Al-Qaida faces recruitment crisis - how can we help?
from Counter Jihad by Chris
Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida is under heavy pressure in its strongholds in Pakistan's remote tribal areas and is finding it difficult to attract recruits or carry out spectacular operations in western countries, according to government and independent experts monitoring the organisation.
Speaking to the Guardian in advance of tomorrow's eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, western counter-terrorism officials and specialists in the Muslim world said the organisation faced a crisis that was severely affecting its ability to find, inspire and train willing fighters.
Its activity is increasingly dispersed to "affiliates" or "franchises" in Yemen and North Africa, but the links of local or regional jihadi groups to the centre are tenuous; they enjoy little popular support and successes have been limited.
Lethal strikes by CIA drones – including two this week alone – have combined with the monitoring and disruption of electronic communications, suspicion and low morale to take their toll on al-Qaida's Pakistani "core", in the jargon of western intelligence agencies.
Chavez pledges closer ties with Iran
Iran and Venezuela plan to stand up against "imperialist" foes by strengthening bilateral cooperation on a range of issues, including nuclear power, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday.
"Expansion of Tehran-Caracas relations is necessary given their common interests, friends and foes," Ahmadinejad said after a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart President Hugo Chavez, according to Iran's semiofficial FARS news agency.
Chavez was in Tehran on Saturday with a team of high-ranking officials for a two-day visit.
[Well, we WERE promised change, weren't we? - Sarge]
Small, Low-Signature, $5,000 Guided Missile Tested
from Ares by David A. Fulghum
China Lake’s Spike missile has an attraction for everyone, even the target.
It has no visual launch signature, no aural sonic boom, it’s too small to be seen, it’s light enough to carry several in a rucksack, it’s guidance system is off the shelf and it’s cheaper to throw away that to repair.
It should be pointed out that the $5,000 Spike missile has a stunning set of operations advantages – all associated with survival – for those who fire it. There is no position-revealing backblast like that from a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) or a Stinger surface-to-air missile. It leaves the launcher at about 100 mph instead of Mach 1.9 so there is no big bang or blast. Muzzle velocity is not an issue because it has a guidance system. When a target appears unexpectedly, the operator turns the weapon on, points it at the target and in one second it is ready to fire. Or clusters of the 5.5-lb. weapons could be carried in pods on a UAV.
End of an Era
from In From the Cold by George Smiley
The "Eagle era" at Eglin AFB, Florida has come to an end.
Yesterday, the last three F-15s assigned to Eglin's 33rd Fighter Wing left the base, heading for retirement at the Air Force "boneyard," located in Arizona.
Fuel, Fuel Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink
from Ares by Graham Warwick
DARPA has been instrumental in cracking the code for the affordable conversion of plant oils into a drop-in replacement for JP8 jet fuel. Currently the agency is tackling the tougher task of turning cellulosic and algal feedstocks - which would not compete for water or land with food crops - into a viable alternative to petroleum-based JP8.
But all that wasn't DARPA-hard enough, it seems. Now the agency is seeking ideas on how to convert seawater to liquid fuel.