Wednesday, July 31, 2013

al Qaeda Spring


When ObL - the original super villan creep was given 2 shots and a splash - seemed like al Qaedaism - was just as dead -aQ"s nihilistic ideology had been formally vanquished by the Arab Spring.

 At the time, in the summer of 2011, it seemed definitive: the region was in open revolt, with five revolutions in progress and two Arab leaders had already been toppled.

A new era had clearly begun and the genie of public protest could not, it seemed, be put back into the bottle. But now more than ever before, Al Qaeda seems to be making a comeback as governments lose control.

What a difference two years makes.

The Arab Spring has not been smooth. Three countries - Tunisia, Yemen and Libya - have staggered, slowly, towards some progress; but there has been a lot of blood along the way. Egypt is in an open revolt and the army has returned to run the state, as it was two years ago. Syria is in a much worse state - at best, caught in a stalemate, and at worst, it is in a slow spiral of death.

In this context, Al Qaeda is coming back with a vengeance - trying to learn from its previous mistakes, positioning itself as a service provider in conflict-ridden communities and establishing deep ties to the areas where it operates.

Iraq has experienced an awful summer of death so far, with 600 killed last month and hundreds more in the previous months. Al Qaeda is blamed for much of that violence. In Syria, Al Qaeda is wreaking havoc across the country as it seeks to "reunite" Syria and Iraq. Similar scenarios play out in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in Yemen and Mali.

But in every case, the resurgence is ominous both in the short-term and - as the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s showed - long-term.

The venomous ideology of Al Qaeda has not gone away. It has found fertile soil amid the postrevolutionary Arab world.

Pic - "As Algeria goes - so goes the region!"

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On Clausewitz

Perhaps the ultimate state on state violence visionary was none other than the late great General Carl von Clausewitz. His book pubbed after his death (by his wife Maria - must have been quite a guy!) is the essential Vom Kriege.

Xlated into English as "On War" this ancient tome codifies all the power, hot desires and abilities of the state into one aim - decisively defeating an enemy state and her forces in war.

Almost from the start - generals or field marshalls that dissed von Clausewitz and failed to heed the mojo also rued the day.

Yet is the dead Prussian maybe more bigger than bona fides allow?

Unfortunately for Clausewitz, the realities that make much of his work relevant, to him and his contemporaries—a study of the new way of war—is lost in an age that perfected this particular form of endeavor and has turned much of Clausewitz’s reality into a curiosity shop of bits and pieces. No less unfortunate, his masterwork fails on the two substantive grounds that remain of interest to later explorers and formed so much of his effort to comprehend his world.

On War, for all its metaphysical and philosophical highwire acts, does not have a safety net, and the attempt falls to the ground. Nor does the work do much better on its other undertaking: it fails as theory, not just in the sense of theory in the hard sciences but even as one in the squishier terms of the so-called social sciences. It is a brilliant failure, which is why so many have labored so hard to try to rescue the work and Clausewitz from it, but it is still a failure. One does not have to journey for long or far in all the literature, both that of admirers and detractors, to realize this or why. Only Clausewitz’s irrelevance saves him from insignificance.

Given the industrial-strength nature of Clausewitz studies today, no doubt he will remain irrelevant, spawning articles, PhD dissertations, learned conferences, career-enhancing books, and endless discussion, or is that discourse. Through it all Clausewitz will remain irrelevant, either because what he said, or what he meant but did not quite say, is obscure enough to invite endless, irresolvable wrangling; or because he will be useful as unread, to be deployed as a foil for some favored position. No hope in asking people to leave off these efforts and try to discover relevance in Clausewitz.

His real relevance does not lie in how he can be used, operationalized, codified, mummified but in his insistence that what was involved in his own time and vital for all who follow was the need to grasp the significance of war as a very human phenomenon requiring serious, constant attention to understand. On its own terms and in relation to all else, from which it cannot be separated without doing violence to the subject and to understanding.

While On War fails as philosophy, on its own terms, it does not have to be read as a philosophical treatise. The underlying question it attempts remains: is there something in the nature of war, as war, that is unique, universal, and comprehendible, that is subject to analysis and not, as with mysteries or art, the province of prophets and geniuses? A question without an answer but that must be asked. On War also fails as theory, but it does not have to be read as such. What it assays to do is to think systematically, to constantly challenge conclusions, or at least not to become too enamored of and comfortable with them. By a resort to facts and ideas it seeks to consider and on that basis to do what these require even if, especially if, they demand change.

What Clausewitz, if he is to be relevant, requires of us is to be researchers and thinkers not acolytes. To bring our analytical minds to bear on the subject that he found so compelling. It is the subject that matters that remains relevant and it is that that Clausewitz bids us study.

Pic - "The fact that slaughter is a horrifying spectacle must make us take warmore seriously, but not provide an excuse for gradually blunting our swords in the name of humanity. Sooner or later someone will come along with a sharper sword and hack off our heads."

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sinai Insurgency


One of serveral charmless charms afforded since Aegypt's former Forever Pharoah got the olde heave ho has been Writ of State.

An admittedly Women Worshipping Western idee fixee of Statecraft - it essentially means the State holds the monoply on violence.

