Sunday, March 30, 2014

J!had's Civil War


Super saavy cats at CTC give up the deets about how That Which Must Not Be Named is like in a Civil War:
On February 2, 2014, al-Qa`ida released a statement declaring that “it has no connection” with the “group” called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The statement further highlighted that al-Qa`ida was not responsible for founding the ISIL and was not privy to the deliberations that led to its establishment. That is why, the statement continued, “The ISIL is not a branch of al-Qa`ida, the latter is not bound by organizational ties to it and is not responsible for the ISIL’s actions.”
This is not about “near enemy” or “far enemy,” but is equivalent to suicide or, in jihadist parlance, martyrdom in concert.

The statement marked the first time that al-Qa`ida publicly disowned a jihadist group. To be sure, the leadership of al-Qa`ida has on numerous occasions dissociated itself from attacks characterized by indiscriminate killings, particularly those that targeted Muslim civilians. Yet at no point did al-Qa`ida publicly rebuke a jihadist group by name.

The ISIL’s defiance of al-Qa`ida is not new, however, and although it was not made public, captured internal communiqués authored by al-Qa`ida leaders demonstrated the rift that the Iraq-based group has caused in the jihadist world. Disagreements began as early as 2005 when the group was still called “al-Qa`ida in Mesopotamia” and under the leadership of Abu Mus`ab al-Zarqawi. The latter’s relentless attacks against Shi`a in Iraq alarmed al-Qa`ida’s central leadership, prompting al-Zawahiri and `Atiyya al-Libi to send al-Zarqawi gentle reminders that it was not the general public, but the Americans and their Iraqi collaborators, who should be the target of his attacks.

Why did it take so long for al-Qa`ida to disown the ISI/ISIL publicly if the problems began in 2005 and worsened in 2006? To put this in a broader context, it is useful to remember that some jihadist groups, such as al-Qa`ida, are driven by strategic considerations, while others, such as the ISI/ISIL, are driven by sectarian differences and pedestrian disputes

To project a strong presence in the eyes of their enemies, strategically-driven groups are willing to present a unified front and avoid airing the dirty laundry of other groups in public. Those driven by sectarian or pedestrian differences are willing to sacrifice strategic objectives and rush to air their grievances with other groups for the sake of purifying the creed or upstaging their competitors. Yet it is evident that the ISI had long been testing the limits of al-Qa`ida’s leaders.

The broader jihadist reaction to the public dispute between al-Qa`ida and the ISIL initially translated into fierce debates and quarrels on jihadist forums, the likes of which have never been observed. Some, but not all,[18] pundits adopted a diplomatic approach. Some called on both sides to unite, but their language betrayed the group with which they sided; others attributed the schism to years of scheming by “the RAND Corporation” and similar think-tanks to create a “good” al-Qa`ida and a “bad” al-Qa`ida, a plot which time has now come to divide jihadists

Before long, what began as a public dispute in April 2013 has since developed into a bloody conflict that is tearing apart the ISIL and JN and their respective supporters

A coup is not what one would envisage happening in the jihadist world, but this is a new era for jihadism.
Pic - "Fallujah Parade!"

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

Thus, 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…..

Friday, March 28, 2014

Return Of FoPo


A recent Hello regarding American political chiz is/was foreign policy is not gon be worth very much to war weary Americans...

Events can quickly overtake public opinion

Foreign policy may not register as a leading issue with voters right now, but if Russia continues to redraw Europe's borders, Iran successfully builds a nuclear weapon, and al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist groups establish themselves in Syria and Libya, bet on it being a major theme of the 2016 presidential campaign. Prospective presidential candidates may not believe the worst is yet to come, but they're certainly preparing for that possibility

Pic "Great Power FoPo"

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

PBUH!

The Istanbul Process - A series of meetings, inaugurated under former madame secretary of state HRC, the Istanbul Process aims to bridge the gap between the West’s approach to fighting religious intolerance and the approach of the OIC. If the participants are serious about countering religious intolerance, their choice of venue is curious.  

Like Arab Guideline Law for the Prevention of Defamation of Religions, a model blasphemy law drafted by none other than the ministry of justice of Qatar. The text includes a broad prohibition against “defamation of religions.” According to an English translation, practices include, inter alia:

1. Blasphemy against the divine essence or questioning it or infringing on it.
 
2. Contempt or disrespect [for] or [offense to] any of the religions or by defaming them or insulting them or ridiculing them or infringing on them.

 3. Any infringement on the heavenly books, through abuse or alteration or desecration or prejudice.

4. Making fun of one of the prophets or the messengers or sacred symbols of these religions or their wives or their families or their companions or insulting or ridiculing them or infringing on them.

This sweeping definition would likely entail a ban on atheism and even agnosticism, which clearly questions “divine essence.” Moreover, the concepts “contempt,” “prejudice,” “ridicule,” “insult,” and “infringement” are not defined and would seem to encompass anything from mild satire to serious criticism to outright hostility toward protected religions. Proscribed offenses may take the form of “audio or visual [content] or written [content], or [content delivered through] electronic [media] or via the Internet or communications networks, or industrial materials, whether through [spoken] words or [in] writing, or [through] expressionist [illustration] or cartoon or symbolic drawing, or [through] photography or singing or acting or mime or electronic data or other forms [of communication,] and in any language.”

Accordingly, any expression, however vague or symbolic, may violate the law, which explicitly bars invoking “freedom of expression and opinion” as a defense. The law includes a sweeping definition of complicity and criminalizes the mere possession of “blasphemous” material for the purpose of “informing others.” But the most drastic measure is found in article 16, which states that the law covers acts “perpetrated wholly or partly within or outside the territory of the State and even if the perpetrator is a non-national.”

