Archive for the ‘threat’ Category

Barack Obama is warned to beware of a ‘huge threat’ from al-Qaeda

November 15, 2008

Barack Obama is being given ominous advice from leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to brace himself for an early assault from terrorists.

General Michael Hayden, director of the CIA, this week acknowledged that there were dangers during a presidential transition when new officials were coming in and getting accustomed to the challenges. But he added that no “real or artificial spike” in intercepted transmissions from terror suspects had been detected.

President Bush has repeatedly described the acute vulnerability of the US during a transition. The Bush Administration has been defined largely by the 9/11 attacks, which came within a year of his taking office.

His aides have pointed to al-Qaeda’s first assault on the World Trade Centre, which occurred little more than a month after Bill Clinton became President in 1993. There was an alleged attempt to bomb Glasgow airport in Gordon Brown’s first days in Downing Street and a London nightclub attack was narrowly thwarted.

Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced ... 
CIA Director Michael Hayden.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)

Read the rest from The Times of London:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_
and_americas/article5158569.ece

North Korea threatens to reduce South to ruins

October 28, 2008

North Korea’s military threatened on Tuesday to use everything in its arsenal to reduce South Korea to rubble unless Seoul stops civic groups from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the communist state.

The North has lashed out at the South’s president who took office in February for his pledges to get tough with his neighbor and has been enraged by a fresh wave of propaganda leaflets sent by balloons launched in the South in recent months.

“We clarify our stand that should the South Korean puppet authorities continue scattering leaflets and conducting a smear campaign with sheer fabrications, our army will take a resolute practical action as we have already warned,” the official KCNA news agency quoted the military spokesman as saying.

From Jack Kim, Reuters

North Korean soldiers clap their hands at an undisclosed location ... 
North Korean soldiers clap their hands at an undisclosed location in North Korea in a picture released by KCNA on August 16, 2008.(KCNA/Reuters)

At a rare round of military talks on Monday, North Korea complained about the leaflets while South Korean activists sent a new batch of 100,000, despite warnings from Seoul not to do so.

“The puppet authorities had better bear in mind that the advanced pre-emptive strike of our own style will reduce everything opposed to the nation and reunification to debris, not just setting them on fire,” the spokesman said.

South Korean groups have been sending the leaflets into the North for years. Analysts said the recent wave appeared to have touched a nerve because they mentioned a taboo subject in the North — the health of leader Kim Jong-il.

U.S. and South Korean officials have said Kim may have suffered a stroke in August, raising questions about who was running Asia’s only communist dynasty and making decisions concerning its nuclear arms program.

North Korea mostly refrained from threatening the South when it was receiving a steady stream of unconditional aide under liberal presidents who ruled for 10 years before President Lee Myung-bak.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081028/ts_nm/
us_korea_north_threat;_ylt=AvuodveSchTNpY95dCxWGdas0NUE

European Missile Defense: Assessing Iran’s ICBM Capabilities

October 14, 2008

This is a very personal issue for us as we were involved in discussing the threat to Europe and the need for missile defense starting around 1990….
Though we disagree with much of what the Arms Control Association says, we always find some food for thought…..

From The Arms Control Association

In 1999 and 2001, the National Intelligence Council stated that Iran could develop an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015. In recent years, U.S. government agencies have affirmed those estimates, arguing that “Iran could have long-range missiles capable of reaching the U.S. and Europe before 2015” and that “proposed U.S. missile defense assets in Europe would defend the U.S. and much of Europe against long-range ballistic missile threats launched from the Middle East.”[1]  Accordingly, Washington intends to build a missile defense system in Europe by around 2012.

Can Iran field an ICBM capable of striking the United States by 2012? Iran has more than a decade of experience with developing single-stage, short-range and medium-range missiles that can reach neighboring countries and Israel. It has yet to demonstrate a capability for a longer-range missile, although within a few years it may have the means to develop and deploy a 3,000-4,000-kilometer-range missile that can strike western Europe. Iran would find it difficult, though, to field a 10,000-kilometer-range ICBM that can strike the United States by 2012-2015 unless North Korea or another country successfully develops and tests such a system and transfers it to Iran. Even with such foreign assistance, it would likely take Tehran several additional years of development and testing before it could produce and deploy a modest number of such missiles.

Iran’s Missile Programs

Iran initially sought ballistic missiles during its war with Iraq, when hundreds of Iraqi missiles struck Iranian cities. Tehran’s missile program then developed in several phases. From the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, Iran purchased 300-kilometer-range Scud-B and 600-kilometer-range Scud-C missiles from North Korea, and it also indigenously assembled and built Scuds. Then Iran developed the single-stage, liquid-fuel Shahab-3 missile. This approximately 16-metric-ton missile has a range of 1,300 kilometers with a 750-kilogram payload and is derived from North Korea’s Nodong missile. The Shahab-3 was first flight-tested in July 1998 and reportedly completed its development test series after its sixth flight in July 2003.[2]

Since the turn of the century, Iran has pursued a number of other missile projects, although it has not yet flight-tested a new medium-range or long-range ballistic missile. One project involves modifications to the Shahab-3. In August 2004, Iran tested a Shahab-3 with a bulbous nose cone reportedly capable of accommodating a nuclear warhead.[3] In August 2005, Iran stated that it had increased the range of the Shahab-3 to 2,000 kilometers. Iran again tested the Shahab-3 in January 2006 and May 2006, and the January 2006 test may have involved a more advanced North Korean Nodong-B missile…..

