Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
War watch May 29 , 2014 -- Libya has descended into complete chaos ( They had very little power to begin with, and even less since Gen. Khalifa Hifter took over their parliament building, but Libya’s parliament is still hard at work, fighting internally over who the real prime minister is. ) ...... Syria - Obama’s $5 Billion ‘Counter-Terrorism’ Fund Has Syria in Crosshairs 'Partnership Fund' Aims Exclusively at Syria Neighbors , US: Reports of American Suicide Bomber in Syria ‘Likely Accurate’ American Bomber Launched Attack for al-Qaeda....... Iraq - no matter who is named Prime minister in Iraq , the sun will rise the next day and more Iraqis will continue to die ........ Pakistan Taliban sees split over alleged peace process - The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the longtime umbrella of Pakistani Taliban factions, has split in half with the emergence of the new TTP-Mehsud faction, led by Khalid Mehsud.
They had very little power to begin with, and even less since Gen. Khalifa Hifter took over their parliament building, but Libya’s parliament is still hard at work, fighting internally over who the real prime minister is.
Ali Zaidan was Libya’s prime minister for quite some time, and Thinni was given the position during the fiasco with the Morning Glory, an oil tanker that escaped from Navy custody. Thinni resigned almost immediately, citing threats to his family, and Maiteeq was finally settled on.
Maiteeq is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and his perceived pro-Islamist slant was a big part of Gen. Hifter’s reason for attacking parliament. Thinni, by contrast, is said to enjoy support from the Interior Ministry, but continues to insist he doesn’t even really want the job, despite refusing to turn the post over to Maiteeq.
Fighting is once again picking up in Libya today, as coup leader Gen. Khalifa Hifter’s troops launched airstrikes against Benghazi, targeting the bases of an Islamist factionthey claim are allied with “terrorists.”
Gen. Hifter, who earlier in this month captured parliament, is in the process of trying to consolidate power, and insists he will continue his operations until the entire nation is “cleansed” of Islamist factions.
In addition to his own self-proclaimed “Libyan National Army,” Hifter commands the loyalty of parts of Libya’s actual military, while parliament’s support seems to be primarily split between the Interior Ministry and Islamist militias.
Even parliament’s allies don’t necessarily get along, however, as fighting was also reporting in Tripoli when an unnamed Islamist militia attacked the Interior Ministry troops guarding a cabinet office. The fighting appears to be related to an ongoing power struggle within parliament, which may be mooted by the reality that parliament was ousted militarily by Hifter anyhow.
US officials say they are investigating reports of an American having carried out a suicide bombing in the Idlib Province of Syria on behalf of al-Qaeda, but say they believe the reports are “likely accurate.”
The attacker was identified by militants as Abu Hurayra al-Amriki, and was said to be one of four suicide attackers for Jabhat al-Nusra that day in the Idlib Province attacks.
Some investigators say they believe they know the “US person’s true identity,” but they gave no further details. If confirmed he would be the first American suicide bomber to launch an attack in Syria on al-Qaeda’s behalf.
Jabhat al-Nusra has been issuing promotional videos recently about a longer video, putatively centering on the “American Muhajir” in Syria. The video has yet to be released.
In his foreign policy speech at West Point Academy today, President Obama urged Congress to fund, to the tune of $5 billion, a new “counter-terrorism fund” that seems aimed squarely at the Syrian Civil War.
Obama presented the “partnership fund” as targeting terrorism in the region, and conspicuously named only neighbors of Syria as the likely recipients of such funds.
Though not getting into specifics, the generic naming of it as a “counter-terrorism” fund suggests it may be at least in part aimed at bankrolling secular Syrian rebels, as the administration was expected to announce an increase in such activities, and has couched its funding of secular rebels as trying to create an “alternative” to the al-Qaeda dominated rebellion.
Tellingly, the Syrian National Coalition followed up Obama’s speech with a statement saying they welcome the “strategic cooperation in countering the terrorism enabled by the Assad regime in Syria.”
Bombers Strike in Baghdad and Mosul; 94 Killed, 116 Wounded Across Iraq
Although Anbar was unusually quiet today, attacks picked up in Mosul and Baghdad. In one gruesome attack in the east, two children were kidnapped before being murdered. At least 94 people were killed and 116 were wounded.
The Mehsud tribe had long dominated the TTP, with Baitullah and Hakimullah Mehsud ruling the faction for years. After Hakimullah’s death, the election of Maulana Fazlullah as the TTP head shifted the power base to the Swat Valley.
But it was peace negotiations that appear to have cemented the final split of the two factions, with the hardline Fazlullah opposing most peace talks, or giving tepid support before pulling the plug on the efforts. The TTP-Mehsud is said to be hoping to negotiate a separate peace with the Pakistani government.
The Mehsud Tribe dominates South Waziristan, and believes their tribe has the most to lose if peace talks fail and the military launches new offensives. Fazlullah, by contrast, has shown a remarkable ability to survive assassination attempts, a must for any TTP leader, but doesn’t seem particularly bound to any territory.