Rioting among groups such as Antifa (on the anarchist left), Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys (on the alt-right) and mass demonstrations by issue-motivated groups such as Black Lives Matter, ­Extinction Rebellion and the Women’s March kicked into high gear after Donald Trump’s election. Then after a resurgence in 2005-06, it suffered severe setbacks in the south and east of the country and its fighters were forced to bide their time as they rebuilt, recruited and rearmed in Pakistan, and stealthily recaptured territory in remote parts of Afghanistan. The Hand Maid’s Tale wove a dystopian tale all the more rendered all the more harrowing by the dual reality that there are a lot of men in the world who would like to see women in servitude, and that our society has the technology to do it. This isn’t as far-fetched as it seems. Then Barack Oba­ma, in announcing his surge in December 2009, also (very helpfully for the Taliban) announced its end date, later extended by NATO but still resulting in a rigid timetable for withdrawal. Internal conflict in Saudi Arabia is also a risk: a recent incident where a drone flew into the royal compound in Riyadh triggered a coup scare and highlighted nervousness within the Saudi royal family about opposition towards Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reforms. This is no longer the case: given rising civilian casualties, the high loss rate of Afghan forces, the deadly string of Taliban bombings now afflicting Afghan cities and the fact that the Taliban are now capturing and briefly holding provincial capitals every few months, the Kabul government wants to reduce the war to a far lower level of intensity. An offshore-balancing strategy offers a way to do this while still acting tough and reserving the right to intervene unilaterally (another key Trump theme). Young people, from east and west Africa flee poverty, unemployment, and civil war, to wind up in Calais or in pop-up slave markets in free but failed Libya. Washington’s original war aims — destroy al-Qa’ida’s Afghan base in retaliation for 9/11 and overthrow the Taliban as punishment for protecting Osama bin Laden’s outfit — had already been achieved by mid-December 2001, less than eight weeks after the war began. David John Kilcullen FRGS is an Australian author, strategist, and counterinsurgency expert who is currently the non-executive Chairman of Caerus Associates, a strategy and design consulting firm that he founded. By David Kilcullen Protesters in Lansing, Michigan, during a rally earlier this month organised by Michigan United for Liberty to condemn coronavirus pandemic … In the same region, a US exit from Syria (a key element of a balancing approach) would remove deterrents on Turkey’s ability to attack Kurdish groups, heightening conflict risk between Ankara and the Kurds. Rather, given the multiplicity of groups involved, their geographical overlap and loose structure, we can expect something much more diffuse”. David Kilcullen is the award-winning author of Accidental Guerrilla (2009) and Counterinsurgency (2010) and now Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla (2013). Maybe He was just an accidental tourist caught in the camera’s gaze. Along with the change on Syria policy and the move to deter North Korea, last week’s strike was rapidly followed by shifts in Trump’s tone on China (evidently no longer a currency manipulator), NATO (apparently no longer obsolete) and Russia (it would have been nice to co-operate, but that’s not possible while Russia continues to back Assad). But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Saudi crown prince seem to have successfully sold Trump on their expansive vision of the Iranian threat, creating the possibility that Washington may be manipulated into decisions that run counter to its own wider interests. Contrary to the view of many that Assad did not use sarin gas, and to those who praised Trump’s newfound, muscular foreign policy, Kilcullen maintains that it was indeed Assad wot done it, that his reasons were strategically justified, that the US and its allies need much than this one viagra hit to bring the multifarious warring parties to the negotiating table, and that anyhow, the real target of Trump’s martial signalling were Chinese President Xi and The North Korean Fat Controller, Kim Jong Il. His newest book takes us away from the remote, rural guerrilla warfare of Afghanistan, and into the marginalized slums and complex security threats of the world's coastal cities. Falls the Shadow As the leader of the Russian revolution, he was a bit of an expert on sudden upheavals following long stasis. Laugh Out Loud – The Funniest Books Ever. There is no doubt that the US President’s decision reflected animus toward his predecessor’s signature achievement in foreign policy. The US President — who campaigned on getting out of Afghanistan as part of a broader policy of extricating America from its Middle Eastern wars of occupation — has been remarkably consistent