Posts Tagged With: Afghanistan

US military deaths in Afghanistan skyrocket under Obama……


Written by Allen West on February 13, 2014

As a former combat commander, I can tell you that fear is difficult to avoid on the battlefield. But on today’s battlefields, a new fear haunts our troops: the fear of persecution by their own government. That fear leads to internal hesitation. And that leads to death.

Billy and Karen Vaughn, parents who know the pain of having their warrior son betrayed write on Breitbart.com:

“U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are now forced to fight a two-fronted war. Before each deployment, these soldiers understand fully that day after day they will do battle against relentless terrorists with shifting loyalties and unspeakable hatred. But what none of them could have foreseen was the killing field that would open from their rear: the Continental United States.

“Our government’s incessant tightening of already restrictive ROE (Rules of Engagement), compounded by the failed COIN (Counterinsurgency) strategy—also known as “winning hearts and minds”—has made an otherwise primitive enemy formidable.”

In the first seven-plus years of war in Afghanistan (October 2001 – December 2008) we lost 630 U.S. soldiers. In early 2009, the Obama administration authorized the implementation of the COIN (Counter-Insurgent) strategy, more focused on “winning hearts and minds” than winning a war, and over the next five years, the U.S. death toll nearly tripled.

Seventy-three percent of all U.S. deaths in Afghanistan have taken place since 2009. In the first seven plus years of war in Afghanistan, 2,638 U.S. soldiers were wounded in action. In the next forty-five months (2009 – 2012) an additional 15,036 suffered the same fate.

Recently, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai decided to release Islamic terrorists with blood on their hands, that of our American troops as well as Afghan civilians. Imagine being a young warrior in Afghanistan at this time and having to ask “why am I here?” Many Americans are now aware of the story behind Lone Survivor and realize that when faced with life or death decisions it seems our warriors fear lawyers and the media more than the enemy. They face a non-state, non-uniformed enemy that blends in with the civilian population and knows our ROE (Rules of Engagement).

Our battle-tested men and women we send into harm’s way are confronted by the enemy and must make instantaneous combat decisions. Some, like Army 1LT Clint Lorance, find themselves afterwards sitting in a prison cell in Ft. Leavenworth.

Yet, while much evidence demonstrated links to Islamic totalitarianism and terrorism with former Army officer Nidal Hasan, and some were told to keep silent because of “political correctness.” That silence led to 13 dead and some 30 wounded in Ft. Hood Texas — shot by a man in American uniform shouting “Allahu Akhbar.” And what did our leaders say to our warriors gunned down by a jihadist on a military installation in America? It was “workplace violence.”

In the last presidential election, for the first time in nearly 77 years, the sitting president, vice president and candidates for office had no military service. I’m not suggesting that the president of the United States must have served in the military — but the most important duty of the president is Commander-in-Chief. Our country needs a leader who can understand the sacrifices and commitment of those brave men and women who stand on freedom’s rampart, because he or she has been there.

As the Vaughn’s write, “Our best and brightest come home in body bags as politicians and lawyers dine over white linen tablecloths; writing, modifying, and re-modifying these lethal rules. Rules that favor the enemy rather than the American soldier. Rules so absurd they’re difficult to believe until you hear the same stories over and again from those returning from battle.”

When the parents begin to feel this way, will America stop being the Land of the Free because parents will no longer sacrifice the brave?

We must make a stand for those who make the stand for us.

chart-us-fatalities-afghanistan
Read more at http://allenbwest.com/2014/02/us-military-deaths-afghanistan-skyrocket-obama/#mlUZpm3yT7UMoAXh.99

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Millions in CIA “ghost money” paid to Afghanistan president’s office…..


