Russian-Chinese Naval Exercises in the Mediterranean?


“In spring 2015, we may witness a naval exercise of Russia and China

…in the Mediterranean”.

It is yet a statement. However, if the exercise takes place, it will send relevant messages to Europe and the US. The global naval balance of power is shifting to China’s and Russia’s advance. Time for Europe to do something.

“We plan to conduct a regular joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean next spring,” said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to the Russian TASS news agency. (…) Shoigu did not specify the nature of the exercises but Russia and China completed a bilateral exercise in May. (Source: USNI)


Russian announcements have already to be taken with care, even though it came not out of nothing, but rather after meeting in Beijing. However, there have been plenty statements from Moscow, e.g. about naval presences in the South China Sea and the Caribbean or the construction of indigenous aircraft carriers, that never turned into reality. Moreover, there has not yet been an accompanying statement from Beijing.


Chinese in the Gulf of Aden in October 2014.

It may be just a Russian hoax, nevertheless there is a realistic prospect in it. In spring 2015, China could do what has done with all its counter-piracy task forces. Once the mission in the Gulf of Aden is done and the new task force has arrived, the relieved task force will go for another duty before returning home. Hence, what we may see, is that 2-3 Chinese warships, one supply vessel and probably one submarine will transit Suez to meet with a Russian task force in Mediterranean (Med’).

The Russian task force will not consist out of more than 3-4 surface warships, few suppliers and 1-2 submarines. Do not expect a larger exercise. The Chinese are likely to insist on some kind of parity, because the world’s second largest power does not want be humiliated by looking like Russia’s junior partner.

Concerning the theater, the exercise will take place in the Eastern Med’. Russia and China have both been calling ports in Cyprus. Moreover, going to the Western Med’ will be too much for the Chinese and unnecessarily provoke the Europeans (although Beijing would probably not care). Russia’s interests, as already deployments since 2011 have shown, are also mainly in the Eastern Med’. After a couple of days, the exercise will be over and the Chinese will make their way to further port calls or immediately start their long way home.


The Exercises’ Messages:

Russia’s naval deployment to Australia (Link)
The Sino-Russian exercise would add another point on the list of Russia’s increasing military assertiveness: Bomber and fighter flights in the Baltic, Black Sea, Caribbean, Pacific and North Atlantic, the show of force in the Eastern Med’, and the recent deployment to the South Pacific for the G20 Summit.

Moreover, the exercise will be a success of Russian lobbying in Beijing. My guess is that, due to the remaining tensions with the West, the initiative to join forces in the Med’ came from Moscow. Why should China ask for an exercise in the Med’ that it does not really need? Instead, with an eye on the continued Sino-Russian exercises in the Pacific, both countries will get what they are looking for. The PLAN gets its the practical training it needs in Asia and more experience in expeditionary deployments, while the Russian get the demonstration of political will in the Med’ they are looking for.

That Russia brings another rising power, hostile to Western values, to the Med’ is a message to Europe. Again, Moscow aims to stress that is back as a great power and that Europe is simply incapable of doing anything about it. Though Beijing intends to send a political message by a Med’ naval deployment, it will be about global reach and dedicated to Washington. There is no need for Beijing to send any naval messages to the Europeans, who are strategically irrelevant to China.


Russia and China are Rising Naval Powers:

Sino-Russian exercise 2014 (Link)
Should the Sino-Russian exercise in the Med’ ever take place, it will be a remarkable illustration about global naval power shifts. While Europe has given up an effective presence East of Suez, except the counter-piracy task forces and an the UK SSN driving circles, Russia and Chinas start to step up combined on the global stage. That does not mean that Sino-Russian task forces will ever go to places to fight Falklands-Style Wars. However, it shows us, who has global ambitions and political will and who has not.

There is no further need to comment on Europe’s military decline. However, it is worth noting that China has left the rank of a Medium Regional Force Projection Navy, but has not yet arrived on the rank of Medium Global Force Projection (for the ranks see Grove 1990: 236-240). Instead, the PLAN is somewhere in between. The PLAN could be called a Major Regional, Minor Global Force Projection Navy. The same applies for Russia, although, except the sea-based nuclear force, China has already surpassed Russia in terms of naval power. China is building indigenous aircraft carriers, while Russia has to go shopping for helicopter carriers in France.

Perspectively, the key word in the Russian statement is “regular”. Given there would be annual Sino-Russian exercises in the Med’, it would be the ultimate naval humiliation for Europe. It would be an annual statement about Europe having effectively declined to a regional power being subject by global demonstrations of political will by others. However, we are far away from that. While Russia will remain interested in engaging the Chinese in the Med’, Beijing could easily conclude one day that they have learned enough lessons about expeditionary deployments and simply do not need the Russians anymore.


