Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Israel's Borders and National Security

Solomon's Kingdom 990 BC

Here is a STRATFOR article from George Friedman about Israel’s borders and National Security. Read this in line with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fatalist remark that the U.N. General Assembly voting to recognize a sovereign Palestinian State is inevitable.

JRH 5/31/11
Israel's Borders and National Security

By George Friedman
May 31, 2011 0137 GMT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said May 30 that Israel could not prevent the United Nations from recognizing a Palestinian state, in the sense of adopting a resolution on the subject. Two weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama, in a speech, called on Israel to return to some variation of its pre-1967 borders. The practical significance of these and other diplomatic evolutions in relation to Israel is questionable. Historically, U.N. declarations have had variable meanings, depending on the willingness of great powers to enforce them. Obama’s speech on Israel, and his subsequent statements, created enough ambiguity to make exactly what he was saying unclear. Nevertheless, it is clear that the diplomatic atmosphere on Israel is shifting.

There are many questions concerning this shift, ranging from the competing moral and historical claims of the Israelis and Palestinians to the internal politics of each side to whether the Palestinians would be satisfied with a return to the pre-1967 borders. All of these must be addressed, but this analysis is confined to a single issue: whether a return to the 1967 borders would increase the danger to Israel’s national security. Later analyses will focus on Palestinian national security issues and those of others.

Early Borders

It is important to begin by understanding that the pre-1967 borders are actually the borders established by the armistice agreements of 1949. The 1948 U.N. resolution creating the state of Israel created a much smaller Israel. The Arab rejection of what was called “partition” resulted in a war that created the borders that placed the West Bank (named after the west bank of the Jordan River) in Jordanian hands, along with substantial parts of Jerusalem, and placed Gaza in the hands of the Egyptians.

Map: Israel’s pre-1967 borders (1949 armistice to 6 Day War 1967
Israel pre-1967 (1949-1967)

The 1949 borders substantially improved Israel’s position by widening the corridors between the areas granted to Israel under the partition, giving it control of part of Jerusalem and, perhaps most important, control over the Negev. The latter provided Israel with room for maneuver in the event of an Egyptian attack — and Egypt was always Israel’s main adversary. At the same time, the 1949 borders did not eliminate a major strategic threat. The Israel-Jordan border placed Jordanian forces on three sides of Israeli Jerusalem, and threatened the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem corridor. Much of the Israeli heartland, the Tel Aviv-Haifa-Jerusalem triangle, was within Jordanian artillery range, and a Jordanian attack toward the Mediterranean would have to be stopped cold at the border, since there was no room to retreat, regroup and counterattack.

For Israel, the main danger did not come from Jordan attacking by itself. Jordanian forces were limited, and tensions with Egypt and Syria created a de facto alliance between Israel and Jordan. In addition, the Jordanian Hashemite regime lived in deep tension with the Palestinians, since the former were British transplants from the Arabian Peninsula, and the Palestinians saw them as well as the Israelis as interlopers. Thus the danger on the map was mitigated both by politics and by the limited force the Jordanians could bring to bear.

Nevertheless, politics shift, and the 1949 borders posed a strategic problem for Israel. If Egypt, Jordan and Syria were to launch a simultaneous attack (possibly joined by other forces along the Jordan River line) all along Israel’s frontiers, the ability of Israel to defeat the attackers was questionable. The attacks would have to be coordinated — as the 1948 attacks were not — but simultaneous pressure along all frontiers would leave the Israelis with insufficient forces to hold and therefore no framework for a counterattack. From 1948 to 1967, this was Israel’s existential challenge, mitigated by the disharmony among the Arabs and the fact that any attack would be detected in the deployment phase.

Israel’s strategy in this situation had to be the pre-emptive strike. Unable to absorb a coordinated blow, the Israelis had to strike first to disorganize their enemies and to engage them sequentially and in detail. The 1967 war represented Israeli strategy in its first generation. First, it could not allow the enemy to commence hostilities. Whatever the political cost of being labeled the aggressor, Israel had to strike first. Second, it could not be assumed that the political intentions of each neighbor at any one time would determine their behavior. In the event Israel was collapsing, for example, Jordan’s calculations of its own interests would shift, and it would move from being a covert ally to Israel to a nation both repositioning itself in the Arab world and taking advantage of geographical opportunities. Third, the center of gravity of the Arab threat was always Egypt, the neighbor able to field the largest army. Any pre-emptive war would have to begin with Egypt and then move to other neighbors. Fourth, in order to control the sequence and outcome of the war, Israel would have to maintain superior organization and technology at all levels. Finally, and most important, the Israelis would have to move for rapid war termination. They could not afford a war of attrition against forces of superior size. An extended war could drain Israeli combat capability at an astonishing rate. Therefore the pre-emptive strike had to be decisive.

The 1949 borders actually gave Israel a strategic advantage. The Arabs were fighting on external lines. This means their forces could not easily shift between Egypt and Syria, for example, making it difficult to exploit emergent weaknesses along the fronts. The Israelis, on the other hand, fought from interior lines, and in relatively compact terrain. They could carry out a centrifugal offense, beginning with Egypt, shifting to Jordan and finishing with Syria, moving forces from one front to another in a matter of days. Put differently, the Arabs were inherently uncoordinated, unable to support each other. The pre-1967 borders allowed the Israelis to be superbly coordinated, choosing the timing and intensity of combat to suit their capabilities. Israel lacked strategic depth, but it made up for it with compact space and interior lines. If it could choose the time, place and tempo of engagements, it could defeat numerically superior forces. The Arabs could not do this.