After all - just can't have weaponized goobs running around queering the mix on internal and external chiz - partic on foreign treaties negotiated in good faith.

Cept in Aegypt - the mighty mighty Army (so far only mighty at craking heads and tormenting girls) has got a full blown insurgency on their hands in their (supposedly owned and maintained semi near abroad) Sinai Peninsula.

Lawlessness, smuggling and militancy have thrived on the peninsula since the 2011 fall of Mubarak’s regime.

Bedouin arms dealers who are sympathetic to the militants said in recent days that fighters have launched shoulder-fired anti­aircraft Stinger missiles (known to the U.S. intelligence community as MANPADs) at military aircraft, laid improvised bombs along roads traversed heavily by troops, and fired barrages of bullets and RPGs at security personnel stationed here.

Bedouin leaders say the militants are a minority in the desert peninsula; the latter group says the militants consist mostly of locals who operate in small cells, with little to no command structure. But Bedouin leaders fear that the territory’s population may soon get swept up in the military’s crackdown, escalating the conflict into a wider war.

The military says its crackdown is necessary to fight terror, but the Bedouin here say it only adds fuel to their rebellion, in a cycle that may soon spiral out of control.

Security officials say they have seized Syrian, Palestinian and even Russian fighters in the Sinai since Morsi’s ouster. They have accused the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Morsi, and the Islamist militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, of orchestrating the violence, and say that many of the Sinai’s fighters are well-trained jihadists.

Pic - "Low Intensity"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Forgotten War

Ever wonder why cause there are two Koreas?

The yankee part is little more than a starving, slave trading underground rocket factory with an unfree, unfun new clear weaponized nation state attached led by Young General

 The Southermost portions - SoKo (or ROK as the ancients insist on nom d'guerr'ing her) is fully crunk with a conscript military totally off the hook with literacy, bling bling, fun and free choice.

Are we all forgetting sump? 
It has been called the “Forgotten War,” but it remains important to remember what happened when the Cold War turned hot. It’s also important to look at what has happened since.

In the summer of 1950, North Korean troops poured across the 38th parallel that divided communist North Korea from pro-Western South Korea. For three terrible years, through sweltering summers and frigid winters, the battles raged.

Fighting was fierce. In The World-Herald’s book “At War/At Home: The Cold War,”  recalled the intensity of the fighting that day in August 1950 when he was wounded. “We were given one day’s ammunition,” he said. “That was gone in an hour.”

 1.8 million Americans fought in Korea. The war claimed 33,739 American soldiers.

On July 27, 1953, an armistice halted the war, although no formal peace treaty was signed. The Korean peninsula remains divided, and about 28,500 U.S. troops continue to serve in the South.

That soldiers still face off across the border is one indication of how large the stakes were in the Korean War. A gratifying aspect of the war is that the sacrifices by U.S. troops have made a tremendous, enduring difference for the people of South Korea.

Because Americans put their lives at risk in places such as the Pusan Perimeter, the Chosin Reservoir area and such hilltop battlefields as Pork Chop Hill and Old Baldy, generations of South Korean men, women and children have lived in freedom and economic prosperity.

Contrast that with North Korea. There, the governing elite chokes off people’s freedom and keeps the country locked in rigid isolation. It encourages paranoia about the outside world and needlessly provokes tensions with regional neighbors. Most outrageously, the economic mismanagement and hoarding of resources by the country’s rulers have produced malnutrition and starvation on a horrific scale.

South Korea, kept free as a result of the war, has moved in the opposite direction. The South has thrived, first of all, because it has been willing to change — a key contrast with the North.

South Korea’s government was long an autocratic one, but for decades now the country has been a vigorous democracy. With its economy, South Korea once relied on high tariff walls and other protections. But when that model proved a failure, the country freed up its economy and opened itself to the world. The result is an extraordinary example of economic progress.

Communist countries like North Korea claim that their central aim is the liberation of the people, but that claim rings hollow. A dynamic democracy like South Korea’s shows what the genuine liberation of a people looks like — citizens freed to pursue their economic interests and dreams, and to voice their political beliefs.

Put the two countries’ conditions side by side, and the contrast is dramatic.

South Korea is an economic powerhouse. As one of the G-20 economies, it boasts internationally known companies like Samsung, Hyundai Kia and LG.

North Korea, governed by a family of tyrants, is impoverished and nearly friendless in the world. Its people face repression and starvation. Economic sanctions hurt, but the North brought those on by failing to act as a responsible member of the world community.

Statistics illustrate the point dramatically. Gross domestic product per capita in the North is $1,800; in the South, $32,400. Infant mortality per 1,000 live births in the North is 26.21; in the South, 4.08.

South Korea has twice the population of North Korea (48 million, compared with 24 million), 10 years’ greater average life expectancy (79.3, compared with 69.2) and dramatically higher Internet usage (81 Internet users per 100 people in the South, less than 0.1 in the North).

North Korea exports about $4.7 billion worth of goods a year, mainly to China. The total for South Korea’s export sales worldwide? More than $552 billion.