How Europe Should React:

First of all, the exercise would be a Christmas gift in spring to NATO’s intelligence services. The US and Europeans should spy on the exercises with SIGINT, surveillance aircraft and submarines. Especially for the Europeans, it is a unique opportunity to learn about China’s and Russia’s capabilities, because they are incapable of gaining this information in the Pacific.

In addition, Europe should neither condemn nor ignore the exercise. As long as Russia and China exercise in international waters, there is nothing wrong with that. Instead, Europe should wish the Russians a safe trip home and ask to Chinese to come in for a friendly port visit. Greatness is better than grumbling, having a chat with the Chinese is better than by harsh press releases pushing them into Russia’s arms.

Moreover, Europeans should re-consider their absence from relevant global naval deployments. The political purpose therefore would be to make clear that Europe has still global interests that go beyond trade. Julian Lindley-French has rightly observed Europe’s retreat from power and the failure of Brussels’ wishful thinking. Hence, the geopolitically right reaction for Europe would be to show that Europe still has to offer more than words and that hard power has not been abandoned.

Therefore, the Royal Navy’s Cougar Deployment 2015 could be joined by other European navies. It makes no sense for the Europeans to show their flags at the Spratlys or Senkakus, due to the lack of a political purpose. However, a trip to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea – disaster relief in this region is a very realistic operational scenario for European navies – and Australia may be sufficient to demonstrate the remaining global reach. The way back via French Polynesia and Panama would make the global message clear – really doing this is not that much about capabilities, but rather about political will. The admirals will find solutions for all obstacles, when their political lords and masters tell them that they have to.

Written By: Felix Seidler



PhD candidate, blogger. Areas of interest:
Strategic Studies, maritime security, geopolitics,
NATO, Transatlantic Relations

