Posts filed under ‘Peacekeeping’

SHAKO: Women’s History Month 2019, Part III

Women in the Navy.

Here is the third installment of 4GWAR’s tribute to Women’s History Month featuring  photos illustrating the contributions of women in the four armed services. With the exception of one historic first or trailblazer for each service, these pictures focus on women doing their jobs — some dirty, difficult or dangerous — but all essential to keeping the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps ready to defend the United States of America. This week we look at women Sailors.

Recruit Training Command Graduation

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Spencer Fling)

Sailors celebrate after graduating from Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois on January 4, 2019. Great Lakes, on the western shore of Lake Michigan north of Chicago, is the Navy’s only recruit training  facility, or boot camp. The workload is heavy and the recruits must adjust to a completely new way of life during the eight-week training program. In addition to classroom instruction, recruits spend time learning the fundamentals of small arms marksmanship, seamanship, water survival, line handling, and fire fighting. Long days and intensive training leave the recruits little free time. While male and female recruits train together they have separate sleeping quarters, known as “ships.”

WOMEN NAVY ID3

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ford Williams)

Navy Seaman Aliyah Smith (above) stands watch aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) as the ship transits the Bosporus, the entrance to the Black Sea, on February 19, 2019.

Sailors and Marines aboard USS Ashland (LSD 48) execute CRRC operations

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Markus Castaneda)

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Nia Baker supervises Marines preparing to depart the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD-48) with combat rubber raiding crafts in the Philippine Sea, January 25, 2019.

U.S. Sailor paints a cowling for an MH-60S Sea Hawk

(Navy photo by Seaman Jarrod Schad)

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Itzel Samaniego paints an engine cover for an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in the Pacific Ocean on February 16, 2019.

190115-N-PX867-1223

(Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Whitley)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Brittany McGhee signals an AV-8B Harrier to take off during flight deck operations aboard the USS Boxer (LHD 4), an amphibious assault ship, in the Pacific Ocean on January 15, 2019. Each crewman has a different task on a very busy and noisy flight deck of assault ships and aircraft carriers, depending on the color of their jacket. Yellow jackets are worn by aircraft handling officers (like petty officer McGhee), catapult and arresting gear officers and plane directors.

WOMEN NAVY ID6

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anaid Banuelos Rodriguez)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Ashley Zappier fires an M240B machine gun aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD-20) in the Gulf of Thailand, Feb. 17, 2019, during Cobra Gold, a multinational exercise focused on supporting the humanitarian needs of communities in the region.

190102-N-KW492-0077

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryre Arciaga)

Navy Seaman Sierra Hogard adjusts the rotations of the ship’s shaft aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in the Mediterranean Sea on January 2, 2019.

WOMEN NAVY ID8

(Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Chandler Harrell)

Navy Hospial Corpsman 2nd Class Victoria Robinson performs a dental examination on Seaman Tyler D’Angelo aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) in the Indian Ocean on January 21, 2019.

NAS OCEANA FLYOVER

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raymond Maddocks)

Honoring a Trailblazer: Naval aviators participating in a flyover to honor the life and legacy of retired Navy Captain Rosemary Mariner pose for a photo at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia on February 2, 2019. It was the first ever all-female flyover as part of the funeral service for Mariner, a female Naval aviation pioneer. She was one of the Navy’s first female pilots, the first to fly a tactical (jet attack) aircraft and the first woman to command a naval aviation squadron. Captain Mariner was a leader of the organization Women Military Aviators. In 1992, she worked with members of Congress and a Defense Department advisory board to overturn laws and regulations keeping women from combat.

WOMEN NAVY NO ID.JPG

Enter a caption

U.S. Pacific Fleet Band musicians, male and female, perform during a celebration at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on February 27, 2019. Navy Musicians attend the Armed Forces School of Music, located in Little Creek, Virginia, for 21 weeks. The active duty Musician rating requires a 48 month (4 year) minimum enlistment contract.

*** *** ***

SHAKO-West Point cadetsSHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

March 24, 2019 at 5:18 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 1, 2019)

The Night Watch.

190215-N-UP035-0107

(U.S. Navy photo Petty Officer 1st Class Michael DiMestico)

O.K. we admit it, your 4GWar editor’s inner artist was taken with the color and shadows of this Navy photo. Who are these folks and what are they doing and where are they doing it?