In other words, if you share the supposedly “blasphemous” Katy Perry video “Dark Horse” on Facebook in Illinois, organize an atheist conference in Geneva, or mime The Satanic Verses on the streets of London, you may be prosecuted in any of the Arab member states that choose to enact this law. The Qatari draft and its endorsement by the Arab League members of the OIC raises the question of how serious these states’ commitment to tolerance really is.

Pic - "Collision! Free Speech and Religion"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NATO: Decline And Fall


So...old Europe finally realises daemoneoconic bona fides were totally correct after all!

Oh Snap!!

European powers in recent years have shelved entire divisions and weapons systems. The British Royal Navy doesn't operate a proper aircraft carrier. The Netherlands in 2012 disbanded its heavy-armor division, and France and the U.K. each now field a mere 200 main battle tanks. France has cut its orders of Rafale combat jets to six a year from 11. This isn't even a Maginot Line.

Most alliance members are also dangerously demobilized: Germany last year announced plans to cut its troops to no more than 180,000 from 545,000 at the end of the Cold War. The French military has shrunk to 213,000 from 548,000 in 1990. The U.K. now has 174,000 armed forces, down from 308,000 in 1990.

NATO countries have also been deferring maintenance of major equipment and cutting back weapons inventories. Such neglect, normally hidden, became apparent in 2011 when Britain and France ran out of precision-guided munitions during NATO's Libya campaign.

Russia takes military matters seriously. The Putin regime has increased defense spending 79% over the past decade, according to a Brookings study. Defense expenditures amounted to 4.5% of Russian GDP in 2012, the World Bank reports. After a period of post-Cold War neglect, Moscow has been closing its capability gaps, including the upgrade of its Soviet-era fleet of military-transport aircraft and interceptor jets. Russia's state-run media celebrated these developments a few weeks before Mr. Putin's Crimean incursion.

Justifying cuts to Germany's military budget, then-German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere predicted in May 2013 that "it is more likely the Bundeswehr will in future be employed in areas of crisis and conflict around the world than in defending the country."

Such thinking warms Mr. Putin's heart—and may increase his territorial appetite.
Pic - "And then there's 44's nonserious chiz"


Monday, March 24, 2014

Great Escape


70 years ago today - 3rd Reich awoke to the stunning realization an additional front had been opened up in the Fatherland itself!

76 RAF POW's busted out of Luft Stalag III in occupied Poland. 
With only their bare hands and the crudest of homemade tools, they sank shafts, forged passports, faked weapons, and tailored German uniforms and civilian clothes. They developed a fantastic security system to protect themselves from German surveillance. It was a split-second operation as delicate and as deadly as a time bomb. It demanded the concentrated devotion and vigilance of more than six hundred men—every one of them, every minute, every hour, every day and night for more than a year. 
Deutschland - fighting in Italy, the Eastern Front and in the air - had to allocate resources and the general population for a massive man hunt

Of 76 escapees, 73 were captured. Hitler initially wanted the escapers to be shot as an example to other prisoners, as well as Commandant von Lindeiner, the architect who designed the camp, the camp's security officer and the guards on duty at the time.

Reichsmarshal Hermann Göring, Field Marshal Keitel, Major-General Westhoff and Major-General von Graevenitz, who was head of the department in charge of prisoners of war, all argued against any executions as a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Hitler eventually relented and instead ordered SS head Himmler to execute more than half of the escapees. Himmler passed the selection on to General Arthur Nebe.

Fifty were executed singly or in pairs. Roger Bushell, the leader of the escape, was shot by Gestapo official Emil Schulz just outside Saarbrücken, Germany.

3 cats, Bergsland and Müller made it to neutral Sweden first, by boat, while Van der Stok travelled through France before finding safety at a British consulate in Spain

The British government learned of the deaths from a routine visit to the camp by the Swiss authorities as the Protecting power in May; the Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden announced the news to the House of Commons on 19 May 1944. Shortly after the announcement the Senior British Officer of the camp, Group Captain Herbert Massey, was repatriated to England due to ill health. Upon his return, he informed the Government about the circumstances of the escape and the reality of the murder of the recaptured escapees. Eden updated Parliament on 23 June, promising that, at the end of the war, those responsible would be brought to exemplary justice. When the war ended, a large manhunt was carried out by the Royal Air Force Police (RAFP) investigative branch.

American Colonel Telford Taylor was the U.S. prosecutor in the High Command case at the Nuremberg Trials. The indictment in this case called for the General Staff of the Army and the High Command of the German Armed Forces to be considered criminal organizations; the witnesses were several of the surviving German field marshals and their staff officers.

 One of the crimes charged was of the murder of the 50. Colonel of the Luftwaffe Bernd von Brauchitsch, who served on the staff of Reich Marshal Hermann Göring, was interrogated by Captain Horace Hahn about the murders.

Several Gestapo officers responsible for the executions of the escapees were executed or imprisoned.

Pic - "Tom, Dick and Harry"

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Little Satan Solution


Captain Caroline Glick unleashes a tour de hello about the Middle East's Forever Quest.

The reigning consensus in elite and academic circles is that Great Satan must seek to resolve the Palestinians' conflict with Little Satan by implementing the so-called two-state solution. Establishing a Palestinian state, so the thinking goes, would be a panacea for all the region’s ills. It would end the Arab world’s conflict with Israel, because the reason the Arab world is anti-Little Satan is that there is no Palestinian state. It would also nearly erase the principal cause of the violent extremism in the rest of the Middle East.