The UK Military: Lessons from the Fourth Anglo – Afghan War 2001 – 2014

  BSBBCth As UK troops leave Helmand province and Whitehall’s ‘Eye of Sauron’ flicks to northern Iraq and Syria, this article asks “what has the UK military got better at in the longest and most complex conflict of our generation”? The compelling answer is; not much. This article seeks to explore the UKs’ approaches to military deployment, challenge its dogmas and identify its limitations.
The UK, and Britain in turn, has enjoyed a spell of power at a time of technological change almost unique. The breadth of it’s empire, it’s far reaching influence and it’s military capability were world class. The British Army has deployed to Afghanistan before. Over a series of three campaigns thousands of British troops fought, killed and died in turn between 1839 and 1919. There is little difference in the minds of Afghan elders between the fourth ‘war’ – despite its status as a peacekeeping intervention. By degrees over the last two decades the national institutions, military technology and will to engage has been on a slow downward trajectory. This decline has occurred during a surge of violence, failing state fragmentation and cultural frictions due to human terrain tectonics.  Some ancient, and some merely old, extremist ideologies have manifested novel threats and entirely new vectors of attack and national vulnerabilities have emerged in this critical twenty years.
Conceptual Understanding of the Threat
Since 2011 and the redefinition of the noun ‘terrorist’ to mean critical direct threat to a homeland, the UK has been finding it progressively harder to match strategic policy with operational and tactical action. Northern Ireland – OP BANNER – was the last time the UK military deployed en masse against a recognisable terrorist threat. Importantly the military was able to delineate between spectacular’ attacks against soft targets (perceived acts of terrorism) and insurgent attacks against military targets (straightforward ‘attacks’). An example of a terrorist act during this period is the Docklands Bomb of 1992. It began life in a small scrapyard in South Armagh during a thirty year counter insurgency (COIN) operation. The Army understood that sniper attacks and culvert IEDs in Crossmaglen were the fabric of an insurgency and was able to bring military force – including deep intelligence work – against them. PIRA attacks on the mainland were acts of terrorism and the Home Office was able to bring security services and policing against active threats on the mainland.
The British Army experience in NI became a much touted entrance ticket to the small wars of the 90’s and 00’s. Built on a legacy of British COIN in post colonial conflicts, Cyprus, Malaya et al, the British Army was presumed to be an expert in a limited but complex combat situations. This coupled with the historical legacy of British involvement in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan since the 1800s. As the UK government committed troops to Afghanistan and Iraq the military arguably overreached. The military drank it’s own kool aid and volunteered for the heavy lifting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Does the military still perceive and understand this difference between terrorism and insurgency? The enemy combatants in Northern Afghanistan in 2001 were ‘terrorists’. By 2010 the Taliban in Helmand Province, Southern Afghanistan were ‘insurgents’. In this decade the British military forgot and then brutally relearned the differences between counter terrorism (CT) and COIN the hard way.
Doctrine rapidly evolved to aid understanding of complex human terrain, misaligned tribal loyalties, upstream re-development priorities and the difficulties of nation building using an unwieldy paradigm of centralised democracy. From 2008 there was an uptick in the practical application of crude methods of understanding the people and their motivations. As the military withdraws some of the greatest lessons learnt from Afghan are not new. The techniques of CIMIC, Information Operations, PSYOPS et al have certainly been refined but the issues they counter have always existed. For at least the period 2006 – 2008 the Army fought heavily armed gangs in a lawless province with little grasp of the enemies’ motivations.
Size and Scale Thresholds
There is now a comparative scale issue when comparing the UK on the international stage. For comparison the US military is sufficiently large to mount, deploy and sustain major combat operations overseas on an enduring basis. The UK military now struggles to maintain one medium scale operation in a long term operation. With this gradual downsizing came a number of poorly understood issues. The military chain of command became more focussed on the tactical and operational battle space as there was no strategic ‘big picture’. To be expected when the UK formed a small part of a coalition context. The effect of this was to blur the lines between strategic ends and operational means. British joint chiefs reported operational success to Whitehall who pictured strategic gain – but that was never the case.
Another effect of the downsized military scaling is the ‘localisation’ of the Area of Operations (AOs). Small AOs allow tactical operations only. If a BG is compressed into a ground holding role somewhere in a 10km section of the Helmand river valley it is simply not going to have anything other than a tactical effect on a insurgency mobilised across two countries with a porous desert border. This effect again was poorly understood as the British ‘deepened the hold’ in Helmand from 2008 onwards.
In terms of force integrity there is a point where the reduction of military capabilities and their enablers reduce the overall effectiveness of a force at an exponential rate. The impact of losing say, a Battle Group level Arty support asset, is felt at Brigade level – and there was only ever one rotational brigade in Helmand at a time. An intangible line in the sand exists – below which military power projection drops off a cliff. If you can’t sustain a force in the field or cope with high manpower attrition through combat casualty rates then an army is wildly ineffective at the operational level.
The Paradox of Domestic Support
If war is the continuation of politics and politicians are susceptible to voters opinion, the business of deploying the military is not a rational one. Whilst the art of military science, the application of just enough violence, is very rational and everything relies on strong reasoned plans that have a logical progression the ability of a government to maintain military operations is the very opposite. Evocative pictures of casualties and compelling human tragedies sway a public. Despite the proportionally small number of fatalities in Afghanistan – 453 – against a force of up to 14000 troops on rotation every six months the impact of each of these deaths was strategic. The US experienced a similar decline in support for operations in Vietnam over time.
Social media has changed the domestic support. Whilst supportive sites for military activity abounded an equal number of opportunities arose on a number of the key platforms to garner anti-war support – backed with visceral images and realistic perspectives on the futility of military operations against a backdrop of corruption, strong ideology and complex allegiance. Whilst the Army received strong support at the individual level, the lack of public support for the campaign changed the game. Whitehall could not sustain the operation.
Challenges Ahead
The military in the UK is still taking stock. Following cuts, redundancies and the new structure (‘Army of 2020′, or ‘A2020′) there is much to re-learn. With this comes the need to refine military capability, particularly in the technical and cyber disciplines. Added focus must ensure integration of cross Whitehall agencies on single issues. This ‘integrated approach’ is important as through it the UK can continue to achieve strategic effect.
Future combat operations will likely occur. In contention is the means by which the conflict will be defined; against what enemy, to counter what threat, to what end state? The British House of Commons has already demonstrated a new sensitivity to these questions over intervention in Syria. There will be more healthy deliberation to come.
Published November 7, 2014
Author Anonymous
(by request)

Gathering #Intelligence In Tragedy: #CSIS and #ISIS #Canada

While Canadians mourns their two soldiers killed by radicalized homegrown terrorists, the government is passing a bill to bolster intelligence agency budgets by extending coordination between Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) and the American National Security Agency (NSA).

The recent “lone wolf” attacks in Canada were a critical reminder of the need for law enforcement organizations to work together to complete the task of combating homegrown terrorism. Neither the Canadian population, nor the authorities were ready for these types of lone wolf attacks, although predictable with a Canadian presence in Afghanistan, Libya and Special Operations Forces (SOF) operations in Africa.


The deaths of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo couldn’t have been predicted, although Canadian Intelligence Services have been working tirelessly to counter terrorist plots on both national and international arenas. Sadly, in this case, the effectiveness of a poorly planned attack by lone wolves prevailed.

The CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are doing everything they can, as are all the Counter Terrorism (CT) officers who are working tirelessly to uncover terrorist activities. Unfortunately, Canadian authorities need more comprehensive tools for a successful Canadian Counter-Terrorism campaign.

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While the entire planet was turned towards the tragic events in Ottawa, ISIS was also watching. The actions of two radicalized Canadians would give valuable intelligence feedback to ISIS (ISIL). As a matter of fact, there was so much confusion during the attack on Parliament, that Twitter feeds starting going crazy, only minutes after Corporal Cirillo (may he rest in peace) was shot. People were tweeting live guesses that there were three to five active shooters. Later to find out there was only one.

The police had to request people not tweet or report live information about their whereabouts, to protect their ability to safely counter the attack.  Confusion was at its highest and sadly,  some media and followers continued to tweet live photos of where and how they were operating (after warnings not to), putting them at great risk. Don’t forget, ISIS is always watching as well.



The fact that it was so easy to enter the Parliament building is troubling. Although  security will be boosted from now on, media were quick to tweet exactly where the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader were…and in what rooms. The fact that the Parliament is accessible to everyone is also concerning. People might say it is the public’s house, but should we reconsider safety measures for Canadian leadership located in that building?

Canadians need to be more cautious when conveying information via social media. The same applies to journalists and media in general, who run toward action, not away. This makes their personal safety vulnerable. They offer themselves up as open source intelligence (OSINT) resources for ISIS. The media have done dutiful jobs of covering events in Ottawa, and for that I am thankful.

During the next few months, various Canadian Law Enforcement groups will be present in at-risk communities to bolster the population’s confidence in them. They will need to establish strong counter-terrorism networks by working with each other to foil future attempts at breaching or probing security around targeted governmental buildings – mostly RCMP, CSIS and National Defense buildings.

As for the media and Canadian population in general, awareness is key to survival. Social media is a very effective tool for terrorist organizations, and most of what’s been published about them has been made public. Pictures of government buildings should be kept off social media sites, and police operations should not be filmed or published on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Pinterest or Instagram.


Quickly after Martin Ahmad Rouleau was killed by police- after running over two Canadian soldiers in a parking lot- a Canadian man who had joined Jihadis in Syria under the name of Abu Khalid Al-Kanadi tweeted: “Canadian brother Martin Rouleau rams two Canadian soldiers with his vehicle, then achieves martyrdom after police shoot him! ALLAHU AKBAR!(sic).”

Abu Khalid Al-Kanadi also added in another tweet, a few minutes after: “Muslims in Canada, follow the footsteps of our brave brother Martin Rouleau who took revenge for Canadian military aggression in our lands.”


The vast majority of Muslims aren’t radical Islamists. These tweets are aimed to incite violence and racism towards local peaceful Muslim communities in Canada. The propaganda created an unstable environment encouraging violence against law-abiding Muslims. We’ve seen Mosques in Canada being vandalized after the tragic events in Ottawa. All radical Islamists are using those events to create, or falsify public perception and imagery about how ‘Canadians hate Muslims’, which is entirely false…of course!

It’s unfortunate that destructive terrorism against Canada could possibly incite younger generations of Muslims around the globe to seek violence and hatred as an expression of self. When Future potential Jihadis became heavily influenced by a small number of radicalized Canadians. These young Muslims are taught to read the Holy Qur’an (in the jihadi way) and are also frequently exposed to jihadi promotion videos, widely available on the internet. As a matter of fact, the 42-minute radio statement issued by Islamic State last September called for the killing of individual Americans, French, Australians and Canadians, or any other disbeliever.

Martin Ahmad Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau had some jihadi propaganda on their social media profiles. Zhef-Bibeau also made a video shortly before killing Cpl Nathan Cirrilo but the police have yet to release it. Islamic State social media are propaganda tool ISIS uses to incite radicalized Canadians to take lone wolf actions.

ISIS has been inspiring sympathizers to conduct “lone wolf” attacks against military and governmental targets- all through social media. The strategy is simple, but makes ot difficult for Canadian authorities to keep track of. Nonetheless, they are working tirelessly to counter those attacks.

The social media trend works both ways. The authorities can use them to warn the population against any threats, but the terrorists can also use them to incite lone wolves—who aren’t directly connected to the Islamic State—to attacks targets that were condemned in earlier propaganda video or speeches.


The intelligence services—CSIS and the RCMP for the most part—in Canada are aware of the possible lone wolf attacks, and are taking them seriously. Because they are unpredictable, it is hard for CSIS to gather enough information to meticulously monitor them. CSIS heavily relies on the Canadian population to report possible threats and start investigations based on their statements.

Monitoring suspicious social media profiles and working closely with the different communities are the two keys to defend ourselves against lone wolf attacks.

