its jurisdiction. This includes an enormous swath of open water well outside its internationally recognized exclusive economic zone, which extends from its coastline. Chinese forces have been building artificial islands, typically by dredging around existing rocks and shoals, and turning them into powerful military outposts, to enhance the country’s claim to the region, which it maintains is justified by centuries-old interests. It insists on its exclusive economic rights to all the resources for hundreds of kilometres around those islands. The problem is that other powers, including other countries bordering the disputed waters, refuse to accept its claims, including the United States and several regional powers that feel its claims infringe on their own maritime rights.

China was told it had no legal case and its actions had violated the sovereignty of the Philippines

Despite Efforts to Hide It, Corruption Still Reigns Supreme At All Levels in Russia

Russia: The Old Tricks Still Work
July 14, 2016
Government efforts to control what appears on the Internet (inside Russia) and in domestic mass media are not sufficient to keep out damaging evidence of corruption among the Russian leadership. This got a lot worse after the April 2016 release of 11 million documents stolen (via hacking) from a Panama based international law firm (Mossack Fonseca). Data from these documents showed many prominent Russian officials did business with Mossack Fonseca, a firm that assists wealthy people who want to set up overseas bank accounts and corporations whose owners are very difficult for most people (or even other governments) to identify. The Mossack Fonseca records provided details of enormous wealth owned by Russian officials who could not explain where it came from. In the state controlled media these revelations don’t exist (“more Western lies not worth repeating”) but these details get into Russia via the Internet and eventually reach just about everyone. The damage done is considerable because it makes Russians realize that since 2014 Russia has been making a lot of headlines but not much else. The economy is a mess, it has fewer allies and the future looks dim. Invading Ukraine and Syria has not helped solve any of the fundamental problems. What passes for “good news” is things like foreign economists recently agreeing that the Russian economy is shrinking less than expected this year (1.2 percent smaller GDP rather than 1.5 percent). “Victories” in Syria and Ukraine don’t pay the rent or put food on the table. More and more Russians are just getting by and the appeal of the new nationalism is fading.

What went wrong? Russia entered the 21st century with a new elected government dominated by former secret police (KGB) officers who promised to restore economic and civil order. They did so but in the process are turning Russia into a police state with less political and economic freedom. A growing number of Russians opposed this and the government responded by appealing to nationalism. Russia has returned to police state ways and the traditional threatening attitude towards neighbors. Rather than being run by corrupt communist bureaucrats, the country is now dominated by corrupt businessmen, gangsters and self-serving government officials. The semi-free economy is more productive than the centrally controlled communist one but that just provides more money to steal. A rebellion against the new dictatorship has been derailed by astute propaganda depicting Russia as under siege by the West. Yet opinion polls that show wide popular support for this paranoid fantasy has left enough Russians with democratic impulses to continue demanding better government and needed reforms. But for now most Russians want economic and personal security and are willing to tolerate a police state to get it. That atmosphere, plus the anxiety generated by the Ukraine aggression has scared away a lot of foreign investors and many Russian ones as well. Russia can downplay this in the state controlled media but without all that foreign and Russian capital the economy cannot grow. The only major economic power Russia can still do business with is China and the Chinese recognize the economic weakness of Russia and refuse to get too involved.

While there are common goals in Syria and Russia is willing to work with the Americans Iran has made it very clear that it cannot cooperate with the Americans to the extent that Russia has. After all, the Iranian religious dictatorship justifies its power because of its vow to destroy America and Israel. Iran has its own plans, which it apparently does not share with Russia or anyone else. Meanwhile Russia is eager to make whatever deals it can to end the war in Syria, declare victory and get out. The stalemate in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions have proved more damaging to the Russian economy and leaders than the government will admit. A clear victory in Syria would pave the way for an acceptable end to the Ukrainian mess. Many American military leaders and intelligence officials are warning the U.S. government that closely cooperating with the Russians will not end well for the United States and the West because the Russian goal is keeping the Assad government in power. That is not and never will be popular in the United States, not as long as Iran’s official policy is “death to America and Israel.” But American leaders are attracted to the idea that cooperation with Russia and Iran in Syria would do more to destroy ISIL than any other strategy.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel: Who was the Bastille Day truck attacker in Nice?

Peter Beaumont and Sofia Fischer
The Guardian
July 15, 2016
The man responsible for Thursday’s murderous attack in Nice was a violent petty criminal unknown to the French security services, who was born in Tunisia but had been living and working in the coastal city, prosecutors have said.
Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old delivery driver and father, was shot dead by police after killing 84 people, including 10 children and teenagers, and injuring scores more in a deadly Bastille Day rampage.
Despite a criminal record dating from his first conviction in March this year, Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was not known by French or Tunisian officials to have links to terrorist organisations and was said by neighbours to have had little apparent interest in religion.

Echoing the remarks of French officials, security sources in Tunisia said he was not known by the Tunisian authorities to hold radical or Islamist views. 
At a packed press conference, the Paris prosecutor François Molins said Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had been “completely unknown to both France’s domestic and foreign intelligence officials”. But he added: “Although yesterday’s attack has not been claimed, this sort of thing fits in perfectly with calls for murder from such terrorist organisations.”
Molins said the investigation would focus on a number of key issues, including potential accomplices, how Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had procured the gun he fired at police and whether he was connected to radical jihadi networks.