Read the rest:
http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_10/Mistry

Lavrov says Russia and the US still have differences over missile defense

March 18, 2008

March 18, ,2008

Moscow (AP) — Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia and the U.S. still disagree over a missile shield for central Europe, while U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the system “would not constitute a threat” to Moscow.

After talks with Gates and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Lavrov told a news conference that Moscow still sees a “risk” to Russia in the U.S. plans to deploy missile defense facilities in central Europe.

But both Lavrov and Rice voiced confidence that Washington and Moscow can continue to work constructively on this and a wide array of issues.

“When we have differences, we can talk about them in an atmosphere of mutual respect,” Rice said, backing Lavrov’s belief that the two sides disagree about the positioning of the missile defense system.

Gates, joining Lavrov and Rice at a news conference, said that “we’ve leaned very far forward in this to provide assurance” that the system is not a threat.

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/18/europe/EU-GEN-Russia-US.php

Commander warns of al-Qaida threat

March 6, 2008

(AP)  WASHINGTON – The military commander in charge of domestic security says al-Qaida may be working more urgently to plan an attack on the U.S. to maintain its credibility.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, gestures during a news conference ... 
U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, gestures during a news conference at Central Command Center, Doha, Qatar in this April 10, 2003 file photo. Renuart, the military commander in charge of defending the U.S. homeland, said he believes there are al-Qaida cells in the U.S. or people working to create them.
(AP Photo/Richard Lewis, File)

Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, who is chief of the U.S. Northern Command, told reporters he has not seen any direct threats tied to the U.S. presidential elections. But he says it would be imprudent to think that such threats are not there.

While he believes that U.S. authorities have thwarted attacks on a number of occasions, he says terrorist cells may be trying harder than ever to plot high-impact events.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/terror_threat;_ylt=AmnXOcOxLEk9oN.FB5VjH
wms0NUE

NATO’s Superbowl Loss?

March 5, 2008

by James Zumwalt
Human Events
March 5, 2008

The 2007-2008 NFL season witnessed the march of one of the greatest teams in professional football history fall 35 seconds short of perfection. Despite its loss in Superbowl XLII, the New England Patriots demonstrated tremendous success in fielding a team each week with single unity of purpose — to win.

Each team member had equal responsibility to achieve this goal, knowing the rest of the team relied upon him to execute his assignment with maximum intensity and effort.

Imagine, however, if some team members, at the outset of the season, placed limitations on what they were willing to do on the field? What, for example, would have been the result had a defender informed the coach he would only defend against the pass for 20 yards out but not beyond that? Or, worse, if a fully capable player, fearing injury, opted to sit on the bench the entire season, unwilling to share the risks, leaving his fellow teammates to take hits for him.

No coach would ever field such a team, knowing that doing so would spell disaster.

Ironically, on a much more important field — a battlefield in the war on terror — this is exactly what is happening.

In 2003, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai asked NATO to help stabilize his country and provide security against the threat of the Taliban insurgency. Under a UN mandate, NATO took action, becoming the first ground mission in the six decade history of the alliance. French and German forces were sent to the north of Afghanistan; Italian and Spanish forces west; and US, British, Dutch and Canadian troops south — where most of the fighting takes place.

NATO’s mission in Afghanistan was an enormous evolution for the alliance. It represented the first time the Alliance was taking action against a threat outside the European theater.

This was an important step because the member nations, recognizing that the threats to their mutual security posed by terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were global, necessitating more than purely local action.

The future of NATO as a credible force, with single-minded unity of purpose, turned on its performance in Afghanistan.

And it has failed.

Despite the strategic importance of NATO’s success in Afghanistan, it quickly became apparent not all team members came to win. Promised manpower levels were not provided. Some team members placed operational restrictions on their forces. They were not allowed to operate at night.

Others were barred from operating in those areas where the threat was greatest and, thus, help needed the most. Some even put limitations on the distance forces could patrol outside their bases. It was clear not all team members had the same unity of purpose in mind, content to leave other team members to take the hits for them.

Instead of fielding the 18-1 Patriots, NATO fielded the 1-15 Miami Dolphins. President Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have been pressing our NATO allies to do more in this very important fight.

Trying to at least get those nations imposing limitations on the use of their forces, Gates has pointed out, “Brothers in arms achieve victory only when all march in step toward the sound of the guns.” He repeatedly encouraged NATO team members to make their restrictions as benign as possible.