The Defense Department caption that came with this picture identifies the subjects as Sailors and Marines stand[ing] watch aboard the USS Kearsarge as it transits the Strait of Hormuz, February 15, 2019.

The Kearsarge (LHD-3) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault shipthe largest amphibious ships in the world. Resembling a small aircraft carrier, the Kearsarge’s main job is taking a 1,600-man Marine Expeditionary Unit to trouble a spot — for either combat or humanitarian relief operations — and then putting the Marines ashore via helicopters, tilt-rotor aircraft and various types of waterborne landing craft.

That said, this photo reminded us of Rembrandt’s massive 1642 painting commonly called “The Night Watch.” The Dutch master was commissioned to paint a group portrait of a militia company (the real title of the work is: Officers and Men of the Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Wilhelm van Ruytenburgh). It was not your typical 17th Century class photo and the Captain and his men were not pleased.

It is not a night scene at all, but actually takes place during the day.  The Night Watch name was first applied at the end of the eighteenth century — long after Rembrandt was dead — when the painting had darkened considerably through the accumulation of many layers of dirt and varnish, according to art history professor Wendy Schaller.

Maybe it’s a stretch, but we think the above photo — titled Blue View — like Rembrandt’s Night Watch, does more than capture some sailors and Marines on duty.

March 1, 2019 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: AFRICOM Logistics Hub; West African Violence;

AFRICOM-Ghana .

U.S. Africa Command plans to begin routing cargo flights through Accra, Ghana, as the hub of a new logistics network to ferry supplies and weapons to U.S. troops operating across the continent’s increasingly turbulent western region, reports Defense One.

Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn

Air Force C-17s may soon be making weekly supply hops to Ghana for U.S. troops in West Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ethan Morgan)

As part of a defense-cooperation agreement with Ghana reached in May, a weekly flight from AFRICOM’s home base in Germany to Accra will deliver cargo to be sent out on smaller planes and trucks to the approximately 1,800 American dispersed across nearly 20 locations in West Africa, according Defense One.

Brigadier General Leonard Kosinski, head of logistics at AFRICOM, says the operation will be like a bus route carrying arms, ammunition, food, and other supplies to special  forces troops. At first, the flights will be U.S. military cargo planes supporting American personnel. But after the first year, AFRICOM hopes that African contractors, European allies, and partner nations will plug into the network.

However, the launch of this West Africa Logistics Network suggests that at least for now, AFRICOM is planning a consistent presence in the western reaches of the continent, writes Defense One senior national security correspondent Katie Bo Williams.

West Africa Attacks.

Attacks by violent extremist groups have been on the rise in West Africa. Ten U.N. peacekeepers from Chad were killed in a January 20 attack in northern Mali. An al-Qaeda-linked group —   Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — claimed responsibility for the attack which also wounded 25 Chadian troops when gunmen stormed the U.N. camp in Aguelhok.

Chad funeral MINUSMA

Tribute ceremony in N’Djamena for the 10 Chadian peacekeepers who were killed on 20 January in a terrorist attack in northern Mali. (United Nations mission in Mali photo)

The death toll from a February attack by gunmen in northwestern Nigeria has doubled to more than 130, Al Jazeera reported. The attack appeared to have been a deliberate plan to “wipe out certain communities,” Kaduna state Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai said,  without elaborating.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from Abuja, said the increase in death toll was “expected from the beginning” as 130 people had been marked as missing in the aftermath of the attack.

The attack took place the day before Nigeria was supposed to hold a presidential but electoral authorities delayed the vote by one week citing logistical challenges.

February 22, 2019 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

LATIN AMERICA: Brazil Presidential Knife Attack; Nicaraguan Political Violence; Venezuelan Migration Crisis.

Brazil: Far-Right Candidate Stabbed.

Just when it looks like Brazil’s wild presidential election campaign can’t get any wilder — a far-right candidate is stabbed and seriously injured.

Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed during a campaign rally in Minas Gerais Thursday (September 6). Several videos posted on social media showed Bolsonaro riding on the shoulder of a supporter during a rally when he was stabbed in his abdomen, the Voice of America website reported. Other videos show him being carried to car and his supporters hitting the apparent attacker, who was arrested at the scene.