In a time when American politics are marked by partisan gridlock, the two-state solution stands out for its ability to attract supporters from both sides of the ideological divide. But the great irony is that it is one of the most irrational and failed policies Great Satan has ever adopted.

Between 1970 and 2013, Great Satan presented nine different peace plans for Little Satan and the Palestinians, and for the past twenty years, the two state solution has been the centerpiece of Middle East policy. But despite this laser focus, American efforts to implement a two-state peace deal have failed—and with each new attempt, the Middle East has become less stable, more violent, more radicalized, and more inimical to democratic values and interests.

K Lo chatted up Caroline at NRO and it is intense!

The two-state-solution policy assumes not only that guilt for the 65-year Arab war on Israel lies solely or predominantly on Little Satan ’s shoulders but that all Arab-related conflict too can be ascribed to the actions of Little Satan . The idea behind the policy model is that the root cause of instability in the region is the absence of a Palestinian state, and that the absence of a Palestinian state is Little Satan’s fault

Everything regionally and internationally will be better if Little Satan  just straightens up and flies right. This is a shocking negation of Arab agency and humanity. If Little Satan  is to blame, then why think about the treatment of women and girls in Arab societies? Why think about the endemic poverty, the illiteracy? Why think about jihad, and Islamic doctrines that preach it?

In other words, the two-state-solution policy, which places most of the blame for the pathologies of the Arab world on Little Satan, also ignores the Arab world, and so only harms the Arabs — and Great Satan, which is basing its Middle East policy on pure nonsense.

First of all, because it is hard to convince allies like Pakistan to combat terrorism when it is busy telling the world that anti-Israel terrorists should be accommodated and appeased.

Why should Pakistan pay the price of capturing or neutralizing terrorists when the U.S. presses Israel to release Palestinian terrorists? Why should European states freeze funds supporting terrorist organizations when Little Satan is pressed to release funds that flow to Palestinian terrorist organizations? Why should countries treat al-Qaeda terrorists as criminals when Palestinian terrorists are expressing legitimate grievances and should be forgiven their bloody pasts?

 The  unquestioning commitment to the two-state myth leads American policymakers to embrace Palestinian terrorists who they hope will form the core leadership of a future Palestinian state.

Pic - "The 3 No's of Khartoum bear a heavy price!"




Friday, March 21, 2014

iDespots

News that Great Satan is gon like give up the WWW to UN is...shocking

 If authoritarian regimes in Russia, China and elsewhere get their way, domains could be banned and new ones not approved for meddlesome groups such as Ukrainian-independence organizations or Tibetan human-rights activists.


Pic - "Feckless"

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dancing With The Devil


The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes and other creeps!

The world has seldom been as dangerous as it is now. Rogue regimes—governments and groups that eschew diplomatic normality, sponsor terrorism, and proliferate nuclear weapons—threaten Great Satan around the globe. Because sanctions and military action are so costly, the American strategy of first resort is dialogue, on the theory that “it never hurts to talk to enemies.” Seldom is conventional wisdom so wrong.

Engagement with rogue regimes is not cost-free. Trace the history of American diplomacy with North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, the Taliban’s Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Further challenges to traditional diplomacy have come from terrorist groups, such as the PLO in the 1970s and 1980s, or Hamas and Hezbollah in the last two decades.

The argument in favor of negotiation with terrorists is suffused with moral equivalence, the idea that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Rarely does the actual record of talking to terrorists come under serious examination.

While soldiers spend weeks developing lessons learned after every exercise, diplomats generally do not reflect on why their strategy toward rogues has failed, or consider whether their basic assumptions have been faulty.

Rogue regimes all have one thing in common: they pretend to be aggrieved in order to put Western diplomats on the defensive. Whether in Pyongyang, Tehran, or Islamabad, rogue leaders understand that the West rewards bluster with incentives and that the State Department too often values process more than results.

Pic - "Adversarial Diplomacy"


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Al-Qa’ida Forever War


Dang it!!

Since the For Ever War has been going on since like 911 - why cause al Qaeda and assorted 7th Century time traveling intolerant girl hating head chopping control freaks aren't sweetly rotting on the same pile as Kamikazees, Waffen Ss and slave trading Confederates?

Al-Qa’ida-type organisations, with beliefs and methods of operating similar to those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, have become a lethally powerful force from the Tigris to the Mediterranean in the past three years. Since the start of 2014, they have held Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, much of the upper Euphrates valley, and exert increasing control over the Sunni heartlands of northern Iraq. In Syria, their fighters occupy villages and towns from the outskirts of Damascus to the border with Turkey, including the oilfields in the north-east of the country. Overall, they are now the most powerful military force in an area the size of Great Britain.

The “war on terror” has failed because it did not target the jihadi movement as a whole and, above all, was not aimed at Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the two countries that had fostered jihadism as a creed and a movement. Great Satan did not do so because they were important American allies whom she did not want to offend. Saudi Arabia is an enormous market for American arms, and the Saudis have cultivated and, on occasion bought up, influential members of the American political establishment.

Al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and other jihadi groups are the offspring of America’s strange alliance with Saudi Arabia, a theocratic absolute monarchy, and Pakistani military intelligence. If this alliance had not existed, then 9/11 would not have happened.

And because Great Satan, with Great Britain never far behind, refused to break with these two Sunni powers, jihadism survived and prospered after 9/11.

Pic - "Many Al Qaeda affiliates have focused exclusively on trying to overthrow local regimes and establishing Sharia governments in their place—which is a direct refutation to Al Qaeda’s ideology."

