by KYLE MIZOKAMI * Cameron criticizes Pakistan over “export of terror” * Remember when Homer Simpson designed a car? Northrop/BAE’s GCV * Morocco buys 150 Chinese battle tanks * International cluster bomb ban takes effect — sans U.S. * Colombia: neglected COIN success
Archive of Jul 2010
Sam’s Southeast Asia Round-Up
The U.S. Navy hospital ship the USNS Mercy docked in Ambon on Monday. The ship will provide free medical services as part of the Sail Banda festival in Maluku. “The Sail Banda event is aimed at promoting marine tourism and at the same time convincing the international community that Maluku is safe beyond doubt,” said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is scheduled to visit the ship. Despite an official peace agreement, concerns exist that communal violence, which broke out in 1999, could reignite. Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand are also sending medical ships to the event.
After five years, $2 billion in direct costs and the loss of 24 soldiers, the Dutch military is finally leaving Afghanistan. The Netherlands’ 2,000-strong task force officially departs the southern province of Uruzgan on August 1. U.S. troops will fill in.
It was a space launch to change the world. On January 11, 2007, a solid-fuelled rocket lifted off from Xichang Space Center in central China, a non-explosive “kill vehicle” fitted to its tip. Five hundred miles above the earth, the now-separated kill vehicle struck an 8-year-old Chinese weather satellite, pulverizing it and leaving behind a cloud of some 1,000 large pieces of debris.
For going on six years I’ve been a freelance war correspondent. I wrote a comic book about the experience and conned a very talented artist named Matt Bors into drawing it. It’s called War is Boring, and it comes out next week from New American Library.
Fifteen days after twin suicide bombings killed 76 people in Kampala, Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni used an African Union summit in the capital city to declare war on the Somali group responsible for the July 11 bombing — as well as on foreign fighters aiding the group. “The terrorists should be wiped out of Africa,” Museveni said on Monday. “Let us act and sweep them out of Africa and to where they came from in Asia and the Middle East.”
Time Out New York on War is Boring
“Working as a freelance war correspondent, David Axe has visited a fearsome number of the world’s most volatile hot spots, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia and Chad,” Time Out New York says of my new graphic novel War is Boring.
It started with a threat. At a checkpoint in Baraki Barak district on October 21, 2009, Afghan security guards protecting the American combat outpost stopped a driver. When they insisted on searching the car, the driver rankled. “Fine,” he said, “you won’t be here in two days, anyways.”
Wikileaks Reveals Taliban Maneuvers
In June 2007, a force of several hundred Taliban fighters assaulted Afghan militia positions in the town of Chora, near Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan. Nearby Dutch and Australian forces were drawn into the fight. Several days of fierce fighting killed more than 100 Dutch, Afghan and Taliban combatants and civilians. Many of the civilians died in errant strikes by Dutch artillery, helicopters and F-16s.
Send Matt Bors to Afghanistan!
Official War Is Boring cartoonist Matt Bors is headed to Afghanistan with columnist Ted Rall starting next month. Ted covered his own expenses using fundraising Website Kickstarter — the same mechanism I’m using to raise cash for my work in Congo in September. Matt is counting on donations and art sales to cover some of his costs. Consider buying a print — I recommend “The Duality of Obama,” above.
Damned if You Do
Somali piracy wasn’t inevitable. It’s the result of a tragic chain of events playing out over 20 hard years for the East African nation. U.S. intervention represents several key links in that chain. It’s not a stretch to say that piracy is partially America’s fault. This hijacking of U.S. designs is characteristically 5G.