Small Wars Journal

Blog Posts

SWJ Blog is a multi-author blog publishing news and commentary on the various goings on across the broad community of practice.  We gladly accept guest posts from serious voices in the community.

by The New York Times | Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:27am | 0 comments
“Taliban insurgents killed so many Afghan security forces in 2016, an average of 22 a day, that by the following year the Afghan and American governments decided to keep battlefield death tolls secret. It’s much worse now. The daily fatalities among Afghan soldiers and policemen were more than double that last week: roughly 57 a day.”
by Military Times | Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:23am | 0 comments
"There is ample evidence that most troops are not comfortable with the general label of hero: if all are heroes, what remains to describe the truly heroic?"
by Foreign Policy | Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:21am | 0 comments
"A cocktail of criminality, extremism, and insurrection is sowing havoc in parts of Central and South America, sub-Saharan and North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Not surprisingly, these conflicts are defying conventional international responses, such as formal cease-fire negotiations, peace agreements, and peacekeeping operations. And diplomats, military planners, and relief workers are unsure how best to respond."
by The Christian Science Monitor | Sat, 09/22/2018 - 12:08am | 0 comments
"World leaders, including President Trump, gather at the United Nations next week to tackle a host of issues. Yet no issue deserves more attention than fixing the one activity that has embodied the UN’s highest ideals over seven decades: peacekeeping. The blue-helmet soldiers and police who help keep war at bay and create space for political solutions are due for a 21st-century upgrade."
by Voice of America | Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:18pm | 1 comment
"Ideology is not the main reason that some people in the conflict-ridden Arab world join extremist groups. Rather, a host of other issues, including political participation, poverty, income disparity and unemployment, push people toward violence and extremism, a panel of experts said Thursday."
by The Wall Street Journal | Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:20am | 0 comments
“A deal to create a demilitarized zone in Syria’s last opposition stronghold and forestall a regime offensive faces an immediate challenge from terrorist groups there who have signaled their reluctance to abide by the agreement. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, one of the most powerful armed groups in Syria’s Idlib Province, criticized the accord made this week between Russia and Turkey to avert a government offensive.”
by Stars & Stripes | Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:07am | 0 comments
"The Army will convert two of its existing brigade combat teams to add firepower to the service as it prepares for a potential fight with the more advanced militaries of near-peer adversaries, service officials announced Thursday. The Army will convert a Stryker brigade based at Fort Bliss, Texas, to an armored brigade and convert an infantry brigade based at Fort Carson, Colo., into a Stryker brigade in the next two years, officials announced."
by Center for Strategic & International Studies | Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:05am | 0 comments
"There are good reasons to question the report's conclusions and the way in which both the State Department main report and Annex of Statistical Information are structured. Reasons that raise serious questions about the way the U.S. is approaching the very nature of terrorism and its wars against extremism."
by The Times | Fri, 09/21/2018 - 12:03am | 0 comments
"Hezbollah’s leader boasted that the group had succeeded in acquiring high-precision missiles in Syria that would change the balance of power with Israel despite strikes aimed at preventing their transfer. Hassan Nasrallah said that Israel’s efforts to cut smuggling routes through Syria had failed to stop Hezbollah from gaining advanced weaponry and warned they would be used in a future conflict should Israel threaten its bases in Lebanon."
by Voice of America | Thu, 09/20/2018 - 1:36am | 0 comments
U.S. counterterrorism officials say despite major strides in combating and regaining territory from terror groups like Islamic State and al-Qaida, the terror landscape has grown more complex. "ISIS, al-Qaida, and their affiliates have proven to be determined, resilient and adaptable," U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales said Wednesday, using an acronym for Islamic State. "They have adjusted to heightened counterterrorism pressure in Iraq, Syria, Somalia and elsewhere."
by DoD News | Thu, 09/20/2018 - 1:34am | 0 comments
"The Close Combat Lethality Task Force is gathering information from the services, industry and allies before making recommendations to Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, the senior Army enlisted representative to the task force said Wednesday. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Army Sgt. Maj. Jason Wilson explained the process for the task force, which Mattis set up in March."
by The Wall Street Journal | Thu, 09/20/2018 - 1:31am | 0 comments
"Afghanistan will hold two crucial elections in the next seven months: a parliamentary vote in October and a presidential election in April. The outcomes could help sustain a steady course for the teenage democracy, and jockeying is under way among political factions. But a rise in organized political violence threatens to taint the elections and derail the nation’s progress toward stable governance."
| Wed, 09/19/2018 - 11:23am | 2 comments