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Cold War

Yowza!!

The referendum that took place in Crimea is both irrelevant and deeply significant. Irrelevant because it has no standing in the law of the country to which it applies, and because it took place while the autonomous region was under military occupation. International bodies are unlikely to recognise its outcome: the UN security council voted by 13-1 to condemn it on Saturday, with only Russia voting against. The referendum is significant, however, because it represents a giant step on the road to Russian annexation, and because it reveals a little more of the nature of that country's president, Vladimir Putin.

Like many a strongman before him, Mr Putin is motivated as much by fear as boldness. He has embarked on the path of dismembering Ukraine in part because he fears for Russia if its neighbour is seen to escape into a bright European future. Ever since the mass protests that surrounded his controversial return to the presidency in 2012, Mr Putin has worked hard to prevent himself being ejected on a wave of pro-democratic sentiment of the kind that ran around the world following Tunisia's revolution in December 2010. Having seen his protege Viktor Yanukovych toppled in Kiev, he has been rolling back the gains of glasnost with renewed vigour.

Just when the Russian people have needed independent media most, the government has been crushing it. Last Wednesday, Galina Timchenko, the editor of the popular independent Russian news website Lenta.ru, was fired and replaced with a Kremlin sympathiser, after running an interview with a member of the Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector. Many of the website's reporters resigned in protest, saying as they did so: "The trouble is not that we've lost our jobs. The trouble is that you've got nothing to read." The only independent TV station, Dozhd, which had dared to cover anti-government demonstrations in Kiev, was dumped from all major cable networks in February; news websites have been blocked; the general director of the liberal Ekho Moskvy radio station was sacked and replaced with a conservative.

There is opposition to the Crimean intervention – thousands marched in Moscow on Saturday – but, faced with a full-scale assault on the truth, it is unsurprising that many Russians believe in Mr Putin's worldview, in which western-backed "fascists" have created "anarchy" in Ukraine that only Russia can resolve. Unsurprising, too, that Mr Putin's approval rating has climbed to a three-year high in the past month on the back of his handling of Ukraine and the Sochi Olympics. Almost half of Russians polled in a recent survey thought there was a real threat from bandits and nationalists to Russians in Ukraine, while more than half thought Russian troops could be deployed there legally.

Through a series of crackdowns and interventions in civil liberties, Mr Putin is turning a soft autocracy into a highly repressive state that appears to be run by a small group of Putin confidants within the Kremlin and whose character is increasingly nationalistic and paranoid about the west. Vladimir Yakunin, the head of Russian Railways and a friend of Mr Putin, expressed this in a recent interview. "We are witnessing a huge geopolitical game in which the aim is the destruction of Russia as a geopolitical opponent of the US or of this global financial oligarchy," Mr Yakunin said. Part of his solution is a plan for a Soviet-style mega-project in the east of the country, as far as possible from the meddling west.

EU foreign ministers meet on Monday to consider action against a list of high-level Russian officials in light of the Crimean referendum. The US will likely follow suit, and further European sanctions are in the offing: the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has warned darkly of "massive" economic and political damage to Russia unless Mr Putin changes course. If the sovereignty of Ukraine is to be defended, there are few other options. East and west appear locked on the path to a new and dangerous divide.

Pic - "Crimea Non Suffit!"

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Next 6 Day War


Am those rocket rich rejectionists in The Strip fixing to like become the casus belli for yet another middle east war? Specifically betwixt Little Satan and her neighboring neighbors?

Back in the mid-1960s, a Palestinian guerrilla group called Fatah -- the Conquest -- began launching cross-border attacks against Little Satan civilians.

Sponsored by Syria and led by Palestinian activists, among them the young Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah aroused admiration throughout the Arab world. So much so that Egypt, then Syria's rival, formed its own group and called it the Palestine Liberation Organization -- the PLO -- which also staged attacks into Little Satan.

Little Satan wouldn't sit passively, though, but struck back at Fatah's Syrian hosts, who in turn shelled Little Satan villages. Not to be outdone, Egypt in May 1967 evicted U.N. peacekeeping forces from the Sinai Peninsula and amassed troops along Little Satan's border. This precipitated Little Satan's pre-emptive strike against Egypt which, within hours, ensnarled Syria and even Jordan. Six days later, Little Satan controlled the territories, whose final status remains bitterly unresolved.

Recalling the background to the Six-Day War -- a conflict almost nobody wanted and even fewer anticipated -- is crucial today in the face of a frightfully similar process unfolding along Israel's southern border.

If left unchecked, the rising violence in Gaza could quickly spiral uncontrollably. Another conflagration, no more desired or foreseen than that of 1967, could once again engulf the Middle East.

Though Fatah and the PLO merged long ago and are now headed by Mahmoud Abbas, who has since forsworn terror, other Palestinian groups are vying for power. By attacking Israel, they gain credibility in the Palestinian street and prestige throughout the region.

One such group was Hamas, a wing of the Ikwhan, that violently expelled Abbas' men from Gaza in 2007 and proceeded to fire thousands of rockets at Little Satan. Still not passive, Little Satan retaliated with punishing operations in Gaza in 2008 and 2012. Those blows, together with the Brotherhood's fall from power in Egypt, subdued Hamas, but now another Gaza organization has risen to challenge it.

Islamic Jihad has been firing rockets and aiming ground attacks at Little Satan. Characteristically, the Israelis responded with force and earlier this week killed three Islamic Jihad operatives engaged in mounting a strike. The terrorists then fired some 50 rockets and mortar shells at southern Little Satan towns, spurring Little Satan fighter jets to bomb 29 targets in Gaza.