Tens of millions of U.S. dollars in cash were delivered by the CIA in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags to the office of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for more than a decade, the New York Times says, citing current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.
The so-called “ghost money” was meant to buy influence for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but instead fuelled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan, the newspaper quoted U.S. officials as saying.
“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan”, one American official said, “was the United States.”
The CIA declined to comment on the report and the U.S. State Department did not immediately comment. The New York Times did not publish any comment from Karzai or his office.
“We called it ‘ghost money’,” Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai’s chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, told the New York Times. “It came in secret and it left in secret.”
There was no evidence that Karzai personally received any of the money, Afghan officials told the newspaper. The cash was handled by his National Security Council, it added.
In response to the report, Karzai told reporters in Helsinki after a meeting with Finnish leaders that the office of the National Security Council had been receiving support from the U.S. government for the past 10 years. He said the amounts had been “not big” and the funds were used for various purposes including assistance for the wounded.
“It’s multi-purpose assistance,” he said, without commenting on the report’s claims the funds fuelled corruption and empowered warlords.
However, Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai told reporters in Kabul that there was no proof or evidence to back up the claims in the story.
For more than a decade the cash was dropped off every month or so at the Afghan president’s office, the New York Times said. Handing out cash has been standard procedure for the CIA in Afghanistan since the start of the war.
The cash payments to the president’s office do not appear to be subject to oversight and restrictions placed on official American aid to the country or the CIA’s formal assistance programs, like financing Afghan intelligence agencies, and do not appear to violate U.S. laws, said the New York Times.
U.S. and Afghan officials familiar with the payments were quoted as saying that the main goal in providing the cash was to maintain access to Karzai and his inner circle and to guarantee the CIA’s influence at the presidential palace, which wields tremendous power in Afghanistan’s highly centralized government.
Much of the money went to warlords and politicians, many with ties to the drug trade and in some cases the Taliban, the New York Times said. U.S. and Afghan officials were quoted as saying the CIA supported the same patronage networks that U.S. diplomats and law enforcement agents struggled to dismantle, leaving the government in the grip of organized crime.
Nahid Fareed, a member of parliament from western Herat province, who usually supports Karzai’s government, said the claims in the story represented a “serious issue”.
“Any hidden money that the palace receives from indirect channels, such as spy agencies, notably the CIA, is against national interest and is treason,” Fareed told Reuters.

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Afghanistan’s Karzai blasts U.S.


It is time to say “OK, we are leaving”….He has nothing but complain for the past two years on a regular basis. He wants our money and equipment but does not appreciate anything.
We should pull out and just let him fail and then refuse to go back. $Billions have been spent and given to his country and a fair share ended up in his pockets and the pockets of his cronies.
Bring our Troops home.

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Boy Finds WWII Bomb With Metal Detector………….


Boy-Finds-WWII-Bomb
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A metal detector received as a Christmas gift led a young boy to find a WWII bomb buried in a British field.

Parents do not typically expect a stocking stuffer, this one a metal detector from National Geographic, to make the headlines. This holiday present is worthy of attention for leading to the discovery of a WWII bomb buried in a field in Norfolk, England.
During his first jaunt with the detector, seven-year-old Sonny Cater was scanning a field near his home when he discovered the metal capsule. The boy, accompanied by his parents and brother, was alerted to the buried object when the metal detector began beeping.

According to an article by The Daily Mirror, the family had no idea what the mud covered object was until they brought it home for closer inspection. The boy’s mother, 39-year-old Tracey Wood, said the following:

“It was a big muddy lump when it came to the surface so we stupidly thought, ‘Let’s take it home’. We feel a bit silly now we know it could have potentially been dangerous but its not often you go exploring and end up with a bomb.”

Bringing the object to their home and washing the mud away, the boy’s father became concerned and placed a call to authorities. Bomb experts from RAF Wittering quickly converged on the family’s Kings Lynn residence.

The Telegraph reports that the device was identified as a “10lb British practice bomb from WWII” before it was taken away for safe disposal. Thought to have been used for British practice runs during the war, the bomb still contained internal wiring. Fortunately, the device was not found to hold any explosive material.

Flight Lieutenant Donald Earl, an RAF Wittering spokesman, urges the public to alert authorities to any such objects found rather than trying to move them. He points out that this particular finding is a bit unusual:

“We find a lot of bombs in Afghanistan with metal detectors but we don’t tend to find them in the UK.”

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Cultural Exchange….more water, Boy….


An Afghanistan diplomat visiting the US for the first time was being wined and dined by the State Department.
The diplomat was not used to the salt in American foods (French fries, cheeses, salami, anchovies, etc.) and was constantly sending his manservant Abdul to fetch him a glass of water.
Time and again, Abdul would scamper off and return with a glass of water, but then came the time when he returned empty handed.
“Abdul, you son of an ugly flea-bitten camel, where is my water?” demanded the diplomat.
“A thousand pardons, O Illustrious One,” stammered the wretched Abdul. “But a man is sitting on the well!”

