Climate change and intel

A quick told-ya-so post. Two items over at the Washington Independent: first, the IC did a National Intelligence Estimate relating to climate change, and second, Spencer Ackerman points out that a lot of people were strangely against the idea. I tried for a while to make a pun relating global warming to the acronym HoTS but I failed.

My former Congressman, Ed Markey, helped push this thing along - the requirement for the NIE didn't come from the DNI but came from Congress. Click here to see the discussion between myself, Mike Tanji (at afore-mentioned HoTS) and the mysterious folks at the now-abandoned Kent's Imperative last year when the requirement was handed down. Of course time will tell whether the NIE is any good (we'll have to wait until its leaked) and leads to better decisions being made, but I think it is a good sign that it is at least being taken seriously.

The Meme of Seven

I have been tagged by Eddie and Peter in a meme.

The Rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. This is the second time I am writing this post because blogger crapped out yesterday and ate the post.
2. Tomorrow, while my fiance will be working her tail off taking the boards exams, I will be relaxing watching Netherlands vs. Russia in the Euro2008 quarterfinal, and hoping to see my dad on TV (he has tickets and will be at the game!).
3. I think blog memes are a cool way of tracing networks of blogs.
4. I haven't updated my blog in a long time because of internet problems at home - it's not that I lost interest...
5. Everyone should go read/listen to my sister's interview of a big fancy-pants (literally - they wear fancy pants) music star, Stephen Connolly of the King's Singers.
6. I asked my fiance for a random fact about me and she said "you like soccer."
7. I am tagging Pat 7 times because he hasn't updated his blog in nine months.

Sageman vs. Hoffman

After the Grand Masta's chidings, I have a post up at Arabic Mediashack on the dustup between Marc Sageman and Bruce Hoffman over where to focus anti-Al Qaeda efforts.


I have been busy lately so I haven't posted much on soccer, but I can't resist noting this game. I love it when Italy loses.

Oil, politics, and climate in the Tuareg insurgencies

There have been some new developments in the Tuareg insurgencies in Mali and Niger. First, China and Niger have come to an oil deal that will give the Nigerien government five billion dollars. Secondly and possibly related, the MNJ in Niger has (finally) split. Also, the relationship between climate change and conflict has been getting some attention regarding the Tuareg rebellion. This post will look at the oil deal - I will write later on the MNJ split and the relationship between environmental change and conflict.

First, the oil deal. From Reuters:
China's state oil company has won a $5 billion deal to develop oil reserves in eastern Niger in the latest major Chinese investment to secure energy resources in Africa...
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) agreed to bring into production within three years the large Agadem block, which has proven reserves so far of 324 million barrels, Niger's government said.
Five billion dollars over ten or so years. For comparison, Niger's GDP is between nine billion and four billion dollars depending on how you calculate it. Also from the Reuters article:
Niger's eastern Diffa region has been relatively unaffected by a year-old revolt by Tuareg-led rebels who mostly operate in the country's northern desert region of Agadez.
Well, not quite. The MNJ has allied with a Toubou (the nomadic people that live in eastern Niger) rebel group, the FARS. Back in April, they led an attack against Nigerien soldiers around Diffa (possibly with an MNJ official, Kindo Zada, who had experience in Diffa as a Nigerien soldier). Previous to this oil deal, there wasn't really any economic motive for the Toubou to fight - they occasionally kidnapped tourists or soldiers for cash, but didn't really have any solid political objectives other than to be left alone by the central government. Now there is five billion dollars worth of oil under Toubou land.

Another consequence of an oil industry may be the further deterioration of the agriculture sector, as workers leave subsistence agriculture and pastoralism to compete for oil jobs. This has happened in other African countries (Gabon, Angola, Congo, etc.), well documented and explained by Nicholas Shaxson in his book Poisoned Wells which I'm in the middle of right now. The deterioration of agriculture could lead to further famines and unemployment (it's hard to start up a herd again once you've sold it off), conditions which have fostered the violence in Tuareg areas.

This post will be continued (when I have time) to look at the possible relationship between the Chinese oil deal and the MNJ split, as well as looking at Adam Wolfe's post on climate change and conflict in the Sahel.

Abu Muqawama

It's old news now that Abu Muqawama, A.K.A. Andrew Exum, has retired from blogging (temporarily I'm sure). What I hadn't noticed, due to reading Abu Muqawama via Google Reader, was that the Abu Muqawama comment section may be in the process of jumping the shark. A couple months ago you had great comment threads like this one. Now you have a 90 comment thread where anonymous trolls yell "defeatocrat" at each other. "I RED DUG FEITHS BOOK AND HE SEZ UR WRONG!@!!!1" I imagine the blog's remaining authors are too busy with their actual jobs to monitor the comment threads, although Dr. iRack smacks a few fools down in that last link.