Two staff members walk down the halls of Ajdabiya's then empty hospital as the city braced for a Qaddafist assault on March 13, 2011. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood
New York- I’ve just read on Al Jazeera English that the staff of the hospital in Ajdabiya have decided to rename a square after fallen English journalist Tim Hetherington. When I read that he had died in Misurata, my first reaction was that I did not know he was in Libya in the first place. That was until I read a blog post by Jon Lee Anderson on the newyorker.com which jogged my memory somehow of my last day in Libya where I realized that I had seen and noted Hetherington…standing outside the emergency room in Ajdabiya alongside Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario (who would be taken hostage there the following afternoon). What a fateful image that now replays in my mind.
Ex-CIA veteran and Brookings fellow Bruce Riedel speaks on the future of the "Mukhabarat State" in the wake of the 2011 Arab spring. Columbia University's Gary Sick sits on the left. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood
In other much more comparatively staid developments, C-SPAN has posted videos from the Jamestown Foundation’s April 20 MENA conference at the Carnegie Endowment where I spoke on my experiences in the Libyan conflict.
Following a Qaddafist airstrike outside the Ras Lanuf oil terminal on March 7, 2011, Libyan rebels maneuver in a Mitsubishi technical (foreground) and a Chinese-made ZX Autos technical (background). ©2011 Derek Henry Flood
Washington D.C.- For anyone in the DC area tomorrow, I will be presenting “The Mitsubishi War” about my recent Libya sojourn at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace at 11am near the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 17th Street.
Ground Zero from the sky where this journey without end began (sort of) almost 10 years ago. Thankfully this US Airways flight did not require Captain Chesley Sullenberger at the helm. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood
New York- Following six weeks of African adventure of all sorts, it felt alright to return to New York (before turning right around and heading to Washington for Jamestown’s MENA conference) with all of the difficult readjustment that entails. I’ve realized that one of the most difficult things about returning to the United States is the change in diet. After eating a nearly vegan, preservative-free diet in pre-Lent Orthodox Ethiopia-where practicing Christians eat vegan for nearly half of every year- for the last ten days, it’s tough on the body returning to a sugar heavy, preservative-laden American diet.
To buy tickets to this Wednesday’s MENA conference at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on think tank row in DC, click here.
An Ethiopian Orthodox priest reads the gospels in a moment of quiet, vegan contemplation on the stoop of an 800 year-old church carved out of solid bedrock called Beit Emmanuel. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood .
Categories: 9/11, Ethiopia, Washington D.C. Carnegie Endowment, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Jamestown conference, Jamestown Foundation, Lalibela, MENA, New York, Root Conference Room, US Airways
NewYork- This Tuesday, PBS Frontline will be airing a segment on Amrullah Saleh who was a the keynote speaker at our December 9th annual terrorism conference and departed the Karzai administration in June of last year. There should be some footage of the conference I helped to put together and the word on the street is that I might have a background cameo. Should be interesting…
Amrullah Saleh, former head of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, speaking in the Grand Ballroom of the National Press Club on Thursday, December 9th, 2010. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood
Washington D.C.- This past Thursday was our annual Jamestown Foundation terrorism conference at the National Press Club and amazingly it all worked out considering the incredible amount of logistics involved (wholly unbeknownst to our audience) of getting a wide range of top tier speakers to Washington from around the globe. Key among them was our lunchtime keynote speaker Amrullah Saleh, who, until June of this year, had been the director of the Afghan government’s National Directorate of Security. Mr. Salehflew overnight from Muscat, Oman where he was attending a security conference sponsored by Sultan Qaboos, Oman’s absolute monarch, and gave a rousing speech on little if any sleep. This speaking engagement was two months in the making and was only possible with the help of my friend Ahmad Idrees Rahmani at RAND in Santa Monica who I have known since the war in Mazar-i-Sharif in November of 2001. This is the second year Idrees came to my aid to help Jamestown as last year he helped me secure a speech from Lieutenant General Hadi Khalid, who, like Mr. Saleh, was also a former member of the Karzai government. Though we had secured several notable Pakistani speakers for the conference including Imitaz Gul, author of The Most