Gordon Greene, who served as a Marine rifleman in Korea in 1950 and 1951, spoke for many of his comrades in a 1990 World-Herald interview, saying the effort and sacrifice were justified. “I feel good about it, yes,” he said of his service. “Just look at what South Korea has done. We saved them from communism, no doubt about it.”

Sixty years later, that’s important to remember.

Pic - “If we let Korea down those (commentary deleted) will keep right on going and swallow up one place after another.”


Friday, July 26, 2013

WoW!!

WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Japan's Defense Guidance Plan


Nippon's "White Paper" - her tho"ts and idee fixee on defending the Home Islands gets released next week yet sneak peekers share a few deets... 
The Asahi and Yomiuri, influential papers on the left and the right, respectively, say the interim report advocates a US Marines-like amphibious force, capable of conducting landing operations on remote islands.

It also suggests looking at the introduction of a drone reconnaissance fleet that could be used to monitor Japan’s far-flung territory.

Nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said Japan needs to discuss the idea of having some kind of first strike provision if it is to effectively counter threats from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
Pic - "Pushing Buttons"

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jail Break

Oh Snap!!

The world famous Abu Ghrahib prsion in Iraq just got whacked and anywhere from like 500 to a 1000 cats totally escaped!!
“Most of them were convicted senior members of al Qaeda and had received death sentences"

This would be troubling under any circumstances, but the present situation in the Middle East lends to Monday’s escape being a situation with possible repercussions for the entire region.

Here’s a few reasons why:
The attack was well-planned and well-executed.

According to the reports coming out of Iraq, this was no piecemeal attempt from AQI to free a few of their compatriots. Instead, it was a full-fledged assault on Abu Ghraib. “Suicide bombers drove cars with explosives into the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night, while gunmen attacked guards with mortar fire as well as rocket propelled grenades,” Russia Today reports, adding that additional assailants wearing suicide vests entered the prison to help convicts make their escape. At least 14 Iraqi security forces died in the attack, which only ended when military helicopters arrived to provide back-up. A simultaneous attack, a hallmark of Al Qaeda strategy, took place at a prison 12 miles north of Baghdad; reports are conflicting as to whether any of those inmates were able to escape.

Violence in Iraq was already high.

2013 has not been a good year for Iraq, as sectarian violence has grown over the past few months. Just two days ago, six car bombs detonated in Baghdad, killing at least 46 people and wounding 152 more. AQI has been implicated in the bombings, due to the coordinated nature of the explosions. More than 2,700 people have been killed so far in Iraq so far this year, according to AFP figures, mostly in similar car bombs across the country. The freeing of a large number of mostly Sunni fighters — the minority sect in Iraq, which is mostly Shiite — into the streets of Baghdad only increases the chances of greater sectarian strife.

Syria’s civil war is just over the border.

The sudden influx of a large number of trained fighters and convicted terrorists into Iraq would be a problem even if there wasn’t a civil war next door. Given the ongoing conflict in Syria, however, this could mark a radical shift in how the war proceeds. While talks of a merger between the two have gone back and forth, AQI and Syrian rebel group Jahbat al-Nusra have been cooperating for months, to the point that the State Department has listed Nusra as a subsidiary of the terrorist group. Aaron Zelin, Richard Borow Fellow at the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy, told ThinkProgress that it will be interesting to see if those who escaped do go to Syria, whether they will bring with them some of their more radical tactics. At present, according to Zelin, there are jihadi groups who provide social services to civilians and perform other acts that could see themselves undermined by an influx of “hardened fighters” captured during the U.S. “surge” in Iraq.
Pic - "A significant milestone in the resurgence of al-Qaeda in Iraq"


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Great Satan"s Syrian Plan

Suriya al Kubra!!

Great Satan's Highest Levels of Warcraft have laid it out to play it out with a plot for Syria:

A campaign to tilt the balance from President Bashar al-Assad to the opposition would be a vast undertaking, costing billions of dollars, and could backfire on Great Satan

The options, which range from training opposition troops to conducting airstrikes and enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria, are not new. General Dempsey provided details about the logistics and the costs of each. Long-range strikes on the Syrian government’s military targets would require “hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers”

Great Satan is ready to carry out options that include efforts to train, advise and assist the opposition; conduct limited missile strikes; set up a no-fly zone; establish buffer zones, most likely across the borders with Turkey or Jordan; and take control of Bashar Bay Bee's chemical weapons stockpile. 
      
“All of these options would likely further the narrow military objective of helping the opposition and placing more pressure on the regime. Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.”
 
"No less than an act of war, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.”   
 
 Training, advising and assisting opposition troops, he wrote, could require anywhere from several hundred to several thousand troops, and cost about $500 million a year. An offensive of limited long-range strikes against Syrian military targets would require hundreds of aircraft and warships and could cost billions of dollars over time. Imposing a no-fly zone would require shooting down government warplanes and destroying airfields and hangars. It would also require hundreds of aircraft.
 
 An order to establish buffer zones to protect parts of Turkey or Jordan to provide safe havens for Syrian rebels and a base for delivering humanitarian assistance would require imposing a limited no-fly zone and deploying thousands of American ground forces.
 
