Journal: Evaluating the Gaza Confrontation

04 Inter-State Conflict, 05 Civil War, 06 Genocide, 07 Other Atrocities, 08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, 11 Society, Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Government, Military, Peace Intelligence
Chuck Spinney

The American strategist and military reformer Colonel John Boyd argued that nations and groups should shape their domestic policies, foreign policies, and military strategies so that they:

  • pump up one’s own resolve and increase one’s own solidarity,
  • drain away the resolve of one’s adversaries and weaken their internal cohesion,
  • reinforce the commitments of allies to one’s own cause and make them empathetic to one’s success
  • attract the uncommitted to our cause or makes them empathetic to one’s success
  • end conflicts on favorable terms that do not sow the seeds for future conflicts

These criteria are the essence of grand strategy and can be thought of as guidelines for evaluating the wisdom of specific policies or actions. And while they make sense logically and intuitively, the difficulty of defining policies that simultaneously conform to and strengthen to all these criteria is equally obvious. The latter challenge is particularly difficult for the unilateral military strategies and the coercive foreign policies like those preferred by Israel or the United States. Military operations and political coercion are often destructive in the short term, and these destructive strategic effects can be in natural tension with the aims of grand strategy, which should be constructive over the long term.

Moreover, the more powerful a country, the harder it becomes to harmonize the often conflicting criteria for a sensible grand strategy. Overwhelming power breeds hubris and arrogance which, in turn, carry a temptation to use that power coercively and excessively. But lording over or dictating one’s will to others breeds resentment. Thus, possession of overwhelming power increases the risk of going astray grand strategically.

That risk is particularly dangerous when aggressive external actions, policies, and rhetoric are designed to prop up or increase internal cohesion for domestic political reasons. Very often, the effects or military strategies or coercive foreign policies that are perceived as useful in terms of domestic political cohesion backfire at the grand-strategic level, because they strengthen our adversaries’ will to resist, push our allies into a neutral or even an adversarial corner, or drive away the uncommitted … which together, can set the stage for continuing conflict.

With these general thoughts about grand strategy in mind, read the following article by Uri Avnery and ask yourself if Israel’s most recent war in Gaza made sense at the tactical level of conflict?, the strategic level of conflict? … and most importantly, at the grand strategic level of conflict?

Chuck Spinney

Full Story Online

Cast Lead 2

December 28, 2009

Did we win? Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Gaza War, alias Operation Cast Lead, and this question fills the public space.

Continue reading “Journal: Evaluating the Gaza Confrontation”

Journal: High-Tech Low-Risk No-Brains Zero-Sum

10 Security, Ethics, Government, Military, Peace Intelligence

Tim Haake

Washington Times  December 24, 2009   Pg. 4

High-Tech, Low-Risk Wars By Tim Haake

Retired Maj. Gen. Tim Haake is a Washington lawyer who served on active and reserve duty in special operations for 36 years.  Now he is a lobbyist.

Phi Beta Iota: The article has to be read in the original.  Well-intentioned and totally divorced from reality, it is what the Military-Industrial-Intelligence-Congressional Complex (MIICC) wants the taxpayer to believe.  Missing from this fairy tale depiction are the realities:   we cannot afford, nor is there sufficient time, nor can the Air Force carry, nor can the intelligence community inform, such a force, spending $5 million for every $1 spent by asymmetric opponents holding the moral high ground.  Furthermore, and Jim Bamford and Will Durant agree on this point, the only infintely expandable resource we have is the human brain–neglecting our investments in global education and national population health as we have been and will continue to do, is the certain death of the Republic.

Journal: Al Qaeda Has a Regional Strategy, Does US?

08 Wild Cards, Civil Society, Military, Peace Intelligence

Berto Jongman Recommends...



‘The real danger is that al Qaeda and the Neo-Taliban will drag the United States into regional war’

Syed Saleem Shahzad

The Obama administration’s troop surge fails to address the real threat in Afghanistan: the insurgents’ efforts to develop a regional strategy in South Asia. Washington’s focus—members of al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the traditional Afghan Taliban—misses the mark. Nir Rosen does, too, when he asks whether “a few hundred angry, unsophisticated Muslim extremists really pose such grave dangers to a vigilant superpower, now alert to potential threats.”

The November 2008 Mumbai attacks and the recent FBI arrests in Chicago for conspiracy to launch attacks in New Delhi suggest that containing the threat from Afghanistan is extremely complicated, and solutions must go beyond troop surges in Afghanistan, training Afghan police and soldiers, or even political dialogue with Taliban commanders inside the country. Intelligence agencies are now realizing that both the Mumbai events and the Delhi plans—plotted directly by al Qaeda affiliated groups, which I call the Neo-Taliban—were directly linked to Afghanistan, but also incorporated wider aims. The goal was to expand the theater of war to India so that Washington would lose track of its objectives and get caught in a quagmire.

Journal: USAID in Afghanistan

08 Wild Cards, Gift Intelligence, Government, Peace Intelligence
 Home > Asia > Afghanistan  An Afghan construction worker places mud on a wall for a new building in a school in Taloqan, east of Kundus, April 23, 2009. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Home > Asia > Afghanistan An Afghan construction worker places mud on a wall for a new building in a school in Taloqan, east of Kundus, April 23, 2009. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

USAID: Understaffed and overwhelmed in Afghanistan

Obama’s troop surge fails to address how to improve delivery of aid.

A dramatic shortage of program officers as well as auditors and investigators and poor security conditions on the ground have all conspired, the 128-page report concludes, to “significantly impair” the objectives of USAID’s mission, which is to provide economic development and humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and around the world.

The failure of USAID to effectively monitor the development projects threatens to undermine the U.S. military’s new counterinsurgency strategy and troop surge, which is built upon the effective delivery of aid in the struggle against the Taliban for hearts and minds.

