Dissident FARC Rebels Are Stirring Up Trouble
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. The Colombian government has released estimates indicating that only a small percentage of former FARC guerrillas have abandoned the peace process. But InSight Crime field research indicates that the actual number of dissidents is much higher, and could be growing due to issues related... Read more
The Enduring Horror of Al Shabab
On Oct. 14, 2017, a truck packed with 350 kilograms of explosives stopped at a checkpoint at a crowded crossroads in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, where it blew up. The driver, a former Somali soldier who switched sides to the terrorist group Al Shabab, killed more than 300 people in... Read more
Before They Attacked the Kurds, Shia Militias Undermined the Campaign for Mosul
In July 2016, the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul was within reach of the forces trying to liberate it. Iraqi and Kurdish forces — along with a spattering of Western troops — had taken up positions on the edge of the city and swapped fire with militants inside. The noose was tightening around... Read more
Iraq’s Shia Militia Problem Always Felt a Lot Like 2007
In August 2014, Islamic State militants seemed poised to seize Amerli, a Shia Turkmen town in northern Iraq. Had they done so, there’s little question the result would have been mass slaughter—just like happened when the Islamists captured the Kurdish Yezidi town of Sinjar. A force of Shia Arab... Read more
Someone Gave Iranian-Made Drones to Libya’s Tobruk Regime
On Oct. 5, 2017, Maghreb Confidentiel — a professional journal covering Africa’s intelligence services — revealed that the Libyan National Army has obtained Iranian-made Mohajer-2 drones. War Is Boring’s own sources in Libya confirmed the claim. A photo provided by LNA militants shows one of the Iranian UAVs at an unspecified... Read more
The Rise and Fall of Los Zetas
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. At the time of the Zetas formation in the early 2000s, as an armed wing of the Gulf Cartel, little seemed to distinguish the group from scores of predecessors and contemporaries. Mexico‘s cartels have long deployed teams of shock troops willing to engage in all manner... Read more
In Syria, Two Isolated Villages Witnessed Hezbollah’s Rise
Heroic portraits of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad gradually disappear the farther north you drive from Aleppo. The red, white and black colors of the Syrian flag give way to the yellow and green banners of Hezbollah. For three and a half years, the rural towns of Nubul and... Read more
Cops in Skull Masks Carry Out State Terror in Venezuela
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. A new investigation provides damning evidence of abuses and criminality associated with a controversial security initiative in Venezuela, adding to mounting concerns about the government’s support for the program. On Oct. 3, Venezuelan digital media platform RunRun.es and their partner CONNECTAS published an... Read more
Iraqi Militia Barrel Toward Hawija
Militia trucks clad in half-inch sheet metal drove in frenzied braids to get to the head of the pack. It looked like a scene out of Mad Max. Clearly, any effort from the Iraqi army to maintain a unified line would be futile. On Sept. 29, 2017, Iraqi forces... Read more
America’s Kurdish Allies Are Surrounded … By U.S.-Equipped Armies
Neither Iraq, Iran nor Turkey are happy that Iraqi’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region went ahead with its referendum on independence last month. They responded by threatening economic sanctions, along with other punitive measures, and flexing their military muscles by conducting exercises on Iraqi Kurdistan’s doorstep. These exercises serve as a... Read more