Mike Flynn, the security kingpin accused of being Moscow's eyes and ears
The sudden - and stormy- departure of generalMichael T. [...]
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Bernard Squarcini, the Mr. Fix-it of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and former head of the French domestic intelligence service (DCRI, now DGSI), has also worked in the business sector. He is less at ease, however, among the high-rise office blocks of Paris’s La Defense business district than in the Corsican restaurants of the French capital. [...]
Much has changed in the way Saudi Arabian defence deals are signed and sealed since King Salman bin Abdelaziz acceded to the throne in January. The businessmen who unwisely hitched their wagon to Mutaib bin Abdullah, the head of the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) and favourite son of the late King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz, are now out of the picture. The new and all-powerful defence minister Mohammed bin Salman is determined to make his mark on the negotiation channels between Paris and Riyadh, at a time when contracts between the two capitals have recently been dogged by technical issues. [...]
An attack by a group of Islamist extremists in Northern Mali cast a cruel light on the risk of destabilization facing the area and, beyond it, the entire Sahel region. Launched by France on Jan. 11, a military operation dubbed Serval quickly restored the status quo ante. And in rapidly wresting control of the regions exercised by three Islamist groups since April 2012 (Mujao, Ansar Dine and AQMI) the operation even kindled hope of restoring political stability in Bamako. But the hard part is only beginning. Along with hoping to ensure long-term military security in Mali, the Malian authorities are groping uncertainly in a delicate transition period leading to the emergence of a new president. But if it wishes to achieve lasting stability Bamako must pacify the country by reconciling multiple communities among Mali's inhabitants - starting with the Tuaregs- that were torn apart for months by developments that the newsrooms of Indigo Publications (The Indian Ocean Newsletter, La Lettre du Continent, Africa Mining Intelligence, Africa Energy Intelligence, Maghreb Confidential and Intelligence Online) have put together in the present brief. [...]
The payment of kickbacks and corporate spying are well-established in the business world but now those involved are being hauled before the courts with growing frequency. The resulting anti-corruption cases have given rise to a new kind of sanction that has turned into a profitable line of business for private investigation and consulting firms. [...]
China has been highly active in cyber-warfare and now finds itself several steps ahead of Western nations. In what is shaping up to be a veritable computer arms race, Europe and the US are in turn developing large-scale offensive capabilities. Global cyber-warfare could be just a mouse click away. [...]
Due to the number on offer and the amounts of money they involve, contracts to provide security for European Union delegations in unstable countries represents one of the richest opportunities for private security firms in Europe. The best-known groups in the business are pulling out all the stops to win the sensitive contracts. But the procedures to land them are cumbersome. [...]
Behind the military operations that pit rebels from the Free Syrian Army against government forces lies another and more secretive tug-of-war: that of supplying the two warring camps. To buy gasoline and ordnance needed by its army, Syria is forced to flout American and European sanctions and call upon its Russian ally for assistance. As for the rebels, they rely on a coalition of Western and Gulf nations to supply them with arms but the equipment is rudimentary and arrives only sparingly. [...]
Forget expensive electronic gear and secretive maneuvers once needed to tap into telephone lines. It's now possible technically - if not exactly legal - to intercept GSM communications with light and inexpensive equipment. Hackers have succeeded in building makeshift antenna relays to capture GSM transmissions and to even hack into Femtocell, a small cellular base station specially designed for home and small businesses. On the supply side, the arrival of Indian and Chinese manufactures has driven down the price of GSM interceptors that can now be ordered easily on the Internet. Intelligence Online outlines the main breakthroughs in the field and ways to protect yourself against them. [...]
Since the death of its founder, the Jihadist Al Qaeda movement has lost most of its influence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, only to rise strongly in Yemen and the Sahel region. In South Yemen, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fights it out with American special forces and spirits its militants into Saudi Arabia. As for Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), the movement's branch operating in and around Mali and Niger, it doesn't hesitate to take on governments in the region and even France, holding six of its hostages. [...]