(An Islamic Jihad leader told CNN on Thursday a truce had been declared, but Little Satan has not commented.)

Yet Little Satan regards Hamas as the sovereign authority in Gaza and holds it ultimately responsible for any attacks emanating from there, even those conducted by Islamic Jihad. If the rocket fire and shelling continue, Israel is likely to retaliate against Hamas, which could be dragged, however unwillingly, into the fighting.

Islamic Jihad is funded and armed by Iran. Just last week, Little Satan naval commandos intercepted a cargo ship -- the Klos-C -- carrying 400,000 bullets and 40 rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv. Made in Iran, the arms would have enabled Islamic Jihad to join with Hezbollah, Iran's chief proxy in Lebanon, to rocket every Israeli city. The goal is to deter Little Satan from striking Iran's nuclear facilities and to paralyze it with multiple existential threats.

But what if Iran -- much like Egypt in 1967 -- miscalculated? What could happen if an Little Satan reprisal for Islamic Jihad's rockets results in a confrontation between Little Satan and Hamas?

Would Hezbollah then join the clash, unleashing its arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets against the Jewish state, and would Little Satan forces have to invade Lebanon to stop them? Would Iran watch idly while its closest Middle East ally was crushed by the "Zionist enemy," or would it, too, leap into the fray?

Gaza remains a combat zone as of this writing, and rocket alert sirens are wailing in southern Israeli cities. As in previous exchanges, a de facto cease-fire might be worked out and relative calm restored to the region. Or the confrontation could widen, and what began as a skirmish could inexorably expand into war. As the example of 1967 reminds us, a single spark in the combustible Middle East can swiftly fan a flare-up into a firestorm.
Pic - "Rogue state for the right-on"


Friday, March 14, 2014

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

Thus, 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, March 13, 2014

AirSea Battle II

Great Satan's Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy (say that outloud 3 times fast LOL) gives up hot! deets all about Air/Sea Battle Doctrine!

The ASB Concept is, simply put, a set of ideas that preserves freedom of access in the global commons in the face of emerging anti-access and area denial threats. It includes initiatives to improve doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership personnel and facilities within the Services’ purview to man, train and equip the Joint force.

An operational concept is a description of a method or scheme for employing military capabilities to attain specific objectives at the operational level of war. The overarching objective of the Air-Sea Battle Concept is to “gain and maintain freedom of action in the global commons.” The Air-Sea Battle Concept is not a strategy. Strategies, in contrast, describe ways and means to achieve a particular end or end state, such as deterring conflict, containing conflict, or winning a conflict.  
The Air-Sea Battle Concept is about force development in the face of rising technological challenges.

 We seek to build, at the Service level, a “pre-integrated” joint force which empowers U.S. combatant commanders—along with allies and partners—to engage in ways that are cooperative and networked across the land, maritime, air, space and cyber domains and therefore to enhance our collective warfighting capability. Air-Sea Battle does not focus on a particular adversary or region. It is universally applicable across all geographic locations, and by addressing access challenges wherever, however and whenever we confront them.

The Air-Sea Battle Office was tasked with creating an operational concept that addresses the problems created while operating in an anti-access and area-denial environment. This includes solutions not only from new technology, but also from utilizing existing forces and programs more effectively.

While some new capabilities and technology may be required, most of the ASB initiatives will rely on current service programs as their foundation. Existing equipment may be used in different ways, while other systems may need to be modified or upgraded. A significant portion of the effort will focus on non materiel solutions such as training and doctrine development. It is important to note that the services will continue to seek efficiencies and eliminate unnecessary redundancies through careful scrutiny of capability requirements, doctrine development and integrated training opportunities.

Prior to the ASB Concept, thoughtful investments during the past decade have helped to equip the Joint Force with capabilities necessary to operate within an A2/AD environment. The ASB concept will ensure U.S. forces continue to advance the capabilities required to ensure operational access and decisive power projection in support of America's national interests and those of our allies and partners as the A2/AD environment continues to evolve.

The Defense Strategic Guidance clearly tasks the Services to prepare to project power despite antiaccess and area denial challenges and ultimately.

As we continue to move forward, it is important to note that the ASB Concept and Implementation process is influencing the way the services man, train and equip their respective forces. In doing so, we are attempting to shape a joint force from the ground up, capable of assuring access where it matters, when it matters, that is poised to deliver prompt and credible combat power, if required, at a moment’s notice. This is one of the key takeaways about the concept and why a clear understanding of the concept is important

 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."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Future Fighters

From CSBA's hot! piece on a more balanced Combat Air Force...


Fifty years ago, DoD was in the process of building six fighters, three bombers, and two antisubmarine warfare aircraft (see Figure 6). These multiple development efforts allowed defense contractors to move their highly skilled aircraft designers and engineers to other programs in the event of funding cuts, program cancellations, or the completion of production runs.

Today, there is one new American fighter in production—the F-35—and three that are about to end their production runs. With the exception of the LRS-B, the P-8 multi-mission maritime aircraft, and possibly a carrier UCAV, there are no other major new combat aircraft in DoD’s program of record. This continues a long-term trend where the number of military combat aircraft produced annually has dropped precipitously. Since 1960, U.S. combat aircraft production measured by empty aircraft weight has been cut by almost 90 percent and is now less than a third of the peak level it reached during the Reagan administration.