In describing a mission to prevent the use or proliferation of chemical weapons the effort would require a no-fly zone as well as a significant campaign of air and missile strikes.
      
“Thousands of Special Operations forces and other ground forces would be needed to assault and secure critical sites"  
 Pic - “While there are shifts in momentum on the battlefield, Bashar al-Assad, in our view, will never rule all of Syria again.”
 
 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Palestine Redux (Part LXIX)


Nakbah!!

Just zoom out of the Me for a sec

Egypt is in turmoil while Syria is fragmenting into ungoverned “territories” and Lebanon is inching toward civil war. Iran is setting the stage for another diplomatic rope trick to speed up her nuclear project and jihadists are reappearing in Iraq’s Arab Sunni provinces. Regional wannabe powers, the Ottomans, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are falling out over Egypt and Syria

Thus no wonder Great Satan's Sec o State is like visiting the area all the time.

Thing is - it's all about the Twin Palestines and the ever irascible little sister Little Satan

Ahmed Majdalani, a PLO executive committee member, told the Associated Press that Kerry has proposed holding talks for six to nine months focusing on the key issues of borders and security arrangements. He said Kerry would endorse the 1967 lines as the starting point of negotiations and assured the Palestinians that Little Satan would free some 350 prisoners gradually in the coming months.
The Palestine thingy has a regional dimension as well. From the 1940s to the 1990s, that regional dimension excluded any serious attempt at peace-making. Most Arab states wanted the Palestinian “cause” to remain alive and active; they had an interest in supporting Palestinian groups opposed to peace with Little Satan.

The current upheaval in Arab countries has plunged that regional dimension into uncertainty. Today, no one is actively interested in the Palestinian issue. Those who follow the Arab media would know that Palestine has all but disappeared even from public discourse. Thus, the regional dimension can’t be used as a lever either for war or peace.

Of course, if the new Middle East emerges as a more or less democratic space, solving the Little Satan -Palestine problem could become easier.

Maybe
As much as Little Satan wants and needs peace, the conflict is at a stage when the best that can be hoped for is that it be managed in such a way as to minimize violence and encourage Palestinian development. Though SECSTATE is offering the PA lots of cash, there is little chance it will be used appropriately or get the desired result.

Next week’s talks may be heralded as an unprecedented opportunity for peace, but the odds are, we will look back on this moment the way we do foolhardy efforts such as President Clinton’s Camp David summit in 2000 that set the stage for a bloody intifada that cost the lives of over a thousand Little Satans and way more Palestinians. The agreement to talk about talking is a pyrrhic victory for Great Satan's Sec o State.
Those who cheer this effort should think hard about who will bear the responsibility for the bloodshed that could result from Kerry’s folly.

 Pic - "The strategy now being used seeks to formulate vague agreements simply to resume negotiations, but it will not work because the imprecision of positions on settlements, borders or mutual recognition necessary to restart the talks only cements the inability of both sides to achieve a permanent, comprehensive agreement."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gaoxin VII

Collectivist China"s Peaceful Rise to hegemonic hotness l"hyperpuissant just got really really scary. If weapons and words like "Shi Lang" and/or "Dongfeng" aren"t enough to frighten beyond repair - then hang onto your hat kids - and get ready to get scared witless

PLA's own newspaper Global Times unleashed the incredible news about Gaoxin VII 
“When carrying out a mission, the airplane will use its own ‘programs’ to forcefully overpower enemy television stations, radio stations and wireless communication networks, interfere with the enemy's propaganda dissemination programs, affect the enemy's military-civilian morale, and create rumors and confusion, thus causing the enemy, from government to everyday citizens, to have ‘nervous breakdowns’ and achieving their goal of rendering them helpless and unable to fight.”
In other words:
One moment you’re sitting at home watching CNN, and the next you’re a basket case because your television is locked on a steady stream of Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

It’s entirely possible that the Global Times -- hardly a paragon of journalistic integrity -- got the story wrong, and the Gaoxin VII isn’t designed to induce nervous collapse.

It's also possible, probable in fact, that Chinese Communist propaganda can't induce such a fit.

Pic - " While theorizing over competing military ideas makes for interesting discussion, the stakes in any conflict would be very real."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

WoW!!

WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Valkyrie Tag

Valkyrie is an ancient viking superstition. When brave Norsemen fell in battle (often raiding parties) these hotties with their mammoth shields would appear on winged horses and tote off the fallen to heathen heaven - Valhalla.

Despite oathbreaking, defacing images of gods and wickedness in general - all would be forgiven by success in combat - especially if the offender died a heroic saga inspiring death.

Claus Schenk was a real European blue blood aristocrat. Awarded nobility back in the Holy Roman Empire days ( funny though - HRE was a triple no go - it was neither Holy, Roman or an Empire) the family became von Staffenberg.

In WWII time Deutschland, Valkyrie was code for the Nazi party to maintain control of the Reich in the event of a catastrophic disaster that killed or incapacitated the leadership.
By summertime 1944, 3rd Reich was facing the horrible modern era manifestation of von Gneisenau and von Scharnhorst's ultimate nightmare - the multi front war. 

