Monday 8 October
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JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
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Monday 8 October 2018 / Hour 1, Block A: Tom Joscelyn, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; & Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re: Taliban strikes at will; this time, south of Kabul in Wardaq Province. Also recently in Ghazni and elsewhere. Happening on the govt’s doorstep, and it's incapable of stopping it. https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2018/10/taliban-assaults-district-center-south-of-kabul.php
Taliban assaults district center south of Kabul @billroggio
The Taliban overran the district center of Sayyidabad in Wardak province and killed the district chief of police before withdrawing. Wardak is due south of Kabul, and the Taliban has been active in the area over the past several days.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on his Twitter account that the Sayyidabad “district HQ, police HQ & all security CPs” were “overrun,” and “dozens of gunmen [were] killed, [and a] large amount light/heavy weaponry, ammunition & vehicles [were] seized.”
Mujahid’s claim was supported by accounts in the Afghan press. A member of Wardak’s provincial council confirmed that the district center was overrun after “hundreds of militants stormed the district centre” and the district’s police chief was killed, Pajhwok Afghan News reported. During the fighting, “major power lines serving the district have been cut,” which cut power in Ghazni, Logar and Paktia provinces, according to TOLONews.
The Taliban appears to have withdrawn from the district center, but likely still maintains a strong presence outside of it, as it has for the past several years. Sayyidabad has been hotly contested for nearly eight years, and has sheltered al Qaeda and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan commanders in the past.
The Tangi Valley in Sayyidabad was the scene of one of the most deadly attacks on US forces since the war in Afghanistan began in late 2001. On Aug. 6, 2011 the Taliban shot down a Chinook helicopter in the district, killing 38 US and Afghan forces, including 17 US Navy SEALS from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (more commonly referred to as SEAL Team 6). More than one month later, the Taliban detonated a massive suicide bomb outside of Combat Outpost Sayyidabad, killing four Afghans and wounding more than 100 people, including 77 US soldiers.
In September 2011, the Taliban took control of Combat Outpost Tangi, which was abandoned by Afghan forces shortly after the massive suicide attack. The Taliban filmed its forces touring the base and released the video on its website.
By 2014, Taliban fighters were openly patrolling the Tangi Valley during the daytime, while Afghan forces were confined to a hilltop base, according to a BBC reporter who visited the area. Taxes were collected, and schools, which are funded by the Afghan government, taught the Taliban’s curriculum. Girls were not permitted to attend school.
Sayyidabad is one of seven of Wardak’s nine districts that are contested by the Taliban; only two districts are under the government’s control, according to a study by FDD’s Long War Journal.
The fighting in Sayyidabad took place as the Taliban has been active in Paktia and Ghazni provinces. In Ghazni, the Taliban destroyed three bridges and shut down a section of the Kabul-Kandahar Highway, a stretch of Afghanistan’s major roadway that is known as the Ring Road. The Taliban also destroyed a 5km section of road on the Ghazni-Paktika highway, which has been closed for more than four months. In Paktia, the Taliban has ordered cellular companies to shut down service during the nighttime.
Fighting in eastern Afghanistan has intensified over the past year as the Taliban has stepped up its operations in the region. Hundreds of Taliban fighters stormed Ghazni City at the beginning of August and occupied areas of the city for four days before the Afghan military, with the help of US forces, were able to organize and drive the Taliban out. The Taliban also overran several districts in Ghazni during this time.
Earlier this year, the US Department of Defense claimed that the Taliban has not had the initiative, but instead it has launched attacks on soft targets out of desperation. However the Taliban’s operations throughout the country has disproved the Pentagon’s narrative. Afghan security forces are taking casualties at a record pace, and Taliban controlled and contested districts are at an all-time high.
Former Egyptian officer turned al Qaeda loyalist reportedly captured in Libya It was al Qaeda that cleaned ISIS out of Libya.
https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2018/10/former-egyptian-officer-turned-al-qaeda-loyalist-reportedly-captured-in-libya.php The Libyan National Army (LNA) claims to have captured Hisham al-Ashmawy, a former Egyptian officer who defected to the jihadists’ cause. Ashmawy has long been hunted by Egyptian and Libyan forces, as he has been accused of leading jihadist operations in both countries. A released photos of a bloodied Ashmawy (one of which can be seen on the right), as well as an image purportedly depicting his Egyptian military identification card (seen below).
FDD’s Long War Journal cannot independently verify that Ashmawy has been captured, but the pictures do appear to match known images of the man, including photos that have been included in jihadist propaganda.
