Miscues at U.S. counterterrorism base put aircraft in danger, documents show (WaPo)

Djibouti

“The skies above the U.S. military’s counterterrorism hub on the Horn of Africa have become chronically dangerous, with pilots forced to rely on local air-traffic controllers who fall asleep on the job, commit errors at astronomical rates and are hostile to Americans, documents show.

Conditions at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the base for U.S. pilots flying sensitive missions over Yemen and Somalia, have become so dire that American warplanes and civilian airliners alike are routinely placed in jeopardy, according to federal aviation experts and documents obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.”

Read the full article here.

The Fight for Yemen (PBS Frontline)

Featured Image -- 1089

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

See the full video here.

To Catch a Spy (Foreign Policy)

John Brennan CIA

“In the age of iris scans and facial recognition software, biometrics experts like to point out: The eyes don’t lie. And that has made tradecraft all the more difficult for U.S. spies.”

Read the full article 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

Strengthening the Strategic Partnership of the United States and Afghanistan (State and FP)

Featured Image -- 917“During the historic visit to Washington of President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah from March 22 to 25, 2015, U.S. and Afghan officials have reviewed the achievements of the last 13 years and discussed the actions each country needs to take to ensure that the social, economic, security, and human rights gains made over that period are sustained and advanced. Secretary of State John Kerry — joined by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, and other senior U.S. officials — held strategic dialogue sessions at Camp David with President Ghani and the Afghan delegation on March 23 to discuss a broad range of bilateral issues.” (State)

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday, March 24, that he would slow the rate at which U.S. troops leave Afghanistan over the next two years, but will stick with his plan of having almost all of them out of the country by 2017.

Under the new timeline, 9,800 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of this year. Obama’s previous plan had called for drawing down to 5,500 troops by the end of 2015. The new plan allows the United States to keep control of two key bases in Kandahar and Jalalabad, where the Taliban threat is close by. With more troops staying in the war zone, U.S. casualties could rise still higher. Since the start of the war, America’s longest conflict, the military has suffered 2,215 deaths and 20,000 wounded.” (FP)

Thus, the U.S. will continue to have troops in Afghanistan until at least 2017.

Relocation of U.S. Personnel From Yemen (State)

Yemen

“Due to the deteriorating security situation in Yemen, the U.S. Government has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen. We have informed President Hadi of this step as part of our close coordination with the Yemeni government. We will continue to engage the Yemeni people and the international community to strongly support Yemen’s political transition. We also continue to actively monitor terrorist threats emanating from Yemen and have capabilities postured in the area to address them. As we have in the past, we will take action to disrupt continuing, imminent threats to the United States and our citizens.”

See the full press release here.