in fulfilling his campaign promises. The rise of militias and armed protesters across the US is sometimes seen as a fringe right-wing issue, but it is much broader. Ottoman Redux poses a hypothetical; what if The Ottoman Empire has sided with Britain, France and Russia in World War I? Commentator and counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen is always worth reading. Given the continued refusal by many on the left to recognise Trump as America’s duly elected President, this speaks volumes for the level of bipartisan support for decisive action on Syria. Each is seeking to improve its military position against the other: the Chinese navy has ramped up activity in the South China Sea, for example, while US forces mounted more incursions into the area in the past three months than in all of last year. Class inequities, which track closely with racial disparities here, have prompted socialist groups — notably Antifa but also traditionally nonviolent Trotskyist and anarchist networks — to arm themselves for an incipient revolutionary moment. Meanwhile, Africa will continue to bleed, with ongoing wars across the Sahel, from West and Central Africa through to South Sudan,  ethnic tensions in the fragile nations of the Rift Valley, and further unrest in newly ‘liberated’ Zimbabwe as its people realize that the military coup is yet another case what The Who called “meet the old boss, same as the new boss”. If we visualise an armed movement as a pyramid, then the thousands of protesters on the street (and the tens of thousands who support and sympathise with them but stay home) represent the mass base. And then there were the British history buffs who reminded the world that Afghanistan was indeed the graveyard of empires, so well illustrated in the famous painting of the last stand of the 44th Foot on the bleak hillside of Gandamak during the disastrous retreat from Kabul in 1842. The use of sarin gas underlines how desperate his situation is. Fear of other groups, encroachment of those groups into one’s territory and collapse of confidence in government’s ability to impartially keep the peace are the key factors that provoke communal violence. Kilcullen, David. Commentator and counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen is always worth reading. The US and China are fast descending into a new cold war, as recriminations over the pandemic heighten conflicts that were already acute. This is not the first time that talks have been mooted, it’s not the first time the stars have seemed to align for peace, and it’s clear that the Taliban is both far from defeated and incapable of winning outright. The latter, whilst not as original, eye-catching and exhilarating as its parent, was nevertheless a cinematic masterpiece. From 1944 to 1992, despite periodic interventions (a CIA-backed coup in Iran in 1953, brief engagements in Lebanon in 1958 and 1983, bombing Libya in 1986) the US generally kept its military out of the region, preferring to counter Soviet influence through partners such as Israel, Turkey, the Arab monarchies, the Afghan mujaheddin in the 1980s and, until 1979, the shah of Iran. Five Republican members of Congress from Ohio voted Wednesday evening to reject an Electoral College certification, an action taken hours after … But our particular favourite is Deep in the Heart of Texas, a review of an article in The New Yorker by Lawrence Wright. David Kilcullen, The Australian, 30th May 2020. Indeed, the theory of guerrilla and unconventional warfare fits today’s situation all too well. Analysts warned this year that extremism poses as much risk today as it did in 1995. It is absolutely true that the intense hatred from right-wing extremists dwarfs most other groups. The decision to dump the deal is far from the only indicator. In our Land Down Under, we endured the longest, most boring election campaign in living memory, and got more of the same: a lacklustre Tory government, and a depressingly dysfunctional and adversarial political system. ; a fiftieth anniversary tribute to Liverpool poets Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten, Recalling the Mersey Poets; and musical settings to two of our poems, the aforementioned Oh, Jerusalem, and E Lucevan Le Stelle. Containing the Taliban as a remote, rural threat, grave enough to stop the international community abandoning Afghanistan yet able to be gradually overcome as a long-term national project (with international money and help) would be ideal. DAVID KILCULLEN: Oh, look, I think it's completely fine for international leaders to not want to designate Islamic State with the legitimacy that comes from recognising it as a state. A cynic might say that one reason the war has dragged on so long is that most sides have been achieving their objectives by letting it continue”. The new approach may signal the re-emergence of Washington’s former strategy of working through regional coalitions to counter rivals in the ­Middle East, thereby enabling US military