Archive for May 6, 2010
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Flintlock 10, a three-week international exercise bringing together military units and planners from North and West Africa and Europe got underway this week (May 4).
Sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Flintock is a joint multinational exercise to improve information sharing at the operational and tactical levels across the Saharan region. It is focused on military interoperability and capacity-building for U.S. and European partner nations and select units in Northern and Western Africa.
The exercise’s temporary command center is set up in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso (formerly known as Upper Volta). Other activities will take place in neighboring Mali. Both countries have joined with others in the area to form a regional group to counter al Qaeda in the Sahara-Sahel. The new “locals only’ joint command, based in southern Algeria, has snubbed AFRICOM, however. See a video on the topic here.
Recently, 4GWAR featured a posting on the mayhem and terror the renegade Lord’s Resistance Army is causing in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The New York Times just filed an article about the violence, deprivation and despair in the eastern part of the country. “I’ve never seen people in a worse state than the people of D.R.C.,” one U.N. official tells the Times. There is also a striking photo slideshow on Congo’s troubles. To see it click here.
Car Bombing Comes to U.S.
When we covered homeland security for another publication, we often wondered why al Qaeda and other terrorist groups kept focusing on bombing aircraft, skyscrapers and other “big Ticket” targets.
The Washington area sniper case in 2002 showed how simple it was to throw a large metropolitan area into chaos for weeks with just a few random — but deadly — rifle shots. Security experts told us a few bombs in the trunks of cars left in parking lots at shopping malls or sports arenas would have a devastating effect on the local and national economy.
The terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008 also showed a well-organized — but low tech — assault on soft targets like hotels and comuter rail stations could also wreak choas, fear — and a large loss of life.
And terrorists appeared to ignore one of the most terrorism weapons used around the world — the car bomb. Until now. The New York Times has an intriguing article about the implications of the failed car bombing attempt in New York’s Times Square.
A Death in Nigeria
Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua, who gave amnesty to armed militants in the troubled oil-rich Niger Delta region, is dead, according to reports from CNN and elsewhere.
It’s not immediately known what this means for acting President Goodluck Jonathan, who took the reins of power earlier this year when Yar’Adua was incapacitated b heart disease. Almost since independence from Britain in 1960, Nigeria has been beset by religious rivalries (Muslim north VS. Christian south) and tribal/linguistic differences (Ibo VS Yoruba and Hausa), which led to a bloody, nearly-three-year civil war in 1967.
In a recent post, 4GWAR wrote about the problems of the Niger Delta — too many political promises, not enough of them kept, violence-breeding poverty and local economic stagnation despite one of the word’s richest oil fields.