Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Update on the Update: Boko Haram Update

Last time I mentioned Nigeria and Boko Haram back in May violence was increasing, the US was getting involved mildly, and the 300 school girls Boko Haram had kidnapped were no closer to being released. Nigeria even made my "Warhorse Top 10".

So how is Nigeria these days? Better? Worse?

I can't say better, but there are reports that Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, was killed in a battle near, or possibly in, Cameroon. Shekau was a bit of an asshole, and seemed to be effective, so his removal may actually do some good and bring Boko Haram to the negotiating table.

Oh, look at that. The government of Nigeria and the Red Cross are in talks with Boko Haram about swapping the kidnapped girls for captured Boko Haram leaders. I'm a bit shocked, I figured those girls had been sold into slavery and/or something worse awhile ago.

I should try being more optimistic.

Update: The Nigerian military is now claiming they killed the impersonator of Abubakar Shekau and not Shekau himself. What the hell is going on over there?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

AQIS Wastes No Time

In my last post I mentioned that Al Qaeda had formed a new franchise named Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. Well, the group has wasted no time in claiming and conducting attacks.

The first was an assassination targeting a senior officer in the Pakistani army, Brigadier Fazal Zahoor. AQIS claimed that Brigadier Zahoor killed innocent women and children in Waziristan. The attackers rode motorcycles and managed to escape.

The second attack is a bit confusing. Original news reports state on September 11 AQIS operatives attacked a ship in the Karachi port thinking it was a US aircraft carrier. Instead of a carrier, the attackers found a Pakistani Navy frigate and were overwhelmed by security forces before they caused any damage. Later reports claim the attack actually occurred on September 6 and that the Pakistani ship was the actual target. AQIS announced that Pakistani naval officers were part of the assault and the goal was to capture the ship and use its missiles to strike US ships in the Indian Ocean.

So which story is correct? As usual, the truth is probably some combination of the two. However, the story of inept terrorists attacking a US carrier only to find a Pakistani frigate seems to be a bit too far fetched to me. For a change I'm going to believe the AQIS statement. You don't attack a target without knowing what that target is. That's military tactics 101.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Back With Airstrikes and New Al Qaeda Franchises

Okay loyal readers, I'm back. Croatia was excellent, my apartment in Virginia has been packed up, and I have a new place and job in Maryland. It's been an insane few weeks. So what's been going on since I've been gone?

Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq were successful in taking back a town in Salah al Din Province from ISIS. That's good I suppose. Oh they did it with help from US airstrikes? Hmm, a State Department listed terrorist group being supported in its actions against another State Department listed terrorist group. I knew this new chapter in Iraq was going to make for some very strange bedfellows.

In other airstrike news the US targeted the al Shabaab emir in Somalia. Apparently we killed him, good. I'm experienced and cynical enough to know that this strike won't be the end of Shabaab, which like the metaphorical cockroach just won't die, but I do hope Ahmed Abdi Godane's death disrupts Shabaab's operations enough that African Union and Somali forces can gain some more momentum in defeating the group.

Holy crap a new acronym! Al Qaeda has claimed to have formed a new franchise in the Indian Subcontinent called Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent. In usual Western fashion we're shortening that to Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, or AQIS. The group was formed from several groups already operating in the region and brings them all under one banner. I'm interested in seeing how this plays out.

That's all for now. Maybe more in a few days.