“Did the New Spooks on the Block Really Fix U.S Intelligence?” (Foreign Policy)

James Clapper

“For decades intelligence reformers sought to centralize the U.S. intelligence community in a single office with real power over budgets, personnel, and operations. Ten years ago they finally got their wish. Following an intense congressional fight, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) set up shop in April 2005 with high expectations. The office was supposed to ensure the kind of inter-agency coordination that was supposedly missing before the 9/11 attacks. It was to be the fulcrum of sharing and collaboration among agencies with long histories of mutual suspicion and occasional disdain. Ultimately it sought to unify a sprawling constellation of civilian and military agencies into “fully integrated intelligence community” that would “inform decisions made from the White House to the foxhole.”

See the article here.

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Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States (NYT)

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“WASHINGTON — To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood.”

See the full NYT article.

The Fight for Yemen (PBS Frontline)

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This video contains information on the current conflict in Yemen, including the Houthi rebels, AQAP, and the Saudi coalition.

See the full video here.

Lions of Rojava UPDATE

While the Lions of Rojava’s ranks have swollen to around 100 Westerners, they have taken casualties. These include:

1. Konstandinos Erik Scurfield (Heval Kemal, U.K., died west of Qamishli, March 2015).

Scurfield

2.  Ashley Johnston (Heval Bagok Serhed, Australian, 2015)

For information consult:

The Lions of Rojava

BBC’s Syria death reported of ex-British marine fighting alongside Kurds

IBT’s At Least 100 Westerners Join The Kurdish Fight Against Islamic State

“US Army Eyes Ukraine Conflict for Intel on Russian Military Technology” (DoD Buzz)

Still image taken from handout aerial footage shot by drone shows outline o airplane in the snow at the Sergey Prokofiev International Airport damaged by shelling during fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces, in Donetsk

“The U.S. Army is working to glean intelligence on Russian military technology from the conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces, American generals said.

The Moscow-backed rebels are waging a hybrid war that includes the use of soft power such as disinformation and cyberattacks to hard power such as truck-mounted Grad rocket launchers, according to Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe.”

See the full article here.

REPORT Yemen Was Washington’s Counterterrorism Success Story. Not Anymore. (Foreign Policy)

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“The sudden departure of U.S. special operations forces from Yemen marks a devastating blow to a counterterrorism campaign that Barack Obama’s administration had heralded as a success story, officials and experts say, as Washington suffers another intelligence reverse in the fight against the al Qaeda group that poses the greatest threat to Americans.”

Read the full article here by Sean Naylor.

Iran Gains Influence in Iraq as Shiite Forces Fight ISIS (NYT)

Shia Militias“More openly than ever before, Iran’s powerful influence in Iraq has been on display as the counteroffensive against Islamic State militants around Tikrit has unfolded in recent days. At every point, the Iranian-backed militias have taken the lead in the fight against the Islamic State here. Senior Iranian leaders have been openly helping direct the battle, and American officials say Iran’s Revolutionary Guards forces are taking part.”

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