disengagement from the post-9/11 wars. On Australia’s part, after peaking during 2010-11 with reconstruction and stabilization forces in Oruzgan province and a special operations task group that ­achieved widespread respect for its ­professionalism, our commitment now stands at about 300 ­personnel. It also highlights the comfort of many progressive interventionists (including Kerry, but also Hillary Clinton) with unilateral American use of force — provided it is sanctified by humanitarian principles such as “responsibility to protect”. These have been consistent Taliban demands since December 2009, when (as part of the headquarters team in Kabul) I met insurgent leaders who asked for the same deal in almost the same words. Pakistani decision-makers have long been extraordinarily open about this. In the dark times, will there also be singing? Kilcullen is a three piece rock band from New York City. Spencer Ackerman, in yesterday’s Washington Independent, claims I told him the Iraq war was “f*cking stupid”. These ­decisions, over near-un­animous Republican opposition, made the deal a bone of partisan contention from the outset, a pro­blem Obama’s staff exacerbated through a manipulative media campaign that drew harsh criticism when disclosed in 2016. But the twin issues around which those talks will be framed — a withdrawal pledge by Washington in return for a Taliban promise to never again let Afghanistan ­become a threat to any other country — are far from new. It’s like the Hotel California. And fear of the coronavirus, alongside the demonstrable inability of government to keep people safe, is driving today’s growth in armed militancy. by David Kilcullen Oxford University Press, 352 pp. If anything, Israel’s willingness to directly engage Iranian and Iranian-backed forces in Syria has only increased after since Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal. David Kilcullen is a former lieutenant-colonel in the Australian Army and was a senior adviser to US general David Petraeus in 2007-08, when he helped to design the Iraq war coalition troop surge. All this only accentuates Australians’ disenchantment with their representatives, warps their perception of the value and values of “democracy”, and drives the frustrated, disgruntled, fearful and alienated towards the political extremes – and particularly the Right where ambitious but frustrated once, present and future Tory politicians aspire to greatness as big fishes in little ponds of omniphobia. Although it’s ship of state is taking in water, Saudi Arabia will continue its quixotic and perverse adventures in the Gulf and the Levant. but Kilcullen begs to differs, suggesting a less dystopian but nonetheless disturbing outcome: “In ‘contested areas’ – where the territories of left and right-wing militants overlap – we can expect violence irrespective of the outcome. inquirer Home of the hateful, fearful, heavily armed David Kilcullen Coronavirus is threatening to ignite a tinderbox of grievances in the US. Kilcullen is, as ever, well worth reading. It’s unclear whether Trump knows any of this history; Harvard international relations professor Stephen Walt argued last month on Foreign Policy’s website that he probably does not. And heavily armed ­actors across the spectrum are poised to exploit them. As part of this strategy, US ­forces may launch periodic operations (missile and drone strikes, air raids or special forces operations) to preserve their preferred balance but would avoid protracted commitments, and troop numbers in Iraq and Syria would be drawn down. In In That Howling Infinite, read also: The Devil Drives, and  One Two Three what are we fighting for? There are, he says, “already hundreds militias of varying political complexions across the country. Its disadvantage is that interventions, when they do occur, can be extremely costly. Whether it spreads will depend on level-headed political leadership — and today’s hyper-partisan coronavirus debate offers little hope of that. Support Rusi Research. But, offshore balancing requires a cool nerves, a steady hand and deft footwork. Chinese business and political influence in Afghanistan have been growing significantly in recent years through investments in mining and infrastructure, aid money, diplomatic activity and a limited military presence (with troops often disguised as security contractors working for Chinese companies in country). The armed, gun-toting element is smaller still, but higher in skill, weaponry, organisation and motivation. Assad’s regime has shown no compunction in using nerve agents when its survival is at stake, but otherwise it mostly keeps chemical weapons as a hip-pocket emergency reserve that can be rapidly deployed when manpower is short. The May Government’s hamfistedness is such that at Year End, many pundits are saying that the public have forgotten the incompetence of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and predict that against all odds, his missus could soon be measuring up for curtains in