But their continued failure to do so is making the military commander’s mission in Afghanistan a nightmare as leaders need constantly consider what assets can be used at what times and in what locations. Missions are impeded as commanders fail to have unlimited access to all resources in-country. This is no way to fight a war you intend to win.

Leaving a disproportionate share of the risk and responsibility for fighting the Taliban and stabilizing Afghanistan to only a few members of the NATO team is a recipe for disaster. It undermines the team concept of all for one and one for all. It undermines support for the mission by a public who senses less than a full commitment to maximizing the application of military force. Why show up for the game if you’re not going to give your all towards achieving victory? Such a lack of risk balance has prompted Canada, which has suffered the
highest casualty rate of any country, to threaten a withdrawal of its forces next year if other member states fail to contribute more to combat operations.

President Bush has made clear, “Afghanistan is NATO’s most important military operation. By standing together…we will protect our people, defend our freedom and send a clear message to the extremists — the forces of freedom and decency will prevail.”

Afghanistan is NATO’s Superbowl. But while NATO leaders pledge to stay the course there, they are doing little to demonstrate a winning commitment. It was recently revealed that Prince Henry — third in line to the British throne — secretly spent more than two months as a combat soldier in Afghanistan before his presence was revealed by the media.

The bad news is the media placed greater value on reporting this story than on limiting risk to human life; the good news is Henry’s front line deployment demonstrated the Brits’ unity of purpose and commitment to the principle all team members are equal and should share equal risks. If only we could get all our NATO team members to accept this standard.

Short of that, NATO’s quest to win its Superbowl may well go the way of that of the New England Patriots.

James Zumwalt is a retired Marine who served in the Vietnam and Gulf wars. He has written opinion pieces on foreign policy, defense and security issues for dozens of newspapers. He is president of his own security consulting company.

Pentagon Says China’s Boost to Space Plan Poses a Threat

March 4, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) — China is developing the ability to limit or prevent the use of satellites by potential adversaries, the Pentagon said Monday in a report to Congress.

The report, the latest annual assessment of China’s military power, highlights developments in China’s commercial space program and asserts that some of it can be of military use. It says Chinese leaders have been silent on the question of a military motivation for their space programs.

The report said “writings….

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/world/asia/04china.html

Muslim Backing Of Al-Qaeda Wanes

February 8, 2008

By Walter Pincus
The Washington Post
February 8, 2008

The violent attacks by al-Qaeda and by the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq have led people and religious groups in the Muslim world to reduce their financial support for Osama bin Laden‘s terrorist network and to question its leadership, senior U.S. intelligence officials told Congress yesterday.

“There seems to be a greater indication on the part of people within Islam to question the vision of al-Qaeda and the future that they’re holding out,” CIA Director Gen. Michael V. Hayden told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence during a hearing on worldwide threats. He said al-Qaeda’s leaders are “being forced to enter into a frankly open dialogue . . . with the body of believers.”

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told the panel that “the brutal attacks unleashed by al-Qaeda in Iraq and the other al-Qaeda affiliates against Muslim civilians have tarnished al-Qaeda’s self-styled image as the extremist vanguard.” He told the panel that “al-Qaeda has had difficulty in raising funds and sustaining themselves” over the past year since the Saudi government began arresting alleged al-Qaeda terrorists following attacks in that country.

Despite those signs, McConnell said, al-Qaeda remains “the preeminent terrorist threat to the United States here at home and abroad.”

Pakistan Is Threatened, Intelligence Chief Says

February 6, 2008

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 6, 2008; Page A03
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Radical elements are now a threat to the survival of Pakistan, prompting Pakistani military leaders to recognize that more aggressive efforts are needed to get the elements under control, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said yesterday in testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
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“In the last year, the number of terrorist attacks and deaths were greater than the past six years combined,” McConnell said in an unusually strong warning about Pakistan’s political problems. “What’s happened is Pakistan has now recognized that this is an existential threat to their very survival.”
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Pakistani leaders, he said, are “starting a process to be more aggressive in getting control of the situation.” The elements include al-Qaeda and Taliban members who for years were nurtured by Pakistani military and intelligence officials, prompting U.S. lawmakers and others to question the sincerity of the government’s effort.
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Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/05/AR2008020502979.html

U.S., Poland Closer to Deal on Missile Defense

February 2, 2008

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 2, 2008; Page A16

The United States and Poland broke a logjam yesterday in negotiations over U.S. plans to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, with the Bush administration committing “in principle” to help Poland modernize its armed forces.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) shakes hands with ...
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) shakes hands with Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski after a news conference at the State Department in Washington February 1, 2008. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


Poland is “satisfied that our arguments have got through,” Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said. At a news conference yesterday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sikorski said that “separate” dialogues would now continue “both on the missile defense base and on the modernization.”

Talks on the Pentagon‘s plan to place 10 missile interceptors in Poland stalled after the new Polish government, which took office in November, proved less receptive to the shield than its predecessor. With the public increasingly….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/01/AR2008020101910.html