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ISIS Looks to Rebound in the Philippines—And Spread | The Cipher Brief

Bottom Line: Although the Philippine army managed to suppress an ISIS-affiliated rebellion in the country’s southern island of Mindanao last summer, ISIS fighters fleeing Syria and Iraq continue to trickle into the country and pose a growing jihadist threat throughout Southeast Asia. The U.S. and the Philippines have further bolstered their defense cooperation in light of these developments, yet the Philippines’ disparate ... Read More »

The Black Box of China’s Chinese Intelligence Services | The Cipher Brief

China’s intelligence and security services play a pivotal role in shaping how China’s leadership views the outside world – but we in that outside world don’t know much about how they provide guidance and direction to diplomats and security officials, or how they help form government policy. When news breaks of the latest Chinese cyberhack or other espionage activities, analysts ... Read More »

UN report: Afghan JTACs needed to curb civilian deaths | Military Times

The number of Afghan civilian casualties declined by 9 percent in 2017, and civilian deaths caused by pro-government forces in particular dropped 23 percent, according to the annual report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Despite this good news, the UN mission still documented a 7 percent increase in civilian casualties from air operations specifically, and advised better air-to-ground integrationthrough the Afghan version ... Read More »

Syria war: Who are Russia’s shadowy Wagner mercenaries? | BBC News

Russian mercenaries are reported to be in the thick of the fighting in Syria, helping President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. One shadowy group in particular, called Wagner PMC (Private Military Company), hit the headlines because of a clash on 7 February that resulted in dozens of Russian casualties. The toll of dead and wounded is disputed, but it is still not ... Read More »

Afghanistan Unveils Plans for Controversial Militia Force | VOA

Afghanistan’s ministry of defense has announced the creation of a new militia force comprising about 36,000 men to defend areas that military-led operations have cleared of Taliban insurgents. The move comes despite long-running accusations of rights abuses against the existing Afghan Local Police, which consists of local militias trained and paid by the U.S. military. Defense Ministry spokesman, Dawlat Waziri, ... Read More »

ISIS ambushes Iraqi Shiite-led force, killing 27 fighters | Military Times

Islamic State militants ambushed a group of Iraq’s Shiite-led paramilitary fighters, killing at least 27 more than two months after Baghdad declared victory over the extremist group, officials said Monday. The Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of mostly Shiite militias, said in a statement that the attack took place southwest of the northern city of Kirkuk, where the paramilitaries were conducting ... Read More »

The Bundeswehr, famously bureaucratic, wants to charm technology startups | Defense News

Germany’s tech companies could see new business with the military, as Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen seeks to funnel more funding toward cyber technologies under plans to grow the country’s defense budget. At least that’s the plan. Von der Leyen struck an optimistic tone here at the Munich Security Conference when opening the event’s inaugural “Innovation Forum.“ But, she ... Read More »

Pakistan slipping out of US influence, say intelligence agencies | DAWN

Seventeen US intelligence agencies have warned Congress that Pakistan will continue to slip out of America’s influence and into China’s orbit in 2019, and will become a threat to Washington’s interests in the South Asian region. The review is part of an annual report that Director of US National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee on ... Read More »

20 jihadists killed or captured in French raids in northern Mali | Long War Journal

The French military announced that its forces killed or captured at least 20 jihadists in near simultaneous raids in northern Mali yesterday as part of the ongoing Operation Barkhane. The raids occurred near the border of Mali and Algeria, close to the Algerian town of Tinzaouatene. The raids reportedly targeted senior commanders of al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims ... Read More »