Beyond the Wire - 18 APR 2017
April 18, 2017
Your daily briefing on the state of the world and the state of the art for all things Transnational Threats.
America needs a long-view strategy in the Middle East.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ambassador James Jeffrey argues that the U.S. military should remain in Iraq to ensure stability after the Islamic State falls because an enduring American-led regional order is no longer assured. Writing on neighboring Syria, Hassan Hassan argues that recent U.S. strikes marks a new phase in the conflict, but U.S. leverage over the Syrian regime and its Russian ally is open to debate. (TNT Comment: The United States faces long term stability challenges in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and Libya – all of which contain a host of political and military challenges. Though counterinsurgency strategy clearly delineates what must be done, those campaigns remain politically unappetizing.)
Pakistani militant spokesman surrenders.
Ehsanullah Ehsan may have surrendered from TTP splinter Jamaat ul Ahrar after more mainstream Pakistani Taliban members threatened his life. The windfall for the Pakistani military comes after National Security Advisor McMaster stressed “the need to confront terrorism in all its forms” during his day-long trip to meet with Pakistani civilian and military leaders on Monday. (TNT Comment: The Pakistani military has taken a tougher line on militancy within its borders in response to direct threats some splinters pose to the Pakistani state. However, Pakistan’s use of proxy forces to balance against India has not changed.)
Explaining the return of Somali piracy.
Despite the largely successful naval efforts to counter piracy since 2012, the most important factors behind piracy’s rise in the Horn of Africa remain on shore. Somalia struggles with governance in the face of a growing Islamic State presence and the persistent challenge of clan based militias. (TNT Comment: Piracy is not the only lucrative illegal activity in Somalia. Drug smuggling is also widespread, and lines between clan-based militias and criminal gangs are often blurred in the name of profit.)
Significant ActivityMilitants seeking to impose Islamic Law in the Sinai Peninsula clash with tribes. Tensions between local tribes and Islamic State supporters in the northern Sinai continued to escalate Sunday, as cigarette smugglers were attacked by RPG fire during their transit through the city of Rafah. (VOA)
Possible Islamic State—al Qaeda alliance. According to Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi, the Islamic State has begun discussions with al Qaeda as it loses territory in Iraq and Syria. (Al-Arabiya)
Little clarity over Turkey’s next move following referendum vote. After the slim approval of Sunday’s referendum vote, it is unclear what level of democracy Turkey will have as President Erdogan continues to consolidate his power. (NYT)
Duterte’s brutal drug war continues to have support of Filipino youth. Despite mass executions and imprisonment, President Duterte continues to have significant support from within the country, especially from young Filipinos. Much of the support comes from the desire to curb the blatant disregard for laws by violent gangs. (WaPo)
The downside of selling planes to Nigeria. Nigerian pilots may lack discretion when conducting airstrikes near civilian targets in the Super Tucanos bought from the United States. (Defense One)
Syria is not the only unit using chemical weapons in Syria. The Islamic State continues to use choline gas against civilian and military personnel. (LATimes)
Red lines and the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction. As relations with North Korea, Syria, and Iran continue to cool, the Atlantic examines U.S. policymakers’ moral aversion to using Weapons of Mass Destruction. (Atlantic)
Secretary of Defense General Mattis discusses counterterrorism strategy. Secretary of Defense Mattis hopes to gather increased cooperation from Middle East and North African allies in the fight against terrorism. (Military)
Why Burma’s brutal CT can’t be stopped. Aung San Suu Kyi is blocked from changing the CT strategy in Myanmar by regulations which restrict control of the three ministries that “plan, fund, and carry out military operations” to military leadership. (War is Boring)