Israel needed two things in order to exploit this advantage. The first was outstanding intelligence to detect signs of coordination and the massing of forces. Detecting the former sign was a matter of political intelligence, the latter a matter of tactical military intelligence. But the political intelligence would have to manifest itself in military deployments, and given the geography of the 1949 borders, massing forces secretly was impossible. If enemy forces could mass undetected it would be a disaster for Israel. Thus the center of gravity of Israeli war-making was its intelligence capabilities.

The second essential requirement was an alliance with a great power. Israel’s strategy was based on superior technology and organization — air power, armor and so on. The true weakness of Israel’s strategic power since the country’s creation had been that its national security requirements outstripped its industrial and financial base. It could not domestically develop and produce all of the weapons it needed to fight a war. Israel depended first on the Soviets, then until 1967 on France. It was not until after the 1967 war that the United States provided any significant aid to Israel. However, under the strategy of the pre-1967 borders, continual access to weapons — and in a crisis, rapid access to more weapons — was essential, so Israel had to have a powerful ally. Not having one, coupled with an intelligence failure, would be disastrous.

After 1967

The 1967 war allowed Israel to occupy the Sinai, all of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. It placed Egyptian forces on the west bank of the Suez, far from Israel, and pushed the Jordanians out of artillery range of the Israeli heartland. It pushed Syria out of artillery range as well. This created the strategic depth Israel required, yet it set the stage for the most serious military crisis in Israeli history, beginning with a failure in its central capability — intelligence.

Map: Israel’s post 1967 borders
Israel's Post 1967 Borders

The intelligence failure occurred in 1973, when Syria and Egypt managed to partially coordinate an assault on Israel without Israeli intelligence being able to interpret the intelligence it was receiving. Israel was saved above all by rapid rearmament by the United States, particularly in such staples of war as artillery shells. It was also aided by greater strategic depth. The Egyptian attack was stopped far from Israel proper in the western Sinai. The Syrians fought in the Golan Heights rather than in the Galilee.

Here is the heart of the pre-1967 border issue. Strategic depth meant that the Syrians and Egyptians spent their main offensive force outside of Israel proper. This bought Israel space and time. It allowed Israel to move back to its main sequential strategy. After halting the two attacks, the Israelis proceeded to defeat the Syrians in the Golan then the Egyptians in the Sinai. However, the ability to mount the two attacks — and particularly the Sinai attack — required massive American resupply of everything from aircraft to munitions. It is not clear that without this resupply the Israelis could have mounted the offensive in the Sinai, or avoided an extended war of attrition on unfavorable terms. Of course, the intelligence failure opened the door to Israel’s other vulnerability — its dependency on foreign powers for resupply. Indeed, perhaps Israel’s greatest miscalculation was the amount of artillery shells it would need to fight the war; the amount required vastly outstripped expectations. Such a seemingly minor thing created a massive dependency on the United States, allowing the United States to shape the conclusion of the war to its own ends so that Israel’s military victory ultimately evolved into a political retreat in the Sinai.

It is impossible to argue that Israel, fighting on its 1949 borders, was less successful than when it fought on its post-1967 borders. What happened was that in expanding the scope of the battlefield, opportunities for intelligence failures multiplied, the rate of consumption of supplies increased and dependence grew on foreign powers with different political interests. The war Israel fought from the 1949 borders was more efficiently waged than the one it fought from the post-1967 borders. The 1973 war allowed for a larger battlefield and greater room for error (errors always occur on the battlefield), but because of intelligence surprises and supply miscalculations it also linked Israel’s national survival to the willingness of a foreign government to quickly resupply its military.

The example of 1973 casts some doubt around the argument that the 1948 borders were excessively vulnerable. There are arguments on both sides of the issue, but it is not a clear-cut position. However, we need to consider Israel’s borders not only in terms of conventional war but also in terms of unconventional war — both uprisings and the use of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) weapons.

There are those who argue that there will be no more peer-to-peer conflicts. We doubt that intensely. However, there is certainly a great deal of asymmetric warfare in the world, and for Israel it comes in the form of intifadas, rocket attacks and guerrilla combat against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The post-1967 borders do not do much about these forms of warfare. Indeed, it can be argued that some of this conflict happens because of the post-1967 borders.

A shift to the 1949 borders would not increase the risk of an intifada but would make it moot. It would not eliminate conflict with Hezbollah. A shift to the 1949 line would eliminate some threats but not others. From the standpoint of asymmetric warfare, a shift in borders could increase the threat from Palestinian rockets to the Israeli heartland. If a Palestinian state were created, there would be the very real possibility of Palestinian rocket fire unless there was a significant shift in Hamas’ view of Israel or Fatah increased its power in the West Bank and was in a position to defeat Hamas and other rejectionist movements. This would be the heart of the Palestinian threat if there were a return to the borders established after the initial war.

The shape of Israel’s borders doesn’t really have an effect on the threat posed by CBRN weapons. While some chemical artillery rockets could be fired from closer borders, the geography leaves Israel inherently vulnerable to this threat, regardless of where the precise boundary is drawn, and they can already be fired from Lebanon or Gaza. The main threat discussed, a CBRN warhead fitted to an Iranian medium-range ballistic missile launched from a thousand miles away, has little to do with precisely where a line in the Levant is drawn.

When we look at conventional warfare, I would argue that the main issue Israel has is not its borders but its dependence on outside powers for its national security. Any country that creates a national security policy based on the willingness of another country to come to its assistance has a fundamental flaw that will, at some point, be mortal. The precise borders should be those that a) can be defended and b) do not create barriers to aid when that aid is most needed. In 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon withheld resupply for some days, pressing Israel to the edge. U.S. interests were not those of Israel’s. This is the mortal danger to Israel — a national security requirement that outstrips its ability to underwrite it.