Later on Friday, French prime minister Manuel Valls said that although he could not confirm the attacker’s motives, Lahouaiej-Bouhlel “is a terrorist probably linked to radical Islam one way or another”.
On Friday, at the modest five-storey block of flats in the Quartier des Abattoirs where he had lived and which was raided by officers from the elite RAID unit at 9.30am,neighbours described him as a quiet and “not very religious” man.
Born in 1985 in Tunisia, Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had come from the town of M’saken near the city of Sousse – where dozens of foreign tourists were shot dead on a beach last year – and had reportedly last visited the town four years ago.
From 2002 to 2004, he had problems that caused a nervous breakdown. He would become angry and he shouted … he would break anything he saw in front of him,” Mohamed Mondher Lahouaiej-Bouhlel said outside his home in M’saken. He said he was prescribed medication to treat his depression.

U.S. military has launched a new digital war against the Islamic State

Ellen Nakashima and Missy Ryan
Washington Post
July 16, 2016

An unprecedented Pentagon cyber-offensive against the Islamic State has gotten off to a slow start, officials said, frustrating Pentagon leaders and threatening to undermine efforts to counter the militant group’s sophisticated use of technology for recruiting, operations and propaganda.
The U.S. military’s new cyberwar, which strikes across networks at its communications systems and other infrastructure, is the first major, publicly declared use by any nation’s military of digital weapons that are more commonly associated with covert actions by intelligence services.
The debut effort is testing the ability of the military’s seven-year-old U.S. Cyber Command’s to conduct offensive operations against an enemy that has proved to be an adept user of technology to organize operations, recruit fighters and move money.

But defense officials said the command is still working to put the right staff in place and has not yet developed a full suite of malware and other tools tailored to attack an adversary dramatically different than the nation-states Cybercom was created to fight.
In an effort to accelerate the pace of digital operations against the Islamic State, the Cybercom commander, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, created a unit in May headed by Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon that is tasked with developing digital weapons — fashioned from malware and other cyber-tools — that can intensify efforts to damage and destroy the Islamic State’s networks, computers and cellphones.
The group, called Joint Task Force Ares, is coordinating operations more closely with U.S. Central Command, which is leading the military fight, and working to sharpen offensive operations.

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has pressed Rogers repeatedly to pick up the pace of the nascent cyber-offensive, ensuring it plays a more active role in the overall campaign against the Islamic State.
“Cybercom has not been as effective as the Department would expect them to be, and they’re not as effective as they need to be,” said a senior defense official who, like other officials, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations. “They need to deliver results.”
Although officials declined to detail current operations, they said that cyberattacks occurring under the new task force might, for instance, disrupt a payment system, identify a communications platform used by Islamic State members and knock it out, or bring down Dabiq, the Islamic State’s online magazine.

NSA Director Says Cyber Command’s Mission Force Is Almost Operational

NSA Boss Says U.S. Cyber Troops Are Nearly Ready
Victoria Mirian
July 14, 2016
The director of the National Security Agency says his first few dedicated cyber troops will be operational by early fall but the nation can’t wait for the full unit to be ready.
The military’s Cyber Mission Force, which will eventually contain 6,200 people split into 133 teams, is the largest single unit dedicated to operating in computer networks. It’s intended to both attack and defend computer systems around the world.
The U.S. Cyber Command ordered the creation of this dedicated cyber unit in 2012, andAdm. Michael Rogers, who is the director of the NSA and the Cyber Command, says the unit will reach what he called initial operating capability by Sept. 30.

“We find ourselves in a situation a little unusual in the military arena,” Rogers told a crowd at the National Press Club Thursday. “As soon as we get a basic framework, we are deploying the teams and putting them against challenges.”
Rogers likened it to sending a fighter squadron into action that only had five of its 24 aircraft. Because demand for cybersecurity exceeds capacity, Rogers said, the mission force will be put to work before the agency has time to finish building it.
He said he’s trying to build the force, made up of both military personnel and civilians, even as his agency faces budget cuts. He said it’ll be fully capable by Sept. 30, 2018.
“I just always feel like we’re in a race to make sure we are generating capacity and capability, and that we are doing it faster than those who would attempt to do harm to us,” Rogers said. “As you watch what opponents are doing, as I’m watching behaviors out on the net, it’s almost visceral.”

According to the Department of Defense, about half of the Cyber Mission Force teamswill be assigned to protecting military networks from cyber intrusions. Another 20 percent will be dedicated to combat missions. About 10 percent will be assigned to national mission teams to protect the country’s infrastructure, and the remaining fifth will be assigned to “support teams.”
Rogers said he wants cyber to be integrated into the military and become a tool available to policymakers and operational commanders, as long as it’s used legally. He said he’s tried to stay mindful about the need to balance protecting the privacy and rights of individuals with the government’s duty to protect citizens.
“I always tell [our workers], ‘Don’t ever forget that at the end, we’re dealing with a choice that some human made on a keyboard somewhere else in the world,’ ” he said. “There was a man or woman on the other end of this.”

Commentary: Nice attack – the wider threat to France

Jul 15, 2016

French police and forensic officers stand next to a truck July 15, 2016 that ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, July 14.

With the death of the driver who plowed his truck through dozens of French civilians in Nice,it may take a while for authorities to get to the bottom of what motivated the attack. The broader picture, however, looks unpleasantly clear: mainland Europe, and France in particular, is facing a vicious, repeated string of attacks that are hard to stop and likely to produce evermore unpredictable political consequences.

In France alone, well over 200 civilians have now been killed since attackers targeted a kosher supermarket and the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. And while the vast majority of deaths occurred in just three events – that killing, the assault in Paris on November 13 and now the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice – it appears that much smaller, more limited but still often deadly strikes are also on the rise.

It’s not just France, of course, but for now that country appears the most at risk. According to European security officials, the March 22 Brussels attack that left 35 dead, including three perpetrators, also had been intended for French soil. In response, the country has mobilized on an almost wartime scale, with troops on the streets and a national state of emergency.

Only hours before the attack in Nice, President François Hollande had ironically announced that the state of emergency imposed after November's attacks would be lifted at the end of the month.