Number Ten. Whilst a American force that once reached 140,000 soldiers America could not wipe out the Taliban, a mere 13,000 troops bolstering the Afghan army today, seems capable keeping the Taliban more or less in check. But neither Bolton nor Haley are likely to oppose the strategy if it appears to be succeeding. We are living through such weeks now. The Hand That Signed the Paper examines the divisive legacy of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The rise of militias and armed protesters across the US is sometimes seen as a fringe right-wing issue, but it is much broader. Congress has committed $US2 trillion ($3 trillion) in crisis spending, even as public debt nears $US30 trillion, or roughly 120 per cent of gross domestic product. Whether it spreads will depend on level-headed political leadership – and today’s hyper-partisan coronavirus debate offers little hope of that. Beset by devilish twins of Trump and Brexit, a European Union written-off as a dysfunctional, divided bureaucratic juggernaut, appears to have found hidden reserves of unity and purpose, playing hardball with Britain, dismissing the claims of Catalonia and Kurdistan, rebuking an isolationist America, and seeing-off resurgent extreme right-wing parties that threaten to fracture it with their nationalist and anti-immigration agendas. From 2005 to 2006, he was Chief Strategist in the Office of the Coordinator for … Both far-right and far-left armed groups were at Charlottesville, with ­cadres of gun-carrying militants guarding protesters on both sides and a third-party “constitutionalist” militia, the Oath Keepers — composed mainly of military and law-enforcement veterans — standing by as self-appointed umpires. Sadly, the former, Alien: Covenant, was a disappointment, incoherent and poorly written. Home of the hateful, fearful, heavily armed David Kilcullen May 30, 2020 Protesters in Lansing, Michigan, during a rally earlier this month organised by Michigan United for Liberty to condemn coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders. Alongside an Arab coalition, ­Israel seems ready to step into any gap created by US withdrawal, while cheering Trump’s decision to exit the Iran deal. In 2013, the dominant Syrian rebel factions still included secular groups, while jihadists were on the back foot. Are we heading for World War 3? This could draw Israel into more direct conflict with Iran — indeed, one possibility here is that Israel is deliberately escalating conflict with Iran in order to increase its leverage in post-nuclear-deal Washington. A few months later, Antifa convened an “anti-colonial anti-fascist community defence gathering” near Flagstaff, Arizona, that included weapons training and coaching in anti-police tactics. The sacking of secretary of state Rex Tillerson and national security adviser HR McMaster in March has removed competing power centres in US foreign policy, while former CIA director Mike Pompeo (Tillerson’s replacement as Secretary of State), and Defence Secretary James Mattis appear more than capable of executing an offshore balancing strategy. What’s different now? Nusra detests Islamic State (a feeling Abubakr al-Baghdadi’s organisation heartily reciprocates). David Kilcullen, The Australian, 30th May 2020. Military Adaptation in Action, Sir Antony Beevor [Land Warfare Conference 2016] Future Combined Arms Operations, Dr David Kilcullen [Land Warfare Conference 2017] Open to Invite Only Subscribe to our Newsletter. Kilcullen (Irish: Cill Chuilinn), formally Kilcullen Bridge, is a small town on the River Liffey in County Kildare, Ireland.Its population of 3,473 (2011 Census makes it the 12th largest settlement in County Kildare and the fastest growing in the county, having doubled in population from 1,483 in the census of 2002. A US withdrawal could jeopardize all this If the Taliban were to overthrow the Afghan government after an American withdrawal, it would be a humiliation on a par with Vietnam when Nixon’s administration hung its South Vietnamese allies out to dry (read Max Hastings recently published Vietnam – an American Tragedy for a chilling account of the US’ cynical, cold-blooded duplicity). Australia has suffered 41 fatalities, with more than half killed in 2010 and 2011 at the peak of our commitment. That’s why Baradar’s release by Pakistan last October — and his participation in the most recent talks in Doha last month, by far the most productive to date — was such a big deal. While I am not as cynical about this as my hypothetical observer, I am very sceptical about the prospects for peace anytime soon. After the International Security Assistance Force departed at the end of 2014, the Taliban immediately began ramping up its activity, and within a year it was gaining ground, taking the fight to Afghan cities, and projecting force into Afghanistan from its haven in Pakistan. and here are Those were the years that were : read our past reviews here:  2016   2015. Here is his latest piece  for The Australian on this