Federal News Radio Interview - "The Army is debating whether to kill off a unit at the Army War College known as the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. Army Secretary Mark Esper wants it gone because the service is composed of warriors, not peacekeepers, but Army brass want to keep it. Tammy Schultz, professor of strategic studies at the Marine Corps War College, argues for keeping it because it protects American interests and saves service members’ lives."
by The Washington Post | Wed, 09/19/2018 - 2:16am | 0 comments
"Now it is the Islamic month of Muharram, a sacred time for the Shiites that peaks Thursday with Ashura, marking the death of revered Shiite martyr Hussein in 680 A.D. It is also a date favored by the extremist Islamic State group to unleash terrorist attacks against a community it sees as heretical."
by The Wall Street Journal | Wed, 09/19/2018 - 1:51am | 0 comments
“The United Nations said leaders of Myanmar’s military should be prosecuted for genocide of the Rohingya minority in a landmark report Tuesday that criticized the world body’s own agencies for not doing enough to confront the government over human rights. The 444-page report provides the most detailed and haunting look yet at the massacres and other actions taken against the Rohingya.”
by The Washington Post | Wed, 09/19/2018 - 12:36am | 0 comments
“Syrians disagreed Tuesday about what a new Russia-Turkey deal means, casting into doubt whether it will ultimately prevent a potentially devastating war for control of the Syrian province of Idlib. The deal announced Monday has been broadly welcomed as an opportunity to forestall the full-scale Syrian government offensive against Idlib that has been widely feared, averting the humanitarian catastrophe it was expected to trigger.”
by The New York Times | Wed, 09/19/2018 - 12:32am | 0 comments
"The peace accords signed in 2016 by then-President Juan Manuel Santos and the rebels were meant to bring an end to five decades of fighting that left at least 220,000 dead and nearly 6 million people displaced from their homes. Behind the agreement, though, loomed a fear: That many of the thousands of fighters granted amnesty under the pact might sour on civilian life and pick up arms again."
by The Wall Street Journal | Wed, 09/19/2018 - 12:30am | 0 comments
“Islamic State is staging a resurgence in chaotic Libya, claiming more than a dozen attacks in the North African country this year and threatening to disrupt the flow of oil from one of the world’s most significant suppliers. The group’s re-emergence comes two years after Libyan forces backed by U.S. air power dislodged the extremist group from its stronghold in the coastal city of Sirte, and it erodes one of the signature victories in the yearslong U.S.-led military campaign against the militants.”
by The Times | Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:03am | 0 comments
“President Putin and President Erdogan have struck an eleventh-hour deal to avert an imminent assault and bloodbath in Idlib, the last major rebel territory in Syria. The two leaders hammered out a deal to create a demilitarised buffer zone between rebel and regime forces in the northwestern Syrian province during nearly two hours of talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi yesterday.”
by The Modern War Institute | Tue, 09/18/2018 - 8:42am | 0 comments
"Battle Drill 6 is not enough to prepare soldiers for the increasingly urban future of warfare. Some of the tasks listed above are detailed in doctrine, while others are not. Units need to add the tasks listed above (in the article) and more to their current training approaches. When they do, they will not only be able to advance their proficiency in urban skills, but also be able to push the boundaries of doctrinal recommendations, since doctrine is only a starting point."
by The Washington Post | Tue, 09/18/2018 - 6:43am | 0 comments
"China and Russia have spent decades building militaries specifically designed to fight and beat ours. Meanwhile, we have focused on rogue states and terrorism, taken a largely business-as-usual approach to modernization, and robbed the Peter of advanced capabilities to pay the Paul of day-to-day force employment. This route, as the strategy makes clear, is a losing proposition."
by The Washington Post | Tue, 09/18/2018 - 6:08am | 0 comments
“The United States must take a stand. We can’t reverse the course of the war, but we can at least take action to ensure that the people of Idlib are spared the worst — even if this entails some unpalatable moral compromises. Assertive deterrence by the United States and its partners is essential. To be effective, however, deterrence should be linked to a diplomatic strategy that will require difficult trade-offs.”
by Voice of America | Tue, 09/18/2018 - 5:49am | 0 comments
"Iranian Kurdish militants who were targeted by Iranian missile strikes earlier this month at a headquarters in Iraqi Kurdistan have declared intentions to step up their activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The rocket strikes, claimed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, hit Democratic Party of Kurdistan of Iran offices in the Iraqi Kurdistan town of Koya, near the Iran border, on September 8."
by The Wall Street Journal | Tue, 09/18/2018 - 4:57am | 0 comments
"Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, has long stood as a role model for religious pluralism. That’s changing. Political Islam and violent extremism have been taking root in society and may soon do so in the government. President Joko Widodo’s choice of Ma’ruf Amin, a 75-year-old cleric, as his running mate in next year’s election marks an ugly turn for Indonesian politics."
by Reuters | Tue, 09/18/2018 - 3:11am | 0 comments
"A major assault in Idlib, home to some three million people, could be more deadly and destructive than any other in a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people since 2011. The U.N. is warning of a humanitarian catastrophe. It could also prove the most challenging campaign yet for Assad: Turkey has forces on the ground in Idlib, where the rebels are heavily armed and include highly motivated jihadists."