SOTU 2023: International Events

Observations of past and present events. Narratives are not intended to indicate an order of significance. Depending on the individual reviewer or organization, summaries may have a different order of importance. In time each of the items below will be expanded.

(a). New York Twin Towers. September 11, 2001 (9/11). Attorney General John Ashcroft blames Clinton-era FBI, CIA. The 9/11Executive Summary. The Commission Report.

Review of THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT titled: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States. The commission consisted of eight senior members (senators, governors and lawyers), and eighty commission staff in support of the effort. The most significant statement in the executive summary is that another attack is expected. Reasons for this are stated problems with foresight, planning and support.

Although there was an overall sense of discomfort that “something” was occurring, the ability to identify, track and impede unknown events was not supported by FBI (domestic), CIA (international) security efforts. Reasons stated were insufficient resources, inability to share information between the entities and ineffective tracking of alien movement within the United States.

Although a significant number of personnel were assigned to create the Commission Report, it reads as a summary. The main Commission Report is significantly more detailed with respect to FAA procedures, however, could not accurately track the hijacked aircraft.

Additional sections of both the summary and main report were superficial regarding real data. Tracking movement of terrorist members was essentially nonexistent. There was advanced indication that significant members of the group were known to be present on the east coast and west coast, routinely moving between locations. The fact that there were groups was unknown prior to the terrorist attack.

As stated, the Executive Summary indicates additional attacks are expected within the United States. The inability to track alien movement today is far more difficult given the growth in millions of aliens, documented and undocumented, entering the country. Are there terrorists entering the country?

Current efforts to control alien entry and movement does not appear to have improved, and may be interpreted as aiding alien movement, and potential terrorists.

(b). World Trade Center Bombing. Occurred on February 26, 1993. Later investigation revealed that Yousef’s Trade Center plot was far more sinister. He wanted the bomb to topple one tower, with the collapsing debris knocking down the second. The attack turned out to be something of a deadly dress rehearsal for 9/11. With the help of Yousef’s uncle Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, al Qaeda would later return to realize Yousef’s nightmarish vision.

(c). War in Ukraine. Ongoing international conflict between Russia, alongside Russian backed separatists, and Ukraine, which began in February 2014. Following Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and supported pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian military in the Donbas war. The first eight years of conflict also included naval incidents, cyberwarfare, and heightened political tensions. In February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

(d). Afghan War. Biden administration’s decision in April 2021 to pull out all US troops by September 2021 without leaving a residual force, were the two critical events that caused the collapse of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Following the deal, the US dramatically reduced the number of air attacks and deprived the ANSF of a critical edge in fighting the Taliban insurgency, leading to the Taliban takeover of Kabul on 15 August 2021.

(e). EgyptAir Flight 990. October 31, 1999 The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recorded the captain excusing himself to go to the lavatory, followed 30 seconds later by the first officer saying in Egyptian Arabic “Tawkalt ala Allah,” which can be translated as “I put my trust in God.” A minute later, the autopilot was disengaged, immediately followed by the first officer again repeating the same Arabic phrase which can be also translated as, “I rely on God.” Three seconds later, the throttles for both engines were reduced to idle, and both elevators were moved 3° nose down. The first officer repeated “I rely on God” seven more times.

(f). Pam Am Flight 103. Shortly after 19:00 on 21 December 1988, while the aircraft was in flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, it was destroyed by a bomb that had been planted on board, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew in what became known as the Lockerbie bombing. Large sections of the aircraft crashed in a residential street in Lockerbie, killing 11 residents. With a total of 270 fatalities, it is the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the United Kingdom, as well as its deadliest aviation disaster.

(g). Beirut Barracks Bombings. Early on a Sunday morning, October 23, 1983, two truck bombs struck buildings in Beirut, Lebanon, housing American and French service members of the Multinational Force in (MNF) Lebanon, a military peacekeeping operation during the Lebanese Civil War. The attack killed 307 people: 241 U.S. and 58 French military personnel, six civilians, and two attackers.

Posted in War and Terrorism.