This small number of new programs increases the risk that the U.S. defense industrial base will lack the flexibility to adjust to future program delays or cancellations. This risk could be partially offset by stabilizing CAF programs by providing funding that is not held hostage to the ongoing debate over the defense budget.
Pic - "“As our fleet continues to get older and smaller, we know that potential adversaries are investing in new technology and updating their inventories”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Gang That Can't Shoot Straight


Talk about the cats that couldn't shoot straight...


Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 showed many operational weaknesses and triggered Putin’s major investment in defense spending and armed forces restructuring.

The effort, however, has been dogged by “mismanagement, changes in plans, corruption, manning issues,” the CRS reported.

Considering the situation in Ukraine and Crimea, it is worth noting how Russians see their immediate military threats.

The conflicts that top their threat list are “both in Russia itself (in the form of separatist uprisings and attempts to secede) and similar conflicts with the neighboring former Soviet republics,” said Ruslan Pukhov, a former Russian Defense Ministry official and now director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), a leading Russian defense industry and arms trade think tank.

“Most of these republics regard Russia as the main threat to their sovereignty and are, therefore, interested in weakening Russian influence on their territory and internationally by all possible means,” Pukhov wrote in August in an article on Russian defense strategy.

“The West underestimates the importance of the Ukrainian issue for Russia and the role of Ukraine as a colossal destabilizing factor in Western-Russian relations in the immediate term,” Pukhov wrote.

Another purpose for building Russian forces is to deter the United States and NATO countries from “meddling in conflicts in the former Soviet republics or Western attempts to forestall possible Russian actions with regard to these republics,” he wrote.

Personnel is a major problem for the Russian military. Efforts to move from a conscription army to “contract-employed” soldiers (such as the U.S. volunteer force) have not been successful.

Under Russia’s 10-year reform program of 2009, its military forces (army, navy and air force) should have been at 1 million last year. But a Swedish Defence Research Agency study released in December had the figure below 800,000. The CRS put it at 700,000.

Still, it remains the region’s largest force. The Russian army is at about 285,000, including conscripts, but units are being manned at 40 to 60 percent, according to the Swedish study.

Contract soldiers, who must serve three years, have not been reenlisting at expected rates, and the dropouts run from 35 percent to 80 percent, the Swedish study said.

Conscripts serve one year, and the constant movement makes the introduction and training on complex weapons difficult.

Also, a sharp decline in the Russian birth rate and health disqualification of 52 percent of the potential service pool have forced the military to consider increasing the length of service or accepting a smaller force.

Plans for spending more than $700 billion over 10 years on weapon modernization began in 2011 and included $89 billion for rebuilding “the largely obsolete defense industrial complex,” along with importing weapons and technologies, the CRS report said.

In addition to purchasing two French helicopter carriers for $1.6 billion, the Russians turned to the German firm Rheinmetall Defence to build a $132 million modern army training center — Mulino — near Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga.

Logistics have always been a problem for the Russian military because they were put in the hands of a state corporation called Oboronservis. The corporation contracted out modernization and maintenance services for weapons, construction and canteens. It became “a breeding ground for embezzlement, corruption and neglect of tasks,” the Swedish study noted.

In recent years, as money became available, “expenditure on logistics and rear service doubled or tripled at the same time as quality deteriorated,” the Swedish study said. This led to the dismissal in November 2012 of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, a onetime chairman of Oboronservis.

More recently, logistics and maintenance battalions have been introduced to carry out those functions at the brigade level. However, there is a shortage of specialists and contract soldiers who can handle those jobs.

The Russian Defense Ministry in July projected that by the end of this year only 26 percent of planned armament modernization will have taken place, according Dmitry Gorenburg, a research analyst with CNA Strategic Studies, which runs the Center for Naval Analyses.

The number of combat-capable aircraft dropped from 1,600 in 2010 to 1,460 in 2012, according to the Swedish study. The new Russian defense minister, Sergey Shoygu, has said that the air force was concentrated in too few locations and required more bases.

He also spoke publicly about increasing the number of rounds that artillery and tank crews fire in exercises. “Our colleagues in other countries shoot 160 shells a year per crew. We have to increase our indicator at least five times,” he said in a January article on the Russian Defense Policy Web site.

This is not the Russia of the Cold War, and it has few allies who would join it should Putin try to move into eastern Ukraine.

As Gorenburg put it Sunday, any such move would lead “to a quite bloody and potentially long-lasting conflict,” and “even though Russia would win such a war, the result would be long-term instability on Russia’s immediate border, with guerrilla warfare likely for some time.”

Given the current state of the Russian military, there is good reason to believe that Putin will never take that step.

Pic - "If EFP's and IED's start targeting Russian troops in her Near Abroad..."



Monday, March 10, 2014

Not Even the Army Knows

Whoa snap....


44 blah blah blah Sequestration blah blah blah budget blah blah blah Fiscal Year...

Money Shot:

Army planners are “still working through” how to structure the force at 420,000, but what is certain is that “there will be things that we cannot do.”

The Army plans to fall to 60 brigade combat teams (BCTs) from 71 by the end of 2015.

So, not even the Army knows how big it'll be....

Open Letter To 44


To The Honorable 44,
 
We are writing to encourage you to discuss the crisis in Bahrain with your counterparts in Saudi Arabia during your upcoming visit to the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia has significant influence in Bahrain through its strong political, economic, and social ties with the Bahrainis. Real and lasting stability in Bahrain can only be achieved through genuine reform, and we call on you to urge the Saudi leadership to play a more constructive role in this regard.

As Deputy Secretary of State William Burns recently noted, when the United States and the Gulf "work in concert, we can help shape outcomes that not only advance reform, but also advance stability." You have a key opportunity to achieve this goal in Bahrain.

