Today’s MUST Foreign Policy Reading
If you only read one thing today, read the for-the-record answers from the Director of National Intelligence to questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee in April 2009. At the very least read the tickler summary from the blog of the Federation of American Scientists, which has done a genuine service in obtaining this document under the Freedom of Information Act and is hosting it on its site (hat tip: Washington Post).
There is something to rain on practically every parade in these answers. The number of “security personnel” required for COIN in Afghanistan? 818,000. When will Iran produce highly-enriched (weapons-grade) uranium? 2013. Russia doesn’t have the ability to project a lot of military force beyond its borders.
This last comes as no surprise to me. Something we should always keep in mind: without nuclear weapons Russia is a regional power.
There’s tons more. Al Qaeda’s resilience and capabilities. The KSA’s terrorist rehab program. The KSA’s relationship with Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda in Africa. Iran’s role in supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. How effective is the Pakistani army in dealing with the insurgency in the FATA? Pakistan’s stability. The relationship among the Iranian regime, HAMAS, and Hizbollah.
Here’s the statement on the status of Iraq’s ISF:
The capabilities of the ISF have continued to improve. The ISF’s increasing professionalism and improvements in war-fighting skills have allowed it to assume more responsibility for Iraq’s internal security, as demonstrated by the successful operations against Shia militants in Al Basrah, Sadr City, and Al Amarah, and against Sunni extremists in Diyala and Mosul. Despite these improvements, the ISF remains dependent on the U. S. for enabling capabilities such as logistics, fire support, and intelligence and will continue to require Coalition assistance during the next three years.
Short version: our military still has its work cut out for it in Iraq.
The provincial elections in Iraq. HAMAS capabilities. Hizbollah capabilities. Cyber-warfare by the Chinese government. Russia’s energy war. GITMO. The global economic crisis.
It’s truly a remarkable document. If nothing else it provides a keyhole view into the thinking of our intelligence community on a wide range of security issues. I’m still digesting it.