IAF F-16I in professional pose
Wars and rumors of wars… OK, let’s sort this out, at least until the next update. (This is how intelligence works, incidentally. You work with what you’ve got until the next update.)
The IAF attack on Friday (apparently, early on Friday morning) was targeting an arms shipment. This was indicated by the profile of the attack, and there has been no reason to revise that assessment. News and blog sites reference reports that the attack targeted an arms shipment that came from Iran. Continue reading
IAF F-16I in professional pose
The latest report that the Israeli Air Force has conducted an attack in Syria comes not from the Syrian rebels but from U.S. officials. Why our officials might be talking to the media about this is a separate topic. More on it in a moment.
The information disclosed to the media is sketchy; it’s not even clear that the target was actually in Syria, as opposed to Lebanon. Continue reading
Iranians show what they think of the mullahs’ Islamism in 2009. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
The Associated Press has decided that the word “Islamist” may not be used to describe anything objectionable. Lori Lowenthal Marcus calls out the relevant passage from the news service’s newly revised stylebook:
[An Islamist is] an advocate of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists. Continue reading
Richard Bloom photo (The Atlantic)
The rightosphere has responded viscerally to Chuck Hagel’s potentially receiving the nomination for secretary of defense. If you didn’t know better, you’d think Hagel was a Democrat. (He represented Nebraska as a Republican from 1997 to 2009.) But the leftosphere is in the game too – and if you didn’t know better, you’d think opposing Hagel for the post was a “Jewish” thing.
Mighty Syrian freighter Lady Rasha
Inevitably, Iran and Syria are gaming international maritime communications. Both nations are under sanctions. Both appear to be faking registry in Tanzania. And Iran is transmitting false signals to hide the operations of Syrian cargo ships.
The fakery by the two countries’ merchant fleets has Tanzania in common – apparently as a victim – but it also has Libya. Twenty years of peace dividends for the West, combined with the Arab Spring of 2011, have changed the security picture on Africa’s perimeter, and the direction in some segments of it is backward, to an age of little surveillance and expanding lawlessness. Libya’s coast is one such segment. Even if the surveillance forces of NATO are watching in the central Mediterranean, it’s not clear that the focus is there to ensure useful intelligence collection, or that there’s an organized will to do much about tankers or cargo vessels that head, on the sly, into and out of Libya.
And so, this fall, Iranian ships have been transmitting fake signals Continue reading
Last week the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management issued a report updating its 2006 A Line in the Sand findings.
The new report (pdf file), A LINE IN THE SAND: COUNTERING CRIME,
VIOLENCE AND TERROR AT THE SOUTHWEST BORDER found (emphasis added):
Although the United States tightened security at airports and land ports of entry in thewake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S.-Mexico border remains an obvious weak link in the chain.