Allies had captured Rome and were grinding their way up the bloody Eyetye boot of Italy, Allies were fixing to bust out of the Normandy bocage and unleash Great Satan's panzer General Patton. And the largest defeat in modern history - the destruction of Armee Gruppe Centre saw the annihilation of 20 irreplacable German divisions in a massive Soviet blitz that drove Germany out of Russia and vaulted the Red Army right outside Warsaw.

Despite Allied claims that only unconditional surrender would satiate the Allied and Russian thirst for righteous payback, a clique of Wehrmacht officers plotted a coup d'tat' against 3rd Reich in an effort to spare Germany ultimate defeat and dismemberment using the contingency plan of 'Valkyrie'. 

Germany's armed forces had to swear a 'holy oath' - not to the state or nation or a constitution - but to der fuhrer personally. In order for the plot to work - der fuhrer had to be killed. Valkyrie also planned trying the wartime leaders of 3rd Reich for war and humanitarian crimes, working out reparations with the allies and bringing Germany back into the family of nations.

Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg was a panzer officer that had fought in Poland, France, Russia and with the famous 'Afrika Korps'

Suffering debilitating wounds from combat - losing an eye, a hand and three fingers, Claus and his co conspirators - facing the truth of the regime they so valiantly served - tried in their own way to rectify their sins - singular and collective. 

Valkyrie energized the evil leaders of 3rd Reich, anyone connected with the cats of the coup were ruthlessly hunted down, tormented and slain. The ground ran red with German blood. The regime was determined to fight to the last and like Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" heralded the final lo down ho down like Wagner's viking final, apocalyptic battle - "Gotterdammerung"

In the next 9 months Deutsche military fought until there was literally no country left to defend. The Third Reich - she died kicking and screaming, finally crashing down in an orgy of pulverized, burning cities and a river of blood — civilian and military, German and non-German. Military history knows no year quite like 1944 -45 and if lucky, will never see another.

Pic - "2 field marshals, 19 generals, 26 colonels, two ambassadors, seven diplomats, one minister, three secretaries of state, as well as the head of the Reich Police - all perished in the failed Coup d"etat of 20 July 1944".

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

44's Syrian Policy




44's Syrian Policy finally explained!!
By now it’s clear that the U.S.’s new policy toward Syria remains unclear. The question is what 44 is willing to do about it.

A month ago, the administration announced it would begin training and arming opposition fighters in Syria. Now it emergesthat this aid hasn’t yet hit the ground, and when it does, it will involve only small arms in uncertain quantities.

What exactly is the administration’s policy here? If the goal is to roll back the Hezbollah and Iranian forces that have helped turn the tide in favor of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war, then such a small-scale move won’t make the difference. Nor will it stop the bloodshed, enable humanitarian aid to reach civilians, force the two sides to negotiate, or remove Assad -- all of which are the U.S.’s stated goals.

Perhaps the administration’s strategy is a more Machiavellian attempt to bleed Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps dry on the battlefields of Qusair, Homs and Aleppo. If so, again, a slow trickle of small arms won’t achieve the goal.

Maybe the effort makes sense as part of a continued policy of avoiding any entanglement in Syria while at the same time showing that the U.S. president will enforce any red line he sets out -- in Syria’s case, the use of chemical weapons; in Iran’s, the development of nuclear ones. But such a weak response to the Syrian regime’s alleged use of sarin gas is more likely to have the opposite effect: reassuring al-Assad -- and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- that the U.S. has no interest in risking further blood or treasure in the Middle East.

The most convincing explanation of 44’s Syria policy is that it is designed simply to play for time in a vexed, desperate situation -- arming the rebels just enough to assuage critics in Congress but not enough to run the risk of pouring fuel on the fire.

In fairness to 44, all the options in Syria are terrible. Arming and training the Free Syrian Army has a smaller chance of success today than when 44’s security officials proposed the policy last year, and has become less appealing. Radical Islamists, including butchers who behead their opponents on camera, were marginal to the conflict a year ago. Now they are central to it. Does anyone really want to help them win, or take the risk that they acquire sophisticated U.S. weapons?

If the U.S. strategy in Syria is to avoid getting involved, however, then 44 should say so. He should explain why the U.S. doesn’t have enough at stake in Syria to intervene, what outcomes he is willing to accept, and why Iran is an entirely different case in which the red line really is red.

On Syria’s current trajectory, two outcomes are increasingly likely. One is that Assad retains power and reasserts control over Syria. Leaving aside the huge number of atrocities that were and continue to be committed by his regime, including the slaughter of unarmed protesters who were asking for the right to vote, this result is perfectly acceptable. Just ask the Russians.

The other currently plausible outcome is that the country fractures and becomes a failed state, parts of which would be controlled by al-Qaeda affiliates such as the al-Nusra Front. In this case, these groups could easily end up with sophisticated weapons from Syria’s stocks of chemical, anti-aircraft and other weapons.

Neither of these scenarios serves Great Satan's interests or values. Thus 44’s dilemma in Syria: Neither complete neglect nor complete involvement is desirable or even possible. Whatever the U.S.’s policy is, it will be unsatisfying and situational.