I was in Ottawa a week before the tragic events. I took a taxi there and started talking to the taxi driver who was Iraqi. I was telling him how unfortunate the situation is and how the people in Iraq were suffering due to the Islamic State. This taxi driver is a Canadian and has a family here, making him a citizen of a country that is openly battling ISIS. He told me, as I was about to leave the taxi, that the Islamic State was the best thing for Iraq and they would kill Americans and their allies.

Of course I reported it to the authorities but the fact that he was talking about it so openly made me aware of the possible threats we have around us every day. This situation is a pure example why the Canadian population needs to keep their eyes and ears open, and report any suspicious activities to the authorities. If it happened to me, I am positive it happened to others.

Following a lone wolf is not as easy as gathering intelligence on organized groups such as the Toronto 18, for example. Those groups can be infiltrated or their members could get cold feet, informing the police about their plan to commit attacks.


Don’t get me wrong here, a lone wolf do pose a threat. Due to the fact that they work alone, they have to plan, organize, conduct reconnaissance, acquire the weapons and deploy everything to be successful. However, all these steps can be done hastily and the attacker can carry out his attacks in a matter of a few minutes, making it impossible for the intelligence services to prevent them.


We Canadians are fortunate  to live in a very safe country. However, it’s everyone’s job to ‘be on the lookout’. Sadly, terrorist attacks are becoming a bigger threat every day and Canada is not immune. We’re facing a growing number of homegrown terrorists… so “be aware of your surroundings!”

The intelligence services are also getting more money and more authority from the government. CBC News has reported that Bill C-44 amends the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act to:

  • Give CSIS more powers of surveillance “to more effectively investigate threats to the security of Canada.”
  • Give Canada’s Spy Agency explicit authority to operate “within or outside Canada.” This would allow the agency to share information on suspected Canadian terrorists abroad with members of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of countries — namely the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
  • Give “greater protection” to confidential sources without having to identify them in court proceedings, even to the judge.
  • Allow for some exceptions, including disclosure of informants’ identities “if the human source and the [CSIS] director consent to the disclosure of that information.” The bill lays out the process by which a judge could order that an exception be made.
  • Make it an offence to divulge any information that would lead to the disclosure of the identity of a CSIS employee “who was, is or is likely to become engaged in covert operational activities.”

Those five points will give greater autonomy and a better protection for their informants. In addition to that, Public Security Minister Blaney announced further anti-terrorism measures.

“Further reforms to protect Canadians from terrorism will be presented in a second forthcoming piece of legislation,” Blaney said.

As a matter of fact, Federal authorities—ministers, RCMP and CSIS officials—are currently considering new laws and are lobbying for them.

According to, the wish list included:

  • Lower legal thresholds to be able to preemptively arrest a suspect or to get intercept warrants.
  • Possible lower thresholds for court orders to restrict an individual’s movements under peace bonds.
  • Stronger powers to monitor online communications, remove online posts and charge those who glorify terrorist acts online.
  • Dropping the requirement for police to seek the federal attorney general’s consent before charging or exercising certain powers, including preventive arrest.
  • A new system to track Canadians who leave the country, called an “exit information system” that CSIS has twice in the past week said would be “extremely helpful.”

While the government is working on passing bills and giving more tools to the Federal authorities, the Canadian population still have to be aware of their environment. If everyone is on the lookout, it will facilitate the authorities’ jobs.

There are distinct signs of terrorism that could possibly help you detect potential terrorist acts. The Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center made a list of eight signs and explains them. I strongly suggest visiting the website and read about them. Here’s the eight signs.

  • Surveillance
  • Inquiries
  • Tests of Security
  • Fundraising
  • Acquiring Supplies
  • Suspicious/Out-Of-Place Behavior
  • Dry Runs
  • Deploying Assets/Getting Into Position

If you ever witness or suspect anything, you can always contact your local police department if there is an immediate threat to national security. In the case of a non-immediate threat, you can contact CSIS or the nearest RCMP detachment.


It is still too early to foresee what ISIS is planning to do against Canada and the civilian population. They are openly calling for Jihad against the Canadian authorities but this is not new. My main concern is the augmentation of attacks by sympathizers to the ISIS cause. Whether they are conducted by lone wolves or organized cells, the Canadians should be very cautious.

Having said that, I firmly believe in working with the Muslim communities through de-radicalization programs and exposing the “good sides” of the different ethnic communities. As a Catholic, I know how the Churches are always trying to help the people in need. The Mosques are doing the same and for the most part, they will never ask anything in return.


As a multi-ethnic country, it is time for both the population and the government to working with the different religious groups and stand by them when tragedies such as the Ottawa shooting happen. It is also time to give our Intelligence services the tools necessary to able them to do a better job.

