Global Security Headlines

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Democratic Iraq Votes, Bush Vindicated

credit: AFP

Former US President George Bush is vindicated - more than 70% of Iraqis flocked to provincial elections amid tight security on Saturday and exercised their democratic right to participate in the electoral process.

Headlines now ring more about elections than suicide attacks against Allied or Iraqi forces. The intrepid will of the Iraqi people to gamble on a democratic future must be applauded.

Al Quayda and Iranian-Syrian efforts to upend a free Iraq have so far failed.

Meaningful selection of one's rulers in the Middle East is rare except in Israel and Afghanistan. For that fact alone, these countries are despised by many.

The most powerful force for change in the region is the example of Iraq's pluralism sandwiched between autocratic states Syria and Iran. A little freedom is dangerous for unpopular regimes.

Iraq's democratic experiment thus is dangerous for not only these two neighbors, but to the other unelected in the region.

Part of the frustration in the Arab street is the inability to express in a constructive manner the will and passion of the people about the circumstances around them.

UPI reports in Ramadi Iraqi police cars blasted festive music outside a polling station as one man looked on with his 7-year-old brother: "I want him to learn about democracy," the man said.

Saddam Hussein must be turning in his grave.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Iranian Nuclear Breakout 2009?

"We will wait patiently, listen to their words carefully, scrutinize their actions under a magnifier and if change happens truly and fundamentally, we will welcome that," Ahmadinejad said, speaking to a crowd of thousands. He added: "The change will be to apologize to the Iranian nation." (ABC News)

The request for change in American foreign policy toward Iran comes on the very day the renown London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) reveals in its press launch for Military Balance 2009 that Iran will "have enough enriched uranium to make a single nuclear weapon later this year."

And will Iran change its policy course or apologize for its terror lust? Doubtful.

The international community faces a determined Iran headed by an even more determined leader to make his mark. Efforts thus far have failed to even curb Tehran's headstrong leap into the nuclear arena.

The Iranian Nuclear Breakout '09 will unlikely be avoided. Diplomacy has failed. While world powers "engaged" Iran, the Persian state sprinted ever closer to the precipice.

The day of reckoning is fast approaching and at this writing it appears Iran won the game of nerves. Short of an Israeli attack (unlikely without US involvement and even less with the new Obama administration), regional neighbors and their allies maybe had better advance the ball forward to discuss life with a nuclear Iran and those ramifications.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Iran Presents Clear and Present Danger

credit: Missile Defense Advocacy

Iran is a clear and present danger to the international community on five fronts.

First, Iran is expected to acquire enough nuclear enriched material to build its first atomic later this year, if not earlier. A nuclear Iran dramatically changes the security dynamics in the entire Middle East.

Second, Iran gladly shares its resources with other negative forces in the global community from nation-states to client groups serving as proxies to effect Iranian foreign policy. For example, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Al Quayda receive generous support from Tehran which leads to our next point.

Third, Tehran is Terror, Inc. Terrorism is a natural extension of Iran's foreign policy. Even the US State Department concedes Iran is an active state sponsor of terrorism.

Fourth, Iran has ballistic missiles (Shahab 3) thanks to China and North Korea. Worse, its latest iteration, the Sijil, reportedly places southern Europe within the shadow of Tehran with its range of 1200 miles. The Sijil is a purportedly a two-stage solid-fuel rocket only adding to its lethality. The marriage of Iran's ambitious nuclear and ballistic missile programs is a nightmare for its regional neighbors and now the continent of Europe. However, Iran reserves it main ire for the continental United States.

Lastly and perhaps more frighteningly, Iranian President Ahmadinejad's statements suggest his following of the apocalyptic belief in the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi. Shiites believe the "Hidden Imam" will return to forever end the struggle between good and evil and signal the End of Time. Mr. Ahmadinejad tasks himself to to prepare the world for the return. Such a messianic vision atop of a nuclearized terror state is enough to ring alarm bells in world capitals from Riyadh to Reykjavik.

The Iranian issue facing the global community could possibly redound very ugly. Actions taken and not at this moment impact profoundly near term global security.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Sudden and Rapid" Collapse of Mexico?

Global Security Monitor presents....

The US Joint Forces Command's "Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)" (conspicuously unavailable the last two days online from the official government site) covering global assessments mentioned Pakistan and Mexico as on the verge of collapse, as reported by the El Paso Times this week and other news outlets.

[Read the entire report at]

The report matter-of-factly states this is a "worse case scenario."

'The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the
government, its politicians, police, and judicial infrastructure
are all under sustained assault and pressure by criminal gangs
and drug cartels.'

Univision, the top Spanish-news network in the US, ahead of the JFC assessment, reported warnings from the White House about Mexican democracy in peril (peligro para la democracia) by narcoterrorism. Mexico extradited 10 narcos alone to the US in 2008.

Blood-soaked battles between narcocaratels in the streets of Mexico (consuming innocent bystandards, many journalists) and corruption of government institutions appear to be near levels once reached in Colombia (in Spanish). The Bush Administration pushed the Merida Initiative to provide the Calderon Administration resources to combat the internal instability.

The US State Department's new travel advisory (01/17/09) about Mexico states "increased levels of violence make it imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico."

The question remains - will Mexico hold?

The implications of a "failed state" for its northern neighbor already divided on southern immigration are huge. A human stampede in the chaos of a "sudden, rapid" collapse of Mexico could lead to direct intervention to stabilize the largest Spanish-speaking country of some 110 million.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

EU: Send in the lawyers

Russia's squeeze on Europe only exacerbates its energy crunch. Lawyers are not the solution and only obscure the greater challenge for Brussels.

The faux political entity known as the European Union has a solution explained in today's Moscow Times headline: EU Warns of Legal Action Over Gas.

Send in the lawyers!

While Europe only gets one-quarter of its energy from Russia, 80% flows through the Ukraine transit point and strained Moscow-Kiev relations are affecting the EU states downstream. For a second day, no resolution between the two states was in sight.

France24 reports Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia joined the list of EU states without gas supplies.

A similar dispute last year - curiously in the blustery cold European winter - possibly revolves around more of a showdown between oligarchs in Kiev and Moscow more than a political spat between suspicious neighbors Ukraine and Russia.

Beyond brinkmanship, the European Union's increasing energy thirst and declining energy supplies are longer term issues gnawing away at the faux union.

It is not a legal issue. It's a political issue which threatens to tear asunder the bureaucratic patchwork otherwise known as the European Union.