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A WWI-era tank returns to Poland from Afghanistan…..



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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A tank used by Poland in its 1920 war against the Red Army was returned from Afghanistan where it was serving as a decoration at the defense ministry.
Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said Friday the French-made FT-17 tank has “historic and sentimental value” for Poland.
According to historians it probably was captured by the Bolsheviks during the war, and later sent to Kabul as a gift.
It was spotted at the Defense Ministry in Kabul by an Afghan employee of Poland’s embassy, according to Piotr Lukasiewicz, the Polish ambassador to Kabul.
After maintenance it will be displayed at the Polish Armed Forces Museum, Siemoniak said.
Europe has only three such tanks, the museum says. It is the first tank on tracks with front cabin and rear engine.

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News from last night……


For the night of 16 September 2012

Pakistan: Hundreds of Pakistanis clashed with police as they tried to march toward the US Consulate in the southern city of Karachi. Police fired tear gas and water cannon at the demonstrators. Karachi police chief Iqbal Mehmood said the clashes left eight people injured. The rally was organized by a Shi’ite Muslim religious group.

In Lahore, about 5,000 people protested. Peaceful demonstrations were held in several other cities in Pakistan, where the protest actions were generally small.

Pakistan-US: The State Department has issued a notice on a web page that all public US Embassy functions in Islamabad will be closed on Monday, 17 September, and temporarily suspended thereafter because of the potential for demonstrations.

Comment: The attack on the US Consulate in Karachi is significant because Shiites staged it, rather than Sunnis. Outrage against the US is something on which all Muslims can agree, evidently.

The total of four US diplomatic installations breached in less than a week is unprecedented in the past 40 years, at least.

Afghanistan: Multiple small scale anti-American demonstrations occurred in Kabul on Sunday. No deaths or injuries have been reported during this Watch.

Comment: The news travels more slowly into and within Afghanistan, so delayed reactions should be expected. Non-Muslims should be warned and on alert.

Turkey: A small group of activists burned an American flag outside the US Embassy in Ankara on Sunday.

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The Religion of Peace…17 Afghans beheaded in insurgent attack on party


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Insurgents beheaded 17 civilians in a Taliban-controlled area of southern Afghanistan, apparently because they attended a dance party that flouted the extreme brand of Islam embraced by the militants, officials said Monday.

The killings, in a district where U.S. Marines have battled the Taliban for years, were a reminder of how much power the insurgent group still wields in the south — particularly as international forces draw down and hand areas over to Afghan forces.

The victims were part of a large group that had gathered late Sunday in Helmand province’s Musa Qala district for a celebration involving music and dancing, said district government chief Neyamatullah Khan. He said the Taliban slaughtered them to show their disapproval of the event.

All of the bodies were decapitated but it was not clear if they had been shot first, said provincial government spokesman Daoud Ahmadi.

Information was only trickling out slowly because the area where the killings occurred is largely Taliban controlled, Khan said. The Taliban spokesman for southern Afghanistan could not be reached for comment.

Many Afghans and international observers have expressed worries that the Taliban’s brutal interpretation of Islamic justice will return as international forces withdraw. Under the Taliban, who ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, all music and film was banned as un-Islamic, and women were barred from leaving their homes without a male family member as an escort.

Helmand is one of the areas seeing the largest reduction in U.S. troops, as the force increase ordered up by President Barack Obama departs. The U.S. started drawing down forces from a peak of nearly 103,000 last year, and plans to have decreased to 68,000 troops in country by October.

One of the most worrying trends to accompany the drawdown has been a surge in attacks by Afghan forces against their international allies, and another shooting came on Monday morning, though it appeared to be accidental.

Two American soldiers were shot and killed by one of their Afghan colleagues in the east, military officials said, bringing to 12 the number of international troops — all Americans — to die at the hands of their local allies this month.

But Afghan officials said Monday’s attack in Laghman province was a separate case from the rash of recent insider attacks on international forces, because it appeared to have been unintentional.

The incident unfolded when a group of U.S. and Afghan soldiers came under attack, said Noman Hatefi, a spokesman for the Afghan army corps in eastern Afghanistan. When the troops returned fire and ran to take up fighting positions, an Afghan soldier fell and accidentally discharged his weapon, killing two American soldiers with the stray bullets, he said.

