“Permission to Engage – Witness” (Al-Jazeera)

This Al-Jazeera documentary dissects the infamous “Collateral Murder” video.

See the Wikileaks Page here.

See the Chelsea Manning Page here.

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The Bureaucracy of Terror New Secret Documents Reveal al Qaeda’s Real Challenges (Foreign Affairs)

Osama

“A new trove of documents that were among those seized in the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, were presented recently during the trial of Abid Naseer at the Brooklyn federal district court.

The documents—which consist of correspondence between Osama bin Laden and senior al Qaeda leaders—reveal the state of the global terror operation in the months leading up to bin Laden’s death. They paint a picture of an organization crippled by the U.S. drone campaign, blindsided by the Arab Spring, and struggling to maintain control over its affiliates—and yet still chillingly resolute in its mission to strike inside the United States.

The documents offer some insight into the effectiveness of U.S. counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda. They also, believe it or not, provide a few laughs.”

Read the full article by Jennifer R. Williams

Why are 10 countries attacking Yemen? (Brookings)

Yemen

The 10 countries involved in the intervention in Yemen are: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, and Pakistan.” 

See the full analysis here.

ISIS Presence in Libya

IBT’s photo of an Islamic Youth Council convoy with ISIS flags

IBT’s photo of an Islamic Youth Council convoy with ISIS flags

Following the removal of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, members of the National Transitional Council (NTC)[1] struggled to maintain cohesion between the central government in Tripoli and regional governments, such as Benghazi.[2] Further complicating the situation on the ground was the proliferation of weapons and militias, cumulating in the September 2012 Benghazi Attack.[3] Major conflict broke out between the Libyan Army and Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia, in Beghanzi around November 2013.[4] Further fighting ensued following ethnic and religious lines, as well as contests over resources.[5] The most current – and dire – wave of fighting started in May 2014, when Libyan National Army General Khalifa Haftar declared war, or “Operation Dignity” on the Ansar al-Sharia militia.[6] The June elections flopped because of low turnout, and the prime minister was removed from office on the order of the supreme court.[7] Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have also become party to the conflict, as they have conducted airstrikes in Tripoli against Islamist militias.[8] Current key parties supporting the government in the conflict include the Libyan Army (conventional pro-government army), the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (parliamentary guards with questionable loyalty), National Security Directorate (police), Al-Saiqa Forces (paratroopers), and the Petroleum Facilities Guard (security forces for oil fields).[9] Key militias include Libyan Shield Force, the Libyan National Army, Al-Zintan Revolutionaries’ Military Council, Al-Qaqa Brigade, Al-Sawaiq Brigade, Misrata Brigades, the 17 February Martyrs Brigade, and the Ansar al-Sharia Brigade.[10]

ISIS has established influence in Libya following the development of ungoverned spaces during the civil war. Approximately 800 militants of the Shura Council for the Youth of Islam and 300 Libyan fighters who fought for ISIS in Syria and returned to Libya dominate the town of Derna.[11] Both groups haven pledged allegiance to ISIS’s caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.[12] The militia has declared that Derna, population 100,000, is now a part of the Islamic State as the province of Barqa. The Shura Council for the Youth of Islam has usurped control of courts, schools, and communications.[13] Additionally, ISIS sympathizing cells have been detected in al Bayda, Benghazi, Sirte, al-Khums, and Tripoli.[14] The Shura Council for the Youth of Islam has training and operational capacity, as it launched a suicide attack in Tobruk, resulting fifteen casualties.[15] Thus, ISIS has a footprint in Libya.

Numerous high value targets (HVTs) are present in Syria. Abu Nabil al Anbar, an Iraqi ISIS commander with ties to Baghdadi has been witnessed in Derna.[16] A Saudi cleric with ISIS ties, Abu al-Baraa el-Azdi, appears to be in charge of the courts. He is also known as Mohammed Abdullah.[17] Key members of ISIS are in Libya.

 

Location of Derna, courtesy of CNN

Location of Derna, courtesy of CNN

 

[1] This organization became the “General National Congress” in August 2012.

