Cracks in The Base?

by Steven R. Corman There has been a lot of buzz recently about dissent in the ranks of al Qaeda. Much of it has focused on a rejection of violence against civilians by Sayyid Imam al Sharif, a.k.a Dr. Fadl, issued from by fax from an Egyptian prison. Lawrence Wright has an article about it in the current issue of the New Yorker. Another analysis comes from Peter Bergen and Paul Cruikshank in the current […] Read more »

Militant Mashup A Cause For Concern?

by Steven R. Corman Today Danger Room is reporting on an ABC news story about a video, purportedly posted by AQ operatives, calling for the use of WMDs against the West. The story quotes an FBI spokesman to support the claim. The trouble is, the tape appears to be a mashup of previously released videos, apparently compiled by a prankster or freelance AQ sympathizer. As Evan Kohlman reports: There is no indication whatsoever that Al-Qaida’s […] Read more »

Burma’s Generals and Cyclone Nargis: Incompetence, Callous Indifference or Both?

by Mark Woodward* On May 3, 2008 Cyclone Nargis struck the Irrawaddy delta in Southern Burma with devastating force. Nargis was a killer. The Burma government did not warn people in the region that the storm was coming or how severe it would be, though they clearly knew. According to some reports wind speeds of forty to fifty miles per hour were predicted. This was the first of many lies the Generals told. On May […] Read more »

Lieberman/YouTube Flap

by Steven R. Corman A heads up to COMOPS readers…Last week Senator Joe Lieberman’s office contacted YouTube asking them to remove  a list of videos posted by designated terrorist organizations, claiming any such posts violate YouTube’s prohibitions against “graphic or gratuitous violence.”   YouTube removed some of the videos that contained violence or hate speech, but left most of them standing.  You can read an UPI story about it here, and the YouTube blog post […] Read more »

Europe’s “Islamic Dilema”

by Emy Matesan Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s first visit to Germany in the beginning of February illustrates the “Islamic dilemma” Western European countries currently face. In front of a predominantly German audience, Erdogan had emphasized the need to better integrate the Turkish minority. He stunned Chancellor Angela Merkel when he suggested that Germany build Turkish high schools and universities in order to help the integration process. But when he visited Cologne, thousands of […] Read more »

Minerva on the Cheap?

by Steven R. Corman I just got off a blogger’s roundtable teleconference with Thomas Mahnken, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning (hat-tip to Matt for the heads-up about it). He was discussing the Minerva program, outlined by Secretary Gates in a speech last month. Gates, a former university president, wants the social sciences more involved in helping fight the Bad Guys, so he is forming a program in the DoD that will fund […] Read more »

Communication Costs of Iraq Withdrawal

by Clint Martinez What happens if we leave Iraq? From what I gather, and believe in, Iraq will eventually serve as place that comes of out darkness and stands as a light of democracy to the world. A free will Iraq will show the Middle East and the world that the masses can install a government that represents its people and move away from hardliners and radicals that want to enslave the masses in the […] Read more »

Bush, DoS Didn’t Get the Memo

by Steven R. Corman Last week I noted that the U.S. had decided to stop calling the Bad Guys “jihadis.”  Well as Jeffrey Imm over at CT Blog points out, there’s just one little problem:   Apparently the State Department and the President didn’t get that memo.  Imm details 30 uses of the word or its derivatives in the latest Country Reports on Terrorism, and in a recent Bush speech.  He (rightly) wonders: Does the […] Read more »