Search: United Nations Intelligence Training

Communities of Practice, Mobile, Peace Intelligence, Policies, Real Time, Searches, Threats, Topics (All Other), True Cost, United Nations & NGOs, Worth A Look

INTELLIGENCE is DECISION-SUPPORT.  The process of intelligence is separate from whether the sources and methods are secret or not.  There is nothing secret, unethical, or illegal about the process of intelligence as decision-support.

Original “Class Before One” (2010 Class 001 in Planning)

2007 United Nations “Class Before One” Infomation-Sharing and Analytics Orientation

Other references:

Continue reading “Search: United Nations Intelligence Training”

Reference (2009): Developing UN Peace Intelligence Capabilities

Monographs, Peace Intelligence, United Nations & NGOs
Published 20 May 2009
Published 20 May 2009

The author has produced a useful but slightly incomplete merger of information on the past decade of efforts to develop UN intelligence (decision-support) capabilities, within the prism of an imposed social science investigation construct which dilutes the practical value.

Continue reading “Reference (2009): Developing UN Peace Intelligence Capabilities”

Journal: Update on Combatting Global Terrorism

09 Terrorism, 10 Security, Government, Law Enforcement, Non-Governmental, Peace Intelligence
Berto Jongman Recommends...
Berto Jongman Recommends...

Kudos should be given to the UN’s Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) for producing what is perhaps the most comprehensive and frank assessments to date of the international community’s implementation of Security Council Resolution 1373 and the measures adopted to combat international terrorism. Their report was presented to the Security Council by CTED Executive Director Mike Smith on December 16th and provides detailed information on what is actually being done, on the vulnerabilities, and on the technical assistance required. It provides a thematic overview of the laws and actions taken in the areas of enforcement, border control, countering the financing of terrorism, and international cooperation as well as a region by region assessment. Human rights considerations are also addressed.  The report should be read closely.

Journal: Pakistani Perspectives

08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, Cultural Intelligence, Peace Intelligence
Berto Jongman Recommends...
Berto Jongman Recommends...

Taliban Insurgency in Pakistan: A Counterinsurgency Perspective

How counterinsurgents manipulate insurgents’ disadvantage in their own favor would ultimately prove crucial. The task requires vision, will and capacity, but so far the state seems to lack effective strategy on this tactical front. The Taliban insurgency in the tribal areas has regional dimensions as well, with regional and global actors trying to secure their own interests in the area. But ignoring Pakistan’s concerns and regional interests would frustrate the counterinsurgency effort. Pakistan cannot snuff out the insurgency alone.

Exploring the Mindset of the British-Pakistani Community: The Socio-cultural and Religious Context

The study finds that British-Pakistanis are almost all Muslims and have a mainly rural background. Their first generation in Britain was very conservative and did not let the next generation assimilate and become part of British society. There is lack of political, social and economic awareness among British-Pakistanis, many of whom are still confused and divided, not only physically but mentally as well, between their adopted and native countries. Moreover, there are some radical elements amongst this population also. The socio-cultural and religious identities of the British-Pakistani community may become more crucial in their potential to evolve parallel closed societies within the mainstream host society if not brought into the mainstream immediately

Pakistan Jihad: The Making of Religious Terrorism
Dr Eamon Murphy & Dr Ahmad Rashid Malik

Central Asia: Islamists in Prison

Anne Speckhard on delegitimizng terrorism

Impact of War in SWAT Valley on Farming Sector

Journal: $30B for Israel, 75% Earmarked for US KR

08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, Commerce, Government, Military, Peace Intelligence

Full Story Online
Full Story Online

Obama Approves $30 Billion in Military Aid to Israel Over Next Decade

$500 Million in Aid Also to Go to Palestinian Authority

by Jason Ditz, December 18, 2009

As the single largest expense of the 2010 foreign aid budget, President Obama approved $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel, the first payment in a decade-long commitment that will reach at least $30 billion.

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Worth a Look: First Ever UN Joint Military Analysis Centre Course (October 2009)

IO Sense-Making, Peace Intelligence

Course Information
Course Information

First UN Joint Mission Analyses Centre Course (UNJMAC) ever held

The last seven days of October have been groundbreaking and interesting at Nodefic. A new course has been born and introduced to life.

Text: Maj Erik Haugstad
Tasked by the UN, and in close cooperation with other NORDCAPS countries, a pilot course for personnel going to serve in JMACs around the world has been conducted at Nodefic. Being a pilot course for the UN, this is of course the first time ever a course like this has been held in the world.

Knowing as much as possible about the area and environment, in which we are participating in a peace support operation, is of vital importance for the contribution of the International Society to succeed. This has been common knowledge throughout times. A slight rewrite of Sun Tzu’s “Know your enemy”, will lead us to the very same conclusion. For a long time, also reflected in the philosophy of integrated missions, the UN has recognized that the need for coordination and sharing of information is essential for operational efficiency and mission accomplishment. In the UN Missions we have for some time seen the gradual introduction and testing of the JMAC, Joint Mission Analyses Centre, concept.

UN JMAC postponed

Our UN JMAC Course, scheduled for November 3 to 14, has been postponed as requested by UN DPKO.

The course will instead be conducted from 9-20 March 2009 at our peacekeeping training centre in Oslo.
We will come back with invites and more information in due time.

Phi Beta Iota: A Multinational Information Sharing Course, also under UN auspices, is offered in Sweden by the Folke Bernadette Academy, as developed by Col Jan-Inge Svensson, Land Forces (Ret), one of the UN intelligence pioneers, see Who’s Who in Peace Intelligence: Jan-Inge Svensson and also  Books: Intelligence for Peace (PKI Book Two) Finalizing.