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Saturday, July 2, 2016

America has it Wrong. It is Still Fighting Bin Laden War Not Islamic State Terrorism War

William Church, Managing Director, CIWARs

America is losing the Islamic State Terrorism War because it is still fighting the last war, the Bin Laden War.

The Bin Laden War

First, let's start with a definition of the Bin Laden War.  This war had specific characteristics. Osama Bin Laden wanted complete top down control. His hallmark was large attention-getting events. Embassies and of course the World Trade Center characterized the Bin Laden Wars. He was an educated, privileged class Saudi. He knew that the "West" prized thinking, logic, and planning and these types of attacks would shake his enemy.

 OBL came from the Bin Laden Construction family.  If any government worldwide wanted a large complex infrastructure project completed there was only one company to call: Bin Laden.Therefore, considering his father built large buildings doesn't it makes sense that structures and not people were his target: ( I recognize people were killed and not just the structure.)

  • World Trade Center twice
  • Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
  • Yemen Hotel
  • Battleships  USS The Sullivans and USS Cole
  • The Freighter Limburg

None of these attacks were against people, but obviously humans were killed but the target was the structure of the state. The Bin Laden Construction Company built buildings and his son destroyed buildings. All of that ended, when the United States invaded Afghanistan and ran OBL into the ground. After 2003, there were very few attacks  on the scale of the Bin Laden War between 1992 and 2003.  Also, lets be perfectly clear. The tactics used to stop the Bin Laden War worked. Invade, disrupt command and control, destroy financial sources, and kill the leadership.

The 1991 Invasion of Kuwait to remove Iraq and the Bin Laden War are probably the only two examples of winning wars for the United States post World War II.

The enormous mistake by President Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff was not to recognize--in terms of terrorism--a new war had started, and that was the Islamic State Terrorism War, which is not to be confused with the war on the ground against Islamic State fighters.

The Al Qaeda transition to The Islamic State War and the Islamic State Terrorism War

After 2003 with the exception of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta (there is always an exception) there was a shift of  tactics like we saw in classic guerrilla warfare in the Delta of South Vietnam.  This started the soft target years.  Bombs in market places, suicide trucks into housing complexes, the Bali bombing and the terrorism of Iraq too many to count.  Daily bombs blew up people shopping or walking on the street.

The Al Qaeda Transition Terrorism War lacked the brilliance of OBL. It lacked his ability to be logical and connect dispersed dots and put together a battle plan. But it also lacked his funds. In some ways, I have characterized these types of war as the Lost and Found Wars.  They were awash with mortar shells, weapons, mines, hand grenades, explosives so "why not use them" best sums up the thinking.  They did not have to go out and buy anything. They did not have to go and import explosives. They had people who knew explosives right on site.

The Islamic State War

The Islamic State War war started when three crucial factors came together. Syria's Assad lost control of his territory in no small thanks to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States. A new leader emerged--Abu Bakr--with the vision to create a new caliphate and tie into ancient Muslim zeitgeist. Finally, the collapse of effective control of the Iraqi government.

All three of these factors allowed Abu Bakr to swiftly move across the Levant and turn the Al Qaeda transition to The Islamic State War and the Islamic State Terrorism War. The Islamic State War was a totally symmetrical war--a term by the way I am beginning to doubt its usage. Battlefields,  uniformed soldiers conducting movement against other uniformed soldiers.

Precisely, it was the Syrian Red Line moment when the Islamic State was still the JV team that can be marked as the crucial start of the war.  This was not just a failing of President Obama. it was complete and absolute breakdown of international order: the United Nations, Europe and the United Kingdom.  Chemical weapons were used in violation of international law, the Syrian population was being eradicated at genocide levels and Assad had lost control over nearly all of his territory. Yet the World Leaders could not be bothered and the Islamic State turned from the JV team into a 50,000 person strong fighting unit.

A full world order intervention with United Nations mandate would have taken up the space  that the Islamic State would have eventually seized. it would have been in place as a blocking force against the Islamic State's push west from Iraq, and it would have been available, on the ground and ready to go to assist the failing Iraqi government if they had agreed. Instead, it sent a message to Abu Bakr that he had a green light. It was a Munich moment. 

The real cowardice--by the entire international community-- is the failure to enforce the prohibition against chemical weapons as a norm. In addition, it is a human rights failure that would have prevented the death of another 150,000 civilians. The lesson here is that every time the world turns its back on its human rights principles it leads to a larger disaster. 

