Nick Turse
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

106 people reported killed by Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Homs on Tuesday.
Dozens were killed when a blast hit Aleppo University.
Jari Lindholm on discovering a hasty mass grave in Aleppo.
A translated interview with Medecins Sans Frontières’ Fabrice Weissman on the state of hospitals in Syria.
The Syrian battle for the airports.
There are splits and infighting between the jihadists and the more secular revolutionary Free Syrian Army.
Despite a cable reported on in Foreign Policy which offered evidence that Syria had used chemical weapons in Homs in late December, a State Dept investigation is saying that evidence does not show this to be true.
Netanyahu pledged over the weekend to follow through with settlement plans in the E-1 area of the West Bank after Palestinians were evicted. 
The sentences of seven Omani bloggers convicted of insulting the king were upheld in court. 
France has intervened in Mali, conducting operations against Islamists in the north.
Militants in Algeria seized hostages, including Americans, in retribution for the French military assault on Mali. Algeria launched an assault on the militants, which freed some captives but left others dead. The fate of the individual hostages remains unknown.
The US officially recognizes Somalia’s government.
The US has continued to sell arms to Bahrain amidst its bloody crackdown on protesters.
Iraq released hundreds of prisoners, conceded to Sunni protesters.
Luke Mogelson embeds with Afghan soldiers tracking down the Taliban.
The US will no longer send detainees to certain Afghan prisons based on fears of abuses.
The US will sell Afghanistan unarmed aerial vehicles, but not, the Pentagon insists, drones of the killer variety.
India and Pakistan agree to a de-escalation in Kashmir.
Pakistani cleric/activist Tahir ul-Qadri ended his four days of protest after his party was granted input in the country’s electoral process.
A court issued an arrest order for PM Raja Pervez Ashraf, but the anti-corruption chief refused, saying there was not enough evidence.
Karman Faisal, the man investigating the graft case against PM Raja Pervez Ashraf, was found dead in Islamabad this morning.
Der Spiegel looks into corruption, mistrust of the government and a massacre in Kazakhstan.
Flag riots and sectarian violence continue to plague Northern Ireland as the loyalist/Protestant working class youth erupt.
Bombs were detonated in the homes of five Greek journalists last weekend. The responsibility was claimed by anarchist group Lovers of Lawlessness.
Teju Cole tweeted seven very short stories about drones: “Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Pity. A signature strike leveled the florist’s.” 
Steve Coll reviews Zero Dark Thirty.
Here’s an electronic briefing book compiled by the The National Security Archive of all the available documents on Operation Neptune Spear (the mission to take down bin Laden).
There were as many as 349 military suicides in 2012 (239 confirmed, 110 under investigation). That would be the highest since 2001, when the Pentagon first started compiling detailed stats.
US special operations forces are preparing to be sent to expand the training of Mexican commando teams in the war on the drug cartels.
Sorry, no Death Star.
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearings for Sec. of Defense are set for Jan. 31.
Current Secretary of Defense Panetta says the only people who need armor-piercing bullets are the military, backing the president’s call for an assault weapons ban.
Former US Army staff sergeant Clinton Romesha will receive the Medal of Honor next month, becoming the fourth living recipient.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
Photo: Azaz, Syria (north of Aleppo). A bloody Free Syrian Army fighter walked down the street after a missile attack. Muzaffar Salman/Reuters

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Azaz, Syria (north of Aleppo). A bloody Free Syrian Army fighter walked down the street after a missile attack. Muzaffar Salman/Reuters

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
Rebel fighters claim to have taken a strategically important helicopter base in the north.
At the end of November, Syrian forces appeared to be mixing chemicals, most likely the nerve gas sarin, and filling 500 lb. bombs. 
The Syrian government exchanged 2,130 prisoners for 48 Iranians.
Winter weather is bringing harsh and miserable times to Syrian refugees.
Jordan faces its own spillover problems from the Syrian conflict.
Hamas and Fatah agreed on a unity deal mediated by Egypt’s Morsy.
The killing of three Kurdish activists in Paris could hamper peace talks between Turkey and the PKK.
Mohammed Megyaref, president of the Libyan National Council, escaped an assassination attempt.
An interview with a terrorist in Kenya.
Rebels in Mali have over-run a long-held defensive position of the government’s in the central region of the country.
The M23 rebels in the D.R. Congo have declared a unilateral ceasefire ahead of peace talks.
Peace talks begin in the Central African Republic.
A group of eleven female protesters continue to be held by Saudi Arabian authorities without charge since their arrest on the 5th. They are believed to be being held in Buraida and Riyadh.
A former judge in Saudi Arabia has also apparently been being held incommunicado since a lecture he gave on the legality of protests under shari’a law. Amnesty International considers him at risk of torture.
On Monday, the highest court in Bahrain upheld sentences for twenty activists (eight of whom faced life sentences) for plotting to overthrow the state.
Iraq has closed the border with Jordan because of ongoing Sunni protests in Anbar.
Former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007, was dressed by his captors as a prisoner in Guantánamo, according to photos from two years ago now released by Levinson’s family, who continue to work for his release.
Iran plans to produce its own version of “Argo.”
Iran is finding small but real ways of evading and dodging sanctions.
The US forces in Afghanistan will be cut by more than half over the next 16 months. 
The US may remove all troops after 2014.
As part of a continuing tug of war over control of prisoners and detention, Afghanistan released 80 detainees.
A British soldier was killed in another insider attack in Afghanistan.
Nick Turse on the echoes of Vietnam in Iraq and Afghanistan and the deep ties between Vietnam and our contemporary wars.
A series of blasts in Balochistan’s provincial capital, Quetta, is being followed with three days of mourning after they killed 81 and wounded 120. Among the dead is Pakistani activist Irfan Ali.
Altaf Hussein of Pakistan’s MQM party has taken to using the phrase “drone strike” as a political metaphor.
The new year has kicked off with ramped up drone strikes in Pakistan (seven in the last ten days, whereas 2012 had slowed to about one a week).
The Pakistani truck drivers carrying NATO supplies to Afghanistan have gone on strike.
India is accusing Pakistan of sending troops across the border and killing two of its soldiers.
In a crackdown on dissent and freedom of speech in Vietnam, 14 bloggers, writers and activists were sentenced to prison time, ranging from 3 to 13 years.
In Belfast, a local council’s vote to remove the British flag from City Hall sparked clashes and protests by loyalists over the past month and an uptick in violence that is a worrying reminder of pre-1998 Northern Ireland.
Comparing the narratives of torture in two best picture nominees: “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Two defense/security-related nominations: Obama has, as expected, tapped Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and has also tapped John Brennan for CIA director.
Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain have already said that Brennan will have to answer questions about torture in his confirmation hearings.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
Photo: Malkiya, Bahrain. Monday. An anti-government protester holds a petrol bomb, ready to throw at riot police. Hasan Jamali/AP.