There will come a day when it is too late to organize and arm the Free Syrian Army. For now, a genuine effort to tip the balance on the battlefield and drive Assad to the negotiating table remains available -- if tipping the balance is not a professed goal but an actual one

Pic - "Maybe just arm the Christians?"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Air Sea Battle II

 
 
Oh, you didn't know?
 
 
Funnily enough, nary a mention of China's pro pro provocative (tive) Assassin's Mace when inappropriate (and questionably informed) cats engage in that olde school boring asseted hand wringing.
 
Ideas that Great Satan's Air/Sea Battle thingy is hot for war is like one of several mythological Myths about Air/Sea Battle 
Myth Number 2: Pursuing Air-Sea Battle makes war with China more likely.

The logic of this myth goes like this: “China is rising as a result of its economic might, and its military improvements are designed to increase its own security. Our investments in ASB provide a destabilizing influence, one that is more likely to bring on war with China. We should be finding ways to cooperate with China on regional security in a way that does not threaten it.”

There is an internal logic to this view, but it simply doesn’t account for one significant fact: China’s buildup began long before ASB was even a gleam in the Chief of Naval Operation’s eye, and one can only view that buildup as “increasing its (China’s) own security” if one concedes that reducing U.S. power and influence in the region is a worthy concession to Chinese security. China is not interested in sharing power in the Western Pacific; it is interested in asserting it.

The obvious implication of the view that ASB makes war more likely is that if we abandoned ASB, war with China would be less likely. This is contestable and quite possibly backwards. One of the reasons ASB was so important to pursue was the growing uneasiness of friends and allies in the region, uneasiness born of increasing Chinese capabilities and the aforementioned wobbliness coming out of the Pacific Command at the end of the last decade. Longtime allies began to seriously question our staying power in the face of the growing perception that the PLA could someday contest U.S. dominance in the region. Would not failure to pursue counter A2AD capabilities (and the concomitant erosion of allied confidence in our ability to provide security) embolden the PRC in its various regional aims? Would this not create a more unstable security situation by leaving the PRC more comfortable launching a war, confident that the U.S. would not be able to intervene? Or perhaps a “Findlandization” of the region is tolerable to the anti-ASB crowd, wherein nations pay fealty to a new hegemon and quietly bear what they must?

The danger of miscalculation is the bugbear of great power relations. A strategy of retreat or downsize only increases the odds of such miscalculation. A strategy that asserts our Pacific interests and provides the means to protect them is less likely to create miscalculation.

  Pic - "We have to decide whether we’re going to compete or not. If we’re not, then we have to be willing to accept the shift in the military balance."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Strategic Interests


The avuncular "Stache' Grande" (with like the most biggest stache ever) expertly zooms out on Great Satan's hyperpuissance with an essential hello RE: the AF part of AFPAK

Administration sources are leaking that 44 is considering withdrawing all American troops before Dec. 31, 2013, one year early, without leaving even a small, residual force in the country.

Such a decision would simply accelerate an already badly misguided policy. Faster draw-downs in Afghanistan are bad enough but even worse is 44's inability or unwillingness to see the inevitably broader adverse consequences.

Being very practical, citizens know they have more pressing concerns than mastering arcane foreign-policy issues. Instead, they elect presidents they expect will defend the country, explaining and justifying sacrifices we are called upon to make, including foreign wars, to protect our interests and way of life. When a president is largely silent about foreign threats, voters logically assume (if incorrectly, in Obama's case) that the risks are minimal and need not concern them. And when the loyal opposition doesn't oppose, why shouldn't Americans conclude, for example, that war in Afghanistan is unnecessary and should be rapidly concluded?

Thus, the failure is not with the American people for not grasping the strategic significance of defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida in their bastions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border but the failure of elected officials in Washington. Fortunately, however, this failure can be corrected by finding leaders prepared to explain comprehensibly just what is at stake in this long conflict.

To begin, we are conducting “defense at a distance” in Afghanistan, fighting the terrorists there so they cannot reconstitute themselves and gravely threaten us at home, as on Sept. 11, 2001. U.S. and NATO withdrawal seems nearly certain to lead to Karzai's government falling, with the Taliban re-establishing control and inviting al-Qaida back to Afghanistan as partners. At that point, Afghanistan would again be a base for international terrorism, as we experienced on 9/11, precisely the reasons we overthrew the Taliban. And, tragically, we will have given up all we sacrificed to prevent just such a recurrence of the terrorist threat.

Second, we now recognize an added strategic threat if the Taliban retake control in Kabul, namely the increased likelihood that Pakistani Taliban and other radicals could seize control in that country. That would mean both another base for global terror attacks and also Pakistan's substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons falling into terrorist hands, including those in Iran. Terrorists would have access to nuclear weapons they could detonate in cities around the world, rendering decades of counterproliferation efforts meaningless.

These are the strategic interests in defeating the Taliban that justify our leaving forces in Afghanistan and continuing active military operations against them for as long as it takes. This is not the same as “nation building,” which rarely works in practice and which is also truly unpopular with American voters, who see it as a gravy train for ungrateful foreigners. We are not in Afghanistan to benefit the Afghans, but to benefit ourselves.