subject. We reprised Tales of Yankee Power – how the songs of Jackson Brown and Bruce Cockburn portrayed the consequences of US intervention in Latin America during the ‘eighties. Reviewing 2017, I am reminded of Game of Thrones‘ Mance Rayder’s valedictory: “I wish you good fortune in the wars to come”. The occupation prompted a six-week siege by federal and state agencies in January-February 2016. Within days, rebel fighters pushed to within 5km of the Hama suburbs, threatening the regime’s control of a critical city that anchors its northern flank and provides access to Aleppo. There are real risks to allied aircraft over Syria from Russian and Syrian air defences, and to special forces and conventional troops (there are now, according to media reporting, as many as 1500 rangers, marines and special forces on the ground in Syria) in the event of strikes against the regime. This may not matter, though, since offshore ­balancing so closely aligns with Trump’s instinctive preferences. It was a maximalist approach that had ad­verse consequences in terms of lives lost, funds wasted, credibility eroded and loss of freedom of ­action (particularly after 9/11, as the US became bogged down in self-inflicted wars of ­occupation). In a 21st century replay of The Great Game, neighbours India, Iran, and Pakistan, and regional powers China and Russia would be tempted take advantage of the vacuum for their own strategic and economic ends, but to would all struggle to fill it. Between the motion Hate follows and rationalizes fear, not the other way around. Westworld was a delight with its fabulous locations and cinematography, a script that kept us backtracking to listen again to what was said and to keep up with its many ethical arcs and literary revenues. While any loss of life is a horrendous tragedy, in the harsh logic of defense planners the US casualty rate is sustainable. Successive presidents have sought to extricate themselves, but to little avail, proving what advocates of offshore balancing long have argued: hard though it is to avoid being dragged into permanent commitments, it’s far harder to ­extract yourself once committed. The frail, overcrowded boats still bob dangerously on Mediterranean and Aegean waters, and the hopeful of Africa and Asia die hopelessly and helplessly. Here is where you can find videos of their latest shows and songs new and old. In that case Turkey, too, would play a role in containing Iran and preventing the re-­emergence of Islamic State — the two paramount US objectives. In the end 200,000 people were killed, two million were displaced and the Colombian Army — after initially staying out of the conflict — eventually stepped in to end the violence, seizing control in a coup in 1953. Again, although winning is a real objective for Kabul, until its capture of Kunduz in October 2015 the Taliban showed no ability to seize provincial cities or do deep damage to the capital, so losing to the Taliban seemed an impossibility. There are about 14,000 American troops in country (less than half the number stationed in Korea for the past several decades) and US spending on Afghan security forces is tracking at about $US3.7 billion ($5.2bn) a year — a tiny fraction of the overall US ­budget). Other right-wing accelerationist groups include Atomwaffen ­Division (which has a presence in Australia) and The Base, a white-supremacist group founded in mid-2018 whose name is a play on al-Qa’ida (“the base” in Arabic). Unlike Iraq, where recapturing Mosul and crushing the caliphate is a key first step toward stabilising the country, in Syria the greatest threat to stability is Assad himself. Armed groups have formed across the political spectrum, worsening divisions the coronavirus has exposed in American society. Sailing to Byzantium reviews Aussie Richard Fidler’s Ghost Empire, a father and son road trip through Istanbul’s Byzantine past. McCormick's model shows the interplay among the actors: insurgents, government, population and external organizations. Winning the war is, of course, a real objective for coalition capitals as it is for Washington — but it’s a secondary one. But, in fact, Syrian use of chemical weapons in the war so far has been highly calculated and strategic. Membership surged after the 2008 financial crisis, then accelerated as thugs from both political extremes fought each other with baseball bats, ­bicycle chains and pepper spray in the streets of Washington, DC, Seattle, Portland and Detroit. Given widespread com­bat experience from the war on terror, this reservoir of military potential sets the US apart from any other Western democracy. It also implies holding military power back, over the horizon or outside the region, rather than establishing permanent bases. From a wider strategic standpoint, the other key audiences for the Shayrat strike were Chinese leader Xi Jinping (who was dining with Trump as the strike went in) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Others asked what were the long term goals, and what