Israel’s borders will not protect it against Iranian missiles, and rockets from Gaza are painful but do not threaten Israel’s existence. In case the artillery rocket threat expands beyond this point, Israel must retain the ability to reoccupy and re-engage, but given the threat of asymmetric war, perpetual occupation would seem to place Israel at a perpetual disadvantage. Clearly, the rocket threat from Hamas represents the best argument for strategic depth.

Map: Present Day Israel
Present Day Israel

The best argument for returning to the pre-1967 borders is that Israel was more capable of fighting well on these borders. The war of independence, the 1956 war and the 1967 war all went far better than any of the wars that came after. Most important, if Israel is incapable of generating a national defense industry that can provide all the necessary munitions and equipment without having to depend on its allies, then it has no choice but to consider what its allies want. With the pre-1967 borders there is a greater chance of maintaining critical alliances. More to the point, the pre-1967 borders require a smaller industrial base because they do not require troops for occupation and they improve Israel’s ability to conduct conventional operations in a time of crisis.

There is a strong case to be made for not returning to the 1949 lines, but it is difficult to make that case from a military point of view. Strategic depth is merely one element of a rational strategy. Given that Israel’s military security depends on its relations with third parties, the shape of its borders and diplomatic reality are, as always, at the heart of Israeli military strategy.

In warfare, the greatest enemy of victory is wishful thinking. The assumption that Israel will always have an outside power prepared to rush munitions to the battlefield or help create costly defense systems like Iron Dome is simply wishful thinking. There is no reason to believe this will always be the case. Therefore, since this is the heart of Israeli strategy, the strategy rests on wishful thinking. The question of borders must be viewed in the context of synchronizing Israeli national security policy with Israeli national means.

There is an argument prevalent among Israelis and their supporters that the Arabs will never make a lasting peace with Israel. From this flows the assumption that the safest course is to continue to hold all territory. My argument assumes the worst case, which is not only that the Palestinians will not agree to a genuine peace but also that the United States cannot be counted on indefinitely. All military planning must begin with the worst case.

However, I draw a different conclusion from these facts than the Israelis do. If the worst-case scenario is the basis for planning, then Israel must reduce its risk and restructure its geography along the more favorable lines that existed between 1949 and 1967, when Israel was unambiguously victorious in its wars, rather than the borders and policies after 1967, when Israel has been less successful. The idea that the largest possible territory provides the greatest possible security is not supportable in military history. As Frederick the Great once said, he who defends everything defends nothing.
Reprinting or republication of this report on websites is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence, including the hyperlink to STRATFOR, at the beginning or end of the report.

Israel's Borders and National Security
is republished with permission of STRATFOR."

Copyright 2010 (- 2011)

Monday, May 30, 2011

PM: We can't stop Palestinian statehood declaration in UN

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly spoken the belief that there is no way to prevent the United Nations General Assembly from voting by international plebiscite into existence a sovereign Palestinian nation of Jew-hating Islamofascist Arabs.

Netanyahu also pointed out that the UN General Assembly has no enforcement power, that enforcement power is in the that little group of nations known as the Security Council. The bite of the Security Council is only with the unanimous vote of the Five Permanent Members of the Security Council.

Netanyahu thus is counting on at least one Security Council veto from permanent member the United States. President Barack Hussein Obama has demonstrated his dislike for Israel so let us pray Congressional pressure from both Democrats and Republicans entices BHO to produce that veto.

Here is an article from the Jerusalem Post reporting on Netanyahu’s words relating to giving up Jewish land in favor of a nonexistent people calling themselves Palestinians that are really Arab descendants of refugees caused by invading Arab armies in 1948.

JRH 5/30/11
PM: We can't stop Palestinian statehood declaration in UN

05/30/2011 15:17

Netanyahu tells FADC that General Assembly will vote for Palestinians, it's possible to pass "flat earth" resolution in GA.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday said that there is no way to stop the United Nations General Assembly from recognizing Palestinian statehood in September. In the General Assembly, he remarked, "it would be possible to get a resolution [passed] saying the world is flat," speaking at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting.

Netanyahu added, however, "It's impossible to receive recognition of Palestinian statehood that doesn't come from the Security Council, whose procedures will lead to failure. We don't have any way to stop the resolution in the GA, we're only expecting to be supported by a number of countries."

The presence of terrorist organizations is increasing in Sinai because of Egypt's difficulty in exercising its sovereignty over the area, Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu noted that Hamas is getting stronger in Egypt and has moved to run its operations from Syria to Egypt following anti-Assad uprisings there.

"Egypt has had difficulties exercising its sovereignty over Sinai. We saw this in the two gas pipe explosions that occurred there," Netanyahu said. "What's happening in Sinai is that global terrorist organizations are meddling there and their presence is increasing because of the connection between Sinai and Gaza."

Netanyahu's comments came after Al-Hayyat satellite television station on Monday reported that over 400 al-Qaida members have made their way into the Sinai Peninsula, according to a senior Egyptian security official.

The security sources said the terrorists carried out "a number of attacks against [Egyptian] security forces in the Sinai city of El Arish," the official told Al-Hayyat.

During the FADC meeting, Netanyahu warned that, "The Muslim Brotherhood is also not insignificant in Egypt.

"We are concerned about what happens around us, especially in Egypt and Jordan," he said.

The prime minister stressed that the situation should be shared with the public in light of the changing reality in the region.

"This was true before I left the US and even more so after what I said there," he stated, adding that his objective in the US was to try to unite all the parties over the importance of "recognizing Israel as the Jewish state" and that there should be an "Israeli military presence along the Jordan [River], that the refugee problem will not be solved in Jordan, and that Hamas is not committed to the principles of the Quartet."

Commenting on his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu said "The conversation with the president was respectable. I told the president that we cannot accept the 1967 lines."