“He didn’t do this intentionally. But then the commander of the (Afghan) unit started shouting at him, ‘What did you do? You killed two NATO soldiers!’ And so he threw down his weapon and started to run,” Hatefi added. The U.S. troops had already called in air support to help with the insurgent attack and the aircraft fired on the escaping soldier from above, killing him, Hatefi said.

NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Hagen Messer of Germany confirmed that two international soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier in Laghman province, but declined to give further comment.

Insider attacks have been a problem for the U.S.-led military coalition for years, but it has exploded recently into a crisis. There have been at least 33 such attacks so far this year, killing 42 coalition members, mostly Americans. Last year there were 21 attacks, killing 35; and in 2010 there were 11 attacks with 20 deaths.

The chief spokesman for NATO forces in the country said coalition forces were not pulling back from collaborating with the Afghans because of the attacks.

“We are not going to reduce the close relationship with our Afghan partners,” Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz told reporters in the capital.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that he could not confirm any link between the attacker in Monday’s shooting and the insurgency. In previous insider attacks, the Taliban have quickly claimed responsibility and named the assailants. Mujahid did not comment on the other attacks in the south, which is watched over by a different Taliban spokesman.

Meanwhile, Helmand officials reported that 10 Afghan soldiers were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the south, and five were either kidnapped or joined their assailants.

Ahmadi, the provincial spokesman, said insurgents attacked the checkpoint in Washir district Sunday evening. Another four soldiers were wounded he said. The Afghan Defense Ministry said the checkpoint was attacked by more than 100 insurgents.

Ahmadi said the five missing soldiers left with the insurgents but it was unclear if they were kidnapped or went voluntarily.

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NightWatch……For the night of 6 August 2012


North Korea-Southeast Asia:  North Korean Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong-nam – roughly equivalent to a president as a ceremonial head of state — met with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and Communist Party head Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi on 6 August. Kim will meet with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Aug. 7 before leaving for Laos.

Comment: The timing of this trip suggests it is a new outreach initiative to old allies. At a minimum, Kim Yong-nam will explain the goals and policies of the new Kim regime. In addition to China, North Korea has had continuous friendly relations with Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba, through good and bad times.

Afghanistan: Taliban fighters killed two New Zealand soldiers and four Afghan intelligence officers Saturday in an ambush in Bamiyan Province in central Afghanistan.

The intelligence officers, members of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, had received a report of explosives and IEDs stockpiled in one of the districts of Bamiyan. When the NDS officers executed an operation to seize them, the Taliban ambushed them.

They also ambushed the squad of New Zealand Army troops who responded to the NDS officers’ request for help. In addition to the two dead soldiers, six New Zealand soldiers were wounded. Ten NDS officers, one policeman and one civilian also were wounded.

New Zealand’s 153-man contingent came under attack again on 5 August, but without sustaining casualties.

Comment: Through the past decade, Bamiyan Province has stood out as the most stable of the 34 Afghan provinces. Most of its people are Hazaras who are Shiites and fiercely anti-Pashtun and Taliban. Afghan security officials assert that the roads to Bamiyan, west from Kabul, are vulnerable to Taliban and bandit ambushes. That has been true for many years, but Bamiyan itself has experienced only occasional Taliban forays and IED attacks.

The New Zealanders adopted the province and made it a model of security with a small contingent because of Hazara hostility to the Pashtuns and the Taliban. Despite the Hazaras resistance against the Taliban, only the New Zealanders have been their champions, mainly because they are Shiites and are Mongoloid in appearance, and thus shunned by the Karzai government. Folklore says they are descendants of the Mongol Horde.

One double ambush does not make a trend, but it is significant because of the lapse of security support by Coalition forces. It is a major loss to the small New Zealand unit, which has been ordered by the Key government to commence more aggressive patrols. It also shows competent tactical discipline by the Taliban attack group.

Bamiyan’s history of stability makes it the ultimate bellwether of Taliban expansion and aggressiveness. Sustained, periodic attacks in this province would constitute a major breakthrough for the Taliban and a significant setback for the Coalition.

Iran-Saudi Arabia: Update. Iranian news services reported that President Ahmadi-Nejad will attend a summit of Muslim leaders in Mecca next week. Saudi King Abdallah called for the summit to discuss developments in Muslim countries and invited Ahmadi-Nejad.