The Islamic State War and the Islamic State Terrorism War

Currently the United States, Europe and Turkey are reeling from the Islamic State Terrorism War; however, they cling to the tactics of the Bin Laden War and the Islamic State War.  These tactics are summed up in one misguided phrase: Cut off the head of the snake. This strategy worked perfectly in the Bin Laden War because there was a head on the snake. There is zero evidence to suggest that Abu Bakr or any of his lieutenants-which by the way are being killing at a fast rate--directed the attacks in San Bernardino, Canadian Parliament, Ile de France, Belgium Airport, and Orlando. However, it is necessary to make the distinction between the attacks in Europe and North America. The attacks in Europe had an association with the Islamic State but the attacks in North America are more frightening because there is no recognizable connection. 

Therefore, we have a two prong terrorism war developing.  The European version where they went to Syria and returned and attacked. The North American version where individuals feeling displaced and disconnected and in some cases disgusted with dominant North American culture and values attack without direction or control.

CIWARS believes the Islamic State Terrorism War is in a transition from the European Version to the North American version.  This transition cripples all known counter-terrorism methods. There are no email or telephone communications to intercept. If they have a co-conspirator they are family or close knit. This foils the now obvious tactic of the FBI trying to insert a co-conspirator.  Only the most mentally uncontrolled would fall for that today. It is impossible to profile everyone who watches an Islamic State website or video feed today because they are two numerous and there is no way to sort out the curious from the criminally intent and this brings up the most significant point.

The Islamic State is not the source of these attacks.  The Islamic State did not direct these attacks. San Bernardino, Orlando, Boston are the new norm, and I doubt that the United States leadership grasps the kick in the gut reality of that statement.

The United States can wipe out the Islamic State, and all other terrorism groups and these attacks will continue as long as the idea or belief behind these attacks continue. The United States is still fighting the Bin Laden War and it needs to recognize there is a new reality.What fuels the North American version of the Islamic State Terrorism War? The Islamic State has given them voice, not direction, to express the alienation felt in American society.

It is total rubbish to label them as radical Jihadist. They are not radicals.  Identifying them as radical Islamists is the same as fighting the Bin Laden War.

Lets make this point much clearer. None of the attackers in Boston, Orlando, San Bernardino, or even the Fort Hood green-on-green attack thought they were bringing about the new Caliphate. None of them thought they were involved in a war to bring about Judgement Day. They were expressing solidarity with this ideal that Muslims must have, or need political and social space and after all that is what the Caliphate symbolizes.

Caliphate is a place for Muslims to live without interference. Their pledge to the Islamic State was a symbolic way of saying, "Muslims need a place to practice Islam freely." At the core of this problem in the United States and especially France is the melting pot view of America and France.  You will become American. You will become French. Think about the absurdity of that statement for a Muslim. That American or French view says you must stop being a Muslim. Give up your relationship with Allah. 

The United States and France are largely Christian nations that bear no resemblance to Islamic life. A vast amount of American-Christian culture confronts a Muslim or restricts a Muslim and since many Americans have not lived in an Islamic country this view is missed.  It is not saying that American lifestyle is against Islam.  It is saying that Muslims need the social and political space to be Muslims in America.

Here are some examples.  In Ramadan, in Islamic countries, there is no eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. You can not walk down the street munching on a sandwich. It would be offensive. There is a sense of shared Resistance in the fast. Muslims are resisting the physical to focus on the spiritual. None of this sharing takes place in the United States if a Muslim works in a Christian culture. A sense of alienation develops.

Praying five times a day is not optional as it is in Christianity. It is vital. It must not be skipped. It is a Muslims' way of bowing before God/Allah and saying everything comes from Allah. When you see a Muslim prostrate himself in prayer and then rise and prostate himself again he is reminding himself that Allah knows that he will make mistakes and that he must constantly return to Allah in obedience.  During the prayer a Muslim repeats the 99 names of Allah: Compassion, Peace, Forgiveness, and Righteous. This is a reminder to embody those names.  This is the core.

In the American work place it is difficult to keep to prayer times without producing alienation.  Even going to the toilet produces this feeling that you are different because the differences of how the cultures cleanse. Even getting new unsolicited followers on Twitter is jarring and I can hopefully assume it must be for some Christians also. It is a constant bombardment of men and women who are displaying their body parts in the most obvious way and these are not people in any way looking to be paid for sex. These people are acting according to the norms of American society.