As the situation in Bahrain continues to deteriorate, addressing this issue must be an urgent priority. The State Department recently assessed the Bahraini government’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2011 Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), and found that only five of its 26 recommendations were fully implemented. The assessment also recognized the Government’s failure to investigate claims of torture and cases that resulted in death, to ensure that individuals are no longer charged or detained for exercising their right to free speech, or to foster an environment that promotes dialogue.

Efforts last year to negotiate a political solution collapsed after the process failed to deliver any real progress, key opposition figures were arrested, and human rights violations continued. As you said in 2011, "The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail. The government must create the conditions for dialogue, and the opposition must participate to forge a just future for all Bahrainis." That was true then, and remains true today.

The Crown Prince and opposition political societies in Bahrain have recently announced the launch of a new phase in negotiations aimed at revitalizing a process to find a political solution to the country’s crisis. The people of Bahrain have made it clear that their legitimate, democratic demands for reform will not go away, and must be addressed with solutions. As two of Bahrain’s most influential allies, the United States and Saudi Arabia possess a special obligation to pursue stability in the country by promoting reform that meets these demands. The Bahraini ruling family would be greatly affected by hearing from the King and other Saudi royals that compromise, not repression, is the only path to stability.

We urge you to discuss Bahrain during your upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, and seek to enlist the Saudis in an approach that can end the political crisis and the violence that afflict Bahrain. Reform and stability can co-exist, and the United States must demonstrate the leadership needed to realize that model in the Gulf.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

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

Thus, 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, March 6, 2014

New World Disorder


Despite the funny new meme that past weakness - or strength - matters not to would be international chicanery creators, there is still very much intact the chaos that leader cats can craft...
No American, ought to take pleasure at the spectacle of Great Satan’s foreign policies failing and the perception of America as a hobbled giant.

That is, self-evidently, what we’re seeing: Russian boots are on the ground in Ukraine. North Korea is firing missiles. Iran’s negotiators are playing high-stakes poker, while the U.S.-led side doesn’t seem to know a flush from a straight.

In Syria, Iran’s proxies confront al Qaeda forces (forces the administration two years ago congratulated itself for having defeated) while the much-ballyhooed agreement to remove chemical weapons has stalled.

Hard-won gains in Iraq have been squandered. There’s a real possibility that the Taliban will reclaim Afghanistan once American troops depart. Venezuela is in turmoil. China is acting the bully in Asia.

As threats and crises multiply, what is 44 doing? He’s proposing to reduce the size and strength of America's military to pre-2001 levels.

Can anyone still regard Great Satan as a reliable ally? More consequentially, is America still seen as a formidable adversary?

In theory, the idea of a “post-American” world — a global order featuring “shared leadership” and even “shared sovereignty” — sounds lovely. In practice, it can only mean global disorder — a Hobbesian state of nature in which the most rapacious and brutal regimes do whatever is necessary to establish their hegemony over whichever regions they covet

Expansion stops only when one hegemon bumps up against another — and both decide that a balance of power, or a balance of terror — is preferable to fighting it out, at least in the short term.

In his 2009 address to the U.N. General Assembly, 44 famously said, “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation.” Had he said, “No one nation should try to dominate another nation,” he would have sounded preachy and weak.

However, the assertion that no nation “can try” to dominate another is patently false. Combining the two phrases conveyed a rhetorical benefit at the time. In hindsight, however — and with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the front pages — the statement reveals a flawed foundation on which to build foreign policies.

Gaze over the international landscape: Do you see the prospect of a success anywhere? Or is it likely that the administration’s goal at this point is simply to avoid additional visible failures?
If American leaders won’t lead, Mr. Putin, Ayatollah Khamenei and other tyrants are only too eager to rule. Let’s not pretend we don’t know that. Let’s not pretend we don’t know what that will mean over the years ahead
Pic - "Fantastically enough - the biggest Nat'l Security threat is 44 himself"

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Doomed!


Nyet Tovarisch!!

Beleaf it or don't - despite alla unsexyfull nation state to nation state aggression Commonwealth Russia is indulging in au courrant - Commonwealth is DOOMED!


Everywhere one looks today, signs of a resurgent Russia are omnipresent. Although Vladimir Putin has undoubtedly worked hard to craft this image, it is a mirage. Russia is doomed over the long-term, and its short-term maneuvers aren’t enough to compensate for this fact.
Traditionally, Russian power has rested on four pillars: population, energy, weaponry and geography. Three of these are diminishing.

The backbone of modern Russian power has been its massive population. Nowhere was this better demonstrated than in WWII. Russia no doubt played a leading role in orchestrating Hitler’s demise, starting with its legendary stands in Leningrad and Stalingrad. However, Stalin sapped the military might of Nazi Germany less because of the strategic or tactical genius he possessed, and almost entirely through his willingness to expend the lives of his citizenry.

According to some estimates, the Soviet Union lost somewhere between 22 and 28 million people during WWII. To put this in perspective, the United States and Great Britain each lost less than half a million people and even Germany only lost between 7 and 9 million lives during the war. Nonetheless, for nearly half a century after the war the Soviet Union could credibly threaten the much richer West solely because of the sheer number of men it could put under arms.

Yet like most of Europe, Russia has recently seen its population dwindle even as countries like China, India and much of the third world have seen sharp rises in their own populations. As AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt observed in World Affairs: “in the last sixteen years of the Communist era, births exceeded deaths in Russia by 11.4 million; in the first sixteen years of the post-Soviet era, deaths exceeded births by 12.4 million.” Unless Russia can reverse this depopulation for a sustained period of time, it will likely become increasingly irrelevant in international politics.