Written By @JWadeMoses
Jonathan Wade, Nov 1, 2014
Author Bio: Jonathan Wade is an Afghanistan combat veteran who served for 14 years as a Canadian light infantryman. He is currently studying Modern Arab Language and Culture. Jonathan writes for Go Global Media, SOFREP and The Loadout Room. He has appeared on Byline and Sun News Network. He is also bilingual and French is his first language.


Edited By @2kdei

Kristina Dei, Director; Go Global Media 

Homegrown Canadian Terrorists

By Jonathan Wade (Article also featured in

A new type of war has begun for Canadians. Terrorist attacks are now happening within our own borders. In recent days, two Canadian soldiers were run over by a radicalized Canadian named Martin Ahmad Rouleau. Unfortunately, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed in the attack. He was 53 years old.

Our very own Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is severely lacking the budget to be able to closely monitor all possible terrorist threats. As a matter of fact, Rouleau was on a watch list and even got his passport revoked, so he was unable to fly abroad and join ISIS. Fortunately for Canadians, the CSIS relies heavily on the Five Eyes Intelligence Network. That being said, I have to say that our CSIS analysts and operatives are doing a great job with the budget they have.

This whole situation raised a question about Canada’s readiness against terrorist attacks. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and CSIS are more than capable of conducting intelligence operations. The fact that Canadians are willingly reporting possible threats really helps these two organizations. Unfortunately, they can’t monitor every possible terrorist threat due to the lack of budget.


RCMP quickly put CDS General Tom Lawson into protection and evacuated him.

Since 2001, Canada has been an active player in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and deployed forces to Afghanistan, Libya, and now, Iraq. As an active partner in the coalition against terrorism, the Canadian government knows about possible domestic attacks.

The resources are scarce and the manpower is low. However, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney recently announced new powers for CSIS including:

  1. Allowing CSIS to obtain information on Canadians fighting abroad with terrorist groups through the “Five Eyes” spy network, which includes Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
  2. Letting CSIS more easily track Canadians engaging in terrorist activities abroad, and similarly helping a Five Eyes country track its nationals working with terrorist groups in Canada.
  3. Giving CSIS informants the same anonymity accorded to police sources.

Having said all of that, it doesn’t take an established spy network to identify one of the core instruments at work to develop these homegrown terrorists: simple, ubiquitous social media. The new tool for ISIS’ propaganda.

Rouleau’s action is a pure example of what social media can do. Approximately a year ago, he started looking at propaganda videos and decided to convert to Islam because of them. His friends knew him as a very outgoing guy, but he quickly changed when he started watching those videos. He was also a father, but lost custody of his child due to his conversion to radical Islam.


Martin Ahmad Rouleau

As with anything of this nature, a lot of speculation has revolved around Rouleau. Supposedly, he was part of a terrorist sleeper cell (I hate this term, but I have to include it) here in Quebec, Canada. He also had a profile on ummaland, a social network website for muslims. In one of his posts on Facebook, he circulated a quotation: “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” His Facebook cover picture was a black ISIS flag.

Many types of people live in and visit our country, which is great. But diversity doesn’t negate the fact that there are those out there who simply give off a bad vibe, a vibe that even citizens should be in tune to. Not long ago, I came across someone who raised a lot of suspicion while I was on vacation with my wife and two kids.

We took a cab to get from one museum to another. As I was about to pay, I asked him where he was from. When he told me he was from Iraq, I started saying how unfortunate the situation was with ISIL. He quickly responded that ISIL was the best thing that could happen to Iraq and they would kill Americans and their allies. Canada is one of those allies, I thought. I didn’t say anything; I was too pissed off. This situation was reported to the RCMP a few days later.

Many people are arguing that Rouleau wasn’t a terrorist. In fact, in Canada, section 83.01 of the Criminal Code defines terrorism as an act committed “in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective, or cause, with the intention of intimidating the public with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government, or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act.”

Another terrorist hit us two days after Rouleau ran over the two Canadian soldiers. In fact, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian native who was raised in Montreal, killed a Canadian soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, while he was guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier here in Ottawa. Quickly after that, he was able to enter the Canadian Parliament, but was taken down by Sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers after a quick firefight. We can consider ourselves lucky that he didn’t knew the building, because he was a few steps from the Prime Minister, who was in a conservative caucus. Had he known, Zehaf-bibeau could’ve performed a true massacre.


Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s picture that was tweeted by ISIS account shortly after the attacks.


Cpl Nathan Cirillo fought for his life but lost his combat.