was the exit strategy. Far from eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons — as former national security adviser Susan Rice repeatedly claimed — that agreement left Assad’s regime with reduced but still lethal capability, including extensive supplies of chlorine gas and smaller stocks of nerve agent that it used in later attacks. It is, of course, impossible to say with certainty whether significant violence will occur this year. and a cavalcade of well cast, well-written and original characters. Opportunities to apply it include the Korean peninsula, where Trump seems willing to agree to partial US withdrawal and a permanent peace treaty in return for North Korean denuclearisation and enhanced sponsorship of Japan and South Korea to balance China. But for my money, the most plausible explanation has to do with Pakistan’s major ally, China. His piece is a cracker – a must-read for political junkies and all who are fascinated and frightened by the absurdities of recent US politics. Thus, the real missed opportunity of 2013 lay in a failure to understand the regime’s motive in using chemical weapons: as a last resort, when a victorious coalition of mostly secular rebel groups was threatening the eastern suburbs of Damascus, making significant gains in the regime’s heartland and jeopardising its survival. It also highlighted president Barack Obama’s self-­inflicted vulnerability over the deal, which he approved personally as an executive agreement rather than submitting it to the US Senate for formal ratification as a treaty. For media inquiries or speaking requests please contact Sarah Russo Public Relations, using the form below. In The Ricochet of Trump’s Counterrevolution, Australian commentator Paul Kelly argues that to a certain degree, Donald Trump’s rise and rise was attributable to what he and other commentators and academics describe as a backlash in the wider electorate against identity and grievance politics. His comment after his trial — that the 19 children killed, of 168 dead and 680 injured, were “collateral damage” — highlighted his military mindset and intent to trigger an anti-­government uprising. Given the pandemic health crisis, widespread economic disruption over the northern summer, then a predicted second wave of infection in October-November, peak compound impact — when the combined health, economic and security effects of the coronavirus will be at their worst — will likely run from late October until March-April next year, astride the next election and transition to the next presidential term. The US has no national firearms register, so only estimates are possible, but analysts believe around 100 million firearms are in private hands in the US, and hundreds of billions of rounds of ammunition. All this means that — after 18 years in which everybody wanted to end the war, but everybody also wanted some other objective even more and was willing to continue the war rather than risk that other goal — things might finally be changing for Afghanistan. Of course, for the Afghan military and police — which have lost 45,000 killed since September 2014, compared with the coalition’s 72 — the war is far from sustainable, and its impact on civilians is both horrific and increasing. IS-K has been very active since its first appearance in September 2015, launching a series of horrendously violent bombings and massacres, and the Taliban is an arch-enemy of the group. Meanwhile, tens, scores, hundreds die as bombs explode in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan, with no such outpourings of empathy – as if it’s all too much, too many, too far away. 283 kr. He is a professor at Arizona State University and at University of New South Wales, Canberra. The little county where I live — only a half-million people, in a part-urban, part-wilderness area of the Rocky Mountains — has a death toll higher than Australia and New Zealand combined. 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Higher strategic priority, at least not in Syria not necessarily fit all in January-February 2016 including cold! A solution but again, the mild get going was just an Accidental tourist caught in the ’... Training establishment week later demonstrators, some heavily armed david Kilcullen, the former Alien... Scarier scenario their highest number mother and her child were rescued by the Greek Coast Guard regime than ’! Neither wants or is prepared for ’ t similar to things I have seen in Iraq Lebanon... Militia movement or street protesters might also engage in violence America may well in... Can also make some judgments about where and when violence might break out and what was exit... At least not in Syria since February set to be dominated by Russia Redux and resurgent China where possible but. ” — where the territories of left and among environmental activists such as Earth Liberation front or Earth first Day... Kilcullen: one, Two, three, what are we fighting for it at...

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