"The final version of Obama's comments was received on the day just before his speech [to AIPAC] where he said the borders will not be the same 1967 lines," Netanyahu said. "There is very strong support for Israel coming from the American people."

On the changes taking place in the Arab world, Netanyahu said, "There is a huge jolt in the Arab world and it should be handled in a sober and responsible way.

Netanyahu also commented on peace proposals by the Arabs saying, "Not all Arab claims are a [peace] plan and not every instance in which we reject their principles means that we do not want to advance the peace process."

"It is first necessary to unite around our own plan," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also addressed the Ofer brothers affair, in which the United States placed sanctions on the Israeli businessmen after revealing they had sold an oil tanker to Iran. The prime minister denied ever authorizing the Ofer brothers' business with Iran or having any prior knowledge of the affair.

The Prime Minister's Office did not authorize the contacts between the Ofers' company and Iran, Netanyahu said. "I found out about it from a journalist's question," adding that after checking with members of his staff authorized to deal with such matters, "there was no permission for any contact or delivery to Iran." "We have clear policies on this matter," he added.

Also speaking at the committee meeting , opposition leader Tzipi Livni criticized Netanyahu for allowing diplomatic conditions the preceding Kadima government accomplished to deteriorate during his term as prime minister.

"We left you a supportive world, excellent relations with the US, a world which opposed the [Palestinian] right of return, [supported] leaving the [settlement blocks] in Israeli hands. Hamas was weak and the world was delegitimizing it," she said.

Today, she said to the prime minister, "you eroded all of that. You eroded the American commitment to Israel, Hamas has grown stronger and is receiving legitimacy."
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

All rights reserved © The Jerusalem Post 1995 - 2011

My Email to Anjem Choudary

Anjem Choudary sm

Anjem Choudary resides in the United Kingdom. Choudary spews purist Islamic ideology not only against his host nation but also against the United States. Christians are prosecuted in the UK when Christians defend their faith by preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ in the UK. Choudary spouts of his hatred of non-Muslims and his Jew-hatred and yet evades prosecution. Christopher Logan has sent him an open letter addressing Choudary’s Islamic delusions.

JRH 5/29/11
My Email to Anjem Choudary

By Christopher Logan
May 26, 2011

My name is Christopher Logan, and I run the website. I see that you think you own the streets of the UK. I suggest you enjoy it while you can. Because it will not last, as the English Defense League will eventually chase you off the streets. In your latest video you are calling for Sharia for America. So I’ll make this very clear for you. That will NEVER happen.

Your religion calls for the dominance of non-Muslims as per Koran verse 9:29.

YUSUFALI: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

So my question is, what should happen to me? Because I will NEVER bow to Sharia.

According to your website you follow the Sunnah.

Should I be humiliated into embracing Islam, like the Sahih Bukhari Hadith state?

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Verse:–”You (true Muslims) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind.” means, the best of peoples for the people, as you bring them with chains on their necks till they embrace Islam.

Well that is never going to happen either. On your website you made the following statement:

The reality of the situation is if you want to impose Sharia on America, you are going to have to kill millions of us. Are you up for it, or are you all talk Anjem? The backlash you are seeing against Islam is just the tip of the iceberg. YOU will be defeated! Mark my words…

Let’s see if he responds.
About Logan’s Warning

The primary mission of this website is to educate non-Muslims on the ideology & practice of Islam and to Islam's threats to our free and open society. The goal is to assist in developing legislation to defeat the dangerous Sharia movement underway here in America.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Facebook upgrade spurs fears of political bias


How many of you are Facebook users? Here is another question: How many of you Facebook users are Conservatives or a part of the anti-jihad movement?

If you use Facebook and are a Conservative or an anti-jihadist, then it is a good bet the Facebook gods are finding ways to limit your use.

JRH 5/29/11 (Hat Tip: Facebook 1683 AD)

Initial Thoughts on ‘Tea Party, Islam and Me’

Islam Exposed

John R. Houk
© May 29, 2011

I found a link entitled, “The Tea Party, Islam and Me” written by Kinana. It is rather long. Due to the length of article scanned through it rapidly. It is one of those posts that you may have to go back to a few times to gather the nuggets of understanding. Also in my quick glimpse I gathered the article is based on a radio interview or a radio talk.

In my quick visual scan two things stood out immediately.

One of which was Kinana’s defining a difference between a Muslim and Islam. A Muslim is a person and Islam is an alleged religion. I prefer to think of Islam as a theopolitical religious cult or precisely a religion with the trappings of socio-political rules that are ruthlessly applied to all situations religious, the social community and the rules of law. And when I say “the rules of law” I am not speaking of a foundation in which humanity writes laws based on their faith. The Islamic rule of law as directed by Sharia Law is encoded into the laws of humanity which means a coercive law, a racist law, a community law and so on; is an unchangeable law by the representative vote of the people.

The other thing that I saw in my initial perusal was the subject of the EDL. The EDL is a socio-political movement in the United Kingdom. The EDL’s primary platform today seems to be to end the multicultural acceptance of Islam as a separate entity under British rule of law which makes portions of Sharia Law a part of British rule of law even though Sharia breaks the British legal system in civil and criminal law. The EDL is enlightened that Islam run amok will Islamicize not only the UK but all of Europe. Hence there is the existence of the term Eurabia.

Now here is the knock on the EDL though: The English Defence League has had a history of racist roots. A significant amount of its members evolved from Nazi influenced Right Wing thinking which is something that is very anathema in the UK since Hitler tried to bomb Britain into submission as well as the race superiority doctrines espoused by Nazism.

If law makers in America do not catch onto the anti-immigrant Islamic vision, then will we may well face the Islamizing of America.

Below is the lengthy article by Kinana which I discovered at The author/speaker Kinana sent me a personal message to my 4 Freedoms Community page that is a kind of forward to the piece.

