From Various Sources:
Syrian minister 'commits suicide' (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4334442.stm). Some quick analysis here (http://counterterror.typepad.com/the_counterterrorism_blog/2005/10/syria_general_k.html)
South Asia Terrorism Update (http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/detailed_news.asp?date1=10/12/2005#1)
From Bill Roggio's blog, The Fourth Rail (http://billroggio.com/)
al Qaeda and Iraqi Security Forces (http://billroggio.com/archives/2005/10/al_qaeda_and_ir.php)
Dear Zarqawi: A Letter from Zawahiri, and a Constitutional Compromise (http://billroggio.com/archives/2005/10/dear_zarqawi_a.php)
From StrategyPage (http://www.strategypage.com):
The Iraqi Army in Action (http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htworld/articles/20051012.aspx)
Successor to Ma Deuce Field Tested (http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htweap/articles/20051012.aspx) - XM-312 (http://www.gdatp.com/products/lethality/xm312/xm312.htm)
From the daily reports of Strategie & Technik, a German defense affairs journal:
12.10.05: Afghanistan: Selbstmordanschläge. Bei zwei Selbstmordanschlägen in Kandahar wurden sechs Menschen getötet. Unter den Toten ist ein ehemaliger Mudschahedin-Führer, der als loyal gegenüber dem afghanischen Präsidenten Karzai galt und mit den Amerikanern gegen die Taliban gekämpft hat. Diese Ereignisse deuten darauf hin, dass der Terror mit Selbstmordanschlägen nunmehr auch auf Afghanistan übergegriffen hat. Bei einem Angriff von Taliban-Kämpfern auf einen Konvoi mit Sicherheitskräften in der Provinz Helmand kamen 19 afghanische Polizisten ums Leben. Bei Kämpfen in der Provinz Zabul zwischen US-Truppen und Taliban-Kämpfern wurde ein US-Soldat getötet. Damit sind in Afghanistan seit 2001, als die USA den Krieg gegen die Taliban begonnen hatten, genau 200 US-Soldaten getötet worden.
– Afghanistan: Suicide Attack. Six persons were killed in two suicide attacks in Kandahar. Among the dead is a former mujahideen leader who was considered loyal to Afghan President Karzai and who had fought with the Americans against the Taliban. These events indicate that terror by suicide attacks had now spread to Afghanistan. Nineteen policemen lost their lives in an attack by Taliban fighters on a convoy with security forces in the province of Helmand. An American soldier was killed in fighting in the province of Zabul between US troops and Taliban fighters. With that exactly 200 US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, when the USA began the war against the Taliban.
12.10.05: Darfur: Rebellen lassen AU-Soldaten frei. Die sudanesische Rebellengruppe SLA hat 36 entführte Soldaten der Afrikanischen Union (AU) nach einem Tag wieder freigelassen. Die Soldaten waren in der Grenzregion zum Tschad von Rebellen entführt worden. Am Wochenende war eine AU-Patrouille in einen Hinterhalt geraten, dabei wurden drei Soldaten und zwei zivile Mitarbeiter getötet.
– Darfur: Rebels release AU soldiers. The Sudanese rebel group SLA has released 36 kidnapped African Union soldiers after a day. The soldiers were abducted by the rebels in the border region with Chad. Over the weekend, an AU patrol was ambushed and three soldiers and two civilian workers were killed.
From the RFE/RL Newsline (http://www.rferl.org/newsline/):
DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS CENTRAL ASIA IS RUSSIAN INTEREST ZONE... Answering a question about U.S. military bases in Central Asia, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said at a press conference in Paris on 11 October that every country has the right to decide which military bases it has on its territory, RIA-Novosti and other media reported. However, he continued, "The countries of the region are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]. And [if the countries of the region are] making a decision about hosting new bases on their territory, they should take into account the interests of Russia and coordinate this decision with our country," Radio Mayak reported. Ivanov added that he does not know whether U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will discuss the bases issue on her current trip to Central Asia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 October 2005). Ivanov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Paris on 10 October for talks with their French counterparts within the framework of the Russian-French Security Cooperation Council.
...AS RUSSIAN GENERAL ANNOUNCES CREATION OF 'CENTRAL ASIAN ARMY' CSTO Secretary-General Colonel General Nikolai Bordyuzha said on 11 October that a "large group of forces" will be created in Central Asia, similar to the Russia-Belarusian and Russian-Armenian integrated army groups, RIA-Novosti and centralasia.ru reported. The CSTO comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Russia. Bordyuzha said that the Central Asian army group will be composed "not from battalions, but from regiments and divisions and, in the event of a serious military conflict, it will defend CSTO members from all sides," RIA-Novosti reported. In the event of an all-out war, CSTO members should transfer the command of their entire armed forces to the Central Asian group, he added.