[2] BBC, “Libya profile,” October 14, 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13755445/.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] NYT, “Arab Nations Strike in Libya, Surprising U.S,” August 25, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/26/world/africa/egypt-and-united-arab-emirates-said-to-have-secretly-carried-out-libya-airstrikes.html/

[9] BBC, “Guide to key Libyan militias,” May 20, 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-19744533.

[10] Ibid.

[11] CNN, “ISIS comes to Libya,” November 18, 2014. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/18/world/isis-libya/index.html.

[12] Ibid.

[13] CNN, “ISIS comes to Libya,” November 18, 2014.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] IBT, “ISIS Establishes Stronghold In Derna, Libya,” November 10, 2014. http://www.ibtimes.com/isis-establishes-stronghold-derna-libya-1721425.

 

AP.How a Libyan city joined the Islamic State group.” November 9, 2014.

BBC. “BBC, “Guide to key Libyan militias.” May 20, 2014.

BBC. Libya Profile.” October 14, 2014.

CFR. Libya.” October 2014.

CNN. “ISIS comes to Libya.” November 18, 2014.

IBT. ISIS Establishes Stronghold In Derna, Libya.” November 10, 2014.

NYT. Arab Nations Strike in Libya, Surprising U.S.” August 25, 2014.

“Covert Action in Colombia” (WaPo)

 

This article details the two-fold covert aid the USG has been providing the Colombian Government to combat FARC and ELN – real time intelligence and GPS guided smart-bombs – in order to eliminate high value targets within the guerrilla organizations. American-made smart bombs were used in the bombing operation to neutralized Raul Reyes, a FARC leader, in Ecuador. Moreover, these bombing efforts have brought FARC to the negotiating table in Havana for peace talks.

“Taking on the FARC leadership,” courtesy of WaPo

"Instability in Colombia," courtesy of WaPo

“Instability in Colombia,” courtesy of WaPo

Dana Priest, “Covert Action in Colombia,” The Washington Post. December 21, 2013.

Reuters, FARC stung by air raid.” January 5, 2010.

 

OSINT Guide – The Khorasan Group

The author describes what happens when state and non-state actors use the same technologies.

Also Known As: The Wolf Unit

Description:  The United States attacked the Khorsan Group, a conglomerate of veteran Al-Qaeda fighters in Syria, through high profile airstrikes on September 23, 2014 and November 6, 2014. Key members include Muhsin al-Fadhli, Ibrahi Al-Asiri, and David Drugeon.

Targets: The primary target of the Khorasan Group is mass transit aircraft by using foreign fighters to employ malleable non-metallic PETN explosives.

Activities: The Khorasan Group has plotted against Western interests in Europe and the American Homeland since approximately 2012. Intelligence agencies disrupted the activities of the cell until the terrorists went dark in September 2014 with a plot nearing completion. Following the American airstrikes, cell members splintered to Nursra controlled urban areas in Syria.

Diplomacy: The Khorasan has a mutually beneficial relationship with AQ, AQAP, and the Nusra Front.

Propaganda: The Khorasan Group reaches out to foreign fighters within the Nusra Front via personal contacts.

Strength:  Estimated to be around fifty

AO:  Syria

Funding and External Aid:  The Khorasan Group is funded by the Nusra Front and AQ central through transnational organized crime.

Khorasan Graphic, courtesy of AEI

Khorasan Graphic, courtesy of AEI

Local Media:

Sana. Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

Global Media

Al-Jazeera. What is the Khorasan Group?” September 23, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

AP. “Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

BBC. “What is the Khorasan Group?” September 24, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

CNN. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Foreign Policy. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Halperin, Carrie and Emily B. Hager. “About the Khorasan Terror Cell.” September 24, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

NYT. “Khorasan.” November 2, 2013. Accessed November 25, 2014.

Vice. Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

WaPo. Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Think Tanks / Academic:

AEI. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Blanchard, Christopher M. “The ‘Khorasan’ Group in Syria.” CRS. September 24, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

Brookings. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

CFR. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

CRS. “Al-Qaeda -Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa.” October 10, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

CRS. “The ‘Islamic State’ Crisis and U.S. Policy.” December 8, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

CSIS. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

ISW. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Jihadology. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Stanford University. “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Mapping Militant Organizations. November 12, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

TRAC. “Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

Government:

Defense Department. “Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

State Department. “Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014