The LNA, which fights under General Khalifa Haftar, says that Ashmawy was captured in the eastern Libyan city of Derna, a known hotbed of jihadism. According to Reuters, the LNA claims Ashmawy was captured alongside the “wife and children of a second senior alleged militant, Mohamed Rifae Soroor” (also known as Omar Rifae Soroor), who was killed earlier this year.
The Egyptians say that Ashmawy leads an organization known as Ansar al-Islam, but he was identified as the head of Al Murabitoon in July 2015. Since that time, Ashmawy’s status has been murky.
Earlier this year, the LNA launched an offensive in Derna and has reportedly killed or captured various jihadi figures since then. Ashmawy has been targeted by both the LNA and the Islamic State.
In Aug. 2015, the Islamic State’s supporters named Ashmawy as one of the jihadists they “wanted dead.” Ashmawy resisted the call of the so-called caliphate and opposed the expansion of . . .
The national security report sponsored by SCALA.com, digital par excellence. Every Friday, the Scala Report.
Monday 8 October 2018 / Hour 1, Block B: Tom Joscelyn, Long War Journal and FDD; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re: US strikes Shabaab on southern Somalia coast https://www.longwarjournal.org The United States has conducted 24 strikes in Somalia in 2018, all of which have targeted Shabaab. The strike occurred near a town that was liberated by Somali forces just two days ago.
Monday 8 October 2018 / Hour 1, Block C: Gordon Chang, Daily Beast, in re: Big problems n big China. Pompeo suddenly left Pyongyang and flew to Beijing; Pompeo was straightforward and said, “We have fundamental disagreements with China.” Important that he show that we’re not afraid of being clear, and are willing to assert our rights and those of the intl community. A very good move. For decades, Washington has set the success of the Chinese Communist Party as a US goal! . . . We’re suspicious when the head of Interpol returns to China in September and disappears. Beijing says that he resigned and is being investigated. Disagreements at the top of the CCP are so severe that they're breaking out n public. Xi has Mao-era power and, along with them, Mao-era instability. Pompeo regrets that the planned mid-October meeting among US and Chinese diplomats, the “security dialogue.” We cancelled because China with drew their top admiral, thereby cutting of mil-to-mil dialogue, Shows that Beijing is having a temper tantrum.
A million Uyghurs locked in concentration camps; China is trying to liquidate an ethnic group, incl by torture and murder. Taiwan. No mil-to-mil. Coming: a weekend discussion among Pyongyang, Moscow, Beijing. As US-Chinese relations fade, where does that leave Moon Jae-in’s utopianism? Need to tighten US sanctions on [illegal] activities by China. Disagreeable for a while but safer than the alternative. Moon works for Pyongyang! He’s subverting his own society, his own nation. Kim drove a new Rolls to meet Pompeo to flaunt the fact that US sanctions aren't working at all.
Monday 8 October 2018 / Hour 1, Block D: Fraser Howie, author, Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundations of China's Extraordinary Rise; writes for SCMP, Lowy Institute, et al.; in re: The game of chicken last week with the Decatur. Has Xi Jinping ceded control of the face of China controlling the world? In some ways, acting predictably; in the case of the Interpol chief, you couldn’t make that up for a novel. Chinese have had it their way for a long time and aren't getting their way any more, and are acting rattled.
Their economy has been slowing for a long time; they'll have a Lehmann moment. Stress in the economy; have grown addicted to credit. Bloomberg article last week about the big hack, that goes right to the heart of Chinese manufacturing. Struggling, or should be, to find a new model – but they’re so used to running rings around others, esp the US, they’re fighting back in the ways that they do. The very mention of the notion of Hong Kong independence gets Beijing rattled, you have completely intemperate behavior.
For the CCP, loyalty is all that matters, no matter how ridiculous it appears; when that doesn’t occur, they become irrational. No longer talk of deleveraging their economy; have staked their legitimacy on keeping the economy growing. The private sector exista at the tolerance of the State sector. As free as it appears, everything is at the discretion of the state; now have a leader focussed on a very strong state. Siphoning money off to overseas is not approved. Not everything is nationalized, but all of private enterprise sees that, “I’ve got to fall in to line.”
Monday 8 October 2018 / Hour 2, Block A: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner, & John Fund, NRO, in re: David just returned from Tennessee; the Kavanaugh matter – what the GOP learned from all this was that it was a good exercise for them as it galvanized the Republican vote and awakened interest in the midterm elections. That all really angered a lot of Republicans. Including those who weren’t very enthusiastic about Trump. The DC mess created a straight ticket for the GOP. Democrats overall would have been in better shape had they not had this.
