Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
War watch December 25 , 2013 .... Israel Sees Western Jihadists in Syria as a Future Security Nightmare ..... Pentagon Probes its biggest Afghanistan Supplier for Using Iran Supply Route ( possible US Iran sanctions violation ) ...... Appeals Court: Bagram Detainees ‘Beyond the Reach’ of Constitution ....... ‘Thousands Dead’ as UN Sends More Troops to South Sudan
That’s because Western citizenship means Western passports, and of 10,000 foreign Islamists in Syria’s rebellion, some 20 percent are believed to be Westerners
Through much of the global war on terror, Western fighters were the rare exception, but as Syria attracts them by the thousand, they will eventually return home with contacts across the world, and the passports to get access to targets most fighters couldn’t hope to approach.
With the northern route through the former Soviet Union ridiculously expensive and the Pakistan route intermittently interrupted by US-Pakistan relations turning sour,the largest supplier for the US military in Afghanistan is finding itself under investigation for choosing a better route.
The supplier is accused of shipping into ports in southern Iran and running the equipment in through Herat. Its a safer, cheaper, more reliable route, but unfortunately it also violates US sanctions on Iran.
The story is a particularly problematic one for the Pentagon, which on the one hand is under pressure to crack down on a “violation,” but at the same time can’t help but notice how imminently reasonable using Iran for supplies actually is.
With the US looking to lock up a protracted occupation in Afghanistan “through 2024 and beyond,” a rapprochement with Iran could make them a possible alternative to Pakistan in the years to come.
Appeals Court Judge Karen Henderson has upheld earlier decisions to deny detainees held by the US at Bagram Airfield from being able to file habeas corpus petitions, saying they are “beyond the reach” of the constitution.
Henderson cited administration claims that troops at Bagram “are actively engaged in a war with a determined enemy” as an argument that the constitution doesn’t apply to the captives therein.
Three of the five detainees in the case Henderson rejected had been involved in a previous case with the same result, and none of them were actually captured in Afghanistan but were simply relocated to Bagram to avoid legal scrutiny for their open-ended detention.
That seemed to suit Henderson just fine, and she added in her decision that the operation of Bagram is “committed uniquely to the political branches and we rarely scrutinize it.”
The UN Security Council has approved a major escalation of the UN military operation in South Sudan today, bringing the overall size of the UN force to 12,500 troops and 1,323 “police.”
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was quick to downplay the prospect of the extra troops accomplishing much in the ongoing civil war, however, saying that there is “no military solution to this conflict.”
The top UN humanitarian official in the nation, Toby Lanzer, says that the initial estimates of 500 dead in the fighting are much too low, and that he has “absolutely no doubt” that the deaths are well into the thousands.
The fighting in South Sudan started with a failed military coup last week by fighters loyal to the country’s former vice president. The fighting is split largely along ethnic lines, between the Dinka president and the Nuer tribe the vice president belongs to.