Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday.
Today's Winds of War briefing is brought to you by Bill Roggio of the fourth rail and evariste of Discarded Lies. Also be sure to check out Andrew's Iraq Report and Arthur's Good News From Iraq briefings.
- The arrest of senior al Qaeda commander Abu Farraj al-Libbi, a result of good, old-fashioned spycraft by the CIA's clandestine service, may have created a "cascading effect". 18 more members of his network were immediately arrested in the last 48 hours, and he appears to be singing like a canary. Or maybe he's not. Speaking of singing like a canary, Zarqawi's driver has been quite helpful as well. Pakistan may be conducting a purge of its military in the wake of his capture, as a junior minister underscored that Musharraf's life was in constant danger. Meanwhile, on Friday 5000 terrorist sympathizers rallied to protest these developments and burn George W Bush in effigy. While there are question on al_Libbi's rank in al Qaeda, US intelligence services did not confuse him with Anas al-Liby.
- Has a jihad begun in Nigeria? The buried lede in this Washington Times story on the Catholicism and Islam in Nigeria is that Nigerian newspapers have been abuzz with reports that a jihad is being prepared in the North. A Taliban-like group is already active, and 400 men claiming to be under Osama bin Laden's orders attacked a Christian village in broad daylight, slaughtering worshippers in a church and committing other atrocities. America's former ambassador to Nigeria thinks the country has become Al Qaeda's new Afghanistan.
- Russia's back in the Middle East, big time. Putin's whirlwind tour led to promises to support Egypt for the Security Council, sell missiles to Syria, support Iran's nuclear project, and use the Quartet to outmaneouvre US influence on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Other Topics Today Include:
Euros want US to offer Iran more carrot; Pakistan's Alberta restiveness Iranian fueled?; US kills 100 in a major operation on Syrian border; Iraqis learned IED tech from forgotten US Army manual; EMS departments shortchanged; Texas border county sheriffs warn on terror migrants; FBI too slow to hire analysts; local enforcement of federal immigration law; West African instability; regime change Libya; Zarqawi terror camps in Kenya and Somalia; MILF to help Flips hunt down Abu Sayyaf; Russians foil plot; Sino-Japanese relations still fragile; Russia-Georgia conflict over bases; did US sink Kursk?; setbacks for China's economic espionage effort; colorful Spanish trial for 9/11 defendants; US kills 20 Taliban; 6 ETA attacks thwarted, ETA suspected of stealing bomb stuff; hawwala and charities targeted for regulation and reform by Arabs; Negroponte moves fast; EURCOM cmdr sees resumption of mil. ties with Libya; Marines may be in battle with bad body armor; Israel shut out of JSF; technical underpinnings of EMP weapons and much more.
- A report that calls for preemptive action against Iran is being circulated in Israel and gaining traction.
- Tensions continue to simmer in Pakistan's Alberta, Balochistan, amid accusations that Iran may be arming the restive tribesmen in revenge for Pakistani cooperation with US Special Forces believed to be operating undercover in Iran. I hope it's true.
THE MIDDLE EAST
- The US has killed at least 75 terrorists in a remote desert area of Iraq near the Syrian border, in a massive operation that started on Saturday and has so far cost the lives of two marines. Update: make that 100 terrorists, and three US marines.
- The terrorists in Iraq appear to have a huge pool of bomb-rigged cars to draw on for suicide attacks.
- People unclear on the concept: the Egyptian ruling party is set to pass an election law that requires a prospective presidential candidate to be endorsed by 10% of the MPs in Parliament. Trouble is, the total number of opposition MPs in Egypt is less than 5%.
- Israel found a very-well-built tunnel that was built into Gaza fromEgypt-right under the noses of Egypt's forces. They sure don't seem to be trying very hard to stop this.
- Yemen upheld the death sentence of a terrorist who assassinated a politician in 2002 and helped plot an attack that killed three Americans. It exonerated six of his helpers, however.
- Daniel Pipes says we shouldn't let ourselves be lulled into forgetting that Hamas intends war with the United States.
- Egypt has arrested a few more Muslim Brotherhood leaders, as the leading contender to run against Mubarak in the Presidential elections pondered the feasibility of such a run. Egypt also arrested about 200 in investigations into this month's bomb blast and tour bus shooting.
- Where'd Iraqi terrorists learn to build and field IEDs? From a US Army manual is one possibility.
AMERICAN DOMESTIC SECURITY & THE AMERICAS
- EMS departments, which field ambulances and paramedics, are getting shut out of federal Homeland Security funding because they're stuck in the DOT's overseership rather than DHS's.
- Lawmakers got angry enough with DHS opaqueness to cut $800 million from its budget, saying "no information = no money".
- Playas, NM-a near-ghost town converted into a terrorism response training exercises and simulations.
- Most of billions expended on Homeland Security gear in the aftermath of 9/11 was ill-spent, and DHS wants to spend $4.5 billion more to replace it.
- Number of secret wiretap requests denied by the courts last year: 0. The number requested, and obtained, surged by 19%.
- Congress was told that Europe-based Islamic terror groups may now be the biggest threat to US security.
- 14 Texas sheriffs from counties that border Mexico sought to highlight the growing threat of terrorists crossing the border as well as Mexican violence spilling over and affecting Americans.
- The 9/11 commission is saying that their recommendations aren't being implemented fast enough, while praising the creation of the NID job and the appointment of John Negroponte to it.
- A Justice Department auditor says the FBI is still too slow to hire analysts, with a third of positions vacant last fall.
- A teenager from upstate New York pled guilty to attempting to supply Somalian terrorists with night vision goggles and bulletproof vests. Two year sentence.
- Is the government becoming too secretive in the name of security? Here are some people who think so.