This terrorist attacks locked down the entire Ottawa downtown area as the RCMP ERT, alongside some operators from CANSOFCOM and Ottawa police SWAT, tried to find a nonexistent second shooter. With all the confusion, some believed there were more than four shooters spread out around the parliament area.

Terrorist attacks create confusion, and social media quickly boosted that. Reports from unknown sources were tweeted every minute and were spreading like wildfire. Fortunately, the journalists present in the streets didn’t tweet nor say where the agents were and what they were doing. The Canadian press did a marvelous job while keeping their calm.

So Canada was confronted with two terrorist attacks in a matter of three days. We now know that both Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau had their passports revoked when they tried to fly to Turkey to join ISIS. Unconfirmed sources are even trying to link both together by pretending they were in communication in the days before both attacks.

I have to add that ISIS told their followers to do some lone wolf attacks with knives and rifles. I guess they want to create as much confusion as possible, as it’s harder to track those lone wolves who have been radicalized than a homegrown terrorist cell.

Is it time for the Canadian government to raise our very own intelligence service budget? I think this week’s events clearly tell us yes.

Written by Jonathan Wade @JWadeMoses, October 2014


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Jonathan Wade is an Afghanistan combat veteran who served for 14 years as a Canadian light infantryman. He distinguished himself as a TCCC operator saving numerous ANA lives under fire, earning the Chief of Defense Staff Commendation. As an ANA mentor, Jonathan was WIA and is now writing for SOFREP, The Loadout Room. He is also bilingual and french is his first language.

Article Featured in

Reproduced for Go Global Media by Permission from Author, Jonathan Wade.

Oct. 29, 2014

#SOF “Breacher up!” An Embassy Rescue.


“Breacher up!” was definitely coming through my earpiece as clear as a bell. Shortly thereafter, I turned around to watch the last guy rope in, get his weapon up and give thumbs up to the crew chief. The 60 foot fast rope would be falling from the bird onto the roof because that’s our S.O.P. That’s what we do. As the bird (helicopter) ascended, the breacher mounted the water impulse charge onto a small hatch on the roof of the Embassy. Then I heard in my earpiece, “Breaching!” All shooters open our mouths when we heard that phrase on the net. The over pressure of an explosive charge nearby may can cause a concussion.


The fantastic thing about using explosives to gain entry into an enclosure is you don’t necessarily have to make a hole large enough to accommodate all of your shooters. You just need to defeat the locking mechanism enabling you to negotiate the door or whatever impedes your entry into the crisis point. On the roof of this “hypothetical” mission, we used what is referred to as a “water impulse” charge. An intravenous or (I-V) bag worked perfectly in the early 90s. Once the shot is blown, the water basically intensifies the outward pressure. Metaphorically speaking, this charge is a front thrust kick in the chest of the door rather than sharp, direct pressure of a slap / slant charge for dead bolts or stubborn locks. In this case, we achieved high order detonation with the (I-V) bag and the small hatch simply caved in and fell to the floor. The first guys in the stack cleared from top to bottom and secured the top floor room thus making it quasi safe for the rest of us.


Safe helicopter insert, solid communications, tight security, positive breach and we had put a small team inside safely. No shots fired and everything was going smooth and almost completely as planned. That’s about the time the wheels came off and sugar turned into something less savory. I started hearing screaming, which was later identified as the Ambassador’s children in the very next room. With the breaching blast going off approximately 1-minute prior, the kids knew something was about to happen and they were waiting for whatever it was. I could smell the burned explosives in the air and see small pieces of green rigger’s tape that had been wrapped on the charge. Sights, sounds and smells make things REAL.

