CIB Weekly Intelligence Brief | Vol. 02 | Iss. 06

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CIB Weekly Intelligence Brief | Vol. 02 | Iss. 06 | 26 February 2018

Volume 2 | Issue 6 February 26, 2018

WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE BRIEF

Published by the Chanticleer Intelligence Brief at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, USA

IMAGE CREDIT: AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

PRO-ASSAD TROOPS JOIN KURDISH

FORCES IN AFRIN, NORTHERN SYRIA

Marissa Morini, Member, Middle East Desk | February 21, 2018

The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has issued orders for Army

troops to assist Kurdish forces in pushing out Turkish forces in

Afrin, in Syria’s northern regions. Earlier in the week, Russia, an

ally to both Turkey and Syria, intervened to delay the entry of Turkish

troops. Currently, Syrian forces have been deployed around

Afrin and are fighting the invading Turkish army.

The arrival of pro-Assad reinforcements is likely to sustain the Kurdish

resistance, hinder the advancements of Turkish forces, and prolong a

conflict that is depleting the resources of Assad’s military power. According

to Reuters, Turkey warned Syria on Wednesday that it would be

facing “serious consequences” for entering Afrin to support the Kurds.

The Independent stated that, despite international calls to halt the offensive,

Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan has remained adamant,

repeatedly threatening that his forces could extend their offensive.

The Syrian Army has been deployed at locations along the Turkish

border, according to one of the Kurdish militias, known as the YPG.

Despite Russian pressure on Syria to refrain from intensifying its military

operations in Afrin, President Assad seems committed to repelling

Turkish forces out of the area. This could cause the war to drag on.

However, the current collaboration between the Kurds and pro-Assad

forces is most likely a temporary endeavor.

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The Weekly Intelligence Brief is a publication

of the Chanticleer Intelligence Brief (CIB), a

student-run initiative supported by the Department

of Politics at Coastal Carolina University.

It operates as an ancillary practicum

for students in the Intelligence and National

Security Studies program who wish to cultivate

and refine their ability to gather, analyze

and present information in accordance with

techniques used in the intelligence profession

LINDSEY HAMILTON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

The Weekly Intelligence Brief is supported by

the members of the CIB and through a generous

grant by the Edwards College Experiential

Learning Project at Coastal Carolina University


FIVE OFFICERS KILLED IN

TEHRAN RIOT

Nathan Lake, Member, Middle East Desk

February 22, 2018

On February 19, a riot erupted outside a police

station in Tehran by members of a Sufi

splinter group, the Gonabadi Dervishes, demanding

the release of fellow arrested members.

Reuters reported that security forces were

deployed to restrain the crowd, but were attacked,

resulting in the death of three police officers

and two paramilitary officers. At least thirty

others were injured when a bus was driven into

the ranks of the police. In separate incidents, two

officers of the voluntary paramilitary security

forces, Basij, under the command of the Islamic

Revolutionary Guards Corps were killed. One officer

was run over by a vehicle driven by a protester

while another was stabbed to death. Over

300 protesters were arrested in the clash. The

New York Times stated that the conflict was

deepened by rumors of an arrest warrant for the

group’s leader, Nour Ali Tabandeh. This is the

most casualties that Iranian security forces have

suffered in one evening since the height of antigovernment

demonstrations in 2009.

PROTESTS AGAINST DE-

PORTATIONS IN ISRAEL

Jake Lewis, Member, Middle East Desk

February 9, 2018

On February 7, a large number of protesters

gathered in front of the Rwandan Embassy in

Israel to protest an Israeli plan to deport African

migrants to an unnamed African destination,

believed by many to be Rwanda. Al

Jazeera states that the Israeli parliament passed

a bill last year in December that authorized the

government to force asylum seekers out of the

country. France 24 states that the African migrants

who cooperate with the deportation will receive a

$3,500 stipend, while those who do not, will face

indefinite imprisonment. Israel started issuing deportation

notices on February 4 to over 20,000 African

males giving them two months to leave the

country. The New York Times states that the protests

featured rhetoric calling on Rwandan President

Paul Kagame not to cooperate with the deportation

plan, as well as characterizing the plan

as racially motivated. A number of the migrants

who have sought asylum in Israel over the past

decade have expressed no desire to return to

Rwanda. Due to the social segregation inside Israel,

which is criticized by both migrants and citizens,

it is possible that similar protests will become

commonplace in the country.

AL-SHABAAB FUNDS OPERATIONS

WITH INTERNATIONAL AID FUNDS

Blake Gutberlet, Analyst, Africa Section | February 20, 2018

A United Nations investigation has revealed that aid money

from international partners, including the United States,

given by the UN to people displaced by conflict and famine in

Somalia, is ending up in the hands of al-Shabaab.

Though many things in Somalia have changed over the past 30

years, using international aid money to fund a non-state actor’s

mission is a common tactic used by many throughout the country’s

history. During the Somali famine of 1991 and 1992, local warlords

deliberately starved thousands of Somalis in order to profit from

constantly incoming international aid money. Scenes of mass

death on the streets of the Somali city Baidoa in 1992 provoked

the US to lead a multinational UN-backed military intervention,

which led to the infamous 1993 Battle of Mogadishu. In Baidoa

back then, aid organizations were so desperate to help the starving

people that they paid warlords to permit access to starving victims.

Until Western nations intervened, the warlords worked to

sustain the famine in order to keep the aid money flowing into their

organizations. However, the paramount difference between then

and now is the money went into the hands of local gangsters, not

international terrorist organizations.

People in Somalia who have fled their homes and are living in a

sprawling camp in the city of Baidoa are screened by the UN and

issued cash cards which enables them to buy essentials from local

merchants. Therefore, local businessmen now transport food

bought on the open market to places like Baidoa, where internally

displaced people arrive every day. However, the problem is that

these men transporting food must pay al-Shabaab, who control

the main road that leads into the city. Former members of al-Shabaab,

along with Somali intelligence agents, have reported that

tolls taken from trucks and other vehicles at just two al-Shabaab

roadblocks on Somalia's busiest road, amount to thousands of

dollars every day. The UN released a report on February 15, 2018,

which stated that a single roadblock, on the road to Baidoa, generates

about $5,000 per day.

The UN report also stated that the ongoing drought will once again

threaten Somalia with famine and provide al-Shabaab with even

greater opportunities to make money from foreign aid; particularly

if the group maintains control of the main routes through the interior

of the country. For now, the country's primary fighting force is

a 22,000-strong African Union (AU) contingent that has been protecting

the country's government in Mogadishu, and working to regain

control of southern Somalia back from al-Shabaab. However,

the AU troops are slowly withdrawing and are expected to leave

the country in two years’ time. This withdrawal is due to the AU

military leadership admitting that it is unable to push al-Shabaab

off the major roads that provide it with so much income, and as it

stands, any reduction in AU forces would inevitably leave a vacuum

that al-Shabaab will quickly fill.

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