Thus explained, Americans are far more likely to support the necessary war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Of course, if our political “leaders” fail to make this case, we will learn the lesson only when the terrorists attack us again, perhaps this time with nuclear weapons.

We can avoid this outcome but it requires leadership plainly missing from 44. The question is whether Republicans have the capacity and the will to fill in the void 44 has left.

Pic - "Leading from behind"

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Last Days Of HAMAS

 
 
Every since the world's very first freely elected suicide regime switched their foreign centre of gravity away from Perisa Syria Axis to Aegypt - things have looked kinda iffy...  
 
After Morsy’s ejection last week, Gaza-based leader Ismail Haniyeh stated that he was “not afraid.” If he isn’t, he should be. Now, Hamas has only two patrons left, and both are Western allies that could be tempted to throw Hamas under the bus for greater financial or political incentives. Meanwhile, the Egyptian Army has stepped up efforts to block Hamas’ financial lifeline, the underground smuggling tunnels connecting Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to Gaza, while the Rafah Border crossing – the only overland exit for the Hamas-controlled territory – has remained largely closed since Morsy’s dramatic demise.
 
Admittedly, everything wasn’t rosy between Hamas and Egypt during Morsy’s short stint in office either. Hamas has taken a beating in the Egyptian press. Most of the criticism stemmed from concern over violence in the Sinai Peninsula carried out by Gaza-based Salafi jihadist groups. Last year, for example, Gaza-based fighters attacked an Egyptian military outpost near Rafah and killed 16Egyptian soldiers. There was further concern in Cairo that Hamas members might be sneaking in via the tunnels to carry out operations in Egypt. Egypt’s military subsequently closed down dozens of smuggling tunnels, while also interdicting weapons transfers to the Palestinian territory, including short-range rockets and antitank missiles
 
For Hamas now, the problem is less about the Egyptian army’s wrath or the rapid unraveling of Morsy, and more about the overall beating that the Muslim Brotherhood brand just took. In Egypt, there is no easy way forward. The movement can either swallow its defeat and retreat to its former role of Islamic opposition, or launch an “intifada” against the state. These are tough choices for the “mother ship” of the Muslim Brotherhood, which sets the tone for the other regional movements, including Hamas.
 

Pic - "We may be running out of friends"

Friday, July 12, 2013

WoW!!

WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Prokhorovka!

"It. Must. Not. Fail"

Elefants, Tigers and Panthers, oh my!

By spring time 1943 das Dritten Reiches was in a hexen kessel of scary dimensions. In the last year Great Satan and Great Britain had driven the vaunted Afrika Korps into extinction, sortee'd several "Thousand Bomber Raids" that carpetly xformed ancient Deutsch cities into flaming craters, Battle for the Atlantic was looking kinda iffy and worst of all - the encirclement, destruction and ultimate surrender of wehrmacht's nearly 1 million (550K to 900K - depending on the source) combat truppen of vPaulus' 6th army at Stalingrad.

Despite the ferociously fearful mauling wehrmacht took on the Volga, Deutschland recovered and thanks to savage fighting hooked up with vManstein's famous back hand b slap, the ultimate Aryans retook Kharkov and inflicted amazingly horrific losses on the best Red Army could juggernaut.

As spring's thawing muddy rasputitsa sunk in - both sides frantically roused themselves out of exhaustion and prepped for the coming summer campaign.

The forced reinstatement of the forced retired "Klotzen, nicht kleckern" cat - the newly minted Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen tripped out on a ruthlessly relentless reinvigoration of the panzer franchise by blitzing factories, design firms, unit creation/rebuilding ubungsplatzes and shooting ranges in a new blitz of genius born of desperation.

Even Luftwaffe got all panzer happy - sexing up something something sturzkampfflugzeug Stuka
with dual 37mm rapid fire cannons and deploying Henschelicious Hs-129

STAVKA knew their bulging bulge in the lines around Kursk would prob be the spot the hated NSDAPers would schwerpunkt in the coming months and conscripted anyone they could get their hands on to erect a formidable deep defensive belt - 500 miles of barb wire, over a million anti ppl and anti panzer mines remixed in a web of of ditches, scarps, counter-scarps, hedgehogs, roadblocks, minefields, fixed artillery impact areas, bunkers and a myriad of panzer obstructions, traps and general purpose nastiness on a colossal scale. Plus Comrade Stalin had spy sources at the highest levels of enemy command.

Sev months of infighting at OKH/OKW  bout doing another Kharkov backhand - allowing Red Army to attack first, roll with flow and launch a crushing counter attack - or doing the fourplay forehand pre emptive attack - conterminously coalesced with quality control/production probs with the Panther (her 1st production engines enjoyed bursting into flames at the most inopportune moments), stubborn refusal of the sturmgeschutz to die on the vine and manpower in general held up Operation Zitadelle for months. 

