* Anthony Cordesman from the CSIS think tank couches in strong terms the case that al Qaeda’s resurgence in Iraq is largely the result of Prime Minister Maliki’s violent, corrupt and sectarian attempts to consolidate power.
* Ted Galen Carpenter from the Cato Institute agrees, and concludes that “no one should assume Iraq’s continuing survival as a country.”
* Saleh al-Mutlaq, one of 3 deputy prime ministers, hopes that the elections scheduled on April 30 will help stabilize the country, and pushes back against claims that Al Qaeda took control of Fallujah.
* In neighboring Syria, infighting between rebels will give President Bashar al-Assad leverage in peace talks to start in Switzerland next week. But some opposition groups have yet to confirm they will attend the conference.
* According to Turkey’s Defense and Aerospace Industry Exporters Association, the country’s military exports grew by 10% to $1.4B in 2013.
US Service/Component Infighting
* National Defense: Air Force, Guard, Reserve: Can’t They All Just Get Along?
* Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, president of the National Guard Association, has no love lost for Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno:
“The Army chief of staff disparaged the Army National Guard last week by telling reporters in Washington, D.C., that, essentially, the Army National Guard just isn’t good enough to be relied upon more in the future.”
* Here is Odierno’s speech in the video below:
Contractors in the Field…
* We always appreciate defense firms that send their employees to the front lines. Good for BAE to send Greg Procopio to Iraq to learn first-hand about helicopter protection – and sometimes, the tragic lack thereof.
China Goes Hypersonic
* Anonymous sources at the Pentagon told the Washington Free Beacon that China tested a hypersonic missile last week. This was then picked up by some US lawmakers to decry budget cuts while the Chinese develop new cutting edge technology, though it’s not clear whether the test was successful.
* India seems willing to play hardball in its arbitration talks with AgustaWestland to resolve the VVIP helicopter contract. The government reportedly intends to use integrity clauses in order to go after bank guarantees worth more than 250 million euros ($340+M). Investigators from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) attended court hearings with middleman Guido Haschke in Milan last week. Meanwhile India need to figure out how to fly around their senior officials. Times of India | Economic Times | PTI | First Post | La Notizia [in Italian].
UK MoD Struggles with Recruitment System
* The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence joins its peers from the US and France in facing a software project going widely over budget and behind schedule. But the waste is still limited to 8 figures, far from the Pentagon’s wasted billions in a myriad of ERPs and databases. The Times | Guardian.