Syria: On 6 August, just days after the government declared Damascus nearly rid of rebel fighters, a bomb detonated on the third floor of Syria’s state television and radio building in Damascus, leaving several people injured, according to Syrian state television.

Comment: The Syria opposition’s tactics resemble those of the Afghan mujahedin who fought the Soviet forces. As long as they remained diffuse and confederated, they never presented a center of mass or central structure that the Soviets could target. They could execute bombings and ambushes at will, but never win the conflict until massive US, Saudi, and Pakistani assistance to the “muj” made the fight too expensive for Moscow to sustain.

A major difference is the Damascus government has no safe haven to which to retreat. Syria’s information minister denounced Saudi Arabia and Qatar for providing individual weapons and ammunition but said the weapons are not sufficient to bring down the government. Small arms and individual weapons fail.

Politics. Prime Minister Riad Hijab, a Sunni Arab, defected and fled to neighboring Jordan, a Jordanian official and a rebel spokesman said Monday. Supposedly several other ministers and some more one-star generals defected as well.

Comment: These defections signify that Syria’s Sunni elite, which heretofore has cooperated with the Alawites, has now rejected President Asad’s reform program. Hijab was named prime minister as part of the political reform program. This increasingly becomes a fight to the death for the Alawites, who are holding on and holding together.

Algeria: For the record. The local Muslim Brotherhood branch, the Movement of Society for Peace, warned that popular revolution is imminent if the country’s leaders do not enact real reform.

Comment: This is another manifestation of the Brotherhood’s readiness to exploit any weakness in established governments. The Algerian government is not in danger of collapse, but it is targeted.

France-Mali: Update. French Defense Minister Le Drian said on 5 August that France will support African military intervention in Mali to crack down on Islamist insurgents but will not send troops. Le Drian said an intervention is desirable and inevitable, but that France will not take a military initiative in Mali.

Comment: The French message is that France will provide the support, but the African states must provide the soldiers.

End of NightWatch for 6 August.

NightWatch is brought to you by Kforce Government Solutions

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KGS NightWatch…..


NightWatch

For the night of 5 August 2012

Philippines: Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on 3 August that the Philippines plans to enhance its maritime security capabilities by acquiring two naval missile frigates and several aircraft from Italy.

Comment: The Chinese have started an arms race in Southeast Asia. No single country is strong enough to stand up to China, but collectively, with US Naval back-up, the Chinese are no match for the Southeast Asians and have not been for millennia. China’s reach to claim all of the South China Sea exceeds its grasp. That will become more apparent over time.

India: The Indian Space Research Organization this weekend announced that India planned to send a spacecraft to Mars in 2013. The estimated price of the mission was announced at $80 million.

The announcement generated significant backlash that the Indian educated elite were out of touch with the 30% of Indians who earned less than $.50 a day, India’s latest poverty level.

Comment: India and China are in a sort-of space race. China has the lead because it recently placed a female astronaut in space. What is less well known is that Indian scientists working at NASA have been important contributors to the current NASA mission to Mars. While the Chinese are going to the Moon; the Indians are heading for Mars.

The Indian leaders are experiencing the age old argument about how best to allocate limited resources. Every space-faring nation encounters the same argument. The Indians decided that $80 million spent on scientific innovation was a better investment for India’s future – and probably easier– than trying to spread that $80 million among 300 million poor.

Pakistan: A Pakistani military court convicted five military officers, including Brigadier Ali Khan, for maintaining links to a banned organization. The Brigadier is the most senior of the five and received a sentence of five years in prison. The others received sentences of 18 months to three years.

The army did not name the banned organization, but officials have in the past identified it as Hizb ut-Tahrir – a British-based Islamist group that is banned in Pakistan.

Brigadier Khan was arrested following the killing of Osama bin Laden in May last year. He initially was charged with conspiring to overthrow the civilian government of Pakistan.

Khan has been highly critical of the Pakistan Army command over its relationship with the US, according to press analysts. In his statement to the court, he said he was being victimized for speaking out against officers whom he said had let bin Laden live in Pakistan for five years – and then allowed US forces to kill him.