 If the United States is going to be truly a nation of tolerance and freedom then the norm must be to have space for all forms of public religious daily practice. Being American can not be defined by one cultural norm as it is today. This produces alienation not only in the religious sphere but in the ethnic or race sphere. Since most military leaders and lawmakers are white Christians I can assume there is no awareness of the alienation from that cultural norm. 

A thoughtful Muslim leader, Tariq Ramadan, summed it up very nicely. "No where in nature is there uniformity. It is not the norm. We must have unity with diversity." This is what changed Malcolm X's heart. He went to Pilgrimage in Mecca and he saw white, brown, yellow, and black Muslims coming together in unity. In essence Tariq Ramadan is saying a Muslim can only live in America or Europe if there is space for a Muslim to practice his faith openly, without judgement, without hindrance, without discussion, and with the understanding that we all do not have to be uniform to be American or French. 

The United States will never defeat the North American version of Islamic State Terrorism because its root can not be killed with bombs, bullets, or drones. The Islamic State, in theory not practice, is a lifeline to the belief that a Muslim can have space to be Muslim. I would like to repeat that. For North American Islamic State Terrorism, as currently displayed, it is not about supporting the practice of some radical, strict form of Islam.  Look at the individuals. Some did things they would be stoned to death for if they truly went to the live in the Islamic State. 

Our Islamic State Terrorists are striking out through alienation. You can not bomb that away.

William Church, Managing Director, CIWARS
Ilham Kocache, Managing Editor, CIWARS

India Farmers Hope For Good Rain In Coming Months After Dry Spell in June

Farmers Hope For Good Rain In Coming Months After Dry Spell in June

New Delhi:  After a few showers in mid-June, the monsoon has been playing truant dashing hopes for farmers across the country.

In Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri district, some have gone ahead with sowing but the long dry spell has led to uncertainty among them. Assurances by the Met department are doing little to calm their nerves.

About 800 km in Maharashtra's Nashik district, 52-year-old Sharad Dharwade is facing the same problem. As the monsoon picks up across the country, his 4-acre field continues to thirst for water, just like the rest of the village.

"It's already July and there is still no sign of the rain," he said.
After the Met department forecast, farmers hope for surplus rain in July and August
Maharashtra's water resources minister also sounded alarmed by the situation. "There are many areas that still haven't received much rainfall. Some reservoirs still have no water to even supply to cities," said Girish Mahajan.

The state government's anxiety reflected in the latest figures of the Central Water Commission's data on key reservoirs in the country which are below 15 per cent capacity. Seven reservoirs, most of which are in Maharashtra, are still without water.

In the east of the country, there's no immediate respite for the Bolangir district in Odisha. It has received just one-third of the average rainfall it gets during the month of June. The situation has prompted farmers like 25-year-old Bideshi Sahu, who has already spent close to Rs. 12,000 on getting his field ready, to consider other options. "If it doesn't rain in another 10 days, I will start looking for work in Andhra or migrate to a city," he said

After two consecutive years of drought in many states of the country, all hopes now rest on the predictions of the Met department that has forecast surplus rain in July and August.

(Kishor Belsare, Gopal Pradhan, Atul Gaur also contributed to this story)

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Mauritius braces itself for climate change

Mauritius braces itself for climate change

Mauritius is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) off the coast of Africa. The country's GDP is among the highest of African nations, and Mauritius also has a well-functioning democracy. It's also among the world's biodiversity hotspots, especially for plants. As an island nation, it is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Deutsche Welle: How does Mauritius experience climate change?
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim: Whilst we have not polluted - [the entire African continent has] produced around 2 percent in terms of the carbon emissions - we are likely to be highly impacted.
One of the areas where we will suffer the brunt of climate change is with much more violent cyclones. The other part will be the erosion of the coast with the rising sea level. And whatever touches the coast means impacting the tourism industry. It also impacts the livelihoods of people, for those who depend on the lagoons for fishing and other activities.

Tourism is a money-maker in Mauritius - and will be impacted by climate change
We have seen really intense drought, and we have also seen a lot of flooding. So we have to have a state of preparedness so the people are aware that climate change is a reality and climate change will impact on everything we do. And we really have to develop strategies for adaptation.
What specifically is Mauritius planning in order to prepare for this range of effects you described and which are already being felt?
Our livelihoods on this planet depend on the sustainability of our biodiversity resources. And small island states like Mauritius belong to a biodiversity hotspot. Biodiversity ensures our survival on this planet. We have to have recourse to biodiversity for medicine, for food, and everything else. And this represents 35 percent of the ecosystem services that vulnerable people depend on.
So it is imperative that leaders in this world are made aware of the necessity to protect this biodiversity, these ecosystems - because our survival will depend on it.
What specifically are you planning in order to protect biodiversity as climate change kicks in?
People don't know what they have. So one of the areas we have to focus on is the necessity to keep on documenting these resources. It's only when we document that we will be able to take action and strategize as to how to best protect them.

