Weekend Reading: Jan 23-25

January 23, 2015

Charlie Hebdo Style Attacks Coming to the UK? Friend of WOTR Shiraz Maher’s latest for the New Statesman examines the Paris attacks from the perspective of British foreign fighters, with whom he is regularly in touch from his perch in London at ICSR (profiled here by The Guardian). These English-speaking jihadists, many fighting in Syria, seem to confirm to what Clint Watts and Lorenzo Vidino both observed recently here at WOTR. For example, Omar Hussain, a 27 year old former supermarket security guard now fighting in Syria, told Maher, “I’m not fussed whether it’s done under the banner of Aqap or Isis. As long as the kafir [infidel] has been killed, that’s what counts. Killing a kafir who insults the Prophet is a praiseworthy deed.” Read this riveting article.

Want more? Read Lorenzo Vidino’s “Wrong Assumptions: Integration, Responsibility, and Counterterrorism in France” and Clint Watts’ “Inspired, Networked & Directed – The Muddled Jihad of ISIS & al Qaeda post Hebdo.”

“The Next Great War is Here and We are Fighting it Now” (pdf). That’s the title of the final winning entry for the first War Art Challenge run by the Art of Future Warfare over at the Atlantic Council. The contest asked people to write a news story depicting the outbreak of the next great war. You know what they say, great war, great success…oh wait, no that’s not how that goes. Anyway, read all of the winning entries here.

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Want more? Check out what Tiago Forte learned about the future from reading 100 science fiction books.

AirSea Battle Vanquished. Or is it? Whatever it is, it’s not called that anymore. It’s now called the Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons. New name, new acronym: JAM-GC. And over at Information Dissemination, Lazarus isn’t happy. In a preview of how navalists might react, he blames the Army for trying to bust into an operational concept in which it has no place. He writes “This name change illustrates that service-driven parochialism is alive and well and well in the Pentagon, and is aided and abetted by joint bureaucrats intent on shaping all problems with the same joint tools, whether appropriate or not.”

Awesome Alliteration Award. That’s what we’re giving to Michael Koplow at Ottomans and Zionists for his new post, “The Bilious Bond Between Bibi, Barack, and Boehner.” He is, of course, referring to Speaker Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress about Iran. And the White House is none too pleased with this circumvention of diplomatic protocol. You see, usually heads of state arrange these visits with each other and this is widely seen as Bibi intervening in the American political process. But Koplow has a different take. See what it is.

All your base are belong to us. Nicole Bailey at International Affairs Review examines the use of video games to teach strategy. She looks at a video game classic, Civilization, but also an indie game where you take the role of a burdened immigration officer in a dictatorship. How does that teach strategy? Take a look!

The King is Dead. At least in Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah passed away and and his brother Salman now takes the throne. Who is this 79-year old king? Read bios from CNN, Time, Financial Times, and International Business Times. From FT’s profile: “King Salman built his reputation as governor of Riyadh Province, the seat of power of the House of Saud. He held the influential position for almost 50 years, controlling a huge budget and wielding unparalleled influence among tribes and the clerical establishment — especially the religious police — the main pillars upon which the royal family’s power base rests.” He has ties with liberals, but is also “a strong proponent of Wahhabi Islam.”


Photo credit: The U.S. Army