Many thanks to Torie for including my article on civilian casualties in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq in her always indispensable weekly round-up.  Make sure you stay in the know by subscribing to it via email!

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Malkiya, Bahrain. Monday. An anti-government protester holds a petrol bomb, ready to throw at riot police. Hasan Jamali/AP.

Many thanks to Torie for including my article on civilian casualties in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq in her always indispensable weekly round-up.  Make sure you stay in the know by subscribing to it via email!

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
Prominent Palestinian writer Salameh Kaileh spent three weeks in detention in various Syrian prisons over suspicion that he was handing out leaflets calling for Assad’s downfall. Kaileh described the prisons as a “human slaughterhouses” and “hell on earth.”
UN Sec’y General Ban Ki-Moon told Christiane Amanpour that there is “no Plan B” for Syria at this moment.
The violence in Syria spilled further over the border into Lebanon, igniting clashes throughout the week.
Rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have agreed to a deal that will lead to elections and a unity government in the West Bank and Gaza.
A huge suicide bombing in Sana’a, Yemen, on Monday, killed more than 100 and was claimed by militants connected with Al Qaeda.
The Lockerbie bomber died in Libya on Sunday.
Pakistani Dr. Shakil Afridi, who assisted the CIA in ascertaining bin Laden’s whereabouts, has been sentenced in Pakistan to 33 years for treason.
It’s been another very bloody week in Karachi.
On Tuesday, the Senate appropriations subcommittee on foreign aid voted to cut aid to Pakistan by 58% and threatened further cuts if Pakistan doesn’t reopen supply lines. 
At the Chicago summit, NATO leaders decided on a permanent timetable in which Afghan forces will take over combat command in mid-2013 and NATO combat forces will leave by 2014. 
US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, will be leaving his post this summer.
Five kidnapped aid workers are apparently being held for ransom in Shahr-e Bozorg, Afghanistan. Negotiations are ongoing. 
The State Dept. spent $1800 per student per day in 2010 for its Anti-Terrorism Training program in North Africa, the Middle East and South and Central Asia. The total money spent on programs like this since 9/11 is $1.4b. The State Dept’s Inspector General released a report on these programs for public consumption this week.
Talks over the Iranian nuclear program resumed in Baghdad this week, hitting a snag on negotiations over sanctions.
The military junta in Guinea-Bissau has handed over power to a civilian government.
Dioncounda Traoré, the interim president of Mali, was beset by protesters on Monday, who stormed the presidential palace and beat him unconscious.
A yearlong probe identified 1800 cases of fake parts in US military equipment. A suspected million such fake parts are out there, and 70% of these parts can be traced back to China.
CNAS released a policy report outlining suggestions for reforming the structure and operation of the military.
A 2011 Army memo obtained by Danger Room shows that the Army has had extensive concerns about the long-term health risks associated with the combat burn pit operated at Bagram Airfield. Service-members have been coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with puzzling health problems, most likely associated with exposure to these burn pits. A recent animal study also came to light showing that burn pits not only adversely affects lungs in the short term, but has serious long-term impacts on the immune system.
Two female Army reservists have filed suit in district court to remove the restriction on combat service in the military based “solely on sex,” saying the restriction violates their 5th amendment right to due process.
A new GAO report says that wounded service-members are now waiting an average of a year for their official disability evaluation. This is a big increase, and the wait time has been on the up for the last three years.
Congressional investigators want an explanation within 10 days from the Defense Logistics Agency as to why the military was double-billed and excessively charged to the tune of $750m for food supplies.
One of the owners of a firm involved in propaganda operations for the Pentagon has publicly admitted to creating a series of websites in a misinformation campaign attacking two USA Today journalists who had reported on the contracting company.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the ACLU’s challenge to the 2008 FISA Amendments, the warrantless wiretapping legislation which grants the NSA the power to tap the international phone calls and emails made by US citizens. Just this Tuesday, a Senate panel voted to extend these provisions, which the White House hopes to extend beyond its year-end expiration date.
Photo: Logar province, eastern Afghanistan. During a helicopter transport, US Army medic with the C Company 3/82 Dustoff medevac attends to an Afghan National Army soldier wounded by gunshot. Danish Siddiqui/Reuters.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.

Photo: Logar province, eastern Afghanistan. During a helicopter transport, US Army medic with the C Company 3/82 Dustoff medevac attends to an Afghan National Army soldier wounded by gunshot. Danish Siddiqui/Reuters.