MAP-Brazil

Brazil (CIA World Factbook)

Flavio Bolsonaro, the candidate’s son, wrote on Twitter that his father had been wounded in the liver, lung and intestine. “He lost a lot of blood, arrived at the hospital … almost dead. He appears to have stabilized now,” he said.

General Antonio Hamilton Mourao, Bolsonaro’s running mate, told Reuters by telephone that the candidate’s condition was stable but still worrying.

The attack on Bolsonaro is a dramatic twist in what is already Brazil’s most unpredictable election since the country’s return to democracy three decades ago. Corruption investigations have jailed scores of powerful businessmen and politicians, and alienated infuriated voters, according to Reuters.

Violence in Brazil is rampant – the country has more homicides than any other, according to the United Nations – and political violence is common at the local level.

Bolsonaro, who has spent nearly three decades in Congress, is a law-and-order candidate who routinely says that Brazilian police should kill suspected drug traffickers and other criminals at will. He has openly praised the military dictatorship that ran Brazil in the past said it should have killed more people.

The controversial politician, who has outraged many in Brazil with racist and homophobic comments, has performed strongly in recent polls, the BBC reported.

Polls suggest he would get the most votes in next month’s presidential elections if former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva fails in his attempt to overturn a ban on him standing for election. Lula, who served as president from 2003-2010, is ineligible for office under Brazil’s “Clean Slate” law, which prohibits candidates from running if they have convictions that have been upheld on appeal.

Despite his conviction and several graft cases pending against him, Lula leads Bolsonaro  with 39 percent of voter support, according to pollster Datafolha. Lula has denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, thousands fleeing Venezuela’s  collapsing economy have flooded Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru with refugees. Things were so unsettled in northern Brazil that President Michel Temer signed a decree August 28 to send troops to the country’s northern state of Roraima, where Venezuelans fleeing food shortages have streamed across the border.

Temer said the armed forces were being sent to “guarantee law and order” as Venezuela’s migrant crisis was “threatening the harmony of the whole continent.” He said the move was for the safety of both Brazilian citizens and Venezuelan migrants, NPR reported.

*** *** ***

Defense Secretary Tours South America.

Brazil was the first stop on U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis’s four-nation tour of  South America last month to shore up strong defense ties with the governments of  Argentina, Chile and Colombia — as well as Brazil.

Mattis met with Defense Minister Joaquim Silva e Luna, the chief of Brazil’s joint staff, Admiral Ademir Sobrinho, and the Brazilian service chiefs. Later he told military officers at Brazil’s war college that the United States wants a “stronger relationship” with a focus on using Brazil’s Alcantara space center, which is located near the equator, Agence France-Presse reported.

SECDEF Mattis in Brazil

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis (second from right) met with Brazilian defense leaders during his trip to Brazil, Aug. 13, 2018. (Defense Department photo)

China is developing its space infrastructure in Latin America, with a base in southern Argentina’s Patagonia region. It has also pushed deep into the continent’s economies as an investor and major client for agricultural, mineral and other commodities, AFP noted.

Mattis told reporters  in Brazil that Russian and Chinese involvement in South America has had “zero impact” on military-to-military relationships with America’s Latin partners.

He cautioned against potentially damaging “inroads by other nations,” according to VoA. “There’s  more than one way to lose sovereignty in this world. It’s not just by bayonets. It can also be by countries that come bearing gifts and by large loans…piling massive debt on countries knowing they know will not be able to repay it,” Mattis added in an apparent poke at Chinese loans to countries like Venezuela.

On his trip to Colombia in August, Mattis said he was impressed by the progress Colombia has made in human rights, democracy and rule of law after more than 30 years battling terrorist attacks, a violent Marxist insurgency and corruption fueled by narcotics cartels. As a sign of the changed atmosphere, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced in May that his country will formally become NATO’s first Latin American “global partner.”

But Mattis added that he’s concerned about the unrest in neighboring Venezuela.

Hyperinflation in that country is expected to hit 1 million percent this year, and tens of thousands of people are fleeing the country to other neighbors. Neighboring nations are helping with these refugees and looking to ensure peace along a desperate border, according to the Defense Department.

The U.S. State Department is providing $56 million in aid to refugees and the Defense Department is sending the hospital ship USNS Comfort to the region to help.

***

Venezuela’s Woes.

The United Nations says that more than 1.6 million Venezuelans have left their country since the start of 2015, generating an international migrant crisis that has set off alarms in South America and recently led to violent confrontations between migrants and local populations.