Learned by the Democratic party: strategy was either to get Kavanaugh off the Court, or else rev up troops through righteous anger; but results are mixed. Instead, Republicans are all revved up and we have a campaign on our hands. Kavanaugh situation led us to a British-style journalism [heavily oppositional]; a clarifying moment.
In Tennessee: a woman who voted GOP all her life; is still fiscally conservative and social progressive, but in her district in suburban Memphis, her vote against trump, whom she doesn't like, won’t count in a red district, She doesn't care for his personal comportment; “Need to be a decent person.” If Democrats win control of the House in November, it’ll be due to women like her. Countervailing: “I still don't like Trump, but at least he stood up to the bullies.”
Monday 8 October 2018 / Hour 2, Block B: John Fund, NRO, & David M Drucker, Washington Examiner, in re: What used to count a lot: The economy. And what happened to Russiagate? . . . Democratic officials don't want to talk about impeaching Trump, but the base can't help it.
Monday 8 October 2018 / Hour 2, Block C: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Barkan Industrial Zone: two people murdered by a co-worker, who fled. There are 3,300 Palestinians and 3,300 Israelis work together harmoniously with exactly the same pay, Guy come in and sho a young mother and a young father. Caught everyone off guard; the tragedy alarmed everyone – esp the brutality, as the killer tied them up and executed them. Abbas continues with horrific threats – against both Palestinians in Gaza, and against Israelis, where he incites rioting and never condemns any violence.
Zarif (Iran) meets Lavrov (Russia). Iran accuses Russia of collaborating with Saudi Arabia to lower the price of oil. Note that Volvo, Der Bild, others . . . Total (France) said it couldn’t afford to collaborate against anti-Iran sanctions; similarly, Eni (Italy). Bolton spoke today in forceful terms about Iran as the world’s leading sponsor or terrorism.
EU’s failure to press IAEA to go after obvious evidence of Iran’s nuclear program, or condemn Hamas’s extraordinary violence in sending fire kites and rockets across the Gazan border to kill and wound and damage civilians.
Area C: road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea; no one living n either side . . . Khan al Almar [?], a tiny and illegal encampment of illegal structures on the side of the four-lane highway. For decades, Israel has resisted turning this into a Palestinian space because it's a strategic location. Israel is resettling the inhabitants — Bedouin — and the EU is calling it . . .
Monday 8 October 2018 / Hour 2, Block D: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: . . .
Indiana Hoenlein: The world’s oldest brewery: a cave north of Haifa, served as a burial site for Natufian people (lived after Paleolithic), who fermented different kinds of grain, some possibly used in burial ceremonies. A souplike liquid, different from today’s; was a variety of beer.
Israel antiquities Authority tomorrow will announce something enormous; we don't yet know what it is. Also, seals with a king’s and prophet’s name; could have been an amazing connection.
The lost theater under the Western Wall, Wilson’s Arch, Second Temple period: a Roman-period 200-seat amphitheater. We don't know what else we’ll find there; but this is a remarkable discovery. – Indiana’s swift change from street clothes into exploration cape; remember the toads, the beheaded frogs?
Monday 8 October 2018/ Hour 3, Block A: Terry Anderson, PERC Montana and Hoover; in re: Indigenous Peoples’sDay. Recent conference in DC on renewing Indigenous Peoples’s economies (1 of 2)
Monday 8 October 2018/ Hour 3, Block B: Terry Anderson, PERC Montana and Hoover; in re: Indigenous Peoples’sDay. Recent conference in DC on renewing Indigenous Peoples’s economies (1 of 2)
Monday 8 October 2018/ Hour 3, Block C: Andrew C McCarthy, III, in re: Rosenstein (1 of 2)
Monday 8 October 2018/ Hour 3, Block D: Andrew C McCarthy, III, in re: Rosenstein (2 of 2)
Monday 8 October 2018/ Hour 4, Block A: John Tamny, RealClearPolitics, in re: Money (1 of 2)
Monday 8 October 2018/ Hour 4, Block B: John Tamny, RealClearPolitics, in re: Money (2 of 2)
Monday 8 October 2018/ Hour 4, Block C: The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century, by David Reynolds
Monday 8 October 2018/ Hour 4, Block D: The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century, by David Reynolds