The last few months of the Syrian Civil War have been a very significant transitional period. Contrary to what many may think, this period has the potential to be far
Today, I read a Fox News article entitled, “Iranian dissidents seeking meeting with Trump.” See: (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/23/iranian-dissidents-seeking-meeting-with-trump.html). According to the article, Iranian dissidents have penned a letter to Trump urging him
It should come as no shock to our readers that the Third Iraq War President Obama initiated has already faltered. As predicted, the strategy (or lack thereof see: http://www.blackboxwire.com/2014/10/11/islamic-extremism-and-what-lies-ahead-part-ii-the-war-on-isis-and-syria/) did
“Even in the best-case scenario in an unstable country, we never have 100 percent accountability,” a defense official told the Washington Post.
American military officials admitted to members of Congress that they have lost track of millions in small arms, ammunition, night vision goggles, patrol boats, vehicles and other supplies donated by the US to the Yemeni government.
The US has supplied more than $500 million in military aid to Yemen since 2007 through programs managed by the Defense Department and State Department. But in January, the Yemeni government was toppled by Shiite Houthi rebels, backed by Iran and critical of US drones strikes in the country, who also took over government military bases in the north.
Since then, the Defense Department has lost its ability to monitor the whereabouts of weaponry and equipment. The situation has only grown worse since the US closed its embassy in Sanaa, the capital, in February and withdrew military advisers.
This is an easy fix STOP SUPPLYING THE REGION WITH OUR WEAPONS!
Read the rest of the story here
I am privileged to write a periodic blog for the new site, “What’s Between the Lines”. As we move through the next weeks, we’ll explore our changing world from the prospective of finance (perceived value), psychology (why we believe what we believe), preparedness (what’s meaningful and what’s not) and risk (priority vs. urgency). The narrative will explore current events, trends, and perceived social momentum through the blended eyes of the empiricist and the spiritually influenced. Our goal is not to sensationalize, but to deepen our scope of understanding, thus enabling us to make better decisions in our personal life. I welcome your comments and opinions as we work to give voice to our South Carolina community and understanding to our diverse and dynamic culture at large.
So, let’s begin our journey with current events and a discussion of ISIS. Well, technically we really can’t refer to the ideology any more as ISIS because it’s no longer an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Using the vernacular of medical science, we could however begin to think about ISIS as the modern day index case or patient zero. Geographically, the dogma has expanded to Afghanistan, Pakistan and southwest Turkey as well as the upper latitudes of the African continent, giving rise to the label ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Philosophically, the ideology has gained some traction with the world at large.
The contemporary reemergence of the Islamic Rebel State was readily identified by highly specialized advisory teams for geopolitical risk assessment to the U.S. government as well as NATO, as far back as the late 1970s debate for U.S. aid to the Afghan mujahedeen. The Islamic movement calls for a ‘holy war’ against all those who do not set the Quaran (central religious text of Islam) as the definitive word of a universal God. The holy war seeks the very dangerous goal of Islamic global theocracy, leaving no room for other spiritual disciplines.
The movement is not unique in history as evidenced by the Wahhabis in the early 18th century who waged jihad against non-Muslim beliefs and was eventually defeated by the French. There have been other attempts at proliferating Islamic theocracy in the late 1800s but the movements were unable to gain sufficient traction primarily due to a lack of infrastructure. In the 19th century Czarist military assets put down a similar holy war with extreme predigest responding in kind to perceived jihadist brutality. Historically, forces dedicated to expanding Islamic theocracy have failed because they were unable to create the centralized government needed to organize and finance the campaign. ISIL’s coalition is spiritual; its antagonism is social suppression and wealth accumulation. Aspirations of overrunning the Vatican are greatly exaggerated however, historian David Motadel notes; “we need to recognize where these groups really are. Referring to them as a ‘cancer,’ as President Obama has, is understandable from an emotional standpoint, but simplifies and obscures the phenomenon. Jihadist states are complex politics and must be understood in the context of Islamic history.”