JRH 5/28/11

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Send This to Under the Age of 40 PLEASE

Here is some chain email worth reading simply because it is right on. The premise is if you under the age 40 you might get confused because the under 40 era is so different than the childhood of the over 40 era. Personally I would consider raising age level to under age 50. I am sending this to some younger dudes to perhaps meditate on how to return America to a generally safer cultural milieu. Yeah I know our era had its fair share of actual unwholesomeness; however the wholesomeness far outweighed the unwholesomeness.

JRH 5/26/11
Anyone I send this to under the age of 40 PLEASE pass it on to your parents because you won’t understand it but they will!!! ENJOY!!!!!!


Generally, I don't forward but this was so funny that I wanted to share it with you.  I hope that you enjoy this bit of nostalgic "medicine."....  Laughter really begins after the photos....
Love...  .

Days of Black and White

Red Skelton
"Good night and God bless.."
Go all the way to the bottom past the pictures. I think you'll enjoy it.
Whoever wrote this must have been my next door neighbor
because it totally described my childhood to a 'T.'
Hope you enjoy it.

Black and White

Our Gang Movies
Jacki Gleason Show
Micky Mouse Club - Annette Funicello
Batman & Robin TV
Gene Autry (I think)
Andy Griffith Show
Lone Ranger & Tonto

Barney Phife
Black and White
(Under age 40? You won't understand.)

TV Snow
You could hardly see for all the snow,

Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go..

Pull a chair up to the TV set,
'Good Night, David.
Good Night, Chet.'

Mom Chef
My Mom used to cut chicken,
chop eggs and spread mayo
on the same cutting board
with the same knife and no bleach,
but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger
on the counter and I used to eat it raw
sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches
were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag,
not in ice pack coolers,
but I can't remember getting e.coli.

Boy Swimming
Almost all of us would have rather
gone swimming in the lake
instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring),
no beach closures then.

The term cell phone would have conjured up
a phone in a jail cell, and a pager
was the school PA system.

Smelly Gym Shoes
We all took gym, not PE...
and risked permanent injury
with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym)
instead of having cross-training athletic shoes
with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors.
I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened
because they tell us how much safer we are now.

Stick Man - Gym

Flunking gym was not an option...
even for stupid kids!
I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers
and sang the national anthem,
and staying in detention after school
caught all sorts of negative attention.

School Nurse
We must have had horribly damaged psyches.
What an archaic health system we had then.
Remember school nurses?
Ours wore a hat and everything.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish
something before I was allowed
to be proud of myself.

I just can't recall how bored we were
without computers, Play Station, Nintendo,
X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations..

Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl
and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting?
I could have been killed!

We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel
left on vacant construction sites,
and when we got hurt,
Mom pulled out the  48-cent bottle
of mercurochrome (kids liked it better
because it didn't sting like iodine did)
and then we got our butt spanked.

School Butt Spanking

Now it's a trip to the emergency room,
followed by a 10-day dose
of a $49 bottle of antibiotics,
and then Mom calls the attorney
to sue the contractor for leaving
a horribly vicious pile of gravel
where it was such a threat.

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either,
because if we did we got our butt spanked there
and then we got our butt spanked again
when we got home.

Walk to Wood Shed

I recall Donny Reynolds from next door
coming over and doing his tricks
on the front stoop, just before he fell off.
Little did his Mom know that she
could have owned our house. 
Instead, she picked him up and swatted him
for being such a goof.
It was a neighborhood run amuck.

Turned Over Mom's Knee

To top it off, not a single person I knew
had ever been told that they were from
a dysfunctional family.

How could we possibly have known that? 

We needed to get into group therapy
and anger management classes.

We were obviously so duped
by so many societal ills,
that we didn't even notice
that the entire country
wasn't taking Prozac!

How did we ever survive?


Pass this to someone and remember that
life's most simple pleasures are very often the best.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Bin Laden Operation: Tapping Human Intelligence

UBL Deceased

STRATFOR analysts have pieced together a speculated scenario on the capture and killing of public enemy number one. STRATFOR used a combination of publically released data and private (if not also anonymous)  sources to piece together how Osama bin Laden was more than likely sent to the fires of hell.

JRH 5/26/11
The Bin Laden Operation: Tapping Human Intelligence

By Fred Burton
May 26, 2011 0853 GMT

Since May 2, when U.S. special operations forces crossed the Afghan-Pakistani border and killed Osama bin Laden, international media have covered the raid from virtually every angle. The United States and Pakistan have also squared off over the U.S. violation of Pakistan’s sovereign territory and Pakistan’s possible complicity in hiding the al Qaeda leader. All this surface-level discussion, however, largely ignores almost 10 years of intelligence development in the hunt for bin Laden.

While the cross-border nighttime raid deep into Pakistan was a daring and daunting operation, the work to find the target — one person out of 180 million in a country full of insurgent groups and a population hostile to American activities on its soil — was a far greater challenge. For the other side, the challenge of hiding the world’s most wanted man from the world’s most funded intelligence apparatus created a clandestine shell game that probably involved current or former Pakistani intelligence officers as well as competing intelligence services. The details of this struggle will likely remain classified for decades.

Examining the hunt for bin Laden is also difficult, mainly because of the sensitivity of the mission and the possibility that some of the public information now available could be disinformation intended to disguise intelligence sources and methods. Successful operations can often compromise human sources and new intelligence technologies that have taken years to develop. Because of this, it is not uncommon for intelligence services to try to create a wilderness of mirrors to protect sources and methods. But using open-source reporting and human intelligence from STRATFOR’s own sources, we can assemble enough information to draw some conclusions about this complex intelligence effort and raise some key questions.

