Today in CO-IN

Today marks the beginning of an irregular feature called Today in CO-IN. Each feature we'll examine an event or trend in the Mideast and how Counter-Insurgency theory can help us understand what's going on, and what happens next.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Is Al Qaeda trying open a new front?

An Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan denies involvement in the killing of Benazir Bhutto, but, they (or -Qeada affiliated groups)clearly are involved in the wave of violence following her death. With Today's latest bombing in Lahore, and similar attacks recently what could Al Qaeda be trying to achieve?

Let's start by taking a look at the environments in which terrorists thrive. In any insurgency (I'm not mincing words here: any insurgency is by nature a terrorist operation) legitimacy is the goal. The organization (in our case Al Qeada or an affiliated group) must be seen by the populace as having a claim to the throne, as it were. Often this is simply by appearing to the populace as being simply "less bad" than the government. Often this done by providing social services, jobs, and perceived security. In contrast to Iraq before very recently, and Afghanistan, this does not seem to be the modus operandi in Pakistan. This could suggest separate leadership from that of Al Qaeda forces in neighboring Afghanistan. At any rate, what does seem to be happening is the simple pointing out of inadequacies of the central government. Such inadequacies might range from failure to provide security, to corruption and involvement or complicity in Bhutto's assassination, whether real or perceived.

However, any Al Qaeda in Pakistan must walk a very fine line in achieving their goal of destabilization. Already there is increasing pressure for Coalition forces in Afghanistan to be at least allowed into Wazirastan, which due to the porous border and lack of central government presence, functions as haven for both taliban and Al Qaeda forces. The other major problem for destabilizing factions is the fact that inescapable fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power, and the West cannot allow such a country to fall to internal or external, but stateless forces. The US, certainly, and likely Britain would be forced to intervene directly. So, what do these facts of life mean for any anti-government forces in Pakistan? Their goal will be to slowly increase attacks, while pointing to complicity in the death of Bhutto on the government's part. More importantly, they must keep this of out of the public eye outside of Pakistan as much as possible, by avoiding high body count bombings, attacks on prominant targets, or directly targeting security forces or the central government itself.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More Marines for Afghanistan?

Late the 4th quarter last year, a Marine Corps proposal to take over the majority of combat ops in Afghanistan was rejected by Bob Gates, but not without some significant debate in the military. However, according to the Pentagon, CENTCOM has made a request for approximately 3000 Marines to reinforce NATO forces ahead of the spring offensive. Traditionally, spring has brought increased fighting in war-torn Afghanistan, because this is almost the only season when the weather is consistently favorable and temperatures are less extreme.
Any Marines headed to Afghanistan would be there for a one-time deployment and would not be replaced after their 7 month rotation is up. Word is 24th MEU might be preparing to head there instead of deploying with the Nassau Strike Group as planned, however nothing is planned and neither a deployment order or warning order has been received by the Camp Lejuene based MEU.

Full Story from Army Times

Listening to: Alice In Chains - Rooster
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$3 QUADRILLION? Are you sure?

Katrina victims have filed suit against the federal government for failed levees and flood walls during the 05 hurricane. Among the claims: one for $3 Quadrillion. Thats $3,000,000,000,000,000. By comparison the entire US GDP is a measly $13.13 Trillion. In fact this single claim is worth more than all other claims COMBINED! However, it may not be as illogical as it appears, "...[I]t's a negotiating tactic: Aim high and negotiate down." comments Loren Scott, an economist from Baton Rouge. Oh, its only a negotiating tactic, thank God.

Execution video

The Pentagon released video today of an execution in Diyala province, Iraq. The video was taken by a UAV. It seems they want you know how the CLC's (Concerned Local Citizens group, functions as a local, citizen run, armed militia, supported by coalition forces) are being intimidated.


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Listening to: Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (The Bottom)
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Another Race?

Just saw a headline on CNN "THE NEW RACE AFTER NEW HAMPSHIRE". Wait, wasn't it a brand new race after Iowa? That makes this the 3rd Presidential race this year alone. Are we going for some kind of record here? i don't usually expect much from CNN, but this is a new level of mediocrity. No, maybe its mediacrity.

Listening to: Daft Punk - Da Funk
via FoxyTunes

Morning News

Mccain, Clinton Win NH Primaries. Both staging astounding comebacks. Clinton's comeback totally surprised everyone, apparently even, the former First Lady herself. read more at CNN
President Bush is in Isreal today, pushing for progress in the currently stagnant Mid-East Peace Process. Is this just too little to late though? This AP article says it best.
Small earthquake in Ohio... No biggie.

Listening to: Pearl Jam - Alive
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Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Not all results are in yet, but it looks Hillary pulled a fast one on us. She's ahead right now. Damn. On the GOP side of things, Mccain has made a strong showing. But can he do it anywhere else? Aside from Arizona, I mean; that seems like given. 'Course if I've learned anything from this election, its that NOTHING is a given. Obama gave a great speech, in which he formally congratulated the devil erm, Hillary on her victory.
About 80% of precincts are reporting.

Realtime results can be found at CNN.
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