So, is the Islamic theocracy a threat today? I believe the answer is a resounding … yes, and can be counted among many troubling theologies. Past deficiencies of infrastructure are being addressed. Present day jihadist are better funded and more socially sophisticated than any time in history. The bureaucracy uses sophisticated organizational hierarchy and funding comes primarily from oil, human trafficking and proliferation of illegal drugs, with the latter two funding sources seemingly in unlimited supply, and demand. Islamic jihadists employ sensationalized violence to stay forefront in the world news. Proficient now in social media, recruitment has expanded from regional to the world, targeting the misguided who seek social belonging and theological conviction. The seemingly infinite recruiting pool is sustained through domestic and international economic and political dysfunction. Ideologies are no longer constrained by geographic boarders. Individuals sympathetic to causes, unlike any time in history, can easily follow events and participate in the movement through rogue actions or physically join forces as they wish. Economic and political dysfunction, coupled with the industrialized world’s first highest priority of ‘profit’, ensures substantial human assets and sufficient resources to perpetuate the movement, short term.
Of course, no third world force can hope to stand, toe to toe, with NATO, Russian or Chinese military might. Radical Islamic leadership (Boko Haram withstanding) understands this and will certainly attempt to associate tactical defeats by imperialist nations with martyrism.
In the late 1700s the Revolutionary War further evolved the art of war. Instead of opposing forces positioned 200 yards apart on a grassy battlefield exchanging fire, Francis Marion (a South Carolina native), perhaps better known as the Swamp Fox, decided a better way to engage (and survive) a larger and better organized force may be to stand behind a tree or rock, and shoot the opposition from cover. British commanders referred to the tactic as terrorism. This strategy later evolved as guerrilla warfare or irregular warfare and can be very successful for opposition to regular forces as long as the guerrilla forces are sufficiently supported and supplied by the local people. A good example would be support of allied efforts by the Maquis (French resistance) against Nazi Germany in the mid-1940s. Expanding on the next evolution of guerrilla warfare would be terrorism, a resistance by smaller less organized groups or even individuals. In the example of Frances Marion, we’ve learned that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.
Therefore, one could easily extrapolate that since Islamic extremism cannot stand toe to toe with regular forces, the movement will have no choice but to resort to terrorism. As economic and theological dysfunction abound, Islamic and other radical ideologies will likely thrive.
In the 3rd or 4th century BC, a philosophy was recorded that loosely translated says, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Islamic radicalism will therefore attempt to unite with existing global social unrest seeking to undermine the social fabric of first world nations. However, by design, DHS and the NSA in concert with MI6, Russian, Chinese and German equivalents will deny the Achilles heel of centralized organization and the ability to finance the efforts. Further, near field communication will enable a cashless society in the next three years (estimate but I believe highly accurate). The immediate goal of this technology will be to transition from the credit card magnetic strip antiquated technology, largely bypassing the newer credit cards with chips that must be in place by October 2015, and move directly to electronic payment (with subsequent implied recordkeeping) through a smart phone. As a side note, it’s interesting that over 40% of U.S. residents do not have a relationship with a financial institution however the saturation rate for smart phones in the U.S. is in excess of 87% by most estimates. Therefore, near field communication used by Apple Pay and in the developmental stage by banks, etc., can and will replace credit cards … soon. So, as the U.S. and others move to this new technology and full electronic recordkeeping, money laundering, financing for terrorism, etc., will dry up. Thus, without the infrastructure of reliable secure communication and adequate financing, the Islamic extremist initiative, as a global initiative, is doomed to failure in the near future (likely 3 years).
Further, any home grown terrorism, beyond the random rogue operative will almost certainly result in immediate Martial Law, with all its implications. (I’ll discuss the insinuations of Martial Law in later blogs.)
Preparedness for U.S. homeland terrorism is however a prudent initiative. Increasing global and domestic social tensions are inevitable. It is a fact that the job of domestic police is to, clean up the mess. It’s not to serve and protect (as evidenced by recent litigation rulings). I encourage everyone to develop situational awareness. Proper licensing, hunting, concealed weapons, passports, etc., are as important as a proper cash reserve and having a 90 day supply of needed meds on hand.
There are dangers that will likely result in a tear in the fabric of our civilization … or the next evolution of our civilization … but that’s a topic for later weeks…