The Challenge

Following the 9/11 attacks, finding and killing bin Laden became the primary mission of the U.S. intelligence community, particularly the CIA. This mission was clearly laid out in a presidential “finding,” or directive, signed on Sept. 17, 2001, by then-U.S. President George W. Bush. By 2005 it became clear to STRATFOR that bin Laden was deep inside Pakistan. Although the Pakistani government was ostensibly a U.S. ally, it was known that there were elements within it sympathetic to al Qaeda and bin Laden. In order to find bin Laden, U.S. intelligence would have to work with — and against — Pakistani intelligence services.

Finding bin Laden in a hostile intelligence environment while friends and sympathizers were protecting him represented a monumental intelligence challenge for the United States. With bin Laden and his confederates extremely conscious of U.S technical intelligence abilities, the search quickly became a human-intelligence challenge. While STRATFOR believes bin Laden had become tactically irrelevant since 9/11, he remained symbolically important and a focal point for the U.S. intelligence effort. And while it appears that the United States has improved its intelligence capabilities and passed an important test, much remains undone. Today, the public information surrounding the case illuminates the capabilities that will be used to find other high-value targets as the U.S. effort continues.

The official story on the intelligence that led to bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound has been widely reported, leaked from current and former U.S. officials. It focuses on a man with the cover name Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, a Pakistani Pashtun born in Kuwait who became bin Laden’s most trusted courier. With fluency in Pashto and Arabic, according to media reports, al-Kuwaiti would be invaluable to al Qaeda, and in order to purchase bin Laden’s property and run errands he would also need to be fluent in Urdu. His position as bin Laden’s most trusted courier made him a key link in disrupting the organization. While this man supposedly led the United States to bin Laden, it took a decade of revamping U.S. intelligence capabilities and a great deal of hard work (and maybe even a lucky break) to actually find him.

The first step for U.S. intelligence services after Bush’s directive was focusing their efforts on bin Laden and the al Qaeda leadership. Intelligence collection against al Qaeda was under way before 9/11, but after the attacks it became the No. 1 priority. Due to a lack of human intelligence in the region and allies for an invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA revived connections with anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan and with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate in order to oust the Taliban government and accrue intelligence for use in disrupting al Qaeda. The connections were built in the 1980s as the CIA famously operated through the ISI to fund militant groups in Afghanistan fighting the Soviet military. Most of these links were lost when the Soviets withdrew from the Southwest Asian state and the CIA nominally declared victory. Pakistan, left with Afghanistan and these militant groups, developed a working relationship with the Taliban and others for its own interests. A coterie of ISI officers was embedded with different militant groups, and some of them became jihadist sympathizers.

U.S. intelligence budgets were severely cut in the 1990s in light of the “peace dividend” following the fall of the Soviet Union, as some U.S. leaders argued there was no one left to fight. Intelligence collection was a dirty, ambiguous and dangerous game that U.S. politicians were not prepared to stomach. John Deutch, the director of the CIA from 1995 to 1996, gutted the CIA’s sources on what was known as the “Torricelli Principle” (named after then-Rep. Robert Torricelli), which called for the removal of any unsavory characters from the payroll. This meant losing sources in the exact kind of organizations U.S. intelligence would want to infiltrate, including militants in Southwest Asia.

The CIA began to revive its contacts in the region after the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While the U.S. intelligence community was looking for bin Laden at this time, he was not a high priority, and U.S. human-intelligence capabilities in the region were limited. The United States has always had trouble with human intelligence — having people sitting at computers is less of a security risk than having daring undercover operatives running around in the field — and by the end of the 1990s it was relying on technological platforms for intelligence more than ever.

The United States was in this state on Sept. 12, 2001, when it began to ramp up its intelligence operations, and al Qaeda was aware of this. Bin Laden knew that if he could stay away from electronic communications, and generally out of sight, he would be much harder to track. After invading Afghanistan and working with the ISI in Pakistan, the United States had a large number of detainees who it hoped would have information to breach bin Laden’s operational security. From some mix of detainees caught in operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan (particularly with the help of the ISI), including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Farj al-Libi, came information leading to an important bin Laden courier known by various names, including Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. (His actual identity is still unconfirmed, though his real name may be Sheikh Abu Ahmed.)

The efficacy of enhanced interrogation and torture techniques is constantly debated — they may have helped clarify or obfuscate the courier’s identity (some reports say Mohammed tried to lead investigators away from him). What is clear is that U.S. intelligence lacked both a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of al Qaeda and, most important, human sources with access to that information. With the United States not knowing what al Qaeda was capable of, the fear of a follow-on attack to 9/11 loomed large.

Anonymous U.S. intelligence officials told Reuters the breakthrough came when a man named Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq in 2004 by Kurdish forces and turned over to the United States. Little is known about Ghul’s identity except that he is believed to have worked with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and to have given interrogators information about a man named “al-Kuwaiti” who was a courier between al-Zarqawi and al Qaeda operational commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ghul was then given over to the Pakistani security services; he is believed to have been released in 2007 and to now be fighting somewhere in the region.

While U.S. intelligence services got confirmation of al-Kuwaiti’s role from al-Libi, they could not find the courier. It is unknown if they gave any of this information to the Pakistanis or asked for their help. According to leaks from U.S. officials to AP, the Pakistanis provided the National Security Agency (NSA), the main U.S. communications interception agency, with information that allowed it to monitor a SIM card from a cellphone that had frequently called Saudi Arabia. In 2010, the NSA intercepted a call made by al-Kuwaiti and began tracking him in Pakistan. Another U.S. official told CNN that the operational security exercised by al-Kuwaiti and his brother made them difficult to trail, but “an elaborate surveillance effort” was organized to track them to the Abbottabad compound.

