Wednesday, 22 May 2019
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threats

Reviewed by Roger Green

Yemen is an obscure and impoverished country that has for a long time been an enigma to Western countries. Victoria Clark was born in Aden, the daughter of the BBC's South Arabia correspondent, and this accident of birth gave her the motivation to write this eponymous book.  Over the years she has made several visits to the country and has met most of the influential leaders as well as many ordinary people.  She paints a graphic pen picture of the cultural and social heritage of the country.

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The Secretary of State for Defence (The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP): The significant increase in the number of international troops in southern Afghanistan is enabling commanders to make improvements in the laydown and command arrangements of coalition forces in the region. The first of these was the handover of security responsibility for Musa Qaleh district in Helmand province from UK to US troops on 27 March. This transfer allowed UK troops in Musa Qaleh to be redeployed to the population centres of central Helmand where they have increased ISAF's capacity to protect the Afghan civilian population from the threat posed by the insurgency, and to train and partner with the Afghan National Security Forces.

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By George Friedman

The Afghan War is the longest war in U.S. history. It began in 1980 and continues to rage. It began under Democrats but has been fought under both Republican and Democratic administrations, making it truly a bipartisan war. The conflict is an odd obsession of U.S. foreign policy, one that never goes away and never seems to end. As the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal reminds us, the Afghan War is now in its fourth phase.
The Afghan War's First Three Phases

The first phase of the Afghan War began with the Soviet invasion in December 1979, when the United States, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, organized and sustained Afghan resistance to the Soviets. This resistance was built around mujahideen, fighters motivated by Islam. Washington's purpose had little to do with Afghanistan and everything to do with U.S.-Soviet competition. The United States wanted to block the Soviets from using Afghanistan as a base for further expansion and wanted to bog the Soviets down in a debilitating guerrilla war. The United States did not so much fight the war as facilitate it. The strategy worked. The Soviets were blocked and bogged down. This phase lasted until 1989, when Soviet troops were withdrawn.

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By Scott Stewart

One of the things we like to do in our Global Security and Intelligence Report from time to time is examine the convergence of a number of separate and unrelated developments and then analyze that convergence and craft a forecast. In recent months we have seen such a convergence occur.

The most recent development is the interview with the American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that was released to jihadist Internet chat rooms May 23 by al-Malahim Media, the public relations arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In the interview, al-Awlaki encouraged strikes against American civilians. He also has been tied to Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was charged in the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the perpetrator of the failed Christmas Day 2009 airline bombing. And al-Awlaki reportedly helped inspire Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested in connection with the attempted Times Square attack in May.

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By George Friedman

The status of Iraq has always framed the strategic challenge of Iran. Until 2003, regional stability such as it was was based on the Iran-Iraq balance of power. The United States invaded Iraq on the assumption that it could quickly defeat and dismantle the Iraqi government and armed forces and replace them with a cohesive and effective pro-American government and armed forces, thereby restoring the balance of power. When that expectation proved faulty, the United States was forced into two missions. The first was stabilizing Iraq. The second was providing the force for countering Iran.

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By Fred Burton and Ben West

On March 29, an indictment accusing nine individuals of planning attacks against police officers was unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Those named in the indictment had been arrested by a joint anti-terrorism task force consisting of the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and state and local police. Raids took place from March 27 to 29, with most of the arrests occurring inLenaweeCounty in southeastern Michigan, near the border with Ohio. Other arrests took place in Ohio and Indiana. Photos and video of the raids showed special operations police staging outside targeted properties with armored personnel carriers, assault rifles and helicopter support unusually overwhelming measures, likely taken because of suspicion that the group was plotting to kill police officers.

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Viewpoints' recent article on the use of chemical, biological and radiological (CBRN) weapons by terrorists could not have been timelier. On Monday three separate reviews of the United Kingdom's ability to prevent a major terrorist attack were published. The Government published an update to the National Security Strategy, the annual report on the CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy and a third report concerning Britain's strategies for countering the CBRN threat. The findings of these reports can be summarised accordingly:

-          The UK continues to face a serious and sustained threat from terrorism. Networks and individuals that pose a terrorist threat also continue to share an ambition to cause large numbers of casualties without warning.

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By Alex Shone

Chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) weapons all fall under the insidious acronym, "CBRN", missing of course the ultimate nuclear (N) option. Debate and discussion on the nature of a "new" terrorism has revolved around the potential for a terrorist deployment of a CBR weapon. This threat is cited as the result of the worldwide proliferation of technologies, expertise and materials via black markets and the internet. There is an equally vocal countenance to this debate that the realities involved in deploying a successful and effective CBR weapon place the endeavour beyond the interests of those terrorist groups who realistically could make the attempt. Nonetheless, the threat is undoubtedly treated seriously by authorities worldwide and the question remains as to whether CBR weapons really do pose the threat that we are often led to believe. Many countries have now experienced terrorism within their borders, and the kind of attack their counter-terrorist strategy should prepare for is a critical question. CBR remains a continuously advancing possibility, the potential damage of which runs parallel to much of the ongoing medical and other scientific research in its related fields.

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By Scott Stewart and Fred Burton

Seven men accused by U.S. authorities of belonging to a militant cell appeared in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, N.C., for a detention hearing Aug. 4. The hearing turned out to be very lengthy and had to be continued Aug. 5, when the judge ordered the men to remain in government custody until their trial. The seven men, along with an eighth who is not currently in U.S. custody, have been charged with, among other things, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons in a foreign country.

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By Scott Stewart and Fred Burton

In recent months, several high-profile incidents in the USA have raised awareness of the threat posed by individuals and small groups operating under the principles of leaderless resistance. These incidents have included lone wolf attacks against a doctor who performed abortions in Kansas, an armed forces recruitment centre in Arkansas and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Additionally, a grassroots jihadist cell was arrested for attempting to bomb Jewish targets in the Bronx and planning to shoot down a military aircraft at an Air National Guard base in Newburgh, N.Y.

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