The then 30-year-old was a captain with the SAS and, as troop commander, had called the Apache helicopters to take out two Taliban members loitering with a pair of donkeys about 1200m away. The Australians had intercepted communications from the pair organising an attack on the Black Hawk helicopters due to pick up this group of seven Aussie soldiers, who were visiting a remote police post in Taliban territory.Across the valley, two other figures with donkeys were gathering firewood, but Hastie didn’t pay them much attention. They were clearly civilians, and were hundreds of metres away from both the police post and the Taliban pair.
A Chinese company digging an unexploited copper mine in Afghanistan has unearthed ancient statues of Buddha in a sprawling 2,600-year-old Buddhist monastery. Archaeologists are rushing to salvage what they can from a major 7th century B.C. religious site along the famed Silk Road connecting Asia and the Middle East. The ruins, including the monastery and domed shrines known as ‘stupas,’ will likely be largely destroyed once work at the mine begins.
The ruins were discovered as labourers excavated the site on behalf of the Chinese government-backed China Metallurgical Group Corp, which wants to develop the world’s second largest copper mine, lying beneath the ruins. Historic find: Mes Aynak’s religious sites and copper deposits have been bound together for centuries – ‘mes’ means ‘copper’ in the local Dari language
Peter Leahy,courtesy of The Australian, 31 May 2016, where the title is “We need a political plan on the war on terror” and where there are 28 comments so far
An increasing range of reports suggest that Iraqi and Syrian forces and their respective coalition partners are closing in on Islamic State and its caliphate and that it will soon be ejected from the territory it has occupied for the past few years. The destruction of the caliphate will not be easy, nor will it signal victory in the so-called war on terror. The caliphate may go but the ideology behind it will remain. Victory against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will be only a small gain in a much larger, more extensive and lengthy war. Nor will it do much to calm the maelstrom enveloping the broader Middle East.
Modern military theorists tell us that we have entered the era of Fourth Generation War. In this type of war, the state has lost its monopoly on war and violence and conflicts are between cultures, not states. In addition, the legitimacy of states is challenged, wars are undeclared, the rules of war are dispensed with and the battle of ideas is more important than the battle for territory. Sound familiar? Continue reading →
Bruce Hoffman, courtesy of Foreign Affairs, where the title is “The Coming ISIS–al Qaeda Merger. It’s Time to Take the Threat Seriously”
“You are pitiful, isolated individuals! You are bankrupts. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on—into the dustbin of history!”
Thus in 1917 Leon Trotsky consigned the Mensheviks, the non-Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party, to perennial insignificance—a fate from which they never recovered. Only five years ago, al Qaeda’s downfall appeared similarly imminent. Its founder and leader was dead. A succession of key lieutenants had been eliminated. And the region was transformed by the Arab Spring. Civil protest, it seemed, had achieved what terrorism had manifestly failed to deliver—and al Qaeda was the biggest loser. As John O. Brennan, then deputy national security advisor for Homeland Security and Counter terrorism and assistant to the president, told an audience gathered at a DC think tank in April 2012, “For the first time since this fight began, we can look ahead and envision a world in which the al Qaeda core is simply no longer relevant.” Less than a month later, on the first anniversary of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s killing, U.S. President Barack Obama proudly proclaimed that, “The goal that I set—to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild—is now within our reach.” Continue reading →
It is curious how little military men know about war. You would think they would think about it more. Yet, oddly, they regularly misjudge practically everything concerning the dismal trade. Their errors are not the sort that inevitably must occur in a contest, as when a quarterback doesn’t pick up a blitz. They are fundamental misappreciations of war itself. The foregoing sounds both arrogant and improbable, like saying that dentists do not understand teeth. Actually it is neither.
The reasons are several. First, the military attracts certain kinds of men—authoritarian, hierarchical, conformist—who are not imaginative and do not think independently. Second, the appeal of the military is visceral, emotional, hormonal. Neither of these things is true of dentists. SEE https://www.google.com.au/search?tbm=isch&q=trench+warfare+photos+World+war+I&gws_rd=cr,ssl&ei=uRnhVoLBDcjujwOc_K3wAg#tbs=simg%3Am00&tbnid=Bf7qrmahwyhL2M%3A&docid=zJIqjHIqZHvxTM&tbm=isch&imgrc=JIqheGROOQLZvM%3A
Jehan Perera, in The Daily News, 21 October 2015, where the title is “Sri Lankan experience to mitigate world humanitarian crisis “
These past two months Sri Lanka figured significantly in the deliberations that took place on important topics in Geneva, which is one of the key venues for gatherings of the United Nations. In September the country took a central place in the deliberations of the UN Human Rights Council where it co-sponsored a resolution on itself that called for truth, accountability and justice in relation to its past conduct of the war against the LTTE.
In October last week Sri Lanka again got attention at the final consultation of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Geneva which brought together nearly one thousand humanitarian workers from all parts of the globe. One indication of the country’s visibility was the role played by Sri Lankan media personality Chevaan Daniel who obtained the official position of master of ceremonies for the duration of the three day consultation on account of the Maharaja group of companies’ humanitarian work and hence became a part of the WHS Secretariat that guided the consultation to a successful conclusion. Continue reading →
Varun Ghosh reviewing David Kilcullen: Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State, Black Inc, 2015 (?), 128pp, $22.99 … in The Weekend Australian, 6/7 June 2015, with the title “Snapping the terror tentacles.”
A battle-weary West must summon the political will to defeat Islamic State and continue the fight against global terrorism. That is the central message of David Kilcullen’s expansive and ambitious Blood Year: Terror and the Islamic State. Kilcullen, a former Australian Army officer, develops his thesis by weaving together two distinct but related accounts: an analysis of the policy failures in Iraq that led to the rise of Islamic State and a broader evaluation of the global war on terrorism.
Kilcullen, in addition to his considerable experience as a counter-terrorism strategist and former adviser to US general David Petraeus and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, is a deft storyteller. The artful combination of his professional experience, insightful analysis and strategic recommendations makes for enthralling reading.
The story of Islamic State begins in Iraq. Kilcullen is a severe critic of the decision to open a second front in the war on terrorism by invading Iraq before the conflict in Afghanistan and complex situation in Pakistan were resolved. By 2006, Iraq was mired in a sectarian civil war, led there by the “mindless obstinacy” of US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who “insisted on leaving the absolute minimum force in Iraq” following the defeat of Saddam Hussein. Ambassador Paul Bremer’s “disastrous de-Ba’athification edict and the disbanding of the Iraqi army” only compounded the folly. (Later, one US officer wrote to Kilcullen, “Note to self: consider renaming Camp Victory.”) Continue reading →
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.