From then on, the NSA monitored all of the cellphones used by the couriers and their family members, though they were often turned off and had batteries removed when the phones’ users went to the Abbottabad compound or to other important meetings. The compound was monitored by satellites and RQ-170 Sentinels, stealth versions of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which were reportedly flown over the compound. According to The Wall Street Journal, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) even built a replica of the compound for CIA Director Leon Panetta and other officials. The NGA is the premier U.S. satellite observation agency, which could have watched the goings-on at the compound and even spotted bin Laden, though it would have been difficult to confirm his identity.

Some of these leaks could be disingenuous in order to lead the public and adversary intelligence agencies away from highly classified sources and methods. But they do reflect long-believed assessments of the U.S. intelligence community regarding its advanced capability in technology-based intelligence gathering as well as the challenges it faces in human-intelligence collection.

The Utility of Liaison Relationships

Historically, U.S. intelligence officers have been white males, though the CIA has more recently begun hiring more minorities, including those from various ethnic and linguistic groups important to its mission (or at least those who can pass the polygraph and full-field background investigation, a substantial barrier). Even when intelligence officers look the part in the countries in which they operate and have a native understanding of the cultures and languages, they need sources within the organizations they are trying to penetrate. It is these sources, recruited by intelligence officers and without official or secret status, who are the “agents” providing the information needed back at headquarters. The less an intelligence officer appears like a local the more difficult it is to meet with and develop these agents, which has led the United States to frequently depend on liaison services — local intelligence entities — to collect information.

Many intelligence services around the world were established with American support or funding for just this purpose. The most dependent liaison services essentially function as sources, acquiring information at the local CIA station’s request. They are often made up of long-serving officers in the local country’s military, police or intelligence services, with a nuanced understanding of local issues and the ability to maintain a network of sources. With independent intelligence services, such as Israel’s Mossad, there has been roughly an equal exchange of intelligence, where Israeli sources may recruit a human source valuable to the United States and the CIA may have satellite imagery or communications intercepts valuable to the Israelis.

Of course, this is not a simple game. It involves sophisticated players trying to collect intelligence while deceiving one another about their intentions and plans — and many times trying to muddy the water a little to hide the identity of their sources from the liaison service. Even the closest intelligence relationships, such as that between the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service, have been disrupted by moles like Kim Philby, a longtime Soviet plant who handled the liaison work between the two agencies.

Since most U.S. intelligence officers serve on rotations of only one to three years — out of concern they will “go native” or to allow them to return to the comfort of home — it becomes even more challenging to develop long-term human-intelligence sources. While intelligence officers will pass their sources off to their replacements, the liaison service becomes even more valuable in being able to sustain source relationships, which can take years to build. Liaison relationships, then, become a way to efficiently use and extend U.S. intelligence resources, which, unlike such services in most countries, have global requirements. The United States may be the world’s superpower, but it is impossible for it to maintain sources everywhere.

Liaison and Unilateral Operations in the Hunt for Bin Laden

In recent years, U.S. intelligence has worked with Pakistan’s ISI most notably in raids throughout Pakistan against senior al Qaeda operatives like Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Farj al-Libi. We can also presume that much of the information used by the United States for UAV strikes comes through sources in Pakistani intelligence as well as those on the Afghan side of the border. Another example of such cooperation, also to find bin Laden, is the CIA’s work with the Jordanian General Intelligence Department, an effort that went awry in the Khost suicide attack. Such is the risk with liaison relationships — to what extent can one intelligence officer trust another’s sources and motives? Nevertheless, these liaison networks were the best the United States had available, and huge amounts of resources were put into developing intelligence through them in looking for major jihadists, including bin Laden.

The United States is particularly concerned about Pakistan’s intelligence services and the possibility that some of their officers could be compromised by, or at least sympathetic to, jihadists. Given the relationships with jihadists maintained by former ISI officers such as Khalid Khawaja and Sultan Amir Tarar (known as Colonel Imam), who were both held hostage and killed by Pakistani militants, and most famously former ISI Director Hamid Gul, there is cause for concern. These three are the most famous former ISI officers with links to jihadists, but because they were (or are) long retired from the ISI and their notoriety makes them easy to track to jihadists, they have little influence on either group. But the reality is that there are current ISI and military officers sympathizing or working with important jihadist groups. Indeed, it was liaison work by the CIA and Saudi Arabia that helped develop strong connections with Arab and Afghan militants, some of whom would go on to become members of al Qaeda and the Taliban. The ISI was responsible for distributing U.S.- and Saudi-supplied weapons to various Afghan militant groups to fight the Russians in the 1980s, and it controlled contact with these groups. If some of those contacts remain, jihadists could be using members of the ISI rather than the other way around.

Due to concerns like these, according to official statements and leaked information, U.S. intelligence officers never told their Pakistani liaison counterparts about the forthcoming bin Laden raid. It appears the CIA developed a unilateral capability to operate within Pakistan, demonstrated by the Raymond Davis shooting in January as well as the bin Laden raid. Davis was a contractor providing security for U.S. intelligence officers in Pakistan when he killed two reportedly armed men in Lahore, and his case brought the CIA-ISI conflict out in the open. Requests by Pakistani officials to remove more than 300 similar individuals from the country show that there are a large number of U.S. intelligence operatives in Pakistan. Other aspects of this unilateral U.S. effort were the tracking of bin Laden, further confirmation of his identity and the safe house the CIA maintained in Abbottabad for months to monitor the compound.