This was more intense than clearing old bunkers and doing patrols in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I had only been back for 2.5 months and already I was locked and loaded, but this time it felt a bit different. This was more intense than the Karate tournaments I fought in back in Mississippi. Once again, I tugged at my magazine to make sure it was fully seated, did a press check, settled the butt of my weapon snug into my shoulder and kept my head and eyes up. The voices of sharp-eyed Close Quarters Battle instructors whispered to me as I moved down the hall. Everything we do in training makes crucial differences when it’s real. Perfect practice makes perfect and only hits count. I was trying to stay in the bubble and keep my head in the game. I stayed behind the shooter in front of me who made me feel as safe as if he were a giant bulletproof shield or an angel guiding me back to Mississippi. My goggles fogged up as adrenaline flowed and my heart raced.
Suddenly, (1) unknown ran across the hallway about 7 yards in front of the stack. The point man did not engage as the unknown only exposed himself for about a second and surprised us all. The “Shoot first ask questions later” idea is for amateurs, air-softers and movie stars. We made entry into the room where the kids were huddled and they just cringed and cried with their eyes slammed shut. They had no idea who we were. The unknown in the room tried to run as we made entry probably foreseeing his ultimate demise. I should’ve watched my sector instead of locking on to him, but movement is the first thing that instinctively gets your attention. With all of the adrenaline, elevated heart rate and lack of experience, I followed the threat, I tracked him and at this distance there was no need to lead him. I squeezed my trigger softly as if it were a Pringles potato chip that I didn’t want to break. Had this been a REAL mission, I would focus on the clear tip of the front sight or the EO-Tech holographic sight. I remember hearing the recoil buffer spring inside the stock of my M16 instead of the shots. In my non-firing eye, I could see another shooter closing in towards my muzzle. Instinctively, I dropped the muzzle being sure I didn’t aim my rifle at another shooter and avoiding a possible friendly fire situation.
The first (3) shooters went deep and tried to get a front sight on the unknown and I stayed in about 2 feet in the room and 2 feet off of the wall. The kids were there on the floor nearly one arm distance from me with tears racing down their faces when I decided I’d better check this small room across from me. As I reached for the knob with my non-firing left hand, I took in a very deep breath and punched my M16 out at eye level. A (3) round burst went off just before I pulled the door open and I could tell it was a 16 instead of the AK, but it still freaked me completely out due to my hyper vigilance. Maybe I asked myself, “How could you volunteer for this?”

I grasped the knob tightly and turned it clockwise anticipating something to happen. My action is faster than his reaction as I yanked it open and quickly recovered my weapon with both hands at the point. The small room was full of janitorial supplies and no space for a body to hide. We were there to get the Ambassador and his family out, alive. So I began talking with the kids trying to calm them down. They were hysterical and frightened of me. It wasn’t until I pulled an olive drab and black American flag patch from my flight suit and showed them that they realized I was there to help them. Through my headset I heard (5) hostage takers reduced and all others were heading to the pickup point and the compound had been secured. As planned, I took my precious cargo over to the basketball court to wait for a CH53 super stallion (helicopter) that was in a holding pattern in the Atlantic. These are some things you may experience on these types of missions.

The men who train to do this very mission are the best in the world. While we drive to football or soccer games, they are waiting somewhere right now for the opportunity to rescue someone like these kids. They are willing to selflessly sacrifice, in some cases their lives, if the need should arise. They are part of the greatest military ever assembled. Regardless of what the news says, America is still strong. These men will see that it stays that way…

Their kids will not have their dads in the stands to cheer or encourage them…

So if you’re blessed and lucky enough to be at a game where they still play our National Anthem, please stand in reverence and quiet courtesy with hand over your heart. Remember these men who are out there on the wall so you can enjoy your freedoms and pray for them and their families. I know what it means to them and how much they appreciate it.

By Allen Ward

#SOF “Quiet Pride”


There is nothing in this world wrong with being proud of accomplishments. Be careful with that since pride is one of the seven deadly sins.  I know guys that have done things (life saving things down range) that continue to go unrecognized for nearly twenty years now. It’s in Law Enforcement just as much for what they endure on the street almost daily. However, in the SOF (Special Operations Forces) community, Quiet Pride has been the mantra for OpSec (Operational Security) and other reasons. Today it almost seems keeping a low profile with certain skill sets is a thing of the past. Now there are so many shooters who can drive tacks and who have been there and done that (as the saying goes).  In Hamlet, Polonius says to his son Laertes, “To thine own self be true.” This also can equate to “Quiet Professionalism”.
More often than not, if a man is as good as he thinks he is, there’s no need to broadcast his knowledge, skills or abilities because his peers already know. The enigma or mysterious way of a quiet special operator creates conversation among us and those like us. Somebody advised me as a child, “It’s better to be seen and not heard.” That same person also advised that if you face multiple threats, pay close attention to the quiet one. He is most likely planning his attack instead of talking about what his attack may be.
I’ve seen guys turn their shirts inside out to avoid compromising what particular unit they were with. That same mentality can be seen in professional Law Enforcement guys and gals who may be in a special unit. The real ones don’t have stickers, t- shirts or car tags displaying what they do. Target indicators are things that real guys do or won’t do that may give them away. God bless them and I love them all. I hope they make millions with their books because they deserve it. However, not at the cost of compromising skills and, or techniques used by military or Law Enforcement special operations units.
Finally, the guy who blows his own horn often and early has never been anywhere or done anything associated with either of these communities. He turns off those whom he seeks to impress with bragging of things he’s never done. I appreciate all of our Military and Law Enforcement service members regardless of their jobs or special skills sets. Their willingness to serve us is honorable enough. They should be proud of their service and sacrifice regardless of where, when, or how they served. It’s up to us as Americans to be “true to ourselves” and honor them.

By Allen J. Ward