This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
- A small group of CIA officers in southern Turkey are assisting the Syrian resistance in getting weapons which include automatic rifles, RPGs and anti-tank weaponry.
- Photojournalist Robert King writes about what he saw while photographing Syria, accompanied by a slideshow of his work.
- A defected Syrian fighter pilot has been granted asylum in Jordan.
- Hamas has accepted the terms of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel that ends three days of fighting.
- Members of Nigeria’s Boko Haram have, for the first time, been listed as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” by the State Dept.
- Mother Jones has obtained a document that corroborate parts of the story told by US citizen Sharif Mobley, who claims to have been detained and interrogated in Yemen in 2010 at the request of the US. MJ can confirm his assertion that FBI members visited him in detention and that they knew his whereabouts despite repeated denial.
- Maj. Gen. Salim Ali Qatn, a senior military commander, was killed in the southern Yemeni city of Aden by a suicide bomber.
- After a scandal over emails, Brett McGurk, the nominee for ambassador to Iraq has withdrawn his name from consideration.
- Turkey has carried out strikes inside northern Iraq against members of the separatist Kurdish Workers Party.
- Sixteen are reported dead in a Taliban fighter raid on a lakeside hotel in Kabul last night. Gunmen stormed the Spozhmai hotel, killing sixteen and taking hostages. The standoff ended with the killing of the militants 12 hours later.
- Officials are warning of a tough and trying summer ahead in Afghanistan for the Afghan security forces.
- The Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction is opening an investigation into Afghanistan’s practices of taxing US companies involved in the reconstruction effort.
- Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV has been accused of obstructing inquiry into corruption in and mismanagement of the Afghan forces in order to protect the President politically.
- Many Afghan refugees, some of whom have spent decades in exile, are returning home: some voluntarily, but many because Pakistan is unwilling to let them remain with refugee status.
- The US worries that hundreds of missing night vision goggles purchased for Afghan forces have fallen into Taliban hands.
- Yousef Raza Gilani is out as Pakistan’s Prime Minister after a ruling by the Supreme Court of Pakistan declaring him ineligible to hold office. The first nominee for his replacement, Makhdoom Shahabuddin of the Pakistan People’s Party, had an arrest warrant issued for him by a narcotics judge in Rawalpindi. The new nominee is Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
- A Pakistani Taliban commander in North Waziristan has banned polio vaccinations shortly before a push to vaccinate more than 150k children over fears that the vaccinations are a cover for espionage.
- The 20th of June was the three-year anniversary of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, a symbol of Iran’s Green Movement and their thwarted 2009 post-election uprising.
- Nuclear talks with Iran came up short without resolution or commitment to further negotiations.
- Israel and the US worked together on both the Flame and Stuxnet computer viruses in order to slow Iran’s nuclear efforts.
- A veteran Jordanian television reporter, Baker Atyani, noted for having interviewed Osama Bin Laden just months prior to the 9/11 attacks, has been reported by Jordan as having been kidnapped earlier this month in the Philippines.
- You can now follow a Russian warlord on Twitter!
- The trial of Ratko Mladic, former Bosnian Serb military commander on trial for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, has been put on hold indefinitely over complications with failure to disclose documents to the defense.
- Environmental activists globally are being killed at a rate of 1 per week.
- ProPublica investigates the administration’s claims about civilian casualties as a result of drone strikes and finds the figures don’t add up.
- David Graham at The Atlantic rounds up what you need to know about Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress over for refusing to turn over documents related to the investigation of the Fast and Furious operation.
- A new Dartmouth poll of American opinion reveals some interesting things about foreign policy beliefs: a significant majority (60% of Dems and 80% of Reps) believe that we face greater threats today than during the Cold War.
- A new documentary, “Service: When Women Come Marching Home,” documents the return home of female service members.
About the photo: This is one of a collection of stunning photos of Iraq and Afghanistan in Peter Van Agtmael’s “Disco Night Sept 11,” which got Honorable Mention in CENTER’s Project Competition. (HT: Eric Spiegelman)