AL-QAEDA MEMBERS REPORTEDLY KILLED IN GUN BATTLE IN INGUSHETIA Russian security services killed two militants on 11 October in a gun battle lasting several hours in Ingushetia's Sunzha Raion, close to the border with Chechnya, and captured an unspecified number of their comrades in arms, Interfax, rg.ru and ingushetiya.ru reported. The fighters were located during a search operation instigated by the Prosecutor General's Office into the presence in southern Russia of members of an international terrorist organization. That search was prompted by information extracted from a captured militant. According to ntv.ru, the terror network in question was discovered during the ongoing investigation into the Beslan hostage crisis of September 2004, and it was headed by Chechen resistance leader and President Aslan Maskhadov and radical Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev. The Prosecutor-General's Office claimed the dead and captured militants belonged to a band led by Aslanbek Khatuev that was "directly subordinate" to the leaders of Al-Qaeda, rg.ru reported.
Transcaucasia And Central Asia
ARMENIAN DEFENSE MINISTER DENIES LINK BETWEEN KARABAKH CONFLICT, RUSSIAN MILITARY BASE Serzh Sarkisian took issue on 7 October with a hypothesis expressed the previous day at a NATO-organized seminar in Yerevan by Sir Brian Fall, who is the British special representative for the South Caucasus, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. Fall suggested that the Armenian government's continued willingness to host a Russian military base is due to fears of renewed aggression from Azerbaijan, and he asked rhetorically whether Armenia would want a "substantial Russian military presence on its territory" even after the Karabakh conflict is resolved. Sarkisian responded on 7 October saying that the Russian military presence has "nothing to do with the Karabakh problem and our relations with Azerbaijan in general." He said the Russian troops constitute "an integral part" of Armenia's security and "could be useful" in light of the hypothetical threat from Turkey, which, Sarkisian continued, "has until now pursued a hostile policy toward us."
GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT ISSUES ULTIMATUM TO RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS... Following a debate lasting several hours, the Georgian parliament approved on 11 October a resolution setting deadlines of 10 February 2006 and 15 June 2006 respectively for the Russian peacekeeping forces deployed in the South Ossetian and Abkhaz conflict zones to demonstrate they are complying with the terms of their respective mandates, Georgian and Russian media reported. In the event that the Russian peacekeepers continue to turn a blind eye to murders, abductions, smuggling, and other crimes, the Georgian parliament will insist on their withdrawal and replacement by an international peacekeeping force (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2005). Deputies from the opposition Republican party and the Conservative party, which tabled an alternative resolution calling for the peacekeepers to be withdrawn earlier, abstained from the vote.
...WHICH RUSSIAN MINISTERS CONDEMN AS COUNTERPRODUCTIVESpeaking in Paris on 11 October, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov dismissed the Georgian parliament resolution as politically rather than militarily motivated, Caucasus Press reported. He acknowledged that Tbilisi has the right to request the peacekeepers' withdrawal, but said the resolution will not impact on their activities. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, argued that it would be more appropriate to try to rebuild trust between Georgia and the leaders of its breakaway republics, and he stressed that Russia is trying, together with the OSCE and the UN, to promote a political settlement of the two conflicts. In Sukhum, Sergei Bagapsh, president of the unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia, said the Abkhaz leadership will not permit the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers, trud.ru reported. That force was dispatched to the conflict zone under the CIS aegis in the summer of 1994. Its mandate, which CIS presidents must regularly renew, stipulates that if one of the conflict sides demands its withdrawal, it must comply with that request.
Southwestern Asia And The Middle East
IRAQI MINISTER'S CONVOY TARGETED IN ATTACK The convoy of State Minister for Governorate Affairs Sa'd Nayif Mujhim al-Hardan was attacked in the Al-Qadisiyah neighborhood of Baghdad on 12 October, international media reported. A suicide car bomber drove his vehicle into the convoy and detonated it, destroying three cars in the convoy and wounding four guards and two passers-by, Al-Arabiyah television reported. The convoy was en route to al-Hardan's home to pick him up when the attack occurred. Gunmen assassinated tribal leader Hikmat Mumtaz outside his home in Samarra on 11 October, Al-Sharqiyah television reported the same day. Mumtaz was a chieftain of the Al-Baz tribe, and head of the Samarra Tribal Council, which comprises the representatives of more than 20 tribes.
FORMER DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS IRAN HAS PENETRATED SECURITY SERVICES Former Defense Minister Hazim al-Sha'lan said on 11 October that the corruption charges leveled against him recently are part of a campaign sponsored by Iran to cover up Iranian penetration of Iraqi government structures, Al-Jazeera television reported the same day. "There are some parties within the [Shi'ite] alliance who are trying their best to drag Hazim al-Sha'lan into a political battle...for no reason other than the fact that [I] spoke out loudly about Iran; and that is the truth," al-Sha'lan said. "Through the institutions of the state, Iran has currently penetrated every structure of the state of Iraq -- be it the security services, the popular entities, or the official entities. The Iranian is present in the blood, formation, and structure of some persons who are in power." Al-Sha'lan was the most vocal member of Iyad Allawi's interim administration of Iraq in his criticism of Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs.
