Avoid the mistake of those who meet with an extraordinary piece of good fortune, and are led on by hope to grasp at something further, through having already succeeded without expecting it…
This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
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- The UN unanimously approved a 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic.
- It’s now been 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda — here, Tutsi survivors pose with Hutus who victimized them, and with whom they’ve since reconciled.
- Colum Lynch reports a three-part series on the UN peacekeeping failure in Darfur: 1, 2, 3.
- Doctors Without Borders accused the UN of ignoring horrible living conditions of 21,000 South Sudanese using part of the peacekeeping base in Juba as a refugee camp.
- Clashes in Nigeria between Fulani cattle rustlers and Hausa vigilantes left 72 dead last Monday.
- Two anti-piracy consultants for the UN were shot and killed in Galkayo, Somalia.
- Abdel-Rahman Shaheen is the latest Al Jazeera journalist to be arrested in Egypt.
- Infighting among Islamic rebel groups in Syria leaves 51 dead.
- Drought looms in Syria.
- American anti-tank weaponry shows up in Syrian rebel hands.
- Dutch Jesuit priest Frans van der Lugt, who refused to evacuate Syria, where he lived for decades, was assassinated by a gunman outside his home in Homs.
- Netanyahu ordered his cabinet to cut communications with their Palestinian counterparts after Palestine requested to sign on to 15 international conventions.
- Iran’s Revolutionary Guard say they have captured a number of foreign agents entering from Iraq with intentions to carry out bombings and assassinations.
- Iran named Hamid Aboutalebi as its UN envoy — a provocative choice because Aboutalebi was a member of the student group who held Americans hostage in 1979 (although he was not himself directly involved in the event).
- As last weekend’s votes in Afghanistan continue to be tallied, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah appear to be competing for the lead. A record number — 7 million people — turned out to vote.
- The Afghan government has begun an investigation into why a security officer, now in custody, killed AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounded reporter Kathy Gannon.
- A bomb on a stationary train in western Pakistan killed 14 on Tuesday.
- 22 were killed in a blast in Islamabad on Wednesday.
- Pakistan plans to release 13 Taliban prisoners as part of peace negotiations.
- A new art project in Pakistan gives a face to civilian drone strike victims.
- The Pakistani Taliban launched a website (link is to a news report, not to the actual website).
- A Marine shot and killed another Marine at Camp Lejeune on Tuesday afternoon at the base’s main gate.
- Mexican self-defense groups refuse to disarm.
- Pro-Russian violence leaks into Eastern Ukraine.
- An infographic on Eastern Ukrainian separatist movements.
- The Washington Post on the special relationship between special operations and the FBI.
- Britain is increasing exercising its power to strip citizenship from suspected terrorists without prior court involvement — and then, of course, some of them end up getting killed in drone strikes.
- The US is three years behind in the reports it is by law supposed to issue on potential sanctions violators.
- FBI investigation shows that Russia failed to provide some critical intelligence to the US about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
- Lawyers for Guantánamo prisoner Shaker Aamer are seeking his release on the grounds of failing health.
- Alan Gross, the US contractor imprisoned in Cuba for the past four years, has gone on hunger strike.
- According to further Snowden leaks, the US spied on groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (not particularly surprising, given historical record here).
- Popular Mechanics rounds up a couple of military escalations you haven’t been hearing about.
- Roughly 5% ($500m) of the US defense budget will be spent developing electronic warfare systems.
- A Microsoft researcher makes the case that increased use of encryption inside intelligence agencies could rein in surveillance.
- What you need to know about Heartbleed.
- Hayden, the former CIA director, gets a bit sexist in his/the agency’s feud with Sen. Feinstein.
- A really awesome new invention for plugging battlefield wounds extra effectively gets FDA approval.
- The Secret Service implements some internal clean-up efforts.
- Any NYC veterans reading the round-up: here are some events for free legal assistance at the end of April/beginning of May.
- Some of things you shouldn’t say to returning veterans — and some of the things you should.
- Alex Horton eloquently rejects the post-traumatic stress narrative in the second Fort Hood shooting.
Photo: Zawa, Central African Republic. Anti-balaka military patrol. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters.
@trdeghett’s “This Week in War”.
Ian Fleming and the Creation of the First English Unit of Intelligence Commandos
Inspired by a specialized unit of German soldiers led by Otto Skorzeny, Fleming began to form the 30 Assault Unit in 1942. This unit was comprised of highly specialized soldiers who would often accompany or work ahead of the front line in raids.
Members of the 30AU were trained in unarmed combat and all manners of retrieving intelligence, including breaking and entering, safecracking and lock-picking. They specialized in undercover infiltrations of enemy territory in order to capture intelligence such as codes, documents, equipment or even personnel.
Fleming never fought with the unit, but he directed operations from behind the scenes. Under his leadership, the unit grew from 30 to 150 men. The group had more than 35 battle honors, and while it was disbanded in 1946, the 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group of the Royal Marines carries on their tradition today.
Fleming premieres on BBC America on Wednesday January 29th at 10/9c.
Top Locations on Instagram in 2013
As 2013 draws to a close, it’s once again time to look back on another amazing year on Instagram. It’s inspiring to see moments shared from all around the world, whether it’s a photo from your hometown or a video from your vacation. We took a look at the location trends to find the most-Instagrammed places of 2013.
Like last year, a popular location in Thailand tops the list. The Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน)—a massive shopping complex, movie theater and aquarium in Bangkok—was our top spot, edging out 2012’s most-Instagrammed place, Bangkok’s International Airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport dropped to number nine, while the Eiffel Tower dropped off the top-ten list altogether. (See more from last year’s list here.)
New to the most-popular list in 2013: Walt Disney World, High Line and Central Park in New York City and the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.
The Most-Instagrammed Locations of 2013
- Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน) shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand
- Times Square, New York
- Disneyland, California
- Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas
- Disney World Florida
- Staples Center, Los Angeles
- Central Park, New York
- Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
- Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ, Bangkok, Thailand
- The High Line, New York
In the course of the past year, we’ve seen Instagram continue to grow across the globe. We’ve been amazed to see the community thrive in places like Indonesia, Russia and Brazil. 60% of Instagrammers are now sharing photos and videos from outside of the United States, so we wanted to also share the most-Instagrammed cities in the world.
The Most-Instagrammed Cities of 2013
- New York City, NY, USA
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Los Angeles, CA, USA
- London, UK
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Moscow, Russia
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- San Diego, CA, USA
- Las Vegas, NV, USA
- San Francisco, CA, USA