Israel’s Military Fears War This Summer

Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) fear a war could break out this summer with Syria, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reports.

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The IDF has decided not to conduct military operations in the Gaza Strip to clean out terrorist nests, believing “that war might break out with Syria this summer,” military sources told Haaretz.

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Putin’s Assault of BP Shows Why the UK Must Embrace Nuclear Energy

PERHAPS the greatest paradox in political economy is how countries endowed with the most bountiful natural resources almost invariably end up with deeply unsavoury regimes and the worst economic policies. In many cases, especially in Africa and the Middle East, this “resources curse” means that commodity-rich countries are also among the poorest, with many of their citizens living in unnecessary squalor; in other cases, they may appear to be doing relatively well but are, in fact, failing to fulfil their true potential, preferring instead to channel their new-found wealth into an aggressive foreign policy.

Russia under the increasingly authoritarian regime of President Vladimir Putin is a perfect case study of the latter.

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Russia: Postcards from the Neo-Soviet Union

Reporting in the Times of London, Moscow correspondent Mark Franchetti adds more evidence that Russians have rejected the concept of democracy and are willingly returning to the dark days of Soviet dictatorship, underlining the extent to which we were misled by the idiots who said, during the first cold war, that ordinary Russians were decent democrats who would do the right thing given a chance, and that they could “never go back” to dictatorship once the Berlin Wall fell.

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Iran’s Growing List of Hostages

Iran’s latest round of hostage-taking has netted it four Iranian-American dual nationals and perhaps another American who went missing in Iran. The most prominent hostage is Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, who was arrested May 8 after four months under house arrest and several weeks of questioning. Esfandiari, who traveled to Iran last year to visit her ailing 93-year-old mother, was prevented from leaving the country in December after her American and Iranian passports were stolen by thugs (a favorite tactic of Iran’s secret police) while she was en route to the airport to return home.

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Bad Guys

David E. Kaplan is chief investigative correspondent at U.S. News & World Report. His work includes cover stories on intelligence agencies, police spying, Saudi financing of jihad groups, and the growing use of organized crime by terrorists. Among Kaplan’s books are Yakuza and The Cult at the End of the World, on the doomsday sect that nerve gassed Tokyo’s subway.

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Global Incident Map

Get a global view of terrorism events and other suspicious activity at GlobalIncidentMap.Com.

Here’s a direct link to the map.

Global Counter-Terror “Mashup” (Updated)

The other day, in an interview with Computerworld, Defense Intelligence Agency bigwig Lewis Shepherd talked about all the ways in which the Pentagon’s analysts are trying to work with (sorry for the cliche) “Web 2.0” technologies. Most of the ideas we’ve heard about before — intel wikis, spy blogs. But Shepherd also mentioned something new to me: information “‘mashups,’ that collect RSS feeds, Google maps and data from the DIA network,” and present all that info in new, revealing combinations.

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Taiwan drags feet on weapons buys

WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) — Taiwan has yet to acquire major defensive systems the United States offered six years ago that would help defend against China, a new Pentagon report said.

“Taiwan … has allowed its defense spending to decline in real terms over the past decade, creating an increased urgency for the Taiwan authorities to make the necessary investments to maintain the island’s self-defense capabilities,” stated the Pentagon’s latest annual report on Chinese military power, released to Congress Friday.

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