Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


Supporting Middle Eastern Entrepreneurialism Improves Global Security

The world watches as the Arab Spring takes another turn in Egypt, and we wonder what the future holds. For many cynical observers all such news bolsters simplistic views of “things always being that way over there“. But the real world is neither simplistic  nor is anyplace truly as distant or disconnected from the rest of us as terms like “over there” imply. The reliability of power and water systems in Shreveport and Manchester is tightly coupled to job opportunities in Cairo and Sana’a.

As has been noted here and in articles in the media the ICS ISAC has taken a hand in supporting the future of the people of Yemen by supporting the creation of a national cybersecurity center, YCERT. In an article originally published on TechTarget in March of 2013 the impact on global, US and local interests of fostering cyber stability in this troubled nation were spelled out (“Opinion: Yemeni CERT could turn the tide for Millennials“):

The youth of Yemen are reaching for a cyber future. To get there, 13 million Yemenis under the age of 18 (fully one half of the population) need an Internet infrastructure that provides stability and access to the world. For that infrastructure to exist, the country needs the same basic components that make any nation’s information systems stable and secure. Yemen needs a national cybersecurity center, a Yemen CERT.

In 2011, the students of Sana’a University in Yemen’s capital city rose up along with Arab Spring movements across the Middle East and ousted their dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Prior to that date, Internet penetration in the country stood at less than 1.8%, and what infrastructure existed was unreliable and insecure. Today, the use of smartphones to access the Internet, particularly among the young, is skyrocketing, while the nascent private sector strains to keep up with demand.

(Crossposted from the ICS ISAC Blog)

The Hope Bomb: Defeating Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Through Knowledge Sharing

It has been more than twenty years since the first Gulf War hauled awareness of the Arab world across the screens of American homes. An entire generation has been born and grown in that time. The Internet has gone from being a dark den of techno-academics to the utility of knowledge defining civilized existence.

Twenty years ago it may have been true that force was the only way to deal with geopolitical threats like Saddam Hussein. Ten years ago it may have been true that force was the only way to deal with festering extremist threats like Al Qaeda. But today we live in a world where we can attack the very soil that violent intolerance and extremism rise from. We can rob it the pestilential conditions it needs by encouraging environmental conditions where opportunities provide hope to the Millenials who are preparing to take over from their Cold War parents.

Events of the past decade – and the past month – have shown the limits of kinetic tools in combating violent extremism. The time has come to drain the swamp with infrastructure rather than explosives.