Venezuelans are fleeing a severe economic crisis which has led to severe shortages of food, medicine and basic goods. Many of those fleeing the country say they are doing so because they cannot get the operations and medical care they need.

The Associated Press explains the situation here.

_103142757_venezuela_map_640-3x_v2-nc

Late last month, the United Nations refugee and migration agencies has called on Latin American countries to ease entry for Venezuelan nationals fleeing economic hardship and a deepening political crisis, Reuters reported.

The U.N. agencies said they were concerned about new passport and border entry requirements in Ecuador and Peru. At the same time they praised states for hosting more than 1.6 million Venezuelans who have fled economic and political upheaval since 2015.

*** *** ***

Nicaragua Violence.

Another refugee crisis is growing in Central America, where tens of thousands of Nicaraguans are fleeing to Costa Rica to escape political violence in the wake of a wave of anti-government protests.

For more than four months, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has responded forcefully to nationwide protests, which initially began in opposition to a hike in social security taxes and quickly erupted into a call for his resignation, NPR reports. More than 300 people have been killed, hundreds more disappeared and thousands have fled the country, according to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, a nongovernmental organization in Managua.

MAP-Nicaragua

Nicaragua and neighbors (Map: CIA World Factbook)

 

At the United Nations, the United States warned the Security Council Wednesday (September 5) that Nicaragua is heading down the path that led to conflict in Syria and Venezuela’s mass migration that has spilled into the region. But Russia, China and Bolivia said Nicaragua doesn’t pose an international threat and the U.N. should butt out, the Associated Press reported.

The sharp exchanges took place at the first Security Council meeting called by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, the current council president, to address what the U.N. says is Nicaragua’s violent repression of student and opposition protests.

September 7, 2018 at 1:00 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (November 17, 2017)

Wait, what?!!

Rocky at Marne Mile

(U.S. Army photo by Sergeant Caitlyn Smoyer)

Sergeant Rocky, the 3rd Infantry Division’s mascot, jumps over obstacles behind a soldier during a competition at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The November 13 event was part of Marne Week 2017, a celebration of the division’s centennial.

The mascot’s name and Marne Week derive from the division’s World War I nickname: “The Rock of the Marne.” According to the website, Global Security, the division was activated at Camp Greene, North Carolina 100 years ago this month.

Eight months later, at midnight on July 14, 1918 the Division went into combat for the first time. As a member of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe, the Division earned its name as the “Rock of the Marne,” when it stuck to its position after surrounding allied units retreated during the Second Battle of the Marne. Casualties were very high but the German advance was driven off.

3rd ID patch

3rd Infantry Division shoulder patch (U.S. Army image)

In World War II,  General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr. led the division in battles in Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. The 3rd ID saw 531 continuous days of combat — the only Army division to fight the Axis on every European front — in places like Casablanca, Anzio, Tome, the Vosges Mountains, Colmar, the Siegfried Line, Palermo, Nurnberg, Munich, Berchtesgaden, and Salzburg. Lieutenant Audie Murphy, the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II, was a member of the 3rd ID.

The division also fought in the Korean War. One brigade fought in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and Marne division units deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan in ensuing years. Last year, one of the division’s battalions was posted to Ukraine in support of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.

Designated a mechanized infantry division, the 3rd ID is now part of the XVIII Airborne Corps, based at based at Fort Stewart and Fort Benning, Georgia.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In case you’re wondering, Sgt. Rocky the 3rd ID mascot is a bulldog and shouldn’t be confused with Sgt. Rock of Easy Company.

November 17, 2017 at 8:18 pm Leave a comment

ASIA/PACIFIC: U.S. Marines at Australian Exercise.

The Marines Have Landed …

USS Green Bay conducts Talisman Saber 17

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

U.S. Marines maneuver combat rubber raiding craft toward Cowley Beach in Australia on July 8, 2017, during an amphibious raid rehearsal as a part of exercise Talisman Saber 17. These Marines are assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

… and Landed.

Marines Helo Australia Talisman Sabre 17.JPG

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

Here Marines are disembarking from a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter for a ground assault training exercise as part of Talisman Saber 17 in Australia on July 12, 2017. More than 33,000 U.S. and Australian personnel are participating in the biennial joint exercise, which runs through July 25.