- Decentralizing immigration law enforcement: Local governments are joining a federal program that allows their law enforcement personnel, after training, to enforce federal immigration law. Alabama and Florida have already put officers through training and fielded them, and parts of Southern California are next. A big change from the days when local cops would studiously avoid asking about immigration status even when investigating another crime.
- The proliferation of light arms is contributing to the instability in West Africa. Here's an overview of the past week of it. Charles Taylor, from his high-security mansion in Nigeria, is still menacing the entire region.
- The UNSC agreed to extend UN peacekeepers' mission in the Ivory Coast another month while they figure out the eventual size and mandate of the mission.
- A US commander denied a widespread report that US troops had chased terrorists on a Somalian coast, saying the report was confusing an exercise in Djibouti for an operation in Somalia.
- The State Department's Country Terrorism Report reaffirmed that a rebel group operating in Sudan, the Lord's Resistance Army, are terrorists. The LRA killed 19 in Uganda recently as part of their brutal rebellion.
- A classified Canadian intelligence report warns that sub-Saharab Africa is a permissive environment for jihad.
- Is Al Zarqawi establishing terror sanctuaries in Kenya and Somalia? Two Al Qaeda-linked groups are implicated in an attack on Somalia's prime minister last week, including the Takfiris.
- Mauritanian authorities have captured prominent leaders of Algeria's GSPC (Salafist Group For Call and Combat).
ASIA & AUSTRALIA
- As a token of good faith in the peace negotiations, the MILF group has promised to form a 20-member team to help the Phillippine government hunt down members of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap gang.
- Canada has joined Australia in warning its citizens against visiting parts of the Phillippines, saying that a major terror attack is in the late stages of planning there.
- A crisis may be impending over Russia's military bases in Georgia; as of May 15th they will be illegal, and new rounds of negotiations have been fruitless.
- 7 men who were convicted of attacking the US consulate in Calcutta have been sentenced to die in India. Pakistan is accused by India of having a link to the attack, and to the bloody raid the same year on India's parliament.
- China is refusing a US request to cut off fellow Communist dictatorship North Korea's oil supply, according to the Washington Post. China claimed that shutting off oil would damage their pipeline, and offered instead to cut off food deliveries. The UN is now estimating the Juche regime has the plutonium for up to six weapons.
- An pan-Indonesian manhunt is ongoing for four terrorist individuals known only by their initials as their compatriot, 22-year-old Amirrudin, was arrested as a suspect following an attack that killed 6 Christians. The police Chief Inspector says the bombing was part of a larger scheme to carry out terror attacks across Indonesia.
- Two setbacks for China's European economic espionage effort. That was France and Germany; they're also spying on Swedish universities.
- Russia is spitting mad at Bush for suggesting Russia should repudiate the 1939 accords that led to the decades-long Soviet occupation of the Baltic states.
- Spanish cops have thwarted six terror attacks by ETA recently. The ETA is suspected in a theft of bomb materials in France.
- Spain's trial of several people over the 9/11 attacks took an interesting twist as one of the suspects, a man accused of filming targets for Al Qaeda, described his joy in visiting US landmarks. He was evasive and shifty on the subject of his ties to an Al Qaeda cleric. Another fellow wept on the stand as he recalled his humiliation and rape in a middle eastern prison.
- The prosecutor says Van Gogh's killer was not on the fringe of the terror network Hofstadgroep, but was rather a leader of it.
- The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor looks at the growing threat of Islamist militancy in Europe, and the disturbing inter-Europe and international links being made.
THE GLOBAL WAR
- Who is "The American"? Al Zarqawi is said to have an aide in the US.
- The US has now named Bangladesh's Harakut ul Jihad al Islami a terrorist group in the State Department's Country Terrorism Report. Also in the report, the State Department said that India's security forces were becoming increasingly effective, especially in Kashmir.
- 8 Bangladeshi terrorists were caught in India, and Bangladesh is demanding them back.
- Fourteen Arab states agreed to issue new policies in September to protect their financial systems from becoming conduits for terrorist funding. The long-neglected freewheeling hawala system and lackadaisical controls on charities and cash couriers are among the areas being targeted for new regulation.
- Only 2 weeks into his new job, national intelligence director John Negroponte is moving decisively and quickly to set up his new agency. He's hired several deputies and a dozen of the 500 new employees he'll eventually head. He is already in charge of the Presidential Daily Briefing.
- The deputy commander of EURCOM, one of the US's strategic commands, foresees a resumption of military ties with Libya soon.
This section is an experimental addition to our usual geography-based categories, and may or may not be back in future briefings.
- Israel will still be allowed to buy it, but won't be privy to technical details and information sharing on the new Joint Strike Fighter, because of the growing rift between the defense establishments of the two countries over Israeli technology sharing with China. The issues revolve around a new Chinese jet fighter based on the joint Israeli-US designed-and-discarded Lavi fighter, and the Harpy drones, and other technology that US officials fear will be used against US troops in the Taiwan strait.
- Jim Dunnigan looks at the ever-evolving balance between boots on the ground and technology that unsuccessfully promises to obviate the need for them.
- If composite materials such as those used in the new Boeing Dreamliner get cheap enough, they'll probably start being retrofitted into existing military aircraft (some of which has been in continuous service for decades).
- A firm is training bees to detect explosives and landmines. The bees can learn to detect a desired substance in minutes, rather than the months that it takes to train dogs.
- The Army has signed a deal with a company to provide flexible, weavable material that can convert solar energy to electricity and reduce the need for soldiers to schlep batteries.
- What does this have to do with war? Um...with this amazing new technology we can now taste the blood of our enemies before we slay them?
We try to close on a lighter note if possible.
- Did you miss the time travelers' convention last Saturday? It's never too late, just hop in the time machine pronto.
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