What this means is that Russian forces have reached the limits of what they can do to weaken Kyiv’s forces militarily, which they wanted to do before they could focus on taking more ground in Donbas than they already had pre-war.
The objective thus far has been to limit the ability of Ukrainian forces to interfere in their efforts to take as much of Donbas beyond the Contact Line as is possible and to carve out the landbridge to Crimea.
Sep 21, 2021 • 6 tweets • 2 min read
So, it looks like Iran was able to get its proxies - both Talib and non-Talib - into the Taliban interim gov.
But mostly at the dep min level.
Happened a few days after Pakistan PM held talks on “inclusive gov” on the sidelines of SCO meeting in Tajikistan capital.
Most significant is that the IRGC’s allies have a serious ‘piece of the action’ in the two main security portfolios of the Taliban provisional gov.
Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir is dep defense minister & Sadr Ibrahim got the dep interior ministership
Sep 5, 2021 • 9 tweets • 3 min read
Pak PM Imran Khan's had phone calls with three of the top Gulf Arab leaders. Apparently the first one was with MbZ, the second with MbS and finally with the Qatari Emir. Obviously, Afghanistan was the main topic and the return of the Taliban is a huge issue for KSA & UAE.
Emirate 2.0 throws a major monkey wrench into the Saudi/Emirati struggle against Islamism/jihadism. Riyadh & Abu Dhabi had been making significant progress in rolling back this phenomenon in the Middle East in the decade since the Arab Spring with the most recent gain in Tunisia.
Sep 4, 2021 • 15 tweets • 3 min read
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence chief visiting Kabul at a time when intra-Taliban disagreements have delayed the formation of a gov reminds me of the countless visits by IRGC officials to Iraq in years past to mediate differences among Iran’s various Shia proxy factions.
The Haqqanis have always been a group within a group.
Too small to stand on their own but big enough to dominate the parent org.
First under Hizb-i-Islami - Younus Khalis (rural rival to Hekmatyar's more urban faction by the same name) and since the mid-90s, the Taliban.
Aug 20, 2021 • 28 tweets • 6 min read
Last year in late Sept, I published this #NetAssessment for our @NewlinesInst predicting that the Islamic Republic regime would be replaced by an emirate 2.0 and outlined its architecture in considerable detail.
At the time I was assuming that a U.S. withdrawal would lead to a prolonged civil war. And that in a best case scenario at some point both sides would arrive at a power-sharing deal leading to a new regime that would be a Sunni Afghan version of Iran's clerical regime.
Badakhshan was the one province that did not fall under Taliban control even during the heyday of the jihadist regime prior to 9/11.
Thus it served as the staging grounds from where the U.S. backed Northern Alliance forces began the ground offensive to topple the Talib emirate.
Apr 18, 2021 • 23 tweets • 5 min read
1st took place in Baghdad on April 9 about the Houthi attacks.
Saudi side led by intel chief Khalid bin Ali al-Humaidan & Iraqi PM facilitated
2nd round next week. No mention of who represented Iranian side. Intel Min Mahmoud Alavi? ft.com/content/852e94…
If confirmed, this diplomacy is likely part of the Biden admin’s strategy to dealing with Iran’s disproportionate regional influence while it tries to restore the nuclear deal.
Apr 16, 2021 • 16 tweets • 3 min read
When I was learning intelligence analysis many moons ago I was taught that before you get excited thinking that you have obtained a new piece of information stop for a moment and ask yourself: Why are you being told what you are?
Why is the source telling you something? What is its interest in relaying this piece of intelligence? IOW, the reason for releasing a piece of information is far more critical than the actual intel itself.
Sep 12, 2020 • 47 tweets • 9 min read
Extremely difficult negotiations. For the simple reason that the Taliban want to alter the current Afghan state to a Sunni Afghan version of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Whereas the other side wants to preserve as much of the current setup as possible.
The Taliban know that they can't go back to their old emirate and will need to compromise. But their desire to dominate a post-American Afghanistan is only getting stronger, especially given battlespace dynamics and the US desire to get the hell outta dodge
Feb 29, 2020 • 17 tweets • 3 min read
Militarily, the Turks are playing an interesting game. Their goal is to show that the Russian level of engagement works against rebels but not them. In this way, Ankara is forcing Moscow to either get more deeply involved in Syria or come to the negotiating table.
For the Kremlin, Syria has been a relatively low cost intervention. Not too many troops. Limited deployment of fixed wing aircraft. Focus on air support to Assad regime forces and Iranian-mobilized irregulars. The Russians do not want to increase their footprint in country.
Feb 20, 2020 • 23 tweets • 11 min read
The head of the Haqqani Network - a terrorist group with close ties to al-Qaeda - gets an op-ed in the NYT to speak on behalf of the Taliban (as opposed to its central leader Mullah Haibatullah) - ahead of the signing of a peace agreement with the US. nytimes.com/2020/02/20/opi…
Sirajuddin Haqqani does not mention his longtime ally al-Qaeda by name. Instead uses vague language (“disruptive” and “foreign” groups) to refer to the transnational jihadist entity. He even terms its presence in Afghanistan as exaggerated. See this bit👇