Mauritius intends to keep its remaining primal forest intact to prevent further climate change
In the Paris Agreement, one of the goals is to preserve and restore forests. What is the plan in terms of your island nation preserving its forests?
This is an area we have not been very good at, because we have lost most of the original forest cover. Right now, we have something like less than 2 percent of the initial forest cover.
You know, forests are the world's lungs. Forests also include a diversity of species, and yet we are destroying this at a very, very fast pace, through, for example, logging or through land being cleared for agriculture. And with the impact of climate change, we have to keep the original forest intact.
Does Mauritius have a specific roadmap for decarbonizing its energy system?
We are trying to diversify the bouquet as far as possible. During the sugarcane harvest, we use a lot of biogas for energy. But of course after the harvest, we still have to resort to fossil fuel for our energy needs.
So what the government is trying to do now - and this has formed part of our INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) in the submission to the COP21 documents - is that we are going to diversify further our energetic requirement. So go into solar, go into wind … and because we are surrounded by the ocean, we will have to also try and see to what extent we can tap into wave energy as well.
Mauritius is a member of the Alliance of Small Island States and was a part of the high-ambition coalition that pushed for 1.5 degrees Celsius at COP21. What other measures is Mauritius taking at this point to bring the Paris Agreement forward? Is it working internationally?
We do lots of work, for example, with the Indian Ocean Commission, which is one of the flagship projects of the EU and has been our funding partner. The Indian Ocean Commission has expanded to a few eastern African countries.
So the future will be in partnership - South-South, but North-South as well. But we need to use as much technology as possible to empower the people and make them aware that technology is here to help.

Mauritius has progressed largely through the political will to do so, Gurib-Fakim says
How can leaders of developing countries get on board for decarbonization?
Mauritius was considered a lost case in the 1960s, so far away from everywhere else. Yet we've shown that it can happen. It can happen through will, through the government working with the people and through taking the right decisions to make it happen. We have advanced through empowering the people, through a democratic process, through accountability, and also through free education.
There's quite a compelling business case for renewables in the long term. How can leaders be convinced of this compelling case?
Countries have to have access to energy. Energy is a must, it drives the economies. So these leaders are confronted with ensuring that access to energy is there. How do they go about it? This is where the Green Fund, with the appropriate technologies, comes in. This is the hand-in-hand between North and South, working together, so that this can happen.
But we have not yet ratified the Paris Agreement. Hopefully by the end of 2016 or early 2017, we will see countries having the will to sign. We are still waiting for one of the big partners - the European Union - to sign. There has to be the will for all the partners to come together and make it happen, so that people have access to energy for their own development.

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim holds a PhD in organic chemistry
What is the main challenge you're facing in terms of adaptation to climate change?
How do we access the appropriate information, how do we access the appropriate technology, the means, and how do we make it happen on the ground.
Of course at the end of the day, it all boils down to: finance. [chuckles]
Is Mauritius prepared for the impact of climate change?
This is a question that touches on the whole planet: Are we all prepared for it?
Our preparedness, and our way of adapting and confronting this, will depend on how best we empower our own people.
Biodiversity scientist Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim has been the president of Mauritius since June 2015.
The interview was conducted by Sonya Angelica Diehn at European Development Days 2016 in Brussels.

In first half of 2016, record number of migrants die trying to cross Mediterranean

In first half of 2016, record number of migrants die trying to cross Mediterranean: IOM

People stand next to the dead body of a migrant on the beach of Siculiana Thomson Reuters
By Lin Taylor
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Nearly 2,900 migrants have died trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, making the first six months of 2016 the deadliest on record, according to figures published Friday by an international migration group.
Between the months of January and June, there were 2,899 recorded deaths at sea, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported, around a 50 percent increase in the number of deaths when compared with the same period in 2015, when 1,838 migrants went missing or drowned at sea. In 2014, there were 743 deaths at sea by mid-year.
"We've had almost 3,000 people dead which is really alarming," said Joel Millman, spokesman for the IOM, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"Europe's done a remarkable job, they've saved thousands of lives this year alone. But almost 3,000 people dead means they're not doing everything that needs to be done."
Millman said he was not expecting migrant arrivals to decrease as insecurity in Libya, Syria and other war-torn countries is not likely to improve in the coming months.
In first six months of this year, 225,665 migrants arrived in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain by sea, with the central Mediterranean route to Italy claiming the most lives, accounting for nearly 2,500 deaths. This time last year, the number of arrivals by sea was just over 146,000, the IOM said.
On Thursday, 10 women died in a sinking rubber boat off the coast of Libya and an Italian ship rescued hundreds of other migrants, the Italian coastguard said.
The latest deaths came as Italy raised the wreck of a fishing boat that sank in April last year. The disaster is feared to have killed up to 800 people, making it one of the deadliest shipwrecks in decades of seaborne migration from North Africa towards Europe.
(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, global land rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, women's rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories)
Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2016. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

