This will be a two-day update, due this time to the study of the bombing in Jakarta.
* At least two victims are dead and numerous others are wounded in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, the world's most-populous Muslim nation. Security forces killed all five attackers. Indonesian jihadists - reputedly operating from ISIL facilities in Raqqa, Syria - are believed to have provided planning and funds for the attackers. The attack comes a week after the ambush and attempted murder of a Philadelphia police officer by a self-described ISIL loyalist, and five weeks after the massacre in San Bernardino, CA, carried out by a married couple claiming allegiance to ISIL, following US President Barack Obama's insistence that ISIL was "contained".
First-Pass Analysis - This attack, with its attendant attempt to focus on foreigners, mirrors both the "swarm attack" in Paris, on November 13, 2014, and with the similar attack on Mumbai, India, on November 26, 2008.
As in the Paris attack, the action commenced with the detonation of three suicide bombers near a Starbucks coffee shop, followed swiftly by other terrorists engaging defenseless civilians with rifle fire and apparently some type of hand grenades and/or pipe bombs. As in the Mumbai attack, the terrorists pointedly targeted foreigners. The attackers were swiftly dealt with, due to the energetic response of Indonesian security, although an extended shootout did develop for a time.
Although the terrorists in both Paris and Jakarta failed to display the levels of military expertise demonstrated by Lashkar-e-Taiba in Mumbai (whose attack teams inserted via Zodiac assault boats from a pirated fishing boat offshore), the similarities in the attacks are clear.
This is not surprising -- as far back as the end of 2008, it was recognized that islamist jihadism is inherently self-destructive, simply because no one (not even its adherents) can live up to the rigid standards demanded by jihadism. It was for this very reason that Daesh, in Iraq and Syria, sought to switch over to a more traditional, "main-force" model of warfare, one that would head off the self-destructive nature of the societal model that jihadists use.
This is actually good news -- it means that ISIL is being degraded, and battered back down to a manageable level, instead of operating at the level of a semi-functional state, however brutal.
* Schools in Yala Province, in the extreme south of the country, have been forced to close following threats against the lives of government teachers by the increasingly violent separatist groups in this majority-Malay regions. [Source]
* Four Maoist guerrillas - three men and one woman - have been killed in a shootout with government forces near Bijapur, just south of Raipur, the Chhattisgarh State capital. Several weapons, including at least four hand grenades, have been recovered. Security forces are searching for possible additional rebel casualties. [Source]
* Police in the Gajapti District of the Southeast Indian coastal state of Odisha today recovered a large IED - weighing an estimated 32kg/70lbs - that security officials believe was planted by Maoist Naxalite guerrillas several years ago. [Source]
* Pakistani authorities have shut down several religious schools run by the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group accused of masterminding an attack this month on an air base in India, the provincial law minister said on Friday. [Source]
* Three suspected militants were killed in a gun battle with Pakistani security forces in the Turbat area, near the port city of Gwadar, scene of the recent ambush and murder of a Frontier Corps truck driver. [Source]
* At least 20 persons are dead and 15 wounded in a large-scale attack on the Splendid hotel and Cappucino restaurant and bar, in the capitol of Ouagadougou, today. [Source]
* Al Shabaab militants on Friday launched an attack on the El-Adde base of Africa Union peacekeepers in the Gedo region of southern Somalia, killing dozens of soldiers, said officials and residents. The militants opened the attack by ramming a suicide car bomb into the Kenyan forces' gate at the base. Fighting is ongoing at press time. [Source]
* At least 9 Al-Shabaab militants were killed and several others injured in fighting on Thursday near Elbuur, in central Somalia. [Source]
* At least 30 militants were killed and 10 others seriously injured on Thursday as security forces foiled a militant attempt targeting a checkpoint southern Sheikh Zuweid city of Egypt's restive North Sinai province, an Egyptian military spokesman said in a statement. [Source]
* Syrian government artillery and fighter-bombers continued to pound Daesh positions in the towns of Sheikh Meskeen and Nawa in Dara'a province, near the Dead Sea, according to field sources, on Thursday. [Source]
* Meanwhile, government aircraft struck islamist positions near the central Syrian city of Homs, while a government strike force raided ISIL positions near al-Bayarat, west of the ancient city of Palmyra. [Source]
* Syrian forces confirmed the killing in combat of ISIL's senior Pakistani commander, known as "Ali al-Pakistani", near the city of Jisr al-Shoughor, in the northeastern Idlib province, near Aleppo. [Source]
* Meanwhile, government artillery and armored units continued their advance into the western outskirts of Aleppo, against heavy fighting. [Source]
* In a statement to press, Iraq's "Falcon Intelligence Cell" confirmed that it had killed senior ISIL leader Mohammed Abul Manaf al-Rawi, one of ISIL's chief executioners, in the city of Al-Bukamal, on the Syrian border. [Source]
* In the north, near the border with Turkey, Iraqi government forces retook the village of Tal Kusaiba, some 35km/20mi east of the city of Tikrit, birthplace of deceased Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, after it was briefly occupied by ISIL forces. [Source]
* Iraqi refugee, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, was arrested in the city of Houston, Texas on January 14th. Al Hardan, who was admitted to the United States as a refugee in 2009, has been indicted on three felony charges, including attempting to provide support to a designated terrorist organization, namely the so-called "Islamic State". The incident has handed ammunition to Texas Governor Greg Abbott in his ongoing war of words with President Obama's administration over the President's refugee policies. [Source]