Thanks, AL! I enjoy these.
Here is one somebody sent to me today. Not sure if the source is reliable or not, anyways, here it is:
Moscow Arms Assad with a Top-Flight Surface Missile
From DEBKA-Net-Weekly Sept 30 Updated by DEBKAfile
October 10, 2005, 12:29 PM (GMT+02:00)
Iskander SS-26: Too fast and flexible for known electronic defenses to stop
You too can read DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Exclusives when they are first published
Two generals were in Moscow on the same day, September 26: the head of Israel’s National Security Council Maj.-Gen (Res.) Giora Eiland and the Syrian chief of staff General Ali Habib. Both also called on the Russian chief of staff, Gen. Yuri Baluyevski. The Syrian general came out of his meeting with a brilliant contract for the sale of the advanced Iskander SS-26 surface missile. The Israeli general ran into a blank wall when he tried to persuade the Russian to withhold the missile from the Assad regime. Last January, when the deal was first broached, the Bush administration stepped in and obtained a promise from president Vladimir Putin to call off the sale, as did Israel’s Ariel Sharon during the Russian president’s visit in May.
Putin has broken those pledges.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 224 revealed in its detailed report on September 30 -
For a speedy delivery in the first quarter of 2006, the Syrians paid cash.
The value of the transaction is unknown but it certainly runs into hundreds of million dollars, given that Syria has purchased 26 of the most advanced missile of its kind in use anywhere in the world.
The United States and NATO have code-named the Iskander SS-26 “Stone.” They have nothing in their missile arsenal to match its unique attributes.
With a 400-km range and a 480-kilo warhead composed of 54 elements, the missile hits a target within a 20-meter radius. Two missiles with a range of 280km are mounted on each launch pad. The system can be used against small and large targets alike, easily overcoming air defenses. It is almost impossible for existing electronic weapons systems to prevent the Iskander’s launch because of its speed and high flexibility. Its targets are found in mid-flight by satellites, accompanying airplanes, conventional intelligence centers or a lone soldier directing artillery fire. Targets may also be found by feeding photos into the missile’s computer by means of a scanner.
The self-direction device functions even in fog, darkness or storms. The name Iskander is Alexander (the Great) in the Turkoman language. Weighing 3,800 kilos it is operated by a crew of three. It comes in two versions: the 500-kilo version provided the Russian Army and the 280-kilo missile sold to Syria.
So impressive is the Russian “Stone”, that in 2004, the Americans sought to include it in various treaties signed with Russia for precluding the manufacture and sale of certain weapons. Moscow balked. A Western missile expert says: “Even a small quantity of these missiles is capable of radically changing the balance of strength in local conflicts.” It is a strategic weapon for countries with a small area like Syria.
Nine months ago, on January 12, 2005, Moscow “leaked” the news of a big new arms deal with Syria that included the following missiles: the Iskander SS-26, SA-10 Grumble ground-to-air, and SA-18 Grouse (Igla 9K38) shoulder-launched anti-air missiles capable of hitting objects at an altitude of 3,600 meters and range of 5,200 meters.
Israeli raised the ceiling over this transaction as radically shifting the balance of strength between the Jewish state and Syria. Washington embarked on a quiet diplomatic dialogue to deter Damascus from acquiring the new hardware, maintaining it posed a threat to the US army in Iraq.
After weeks of palaver and pressure, president Vladimir Putin and defense minister Sergei Ivanov relented and promised Washington and Jerusalem to withhold the Iskander SS-26 from Syria. The other items would have their aggressive options “neutered” and rendered fit for defensive use alone.
It is now clear that Putin’s promise to the Americans and Israelis to withhold the missile’s sale was no more than a time-winning ploy until an opportunity presented itself to go through with the transaction.
DEBKAfile’s military experts add four points:
1. Assad had need of a sop to his armed forces if he intends to go through with the exercise DEBKA revealed earlier, to follow in Muammar Qaddafi’s footsteps and make his peace with Washington. The Syrian ruler will demonstrated that he is the only Middle East leader capable of providing his army with a weapons system as sophisticated Iskander SS-22. This may divert the generals from plotting to overthrow him if he throws some of his top security officers to the wolves over the Hariri assassination.
2. Putin’s motivation in breaking his promises to Bush and Sharon is his fundamental urge to show Washington and Paris they are not the only players in the Middle East and Syrian-Lebanese arena. He hopes by the missile sale to prevent the Assad regime from collapsing.
3. The Bush administration refrained from interceding in the deal this because, as DEBKA revealed before, the White House has not yet decided finally whether to finally topple Assad or let him survive. Washington’s silence on the missile sale points to the latter option.
4. Israel’s failure to stop the delivery even after the kudos Sharon collected over the pullout from Gaza means that the country’s basic security situation and international influence remain unchanged by the sacrifice of its strategic presence in Gaza.