Africa needs over $3 trillion to mitigate climate change - The New Times | Rwanda

 Africa needs over $3 trillion to mitigate climate change
World Bank country manager Yasser El-Gamal speaks during the Africa Carbon Forum in Kigali yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)
African countries need at least $2.7 trillion for mitigation measures and another $488 billion for adaptation to climatic change to be met in 2030, according to the estimates from Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for adaptation to climate change.
Speaking during the Africa Carbon Forum in Kigali, yesterday, Yasser El-Gammal, the World Bank country manager, said the amount is based on countries that have already declared their INDCs, adding that there are few others yet to submit.
According to the World Bank, under current estimates, Africa requires $5 to $10 billion per year to adapt to global warming.
Mohamed Benyahia director of partnership, communication and cooperation-Morocco gives his key note address at the meeting in Kigali.
The World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme estimate that the cost of managing climate resilience will continue to rise to $20 billion to $50 billion by mid-century, and closer to $100 billion in the event of a 4°C warming.
This scenario illustrates how global warming poses huge effects to life.
El-Gammal noted that the Bank has committed to mobilise about $90 billion for adaptation programmes to global warming by 2020 (for worldwide use).
Under the Paris Agreement adopted at last year's Climate Conference dubbed COP21, governments agreed a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels to reduce risks and the impacts of climate change.
Erica Barks-Ruggles, US.Ambassador to Rwanda listens to a question from the audience. 
El-Gammal said the money will be spent on five main areas of focus, including smart energy use, water and food security, and looking up technologies through which to scale up local energy resources such as solar energy, a project he said is now taking place in Rwanda.
Others are resilient cities and sustainable development.
Using national devt plan strategy
Anthony Nyong, division manager of Environment and Social Protection at the African Development Bank, said the continent should include climate adaptation funding options into national development plans for them to be successful.
"Let us look at climate finance as a pillar of development. Through INDCs, African countries should develop a strategy that can help them mobilise locally a quarter of the required climate action," Nyong said.
Anthony Nyong, Division Manager, Environmental and Social Protection at AfDB speaks during the meeting in Kigali.
He said AfDB has set up a mechanism to provide member countries with expertise to be able to negotiate with the private sector to reach good deal for climate finance.
Closing the African Carbon Forum, yesterday, the Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, said: "We can only overcome our challenges if we support one another and collaborate. I encourage all governments to find ways to work together, either by sharing financial resources, through technology transfer or exchanging know-how."
"We still have much to learn and a long way to go, but I am sure the sessions on climate finance here at the Africa Carbon Forum will accelerate the implementation of national climate action plans," he added.
Mahama Ayariga, the Ghanaian minister for environment, science, technology and innovation, said climate aspects should always be considered in all developmental activities and government budgets.
Participants follow proceedings during the meeting in Kigali. (Photos by Timothy Kisambira)
"If you are constructing a road, it has to to be done in a way that helps in adaptation to climate change. We have to consider environmental concerns in all development projects we undertake," he said.
Effects of climate change
Ephraim Kamuntu, Ugandan minister for tourism, wildlife and antiquities, said that, in 2010 in Bududa, eastern Uganda, a landslide triggered by heavy rain "buried 300 people alive," saying it was impact of climate change.
In western Uganda, there was a big ice cup, he said, but it has been melting.
Kamuntu said a recent study conducted on the impact of climate change on Uganda's economy numerically concluded that, in four years, it will cost Uganda $460 million.
"But Uganda contributes only 0.009 of total global house gas emissions," he noted.
The World Bank has estimated that some 100 million people will suffer worldwide, with 43 million of them in Africa, being stricken by hunger by 2030 if no relevant actions are taken to tackle climate change.
The Africa Carbon Forum 2016 in Kigali has been considered as a bridge between the Paris Agreement and the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, slated for November 7-18.