Why Libya Matters

June 1, 2015  Zachary Fillingham

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Libya is quietly slipping into chaos while the more established debacles of Iraq and Syria dominate in Western headlines and corridors of power. The more grave and consequential the Libyan civil war becomes, the less attention is paid to it. It’s almost as if the country has already been relegated to an embarrassing footnote in the history books, another ‘oops’ on the growing list of flawed Western interventions.

But it can and will get worse if Europe and its international partners choose to stand idle, because there can be no long-lasting stability in North Africa unless Libya is brought under control.

A Security Crisis

It’s a worst-case scenario that has been unfolding with stunning regularity throughout the MENA region: Islamic State (ISIS) moves into a vacuum and quickly becomes entrenched, bolstering its revenue, recruits, and standing with jihadis worldwide. Many thought that Libya would not provide fertile ground for ISIS expansion due to the country’s tight-knit tribal structure and aversion to outsiders. ISIS appears to be proving them wrong by going the franchise route and aligning its ‘brand’ with pre-existing Libyan Islamist outfits. Now the black flag is flying over Sirte and Derna, providing ISIS with a base to make further gains amidst the fighting between Tubruq and Tripoli. There are also more established, al-Qaeda aligned jihadist groups operating in Libya such as Ansar al-Sharia, which is currently proving a tactical headache for General Haftar’s forces in Benghazi. Continue reading

Strategic Insights: Would a Post-2011 Residual U.S. Force in Iraq Have Changed Anything?

English: Major ethno-religious groups in Iraq ...

English: Major ethno-religious groups in Iraq Shiite Arabs Sunni Arabs Kurds Assyrians Yazidis Turkmen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

February 9, 2015 | Dr. W. Andrew Terrill

Currently, U.S. policy analysts and governmental leaders are examining the rise of the Islamic State (IS) organization, particularly its seizure of vast expanses of Iraqi territory in the summer of 2014. People legitimately ask what could have been done and would a residual U.S. force in Iraq have prevented the spread of IS from Syria to Iraq or at least its seizure of northern Iraq? Opponents of the decision to withdraw all U.S. forces often contend that a U.S. residual force could have prevented or mitigated the IS offensive in northern Iraq. Supporters of the decision to withdraw usually point out that the Iraqi government would not agree to a Status of Forces agreement (SOFA) that allowed U.S. forces to remain in that country without being subordinate to Iraqi domestic law. The second argument seems to accept the views of the critics, while suggesting that the withdrawal was required as part of an effort to respect Iraqi sovereignty. Both sides seem to agree that a residual force in Iraq was a good idea. They disagree on why it did not occur. Continue reading

The Hunt for Black October

The Swedish Navy is desperately trying to find a Russian submarine prowling off the coast of Stockholm. What’s Vladimir Putin up to?

BY Erik Brattberg , Katarina Tracz OCTOBER 20, 2014

What first sounded like something straight out of a Tom Clancy novel is turning out to be Moscow’s first serious test of Western resolve since the invasion of Crimea earlier this year. While details are patchy and the situation is still unfolding, three separate credible eyewitness accounts and a photo showing a dark structure descending into the shallow waters of the Baltic Sea seem to confirm the presence of a foreign submarine or mini-sub some 30 miles from Stockholm. If so, this would be a major escalation of tensions in the Baltic Sea region. Continue reading

The Lavi – IDF’s Newest Training Aircraft

Earlier this month, the Israel Air Force grew significantly stronger with the arrival of its newest training aircraft: the “Lavi”. On the forefront of aerial technology, the Lavi allows pilots to acquire operational flight skills much faster resulting in a more efficient training process. Major A., the deputy commander of the Lavi Squadron, explains the enormous benefits of this new aircraft.

The first three models of this new trainer aircraft are officially in the hands of the Israel Air Force. The Lavi is designed to train pilots from the IAF Flight Academy, facilitating their transition from basic training models to advanced fighter aircraft like the F-15 and F-16I.

Major A., deputy commander of the Lavi Squadron explains, “This aircraft is revolutionary for the Flight Academy. Its flight characteristics are very similar to those of the F-16I and F-15. We can show students the possible maneuvers on their future fighter aircraft and thus shorten the training and adaptation processes significantly.” Continue reading

Australia: Land warfare doctrine 1 – the fundamentals of land power

Link to Resource:

22 September 2014

Drawing on best practices in strategic thinking about land power, this paper is intended to provide the Australian Army with the philosophical guidance for achieving its mission.

Introduction

War and warfare continue to plague the human race. War remains the most complex and dangerous strategic challenge faced by nations. In the future, warfare will be waged by information and technology-enabled military forces, in land, sea, air, space and cyber space. This will be notably irregular in style when compared with most interstate strategic practices in modern times. Preparing for such conflict requires the investment of very significant human, materiel and technological resources. Being able to fight and win under such circumstances depends ultimately on having the right force structure and military capabilities.

Australia’s geostrategic and environmental situation has shaped the development of the nation’s defence capacity. Demography, geography and economic power contribute to and influence doctrine which is unique to the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Army. For the Army, doctrine is the repository of military knowledge, and is a dynamic embodiment of the Army’s ethos. To remain relevant as the basis for military thinking, doctrine must evolve to allow for changes in policy and circumstances. Continue reading

IAI To Transfer Spy Sat to Military Users

May. 11, 2014 – 02:32PM   |   By BARBARA OPALL-ROME  

The Ofek 10 satellite was launched on April 9 and carriers a synthetic aperture radar.

The Ofek 10 satellite was launched on April 9 and carriers a synthetic aperture radar. (Israel Aerospace Industries)

YEHUD, ISRAEL — A month after launching Israel’s newest spy satellite into space, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), producer of the Ofek 10 and its advanced radar-imaging payload, is poised to transfer the strategic intelligence system to military hands.

IAI Chief Executive Yossi Weiss said Ofek 10 should be delivered to operational users “within weeks,” following extensive in-orbit testing by specialists with the company’s MBT Space Division here and Defense Ministry research and development authorities.

“So far, along all parameters, we’re quite satisfied,” Weiss said of the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite launched April 9 by an IAI-produced Shavit rocket.

“We’re taking our time to work through a very methodical and thorough testing program,” he said. “There will be no cutting corners. … And when it’s ready — within weeks — we will hand it over to the government of Israel to operate as an additional strategic asset for its use.” Continue reading

SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW Weekly Assessments & Briefings Volume 12, No. 38, March 24, 2014

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal
ASSESSMENT
AFGHANISTAN

Critical Cusp
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

With less than a fortnight to go for the all important Presidential Elections scheduled to be held on April 5, 2014, a wave of terror strikes has enveloped the length and breadth of Afghanistan. In the most recent of major incidents (each resulting in three or more fatalities) at least nine persons, including four foreigners and five Afghans (including two children and two women), were shot dead by Taliban terrorists inside the luxurious Serena Hotel complex in national capital Kabul, in the night of March 20, 2014. The attackers managed to smuggle pistols past security checkpoints and then hid in a bathroom, eventually springing out and opening fire on guests and hotel guards. All the four terrorists were killed in the subsequent operation by the Security Forces (SFs). The attack took place despite recent security reports rating Serena Hotel, guarded round the clock by dozens of security guards armed with assault weapons, among the highest-risk locales in the city. The hotel is frequented by foreign officials and the Afghan elite. Continue reading