Talisman Saber, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force Headquarters Joint Operations Command, incorporates U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force and the Australian Defence Force, as well as other government agencies from both countries, according to Pacific Command.

Featuring 21 ships, including the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, and more than 200 joint aircraft, this is the seventh iteration of the exercise. For 2017 it is focusing on training a Combined Task Force of U.S. and Australian forces in a mid-intensity, high-end warfighting scenario.

July 20, 2017 at 11:43 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 19, 2017)

The Starting Lineup.

US, Italy and Jordan special operations conduct combat search and rescue

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Conroy)

We haven’t had many photos of special operations forces lately, and since Special Ops is one of the topics we focus on here at 4GWAR, we’re glad to share this photo.

Here U.S. Air Force special tactics airmen, Italian special operations forces and members of the Jordanian Armed Forces Special Task Force conduct a simulated assault on a compound during exercise Eager Lion 17.

Eager Lion is being conducted at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center in Amman, Jordan. This photo was taken May 11, 2017.

Air Force special tactics airmen are highly skilled operators trained and equipped to operate in difficult conditions with stealth, speed and teamwork. Their specialties include: combat controllers, para-rescuemen (or PJs), Special Operations Weather Team members, Tactical Air Control Party members and the Special Operations Surgical team.

To see what people with these specialties do, click on the highlighted words above.

May 19, 2017 at 3:44 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 5, 2017)

Projecting Power.

FRIFO 5-5-207 F-18s on USS Theodore Roosevelt

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Clayton)

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) travels in the Pacific Ocean during a training event off the coast of Southern California on April 30, 2017.

One of the main functions is to project U.S. power into remote areas of the world, a mission flattops have been performing since the 1940s.

Parked on the flight deck are the Roosevelt’s main offensive weapon, the F/A-18C Hornet jet fighter. You can also see the shadow of the helicopter used to take this photo.

 

May 5, 2017 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

AROUND AFRICA: UN Base in Mali Attacked; Boko Haram Bombing; Pirates Are Back; Covering Africa

Another Mali Attack.

Mali and its neighbors (CIA World Factbook)

Mali and its neighbors
(CIA World Factbook)

Two United Nations peacekeepers and a civilian contractor were killed in a rocket attack Saturday (November 28) on a U.N. base in northern Mali.

The attack on the dessert base near Kidal (see map) killed two soldiers from Guinea. More than 10,000 UN peacekeepers from several countries — mostly nearby West African nations like Guinea — have been patrolling violence-wracked Mali since 2013, according to the BBC.

The UN mission in Mali — criticized at the time of its approval because there is no peace deal to support — has suffered more casualties than any other in recent years, with 56 troops killed, the BBC indicated in a November 20 video report.

Olivier Salgado, spokesman for the UN’s deployment in Mali known as MINUSMA, told Al Jazeera the attack was launched before dawn with five rockets landing inside the UN compound. Salgado said 20 other people were wounded, four seriously.

“In the past we’ve had mortar shells land outside, but this time they made it into the camp,” he said.

The armed group Ansar Dine told the AFP news agency it was responsible for the attack. Hamadou Ag Khallini, one of the group’s senior figures told AFP by phone that the attack was “in response to the violation of our lands by the enemies of Islam.”

French forces intervened in Mali, a former French colony, when a rebellion by heavily-armed Tuareg nomads sparked an Army coup in 2012 because the government’s poor handling of the revolt. The Tuaregs, backed by al Qaeda-linked Islamist extremists, took advantage of the chaos and swept over half the country — threatening Bamako, the capital — before the French intervened with ground troops and aircraft.

But violence has picked up again. Five UN peacekeepers were killed in July, and just over a week ago a militant assault on a luxury hotel in Bamako left more than 20 people dead. On Friday (November 27), Malian forces arrested two men in connection with the hotel attack, the Voice of America website reported..

Other West African governments are also battling insurgents. Boko Haram, the leading armed group in the region, has this year extended its attacks from Nigeria to the neighboring states of Niger, Cameroon and Chad, Al Jazeera noted.

*** *** ***

Boko Haram-Nigeria.

Nigeria (CIA World factbook)

Nigeria
(CIA World factbook)

The Islamic State-linked militant group Boko Haram is claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing in northern Nigeria Friday (November 27) that killed at least 22 people marching in a procession of Shi’ite pilgrims.