Another source of modern Russian power has been its massive energy reserves. Indeed, high oil prices during the 1970s allowed the Soviet Union to flex its muscles abroad. However, as energy prices stabilized during the 1980s the artifice upon which the Soviet system began to crumble. Far from continuing to expand, the end of the decade saw the Soviet empire disintegrate, with Moscow powerless to stop it.

The so-called resurgence Russia has enjoyed since Putin first assumed power has also been built on high energy prices. And like the Soviet leaders before him, Putin has squandered the temporary respite provided by high energy prices instead of using it to reinvest in the country and its people. As the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development noted gloomily in December 2012, “Not only are Russian exports highly concentrated in natural resources, this concentration has increased over time: the shares of oil, gas and other minerals in Russia’s exports are higher today than they were 15 years ago.”

It went on to reflect: “In 2012 Russia remains highly dependent on its natural resources. Oil and gas now account for nearly 70 percent of total goods exports…. Oil and gas revenues also contribute around half of the federal budget. The non-oil fiscal deficit has averaged more than 11 per cent of GDP since 2009, while the oil price consistent with a balanced budget is now in the region of US$115 per barrel and rising.”

The problem with the Russian Federation’s economic model, much like that of the Soviet Union’s before it, is that it is only sustainable so long as energy prices remain artificially high. But, of course, energy prices are almost certainly going to decline over the coming years as a result of greater energy efficiency in the West, slowing growth in the East, and greater supply as a result of the energy revolutions being enjoyed in the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere around the world. And as goes the price of oil so goes the Russian state.

Also like the Soviet Union, Putin’s Russia has managed to maintain a modicum of global influence through the sale of its military weaponry. Although Russian military technology is greatly inferior to the West and the United States, it is sufficient to meet the national security needs of most states around the world. More importantly, Moscow continues to exhibit a willingness to provide it to states that the West refuses to deal with on moral or geostrategic grounds. In these states at least, Russia has been able to maintain a degree of influence.

This source of influence will also diminish in the years ahead. In some places, this will be because of declining defense budgets. In most cases, however, it will merely be because of greater competition from the likes of China and South Korea, the former at least also willing to overlook the moral transgressions of potential buyers.

Thus, over the long-term Russian power will have to come nearly exclusively from its prized geography. To be fair, the value of this real estate is increasing thanks to the increased importance of Asia and the warming of the Arctic.

Still, this alone is hardly sufficient to sustain Russia as the major power it once was, and may someday become again.
Pic - "The Pentagon's Military Strategy Does Not Focus on Russia"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Geopolitical Lessons


A foursome of diplopolititary mindcandy...

1. Be mindful on those big, sweeping, foreign policy declarations, like a “Pivot”: It seems no matter how much Washington wants to make that big pivot/rebalance to the Asia-Pacific or Indo-Pacific, current events seem to get in the way. Last summer it was Syria. Now it’s Ukraine.

Clearly Washington is very plugged into events in Asia, and has never left, contrary to what others may say. Yet the pivot seems to have lost its way thanks to a lack of military resources, American domestic political drama, and budding international hot spots that seem to shift the focus. The pivot, one of the great bumper sticker foreign policies if there ever was one, seems to suffer from what can only be seen as self-created, high expectations. Instead of backing off or lessening such expectations, the administration in some respects seems to be feeding them.

Take for example comments just last November from National Security Advisor Susan Rice, in which she declared the “rebalancing toward the Asia Pacific remains a cornerstone of the  Administration’s foreign policy. No matter how many hotspots emerge elsewhere, we will continue to deepen our enduring commitment to this critical region.”

Can the pivot maintain its focus in this and future administrations considering the many challenges around the world Washington is constantly being asked to manage? The heart says yes, but the mind says stay tuned.

2. Having a foreign policy based on reaction is a big, big mistake: This is certainly old news, but does America even have a foreign policy, grand strategy or something that guides its moves beyond just simply reacting to events? No. And to be fair, I am not sure this would have halted events in Ukraine, but Washington still needs to let the world know what it stands for. America needs to let the world know what its vision for the world is. Simply reacting to events is not a policy and invites snap decisions that could lead to tragedy. Policymakers in Asia are watching, and I can tell you they are concerned. While 44 might be content to wind down the clock, nations in Asia don’t have the luxury of time, and will make their decisions accordingly.

3. You bet China is watching very carefully: OK, so it’s not exactly a lesson but what China learns from this whole thing is important. It has been mostly quiet beyond the normal boiler plate statements; yet watching Russia intervene in Ukraine must have analysts in Beijing working overtime. Are they drawing lessons from the U.S. and EU reactions? Will opinions in China change concerning warming ties with Russia? What lessons will Beijing learn when it comes to its own interests in areas of contention with Washington and how to manage such challenges in the future?

4. Expect the unexpected in Asia: Yes, this is a pretty basic lesson but as foreign policy watchers we seem to keep forgetting the basics. We constantly study the major challenges of the day when it comes to matters of foreign policy or war and peace, but it is the items that are not on our daily radar that often trip us up, causing an unexpected calamity when we least expect it (think 9/11 and a war against terrorism that few predicted). Asia watchers are so dialed into a possible showdown in the East and South China Seas or between China and India—and for good reason—that many other challenges can get missed. Indeed, we need to also keep our focus on other possible flashpoints. For example, Sino-Russo relations over the long-term could very well go negative. China itself is not exactly a bastion of stability economically or in many other respects. Bottom line Asia hands: expect the unexpected.