During the court-martial proceedings witnesses – mostly army officers – told the court Brigadier Khan wanted to bring about an “Islamic revolution”. They said he was working with Hizb ut-Tahrir to establish a caliphate in Pakistan.

The group does not advocate violence but has been accused of links to militants.

Comment: Khan’s major mistake was in being too open in his advocacy of a caliphate in Pakistan and in being too critical of the chain of command.

The significance of this item is the rank of Khan and the obvious breakdown in the Army’s notoriously rigid chain of command, especially for flag rank officers. Pakistani Brigadiers never criticize their seniors because it jeopardizes their post-Army job prospects.

It is well established by Pakistani media outlets that enlisted and field grade officer ranks of the Pakistan Army are staunchly pro-Islamist, anti-American, and anti-the civilian government.

The conviction of a flag-rank officer for the same tendencies is extraordinary and certainly intended as an object lesson. It confirms that Islamist field grade officers from the last decade, during the Musharraf era, are now reaching flag ranks and they are not like the foreign trained officers of earlier eras. That suggests that in one or two promotion cycles, the flag ranks in Pakistan will contain an expanding cohort of Islamist flag officers.

Afghanistan: The Afghan parliament voted 4 August to dismiss the Interior and Defense Ministers because of their inability to apply force to stop ongoing cross-border shelling from Pakistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on 5 August that he accepted parliament’s decision to dismiss Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Bismullah Mohammadi.

Comment: The charges against the two men are primarily about incompetence in border defense, but the consequences of the dismissals primarily will degrade the management of the counter-uprising fight.

Nothing is ever as it seems on the surface. This looks like a pro-Taliban vote by the parliament that boxed Karzai, catching him and the Allies by surprise.

Saudi Arabia-Iran: For the record. King Abdallah has invited President Ahmadi-Nejad to attend a summit later this month in Saudi Arabia. There are no additional details.

Syria: For the record. Ahmad Talas, head of the contracts department at the Syrian Interior Ministry, has defected, the Daraa military council said on 3 August, Al Arabiya reported. Talas is believed to have information about weapon contracts. The Syrian Military Academy’s Defense College head Muhammad Husayn al-Hajj has also defected, the military council said.

Comment: The defections seem to signify a shrinking of the government’s base, meaning that Sunnis are leaving and only the Alawites, Christians and other minorities will remain. Every defection, however, always carries a personal story, so it is difficult to draw larger conclusons from individual defections.

Syria-Iran: An armed opposition group abducted 48 Iranian pilgrims from a bus in Damascus on 4 August. The incident has received international media coverage as a sign of government weakness.

The kidnappers insisted the pilgrims were Iranian Revolutionary Guards on a reconnaissance mission and had permits for carrying arms, though none were produced.

In fact, a man who described himself as the deputy commander of the Free Syrian Army said the kidnapping was by a rogue group, acting without authority.

Comment: This kidnapping was amateurish and did harm to the opposition. Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani, spoke separately with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on 5 August and agreed to help secure the release of the 48 Iranian pilgrims who were kidnapped in Damascus.

Russia-Syria: For the record. On Friday, various news services, citing anonymous Russian officials, reported that Moscow is sending three large landing ships carrying up to 120 marines each to Russia’s naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus. Later in the day, Russian officials denied the ships would call at Tartus.

Syria and Russia have agreed on Russian energy resources to be supplied to Syria in the near future, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Qadri Jamil said on 3 August. Syria will export crude oil to Russia in return for gasoline and diesel, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Qadri Jamil said. Syria is currently producing about 200,000 barrels per day of crude oil.

Comment: Russian actions indicate the Moscow leadership does not consider the situation hopeless.

Egypt-Sinai-Israel: Islamist gunmen killed 16 Egyptian policemen, wounded seven others and seized two Egyptian security vehicles in the assault on a Sinai police station near the border with Israel on Sunday. Israeli aircraft destroyed the vehicles, where the gunmen used to try to storm the fortified border.

Egyptian state television and Israeli military officials said an Islamist militant group was responsible for the assault. An Egyptian security source said the Rafah border crossing with Gaza had been closed “indefinitely” after the attack.

Comment: This was the first security emergency for Egyptian President Mursi. The Israelis handled it far better than the Egyptians. Since the overthrow of Mubarak, Arab terrorists in Sinai have become increasingly uncontrolled. This was their boldest operation and most overtly political.

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