The blast near the village of Dakozoye, south of Kano, came just days after two female bombers blew themselves up at a local mobile telephone market in Kano, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than 100 others in the city of 2.1 million residents, the Voice of America reported.

A statement posted Saturday (November 28) on Twitter referred to the Friday blast as a “martyrdom-seeking operation.”  It also vowed more violence would come as the extremist group presses its six-year campaign for an independent Islamic state, or caliphate, in northeastern Nigeria and the nearby countries of northern Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Followers of The Islamic Movement of Nigeria were marching from Kano to Zaria through the village of Dakasoye on Friday when the attackers struck, according to Al Jazeera. The followers were on a “symbolic trek” to Zaria, where the Islamic Movement of Nigeria’s leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky is based, to mark the 40th day of Ashura – the death of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Hussein.

Meanwhile, Boko Haram has been labeled the world’s deadliest terrorist group, according to the New York Times.

The militant group that has tortured Nigeria and its neighbors for years, was responsible for 6,664 deaths last year, more than any other terrorist group in the world, including the Islamic State, which killed 6,073 people in 2014, according to a report released (November 18).

The report, by the Institute of Economics & Peace, said the Islamic State and Boko Haram were responsible for half of all global deaths attributed to terrorism. Last year, the deaths attributed to Boko Haram alone increased by more than 300 percent, the report said. The report also found a drastic increase in terrorist attacks last year, with the majority occurring in three countries: Iraq, Syria and Nigeria, where other militant groups besides Boko Haram operate.

*** *** ***

Pirates Redux.

Five Polish sailors have been abducted from a cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria, according to the BBC and other news outlets.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said the men– including a captain and other three officers — were kidnapped Thursday night (November 26) from the cargo ship Szafir.

Pirates boarded the vessel as it traveled from Belgium to Nigeria, according to Polish media reports. Eleven other sailors evaded capture, apparently by locking themselves in the engine room.

Security experts classify the waters off Nigeria as some of the deadliest on earth, with pirates based in the country often targeting oil tankers, as well as hostages to ransom, Al Jazeera reported.

But the region has seen no documented attacks since February, when a crude carrier was boarded with the ship’s Greek deputy captain killed and three crew members taken hostage.

November 28, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

DEFENSE/PEACEKEEPING: Big Week Coming

Two Big Conferences.

Calendar14GWAR was lying low last week after a busy conference season — Air & Space — Modern Day Marine — Military Reporters and Editors and one of the biggest, the Association of the U.S. Army.

But this week, we want to call your attention to two important conferences running almost simultaneously in the Washington D.C. area.

UNMANNED SYSTEMS DEFENSE

The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) — the trade group of robotic and autonomous systems makers, researchers, developers and users — holds their annual meeting with the military, technology experts and the defense industry. Presentations and panel discussions will review the Pentagon’s programs for drones and robots that fly in the sky, roll or walk across the ground or swim in or under the sea. In fact, the gathering used to be called the program review but now it’s called Unmanned Systems Defense.

It runs for three days, starting Tuesday (October 27) at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Arlington (Pentagon City), Virginia. Each day is dedicated to a different battlespace: maritime, air and ground. Speakers will include program managers and officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard — along with several congressmen and officials from Special Operations Command and DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

For more information, click here.

ISOA SUMMIT

The companies and organizations that supply goods, servcies and technology to peacekeepers, relief groups, advisers and other non-governmental organizations are also meeting in the Washington area this week. The International Stability Operations Association (ISOA) is holding its 10th summit at the National Press Club starting Wednesday (October 28).

ISOA says it represents companies and organizations “whose work lays the foundation for long term stability and growth in the world’s most unstable places. We serve the implementing community, providing member services focused on contracting, partnerships, regulatory and legal developments, research initiatives, policy movement, and whatever else our members deem important.”

We last wrote about ISOA in 2013, when some ISOA members expressed interest in possible using drones to obtain intelligence about possible danger in remote locations, finding refugees who have fled violence or food shortages and where the greatest need for food is in vast regions with few roads.

Among the speakers ISOA members will hear from at the two-day event: the former head of U.S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham (ret.); Ambassador Brett McGurk, the deputy special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS and the Islamic State); the former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), rerired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Program Support), Gary Motsek.

October 25, 2015 at 11:52 pm Leave a comment

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