Dangerous Place and, Arif Jamal, a colleague of mine at the foundation and the author of Shadow War: The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir, I felt it essential that we have a prominent, outspoken Afghan voice in our day-long dialogue. Saleh gave a very powerful speech about many key issues and hurdles in Afghan-American relations and denounced the idea of any kind of negotiated settlement with the Afghan Taleban, highlighting the bizarre and laughable case of the so-called “bogus Mansoor,” the phony Taleb representative who was flown around in a NATO aircraft only to embarrassingly realized a fraud. The phony Mullah Akhtar Mansoor episode showed just how difficult the prospect of actually negotiating with senior Taleban leadership is, especially considering that there has been no indication in the past nine years that Taleban leader Mullah Muhammed Omar is willing to come in from the cold. Saleh asked the audience rhetorically, “what is the plan b for Afghanistan?”, making the point that the United States and its [largely] European NATO coalition partners are on a dangerous and faulty path in Afghanistan with no significant policy alternatives in sight, no “plan b” as it were. Saleh said that the best hope for Taleban fighters is that they be DDR’ed (Disarmed, Demobilized and Reintegrated) in the manner that his own ethnic-Tajik Massoudi faction and [although to a lesser degree] General Abdul Rashid Dostum’s ethnic-Uzbek Junbish-i-Miili militia were integrated into the then nascent Afghan National Army. Saleh was also sure to tell the audience that Pakistan’s notorious spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was not only a terribly unreliable and slippery partner for the United States and the international community, but actively and directly undermining American national interests in the region, a point I had heard him forcefully make in Kabul last year.
Saleh responds to questions from the audience. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood
The Shining Path's Upper Huallaga Valley leader Comrade Artemio in a video grab I made from Youtube.
New York- I haven’t been posting nearly often enough in the hectic preparation for this year’s Jamestown Foundation annual terrorism conference at the National Press Club this Thursday, December 9th. This past week we released our eleventh issue of Militant Leadership Monitor with biographies of South Sudanese leader Salva Kiir by Andrew McGregor (an especially timely report before the January 9th independence referendum), the Shining Path’s Comrade Artemio by me, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Azam Cheema by Animesh Roul, and Saudi AQAP explosives fabricator Ibrahim Asiri by Murad Batal al-Shishani.
Additionally, if anyone would be interested in helping me financially in traveling to South Sudan for the independence referendum in January, please contact me.-Derek
Categories: Africa, Saudi Arabia, South America, South Sudan Andrew McGregor, Animesh Roul, Comrade Artemio, Derek Henry Flood, Jamestown conference, Jamestown Foundation, Militant Leadership Monitor, Murad Batal al-Shishani, Salva Kiir, Shining Path, South Sudan referendum
New York- We have a new book out on Yemen and its three primary security struggles of the Saada war/Houthi rebellion in the north along the Saudi border, the rejuvenation of secessionist sentiments in the south, and as if those weren’t enough, threats from AQAP leaders.
“The Battle for Yemen is a rare and comprehensive volume that tackles the facets of instability that currently plague Yemen. It offers a wealth of analysis and keen observations from the experts of The Jamestown Foundation, who have monitored the developments within Yemen since 2004. Combining indigenous sources with original analytical insights, this book represents a vital research tool for those seeking a detailed account of Yemen’s struggle for stability, the various movements that shape the security environment, and the radical personalities that strive to undermine the Saleh government and its partnership with the United States.”
Order your copy from Jamestown here for $24.95.
Only in Washington would a Central Asian autocrat no Americans have ever heard of commission a bus stop ad campaign. While New Yorkers are bracing for an onslaught of dreck for Sex and the City 2, Washingtonians are treated to information (with no context) about the Soviet nuclear testing near Semipalatinsk when Kazakhstan was the communist Nevada minus the casinos. ©2010 Derek Henry Flood
Washington D.C.- We had a very interesting conference on Yemen last week at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on think-tank row. I headed down from New York to meet some of my new colleagues from Militant Leadership Monitor and to help out with the event. After our Jamestown event concluded, I rushed over to Tenleytown to the campus of American University to attend the tail end of Jen Marlowe’s Rebuilding Hope screening and a night out at a vaguely themed Afro-Middle Eastern bar called Soussi in Adams Morgan. Just another 18 hour day in D.C.. Good thing I don’t live down there!