• Why the French Airstrikes Don’t Make Any Difference against Isis

    BEIRUT — Despite heavy French bombardment of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa this week, damage to the extremist group appears to be minimal, according to analysts and Syrian activists. The airstrikes — retaliation for last Friday’s attacks in Paris claimed by the Islamic State — hit such targets as a command post and a militant-training center in and around the Syrian city, French officials said. – The Washington Post

  • Smuggling Nuclear Material out of Russia

    CHISINAU, Moldova – The sample of highly-enriched uranium, of a type that could be used in a nuclear bomb, arrived here on a rainy summer day four years ago, in a blue shopping bag carried by a former policeman. According to court documents, the bag quickly passed through the hands of three others on its way to a prospective buyer. It was not the first time such material had passed through this city, raising international alarms: It had happened twice before. And mysteriously, in all three cases, spanning more than a decade, the nuclear material appeared to have the same origin – a restricted military installation in Russia. – Public Integrity

  • Paris Terrorist “Mastermind” Killed during French Police Raid

    The man widely known as the suspected mastermind of last Friday’s Paris attacks that killed 129 people, who bragged that he could always stay one step ahead of Western intelligence, was killed in the police raid north of Paris Wednesday. Officials also confirmed that his cousin was killed, when she apparently blew herself up. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, 27, had been linked to as many as four thwarted attacks since this spring, including the plot to kill passengers on a Paris-bound high-speed train in August, a plot that three young Americans helped foil. He was identified from skin samples after the Saint-Denis apartment raid, the French prosecutor’s office reported. – Fox News

  • Signs Point to the Paris Terrorists Using Unencrypted Commo

    In the wake of the Paris attack, intelligence officials and sympathizers upset by the Edward Snowden leaks and the spread of encrypted communications have tried to blame Snowden for the terrorists’ ability to keep their plans secret from law enforcement. Yet news emerging from Paris — as well as evidence from a Belgian ISIS raid in January — suggests that the ISIS terror networks involved were communicating in the clear, and that the data on their smartphones was not encrypted. – The Intercept

  • Protests in Kosovo Target Opposition

    Kosovo police have used tear gas to disperse protesters objecting to arrest warrants issued for opposition MPs. Police tried to arrest opposition MP Albin Kurti, who has led a series of protests in parliament against agreements made with Serbia.
    Mr Kurti was reportedly not at home when masked police entered his flat in the capital Pristina on Wednesday. Another opposition MP, Donika Kadaj-Bujupi, was arrested for letting off tear gas in parliament. Scores of opposition supporters gathered in front of the government headquarters in downtown Pristina for a second day, throwing stones and paint at the building. – BBC

[Featured image: The arrest of Teodor Chetrus in Moldova in 2011. Moldovan Police Directorate]