S
hooting from the hip with unerring accuracy was the Wild West according to Hollywood. As anyone who has ever fired a pistol will tell you it is improbable, and historically the West's few gun duels were rather unremarkable. The latest hip-shooter is of course Donald J. Trump whose foreign policy seems to turn on a dime -- from not interested in removing Bashar al-Assad to his having no place in a future Syria, all within a week.

Published in Middle East

Authors: Ahmet S. Yayla, Ph.D. and Anne Speckhard, Ph.D.

L
ike every other recent technological advancement, commercial aerial drones entered to our daily lives swiftly for a variety of practical uses. Drones have become widely available and fairly inexpensive over the years. Furthermore, there are constant technological improvements with drones from enabling their applications in different areas to extending their capacities and ranges.

Published in Intelligence
C
NN has been hawking this story of Younes Delefortrie as From Altar Boy to ISIS Fighter. Here is my interview of Younes from February 2016. Excerpted from ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the ISIS Terrorist Caliphate – Chapter Fourteen

Published in Terrorism
T
he past few days have been full of so-called coincidences in the Middle East that can’t help but to raise eyebrows in the post-Iraq War era. On Tuesday, “a suspected chemical attack by government forces” took place in Idlib, one of the few major cities still under rebel control in President Assad’s Syrian Arab Republic. Two days later, the US launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a government air base near Homs, right as President Trump was in the middle of a delicate dinner conversation with his nemesis (and Assad ally) Chinese Premier Xi.

Published in Americas

Authors: Asaad H. Almohammad, Ph.D. & Anne Speckhard, Ph.D.

This week U.S. Colonel Joseph E. Scrocca, a coalition public affairs officer and spokesman for the American-led command, declared from Baghdad that the Tabqa Dam (a.k.a., al-Thawra or Euphrates Dam) and the areas in close vicinity were “critical for the isolation of Raqqa and the next step toward an annihilation of ISIS in Syria.

Published in Intelligence
T
he attack on St. Petersburg’ subway system is certainly the worst terrorist attack that the Russian Federation has experienced - except for North Caucasus - since the one perpetrated by two suicide bombers in Volgograd in 2013, which caused 32 victims.The attack has not been officially claimed yet, as often happens with the current sword jihad.

Published in Russia
O
n March 24 last, al-Sarraj dissolved his Petroleum Ministry and formally acquired direct control over the National Oil Company (NOC), namely the single Libyan oil company. Pending the very fierce civil war following the ousting of Gaddafi and his regime, NOC had remained substantially impartial and, despite the net decrease in oil extraction, it had managed to ensure part of proceeds to all the parties involved.

Published in Middle East

Authors: Asaad H. Almohammad, Ph.D. & Anne Speckhard, Ph.D.

T
here is a recurring scene of cheerful crowds in Iraqi towns and city that have been liberated from ISIS; older women, men, and young adults exhaling cigarette smoke and grinning as they relish in this recent regained symbol of liberty and freedom. There was a moment circulated on social media of an older woman cursing ISIS on camera after her town was liberated by Kurdish-led forces. She didn’t hold back! One grievance that she ranted about more than any was ISIS’ ban of cigarettes and smoking.

Published in Intelligence
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