The CIA and the ISI

Even with the liaison relationships in Pakistan, which involved meetings between the CIA station chief in Islamabad and senior members of the ISI, the CIA ran unilateral operations on the ground. Liaison services cannot be used to recruit sources within the host government; this must be done unilaterally. This is where direct competition between intelligence services comes into play. In Pakistan, this competition may involve different organizations such as Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau or Federal Investigation Agency, both of which have counterintelligence functions, or separate departments within the ISI, where one department is assigned to liaison while others handle counterintelligence or work with militant groups. Counterintelligence officers may want to disrupt intelligence operations that involve collecting information on the host-country military, or they may simply want to monitor the foreign intelligence service’s efforts to recruit jihadists. They can also feed disinformation to the operatives. This competition is known to all players and is not out of the ordinary.

But the U.S. intelligence community is wondering if this ordinary competition was taken to another level — if the ISI, or elements of it, were actually protecting bin Laden. The people helping bin Laden and other al Qaeda operatives and contacts in Abbottabad were the same people the CIA was competing against. Were they simply jihadists or a more resourceful and capable state intelligence agency? If the ISI as an institution knew about bin Laden’s location, it would mean it outwitted the CIA for nearly a decade in hiding his whereabouts. It would also mean that no ISI officers who knew his location were turned by U.S. intelligence, that no communications were intercepted and that no leaks reached the media.

On the other hand, if someone within the ISI was protecting bin Laden and keeping it from the rest of the organization, it would mean the ISI was beaten internally and the CIA eventually caught up by developing its own sources and was able to find bin Laden on its own. As we point out above, the official story on the bin Laden intelligence effort may be disinformation to protect sources and methods. Still, this seems to be a more plausible scenario. American and Pakistani sources have told STRATFOR that there are likely jihadist sympathizers within the ISI who helped bin Laden or his supporters. Given that Pakistan is fighting its own war with al Qaeda-allied groups like Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the country’s leadership in Islamabad has no interest in protecting them. Furthermore, finding an individual anywhere, especially in a foreign country with multiple insurgencies under way, is an extremely difficult intelligence challenge.

Assuming the official story is mostly true, the bin Laden raid demonstrates that U.S. intelligence has come full circle since the end of the Cold War. It was able to successfully collect and analyze intelligence of all types and develop and deploy on-the-ground capabilities it had been lacking to find an individual who was hiding and probably protected. It was able to quickly work with special operations forces under CIA command to carry out an elaborate operation to capture or kill him, a capability honed by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the development of its own capture-and-kill capabilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CIA is responsible for missions in Pakistan, where, like the JSOC, it has demonstrated an efficient and devastating capability to task UAV strikes and conduct cross-border raids. The bin Laden raid was the public proof of concept that the United States could collect intelligence and reach far into hostile territory to capture or kill its targets.

It is unclear exactly how the U.S. intelligence community has been able to develop these capabilities, beyond the huge post-9/11 influx of money and personnel (simply throwing resources at a problem is never a complete solution). The United States faced Sept. 11, 2001, without strategic warning of the attacks inspired by bin Laden, and then it faced a tactical threat it was unprepared to fight. Whatever the new and improved human-intelligence capabilities may be, they are no doubt some function of the experience gained by operatives in a concerted, global campaign against jihadists. Human intelligence is probably still the biggest U.S. weakness, but given the evidence of unilateral operations in Pakistan, it is not the weakness it used to be.

The Intelligence Battle Between the U.S. and Pakistan

The competition and cooperation among various intelligence agencies did not end with the death of Osama bin Laden. Publicity surrounding the operation has led to calls in Pakistan to eject any and all American interests in the country. In the past few years, Pakistan has made it difficult for many Americans to get visas, especially those with official status that may be cover for intelligence operations. Raymond Davis was one of these people. Involved in protecting intelligence officers who were conducting human-intelligence missions, he would have been tasked not only with protecting them from physical threats from jihadists but also with helping ensure they were not under the surveillance of a hostile intelligence agency.

Pakistan has only ratcheted up these barriers since the bin Laden raid. The Interior Ministry announced May 19 that it would ban travel by foreign diplomats to cities other than those where they are stationed without permission from Pakistani authorities. The News, a Pakistani daily, reported May 20 that Interior Minister Rehman Malik chaired a meeting with provincial authorities on regulating travel by foreigners, approving their entry into the country and monitoring unregistered mobile phones. While some of these efforts are intended to deal with jihadists disguised within large groups of Afghan nationals, they also place barriers on foreign intelligence officers in the country. While non-official cover is becoming more common for CIA officers overseas, many are still traveling on various diplomatic documents and thus would require these approvals. The presence of intelligence officers on the ground for the bin Laden raid shows there are workarounds for such barriers that will be used when the mission is important enough. In fact, according to STRATFOR sources, the CIA has for years been operating in Pakistan under what are known as “Moscow rules” — the strictest tradecraft for operating behind enemy lines — with clandestine units developing human sources and searching for al Qaeda and other militant leaders.

And this dynamic will only continue. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told The Wall Street Journal on May 6 that another operation like the bin Laden raid would have “terrible consequences,” while U.S. President Barack Obama told BBC on May 22 that he would authorize similar strikes in the future if they were called for. Pakistan, as any sovereign country would, is trying to protect its territory, while the United States will continue to search for high-value targets who are hiding there. The bin Laden operation only brought this clandestine competition to the public eye.

Bin Laden is dead, but many other individuals on the U.S. high-value target list remain at large. With the bold execution and ultimate success of the Abbottabad raid now public, the overarching American operational concept for hunting high-value targets has been demonstrated and the immense resources that were focused on bin Laden are now freed up. While the United States still faces intelligence challenges, those most wanted by the Americans can no longer take comfort in the fact that bin Laden is eluding his hunters or that the Americans are expending any more of their effort looking for him.
Reprinting or republication of this report on websites is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence, including the hyperlink to STRATFOR, at the beginning or end of the report.

The Bin Laden Operation: Tapping Human Intelligence
is republished with permission of STRATFOR."

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