Purveyors of pre emption won out and on 5 July Germany attacked. The southern front of Zitadelle featured a combat rock star line up of 3rd Reich's finest panzerteers - all rebuilt, rearmed and reconstituted to Generalinspekteur specs - Großdeutschland, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th Panzer divisions and the newly created II Waffen Ss Panzer Korps 

Featuring the lavishly equipped and fully crunk Ss Panzer Grenadier divisions of Liebstandarte, Das Reich and Totenkopf - vManstein formed 'Panzerkeil" - an uparmored wedge with Tigers at the tip, Panthers and Mk IV's fanning out behind with a creamy centre of inf armed with automatic weapons, mortar mounted or SP gunned SdKfz looking thingies with the base built of heavily armed panzergrenadiers in tracked vehics.

In contrast Zitadelle's northern commander Model used Montgomery's El Alamein idea of using inf to poke holes for the panzers to exploit - with disastrous results for his 9th Army.

These panzerkeil wedges were designed to crack open tender, sensitive portions of the southern defensive perimeters, break free and fan out for a fun fast trek like France 1940. 

And they did. Chopping through an immense junkyard of trashed Soviet material, General Hausser's Feldpolizei Po Po hauled off columns of dazed and defeated Russian POWs, the final breakthrough was at hand on the morning of 12 July when II Ss breached Psel river - the last obstacle to Kursk - and collided with the Russian armored reserves at a place called Prokhorovka.   

For over 8 hours this enormous armored brawl raged unabated, slashing the orchards and churning the lush, green cornfields of a few square miles of upper Donetz river valley into a blackened inferno of exploding armor, wrecked burning vehicles and charred corpses - drenched intermittantly by downpours from violent thunderstorms.


The controversial climax of Zitadelle involving over 2K panzers - as the largest panzer battle in history - has acquired mythic stats - heroic Russian stories of Russians ramming Deutsch Tigers, the 3 premier Waffen Ss fighting shoulder to shoulder, death ride of the panzers and a glorious Soviet victory suffer from hard facts as Prokhorovka gets re examined.

 "...Closer study of the losses of each type of tank reveals that the corps lost about 70 tanks on July 12. In contrast, Soviet tank losses, long assumed to be moderate, were actually catastrophic. 

"...In 1984, a history of the Fifth Guards Tank Army written by Rotmistrov himself revealed that on July 13 the army lost 400 tanks to repairable damage. He gave no figure for tanks that were destroyed or not available for salvage. 

"...Evidence suggests that there were hundreds of additional Soviet tanks lost. Several German accounts mention that Hausser had to use chalk to mark and count the huge jumble of 93 knocked-out Soviet tanks in the Leibstandarte sector alone. Soviet sources say the tank strength of the army on July 13 was 150 to 200, a loss of about 650 tanks.

Germany's Lost Victories indeed, nicht wahr?

Regardless of appearance - Deutschland lost the initiative and despite desperate counters like Zhitomer, Totenkopf's amazingly tenacious blunting blow outside Warzawa  or Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen,  never again held the initiative. Red Army did. And they never let it go until 3rd Reich died kicking and screaming.

 And it happened today - at Prokhorovka.


Pic - "Backhand or the forehand?"courtesy of Uncle Theo

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CVN 78


Great Satan"s latest greatest globe prowling hyperpuissance platform (she also functions as sovereign American turf via International Law) is fixing to hit the hood and she is phantastique!!

 Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), with the christening and launch of on Nov. 9, 2013. 
This will mark the beginning of a new class of aircraft carriers that will be in service for the next 94 years. With exception of the hull, virtually everything has been redesigned to make the Ford class more capable and more powerful than in the Nimitz class. This new class of carrier will build on the legendary performance of the Nimitz class carriers and will provide 25 percent more combat capability, increased service life margins throughout the ship to handle the aircraft and weapon systems of the future including unmanned aircraft and futuristic directed energy weapons, as well as driving down the total ownership cost of the ship by $4 billion over its 50 year service.

The ship’s island is smaller and moved farther aft than on the Nimitz class and that there are no rotating antennas on atop the island. This is because CVN 78 will be the first ship to get the new dual-band radar that operates with phased array radars similar to AEGIS.

The smaller island and its location farther aft also provides for more flight deck space that combined with new weapons elevators and a NASCAR pit stop refueling concept will allow us to rearm and refuel aircraft faster to turn them around for the next mission. The net result is a 25 percent increase in sortie generation rate as compared to a Nimitz class carrier.
Great Satan"s Global Force For Good has also revolutionized the launching of aircraft with the electromagnetic aircraft launching system.

You’ve probably experienced the technology yourself if you’ve ridden a roller coaster lately.
This allows pilots to launch and land with heavier aircraft, enabling the launch of lighter unmanned aircraft in the future. A secondary benefit of the electromagnetic aircraft launching system and advanced arresting gear is the ability to apply launch and recovery forces more evenly, producing less stress on the airframe and potentially saving on aircraft maintenance.

These are just a couple of the new technologies on CVN 78 that will lead the Navy and naval aviation with a true leap forward over the next century. CVN 78 construction is about 63 percent complete. We expect to commission the ship in the second quarter of 2016. At the same time that we are getting ready to christen CVN 78, we have begun advance construction on the John F. Kennedy (CVN 79). We are working directly with the shipyard to incorporate the lessons learned from the construction of CVN 78 along with new game changing build strategies that will significantly reduce the cost of CVN 79 and future ships of the class.
Pic - "There is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy"