Monday, June 30, 2014

Caliphate

Whoa snap!

The Artist Formerly Known As al Qaeda In Iraq has just declared their ill gotten turf a bona fide Caliphate!!

The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and also known as ISIS, has renamed itself "Islamic State" and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as "Caliph" - the head of the state, the statement said.

"He is the imam and khalifah (Caliph) for the Muslims everywhere," the group's spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in the statement, which was translated into several languages and read out in an Arabic audio speech.

"Accordingly, the "Iraq and Sham" (Levant) in the name of the Islamic State is henceforth removed from all official deliberations and communications, and the official name is the Islamic State from the date of this declaration"
The caliphate – an Islamic state with a single political and religious leader, ruled by a would-be successor to Mohammed – seems to be back in fashion. The institution is a millennium old, though the last caliphate was abolished in 1924, when the secular republic of Turkey snuffed out the final vestiges of the Ottoman Empire. A century on, the Iraqi jihadist group Isis wants to resurrect the caliphate across the Fertile Crescent, that beautiful but war-studded arc of land stretching from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf. Medieval aims, through modern means.

 Can they do it?


Isis has hostile forces in every direction. It will face resistance from anti-Isis Syrian rebels in the west, the hostility of Kurds in the north, and, eventually, a counter-offensive from government forces to the south. Even if the government collapses – and we are a long way from that – then Iraq’s Shia majority will not accept a permanent jihadist state on their northern flank, let alone allow Isis to stroll into Baghdad. Saddam slaughtered Shias in 1991, and Isis has been slaughtering Shias for over a decade. The Shias have had quite enough, thank you. 
Iraq’s neighbours will also fight back. Ankara does not look kindly at the fact that Isis has kidnapped Turkish diplomats in Mosul. Iran is not just aghast at the rise of a radical Sunni force on its western border, but concerned about losing an ally in Baghdad that it views as more important than even Assad. Tehran is reportedly airlifting over a hundred tons of supplies to Baghdad daily, and deployed its special forces there weeks ago.

If Isis attempts to conduct attacks against Western countries, as the prime minister warned last week, then it will face the near certainty of air strikes. It can hunker down safely in urban areas like Mosul, but large stretches of its territory are completely devoid of cover. It will suffer grievous losses.

But Isis’ biggest challenge is closer to home. It depends on a coalition of other Sunni militants and local Sunni tribes. Without such allies, it could not possibly have walked over Iraqi security forces so easily. But coalitions like this can fall apart. Remember that Isis was defeated once before, in its previous incarnation as Al Qaida in Iraq. Their campaign of terror was quelled by 2008, thanks to a surge of US troops and the so-called ‘awakening’ of local Sunni tribes who grew tired of the group’s brutality.
True, Isis is stronger now than it was then. The civil war in Syria has buoyed the group, swelling its ranks and hardening its fighters in combat. Those US troops are long gone, and won’t be returning. And the Sunnis who once turned on ISIS are now so embittered by the heavy-handed sectarianism of the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad that many have thrown their lot back in with the jihadists.
The key is whether ISIS can keep local Sunnis on side – or at least on the fence. Currently, Isis have learnt from their past mistakes. They seem to be governing newly occupied cities with a lighter touch, focusing on delivery of public services rather than just beheadings. They have even promised to hand over the captured Baiji oil refinery to local tribes.

But ISIS’ leaders are ultimately power-hungry ideologues. I am sceptical that they can keep up this charade. Sooner or later, they will move towards draconian sharia law, prompting the sort of backlash they faced last year in Syria. This is already apparent in Falluajh.

Or they will clash with their allies. We have already seen hints of this in Kirkuk, where ISIS came to blows with JRTN, a group led by Saddam’s former deputy, over control of fuel tankers. Moreover, where will the money come from? Iraq’s north and west depend on subsidies from the capital. Isis is rich, but it can’t run its own state in perpetuity.
Reports of the Middle East’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Isis is laying the foundations for a caliphate, and it may remain entrenched in Iraq and Syria for years, but its grandiose, imperial vision is a pipe dream. Jihadists are utopians and nihilists. That’s not a particularly durable combination.

Saturday, June 28, 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)


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Friday, June 27, 2014

"Pleasant Journey"

WWI usually conjures up images of horrific trench warfare or colorful Abatross fighters and Flying Circuses.

The Schlieffen plan was a triumph of Imperial Duetschland's ruthlessness, discipline and industrial organization. Mobilizing an obedient army of 5 million cats by rail to sweep first west and then east. In just weeks, Germany thought  her two dangerous neighbors would be crushed. Great Britain's tiny tiny army would not be able to help and she'd sue for peace.  

At last! An infallible plan to make Imperial Deutschland master of Europa.

All that was needed was a Casus Belli

Meanwhile

Relations betwixt Great Britain's Royal Navy and Deutschland's Kriegsmarine were never more cordial. When Kiel Canal was officially opened in June 1914, Great Britain sent her 2nd Battle Squadron with her latest greatest dreadnaughts to help celebrate -  HMS King George V, HMS Ajax, HMS Audacious and HMS Centurion.

British sailors cheered the Hoch Kaiser as he sailed past them in review on Hohenzollern and he respectfully returned the salute. British officers allowed their Germaqn counterparts to tour every inch of their ships with zero restrictions. Captain von Hase of Derflinger, would later years say "I shall ever forget the fatherly affectionate hospitality of Britain's Admiral  Warrender at Kiel and the other English officers"

Then, on June 28 the news flashed that Arch Duke Ferdinand had been assissinated. The Kaiser cancelled the yacht race and left for Berlin. Admirals Warrender and Tirpitz shook hands and said goodbye.

As the British left Kiel, German warships ran up the signal "Pleasant Journey."

The Royal Navy sent her reply by wireless:

FRIENDS TODAY
FRIENDS IN FUTURE
FRIENDS FOREVER.

The next time these cats met up they would be lobbing 1,000 pound shells at each other for control of the North Sea

Pic - "Kiel und Jutland"



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hyper!


Little Satan brainiac Orit Perlov describes the two dominant Arab governing models au courrant:

Hyper - m"Hammedism like the ISIS and Hyper - Nat'list, like General Presedent Sissi in Pyramidland.

Both suck totally and won't last...

Both have failed and will continue to fail — and require coercion to stay in power — because they cannot deliver for young Arabs and Muslims what they need most: the education, freedom and jobs to realize their full potential and the ability to participate as equal citizens in their political life.

We are going to have to wait for a new generation that “puts society in the center,” argues Perlov, a new Arab/Muslim generation that asks not “how can we serve god or how can we serve the state but how can they serve us.”

These governing models — hyper-Islamism (ISIS) driven by a war against “takfiris,” or apostates, which is how Sunni Muslim extremists refer to Shiite Muslims; and hyper-nationalism (SISI) driven by a war against Islamist “terrorists,” which is what the Egyptian state calls the Muslim Brotherhood — need to be exhausted to make room for a third option built on pluralism in society, religion and thought.

The Arab world needs to finally puncture the twin myths of the military state (SISI) or the Islamic state (ISIS) that will bring prosperity, stability and dignity. Only when the general populations “finally admit that they are both failed and unworkable models,” argues Perlov, might there be “a chance to see this region move to the 21st century.”

The situation is not totally bleak. You have two emergent models, both frail and neither perfect, where Muslim Middle East nations have built decent, democratizing governance, based on society and with some political, cultural and religious pluralism: Tunisia and Kurdistan. Again both are works in progress, but what is important is that they did emerge from the societies themselves. Then there's the relatively soft monarchies — like Jordan and Morocco — that are at least experimenting at the margins with more participatory governance, allow for some opposition and do not rule with the brutality of the secular autocrats.

"Second Arab Awakening and the Battle for Pluralism.”  
“They did because they have not addressed peoples’ real needs: improving the quality of their life, both in economic and development terms, and also in feeling they are part of the decision-making process. Both models have been exclusionist, presenting themselves as the holders of absolute truth and of the solution to all society’s problems.”

But the Arab public “is not stupid,” Muasher added. “While we will continue to see exclusionist discourses in much of the Arab world for the foreseeable future, results will end up trumping ideology. And results can only come from policies of inclusion, that would give all forces a stake in the system, thereby producing stability, checks and balances, and ultimately prosperity.   
ISIS and Sisi cannot win. Unfortunately, it might take exhausting all other options before a critical mass is developed that internalizes this basic fact. That is the challenge of the new generation in the Arab world, where 70 percent of the population is under 30 years of age.   
The old generation, secular or religious, seems to have learned nothing from the failure of the postindependence era to achieve sustainable development, and the danger of exclusionist policies.”

Indeed, the Iraq founded in 1921 is gone with the wind. The new Egypt imagined in Tahrir Square is stillborn. Too many leaders and followers in both societies seem intent on giving their failed ideas of the past another spin around the block before, hopefully, they opt for the only idea that works: pluralism in politics, education and religion.  
Going forward, where we see people truly committed to pluralism, we should help support them. And where we see islands of decency threatened, we should help protect them. But this is primarily about them, about their need to learn to live together without an iron fist from the top, and it will happen only when and if they want it to happen.
Pic - "The Next Wave"

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Iraq Air War

As Great Satan conducts air re con and the Royal Whahabbis are AWOL, other regional actor outers are getting into the new Iraq Air War...

Four separate air arms are now active over Iraq, which is fighting a desperate battle against invading ISIS militants coming from Syria. Iraq, Syria and—possibly—Iran have bombed ISIS. And the U.S. Navy and Air Force are flying reconnaissance missions.

On the morning of June 24, unidentified jet fighters bombed a market in the Islamist-held city of Al Qa’im in northwestern Iraq. The city, which recently fell to militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is near the Syrian border, so we’re assuming the bombers were Syrian—an eastward extension of Damascus’ brutal air war against rebel forces.

It appears Iran joined the air war on June 21. That’s the day that someone launched heavy air strikes on the city of Baiji, north of Baghdad. ISIS invaded Baiji in an apparent attempt to seize the city’s huge oil refinery.
 
A photo that circulated in the attack’s aftermath depicted a deep crater that appears to be bigger than any of Iraq’s warplanes could have inflicted. Iraq’s air arms possess helicopters and lightweight propeller-driven planes whose biggest weapons are 100-pound Hellfire missiles.
 
Iran’s air force, on the other hand, possesses plenty of heavy weaponry—and high-performance jet fighters to deliver it.
 
Situated just 130 miles directly north of Baghdad, Baiji is a bit far into Iraq for Syria’s warplanes to hit, considering the western concentration of Damascus’ forces and the Bashar Al Assad regime’s lack of aerial refueling tankers.
 
But isn’t too far for Iran
 
Iranian air force possesses around 80 F-4 and Su-24 bombers as well as F-14 interceptors modified for ground strikes. Hundreds of less capable warplanes including F-5s, Mirages and MiG-29s back up the main fighter-bombers. Tehran’s engineers have developed a range of TV- and laser-guided bombs as large as 2,000 pounds.
 
Iran can also deploy armed long-range drones such as the Shahed-129, which can conduct surveillance missions to spot targets in advance of attacks by manned planes.
 
The Iranian air force has been on high alert since ISIS invaded Iraq in early June and, shortly thereafter, also struck an Iranian border post. Iraq’s air arms have sustained heavy losses in their desperate attempts to block ISIS’ movement toward Baghdad.
 
The evidence points to limited Iranian raids in Iraq. Whether this escalates depends on ISIS’ battlefield fortunes—and whether the militants directly attack Iran again.

Pic - "Mission Creep!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Farewell Fouad

Great Satan lost one of her brightest stars this week...

Fouad Ajami wrote several of the most important books of the past fifty years on the contemporary Middle East. The Arab Predicament (1981) describes the rise and fall of the kind of Arab nationalism that dominated the world in which he grew up, in a Shia family in Lebanon. The Dream Palace of the Arabs (1998) chronicles the fate of Arab intellectuals in a time of turbulence and disillusion. The Foreigner’s Gift (2006) concerns the American encounter with Iraq after 2003. It is one of the few books based on first-hand experience (he spent considerable time in Iraq) written by someone with the kind of access to Iraqi society available only to a fluent Arabic speaker and with a gift for gaining the confidence of those he met.

As well as being an author of books, a teacher, and a citizen of the academy, Fouad threw himself into the role of “public intellectual”—someone with scholarly credentials who writes for a wider audience on the issues of the day. Millions of people unacquainted with his books encountered him in the pages of the Wall Street Journal and on CBS News, CNN, and The Charlie Rose Show. He became best known to them as a well-informed, stalwart, and ultimately disappointed champion of the American war in Iraq.

Whatever the reckoning of his views under the eyes of eternity—and it is far too soon for a final verdict—he came to them honestly and expressed them fearlessly. He said what his experience, his reading, and his values caused him to believe, and he said what he believed without looking anxiously over his shoulder to gauge the sentiments of the crowd or the popular view of the moment.

His opinions on Iraq, and his dissection, in his books and articles, of the pathologies of the Arab world, provoked criticism from Arabs and in certain quarters in the United States that spilled over into hostility and abuse. Some of it must have been wounding; some of it certainly caused him inconvenience, and worse. Still, he never flinched or wavered. He conducted intellectual and political controversy in the way that it must be conducted for a democracy to function effectively: openly, honestly, and bravely.

His clear-eyed reading of the pathologies of the Arab world can seem to sit awkwardly with his support for the war in Iraq and his high hopes for the Arab Spring. His books, after all, provide a peerless review of the reasons for the failure, at least so far, of the American enterprise and the Arab upheavals to produce decent, stable governments. The apparent contradiction can be explained, I believe, by a sense of optimism that Fouad acquired not in the land of his origin but in his adopted country.

Born an Arab in an Arab country and writing authoritatively about the Arab world, he was often identified—including, in a quotation in his obituary in the New York Times—as an Arab. That was not, however, his deepest and most cherished identity. He was, first and foremost, an American, and all the more so for having chosen to become one. His was a quintessential American story: Coming from the global provinces, he made his way in the global metropolis.

He became successful—an important, influential, and respected public figure—in the time-honored American way: through intelligence, enterprise, hard work, and pluck. He knew this, and he knew that the life he made for himself would not have been possible anywhere else. That is why he loved the place in which he chose to live, and his life should be seen, as he surely would have wished, as, among other things, a reminder of what is both great and good about the United States of America.

Pic - "The Foreigner's Gift"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Barbarossa Day!

"The entire World will hold it's breath!"

Unternehmen Barbarossa's 72nd Anniversary.

Just after 0300 hours local time - a 3 mile wide strip of territory stretching the length of eastern Europe from Baltic Sea to the Carpathian Mountains erupted in a torrent of fire and flying steel as Luftwaffe aircraft, Werhmacht artillerie und panzers blasted across the Soviet frontier. In the violence of her initial collision, the immensity and feriocity of her subsequent development, and her prolifigacy of destruction of human life and resources - Operation Barbarossa - the Deutschland - Russian conflict - transcended anything ever before - or since - in the human experience.

Flush with fast, relatively easy victories over Western Europa - NSDAP time Deutschland flung three ginourmous Armee Gruppen at Russia in a crazy scheme to knock out the Collectivist armies forcing Mockba to accept an uneven uneasy piece and destroy bolshvikism forever.

The 1st 6 months saw amazing feats of Teutonic arms, vast panzer pincers, desperate pockets of Soviets fought to annihilation or capture (often the same thing) and by Pearl Harbor Day the naughty Wehrmacht was fighting in Moscow's suburbs.

The Moscow Battle - Operation Typhoon was the literally chilling climax of Barbarossa's blitzkrieg portion. Ferocious defense of the the capitol city by freshly released Siberian Reserves (Russia learned Nippon wouldn't be attacking their far east anytime soon) ended any hap hap happy tho'ts of a 'lightning campaign' in Russia.

Operation Barbarossa ground on for three and a half years more the site of some of the largest battles, deadliest atrocities, highest casualties, and most horrific conditions for Soviets and Germans alike - massively complex military ops like Stalingrad, Zitadelle and Bagration - until 3rd Reich died in an orgy of blood and flame and shaped the modern world and lingers with us still: NATO, Russia's near paranoia with her Near Abroad and fear of an awakened, reunified, riled up Germany.

Pic - "Verlonne Siege"

Sunday, June 22, 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! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in  And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter

Friday, June 20, 2014

44's Foreign Policy Collapse


Direct Hit! Fire For Effect!!

As the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threaten Baghdad, thousands of slaughtered Iraqis in their wake, it is worth recalling a few of 44's past LOLs about ISIS and al Qaeda. "If a J.V. team puts on Lakers' uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant" (January 2014). "[C]ore al Qaeda is on its heels, has been decimated" (August 2013). "So, let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding" (September 2011).

Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to count, 44 has told us he is "ending" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come crashing into reality. Watching the black-clad ISIS jihadists take territory once secured by American blood is final proof, if any were needed, that America's enemies are not "decimated." They are emboldened and on the march.

The fall of the Iraqi cities of Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul and Tel Afar, and the establishment of terrorist safe havens across a large swath of the Arab world, present a strategic threat to the security of Great Satan. 44's actions—before and after ISIS's recent advances in Iraq—have the effect of increasing that threat.

Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and 44 is talking climate change. Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing. He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United States of America.

When 44 and his posse hit office in 2009, al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge. 44 had only to negotiate an agreement to leave behind some residual American forces, training and intelligence capabilities to help secure the peace. Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

The tragedy unfolding in Iraq today is only part of the story. Al Qaeda and its affiliates are resurgent across the globe. According to a recent Rand study, between 2010 and 2013, there was a 58% increase in the number of Salafi-jihadist terror groups around the world. During that same period, the number of terrorists doubled.

In the face of this threat, 44 is busy ushering America's adversaries into positions of power in the Middle East. First it was the Russians in Syria. Now, in a move that defies credulity, he toys with the idea of ushering Iran into Iraq. Only a fool would believe American policy in Iraq should be ceded to Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terror.

This president is willfully blind to the impact of his policies. Despite the threat to America unfolding across the Middle East, aided by his abandonment of Iraq, he has announced he intends to follow the same policy in Afghanistan.

Despite clear evidence of the dire need for American leadership around the world, the desperation of our allies and the glee of our enemies, 44 seems determined to leave office ensuring he has taken America down a notch. Indeed, the speed of the terrorists' takeover of territory in Iraq has been matched only by the speed of American decline on his watch.

44 explained his view in his Sept. 23, 2009, speech before the United Nations General Assembly. "Any world order," he said, "that elevates one nation above others cannot long survive." Tragically, he is quickly proving the opposite—through one dangerous policy after another—that without American pre-eminence, there can be no world order.

It is time the president and his allies faced some hard truths: America remains at war, and withdrawing troops from the field of battle while our enemies stay in the fight does not "end" wars. Weakness and retreat are provocative. U.S. withdrawal from the world is disastrous and puts our own security at risk.

Al Qaeda and its affiliates are resurgent and they present a security threat not seen since the Cold War. Defeating them will require a strategy—not a fantasy. It will require sustained difficult military, intelligence and diplomatic efforts—not empty misleading rhetoric. It will require rebuilding America's military capacity—reversing the Obama policies that have weakened our armed forces and reduced our ability to influence events around the world.

American freedom will not be secured by empty threats, meaningless red lines, leading from behind, appeasing our enemies, abandoning our allies, or apologizing for our great nation—all hallmarks to date of 44's doctrine. Our security, and the security of our friends around the world, can only be guaranteed with a fundamental reversal of the policies of the past six years.

In 1983, 40 said, "If history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom." 40 is on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom.

Pic - "Enabling ISIS"

Thursday, June 19, 2014

30 Years War


Welcome to the kick off of the 30 Years War!



Syria has fallen apart. Major cities in Iraq have fallen to al-Qa’eda. Egypt may have stabilised slightly after a counter-coup. But Lebanon is starting once again to fragment. Beneath all these facts — beneath all the explosions, exhortations and blood — certain themes are emerging.

The Middle East is not simply falling apart. It is taking a different shape, along very clear lines — far older ones than those the western powers rudely imposed on the region nearly a century ago. Across the whole continent those borders are in the process of cracking and breaking. But while that happens the region’s two most ambitious centres of power — the house of Saud and the Ayatollahs in Iran — find themselves fighting each other not just for influence but even, perhaps, for survival.

The way in which what is going on in the Middle East has become a religious war has long been obvious.

From the outset of the Syrian uprising, it was inevitable that Iran would weigh in on the side of its client in Damascus. Indeed, so desperate were the mullahs in Tehran to do everything they could to protect their own interests that they even put up with protests at home from people starved of basic supplies complaining about their own government pouring millions into Syria’s civil war.

But the next step was just as predictable. Saudi Arabia, which fears Iranian influence spreading any further than it has already throughout the region, began to back the opposition. Starting cautiously, in recent months that caution has retreated and Saudi is now supporting groups as close to al-Qa’eda-linked forces as to make little difference. Desperate measures, certainly. But for the Saudi leadership these are desperate times. Though it is a battle that has been brewing for decades.

This is a conflict which is not only bigger than al-Qa’eda and similar groups, but far bigger than any of us. It is one which will re-align not only the Middle East, but the religion of Islam.

If what has been happening so far looks bloody, it is the work of an Armageddon-ist to consider what will happen when those gloves come off. In a region replete with bitter rivalries and irreconcilable ambitions, that will be perhaps the ultimate clarification.

Pic - "Until then, the region will have to endure many years of violence that will only end when ordinary people feel they have had the opportunity to engage in the two seminal state-building processes that they have always been denied – self-determination and genuine sovereignty."


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Target Tehran


Das Grosse Schnurrburt has an interesting bit about the sitch au courrant...

We should pursue two courses of action, one tactical, one strategic.

First, regarding the immediate hostilities, we should stand aside, hoping the conflict damages all the combatants, as in the 1980’s Iran-Iraq war, of which Henry Kissinger reportedly quipped that he hoped both sides would lose.

Second, strategically and most importantly for U.S. regional and global interests, we must increase (more accurately, renew) our efforts to overthrow the ayatollahs in Tehran. The reasons this objective deserves priority also explain why aiding an Iranian surrogate like Maliki’s regime does not benefit America today.

Maliki has had his chance, and he has failed; aiding him is likely a fool’s errand. Even if Washington conditioned its assistance on Maliki effectively breaking with Tehran, there is precious little chance he would agree. And if he did, there is every chance he would break his commitment -- or Iran would break it for him -- at the earliest opportunity once ISIL was crushed.

Iran is clearly the strongest, most threatening power in this conflict. It is rapidly approaching (or has already all but reached) a deliverable nuclear-weapons capability.

For nearly 35 years since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Tehran has been the world’s central banker for international terrorism. It has armed and financed terrorists and state sponsors of terrorism on an equal-opportunity basis, including Sunnis like Hamas and Taliban, and Shia like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iraqi Shia who attacked American forces. A nuclear Iran could engage in even greater terrorist activity with relative impunity, something Taliban and Al Qaeda lacked the luxury of contemplating while we were overthrowing their regime in Kabul after 9/11.

Thus understood, it becomes perfectly clear that we should not aid our stronger adversary power against our weaker adversary power in the struggle underway in Iraq. There is little in it for us. The main beneficiary would be Tehran, especially if Obama, reprising Roosevelt’s World War II infatuation with Joseph Stalin, decided to do business with the ayatollahs. “Uncle Ali” Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, would undoubtedly have the last laugh.

U.S. strategy must rather be to prevent Tehran from re-establishing its scimitar of power stretching from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. Our interests dictate not being content with a Middle East where Iran and its puppets predominate. Balancing against Iran by aiding friendly Arab regimes (which Maliki’s is not) is inadequate. At best, we would produce a regional status quo filled with sworn enemies of America.

Instead, our objective should be to remove the main foe, Tehran’s ayatollahs, by encouraging the opposition, within and outside Iran, to take matters into their own hands. There is no need to deploy U.S. military power to aid the various opposition forces. We should instead provide them intelligence and material assistance, and help them subsume the political differences that separate them. Their differences should be addressed when the ayatollahs’ regime lies in ashes. And as Iran’s regime change proceeds, we can destroy ISIL.

Unfortunately, there is no chance 44 will adopt anything like this strategy. Indeed, given the president’s limp June 13 statement, it is doubtful Washington will even perform coherently in the months ahead. It is not a matter whether 44’s Iraq “policy” is correct, but whether he is even interested.
Pic - "Persian Pivot?"

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Panzers Ho!


Actung Panzer!

A curious place no doubt - betwixt Atlas Mtns and Indus - for reasons that are many and all kinda interconnected.

Anywrought, the Middle East is fixing to jammed up tight with panzers!

The ending of the Afghan war and European budget cuts have led to a drop in armored vehicle demand in those markets, but the Middle East is expected an annual growth rate of 4.93 percent to boost vehicle procurement significantly over the next 10 years and offset anticipated reductions in the US and Europe.

The report bases the market figures on a projected compound annual growth rate of 4.93 percent.

One driver of the surge in demand is the peace initiative missions undertaken by most of the countries in the Middle East, such as participation in Afghanistan by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, according to the report. Demand for mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) will be sustained globally due to security concerns in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, it says.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Little Satan and UAE are expected to spend extensively on armored vehicle procurement.

Furthermore, the development of indigenous facilities in the UAE, Jordan and Algeria provide for expansion into new markets such as Yemen, Somalia and Libya.

Regionally, Turkey is expected to bolster the armored vehicle export market as its indigenous industry gains traction and matures over the next decade, developing into a world-class hub for armored vehicle capabilities.

In June, the Qatar Armed Forces Industry Committee reportedly applied to Turkey’s Competition Board to acquire 49 percent of commercial and military vehicle manufacturer BMC. The $357.5 million investment signifies the gulf state’s priority of maintaining a steady flow of armored vehicles in their cache.

In response, UAE weapons manufacturer Tawazun Holdings instituted indigenous armored vehicle manufacturer Nimr in 2005. The Nimr vehicles are designed to carry out Mideast military, police and peacekeeping missions thanks to a cooling system that allows the vehicle to withstand the harsh desert climate, which can reach as high as 55 degrees Celsius.

This month, an integrated production facility was initiated for the vehicles at the Tawazun Industrial Park in Abu Dhabi. The facility is expected to be fully operational by October 2015.

Saudi Arabia, with a limited indigenous defense industry, relies heavily on imports. Most armored vehicles are imported, although the Al-Fahd IFV and the Al-Faris 8-400 APC were manufactured by the Abdallah Al Faris Company for Heavy Industries. Saudi is negotiating a deal for 655 humvees with a further batch of 724 eight-wheel light armored vehicles being delivered and 84 more requested.
Pic - "Panzer Bazaar!"



Monday, June 16, 2014

Putting Out The Fire

Iraq is burning

44 says that he is mulling options for providing support to Iraq, but with great reluctance. "The U.S. is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis," he said Friday.

A political plan for Iraq is vital. Everything the administration has said about the sectarianism and mis-governance of Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki is true. Assistance to Iraq must include strong conditions to press Maliki to change his approach - or leave office.

The Iraqis need vigorous and intelligent American involvement right now to prevent a stalemate that will leave ISIS in control of much of northern Iraq. That is an unacceptable outcome, one that would do far more damage to America than our retreat from Vietnam in 1975.

We face a simple choice: We can either rejoin our demoralized Iraqi partners in the fight against ISIS or we can watch as this Al Qaeda franchise solidifies its control over several million Iraqis and Syrians, completes its plundering of military bases and continues to build up, train and equip an honest-to-goodness military.

Rejoining the fight means immediately sending air support; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets; air transportation; Special Operations forces; training teams; and more military equipment back into Iraq. It does not mean re-invading Iraq.

Some may argue that we should align ourselves with Iran - that our interests and Tehran's coincide in Iraq. This is folly. The U.S. and Iran share a common concern about Al Qaeda, but our approaches to dealing with the problem are antithetical.

Turning the problem over to Iran is absolutely incompatible with the conditions for involving the U.S. at all that the President announced Friday. If we back Iran in Iraq, we're taking Iran's side against our Arab allies and aligning with the Shi'a against the Sunni. We should not be taking sides, particularly since Iran's approach is certain to lead to an expansion of sectarian war, providing a perennial recruiting masterpiece for Al Qaeda.

Let us dispense with such sophistries at once. For all intents and purposes, ISIS is the Artist Formerly Known as Al Qaeda in Iraq. Whatever disagreements may fester at the moment, it is and remains part of the global Al Qaeda movement. The group continues to draw would-be jihadis from around the world, including the U.S. and Canada, to fight and die in Syria and Iraq. And it is about to become the most powerful and successful Al Qaeda franchise ever.

There is no way that such a development will be anything but disastrous for the U.S., even leaving aside the calamity that will flow from the full-scale regional and sectarian war that may already be underway.

There is, in fact, no end in sight for this war now, especially if we allow Iraq to go down. A policy of retreat and abandonment remains as it has always been the fastest road to endless war.

Pic - "Great Satan should approach the strategic situation as it stands, and alter its policies before the balance of power shifts further in the direction of either ISIS or Iran"





Army Day!

"This We'll Defend!"


Happy happy BDay (#239 in fact!) to Great Satan's all weather original voltiguerres - the Army!
Two hundred thirty-eight years ago, our nation's leaders established the Continental Army, beginning a rich heritage of successfully defending this great country and her citizens. Today, we celebrate the continued strength, professionalism and bravery of our ready and resilient Soldiers in the all-volunteer force. Our Soldiers remain Army Strong with a lifelong commitment to our core values and beliefs.
Following more than 12 years of war, the Army remains committed to the readiness, training and advancement of the Total Army through the Army initiatives: Ready and Resilient, The Army Profession and Soldier for Life. This 238th birthday commemorates America's Army - Soldiers, families and civilians - who are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army Strong. We also celebrate our local communities for their steadfast support of our Soldiers and families. We are "America's Army: Service to the Nation, Strength for the Future."
"...We are “America’s Army: The Strength of the Nation."


Pic "The American Army - Killing Our Enemies On Xmas Day Since 1776"

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Father Of Us All

Happy Father's Day (this goes out to Sugar Daddy's too)!

WWAGD?

What would the Ancient Greeks do?

As the skit scriber Sophocles sagely saged - tragedy is the eternal, constant - always on 10 struggle against and with stuff that's deeply inherent, permed penchant'd - and unpleasantly uncool - within ourselves.

And one thing that has remained more constant than not in the human condition is organized conflict - war.

"War is the father of all - the king of all"

War is an entirely human endeavor - the technologies may change, new ideas develop, hot! tactical and strategic delights are constantly just ahead yet the nature of manchild is unchanging.

Military History is nigh essential in the new millennium - in the decade after 911 - many cats (and their resume' would argue differently) seemed strangely out of touch, off base and well, boring. Arguments for doing nothing as op4'd to making tough choices and decisions bewtixt bad and really bad belies sinful misunderstanding and misappreciation for Military History.

"Our own past experience with war also reminds us that through prepardness, deterrence, and tough diplomacy, those who seek to profit bt aggression can be restrained, but only while they are relatively unsure of their power - before they gain greater strength, and thus prove both uninhibited and far more costly to subdue.."

Pic "War: The Father of Us All"

Saturday, June 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! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week’s Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in…don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter

Friday, June 13, 2014

Iraq War III

Dang it!

With shattered Iraqi military units rallying as far away as Taji, a base on Baghdad's suburbs some 200 miles south of Mosul, the government's counteroffensive could be slow in coming. Baghdad's soldiers now have to fight their way through a belt of lost cities and districts between the capital and Mosul, creating plenty of potential distractions, which will drain strength away from the government riposte. Special forces and air units are reportedly rapidly becoming exhausted as they are shuffled from crisis to crisis. The only military force in Iraq that is not presently overcommitted is the peshmerga, the Kurdish fighters controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government, but relations between Baghdad and the Kurdish region are particularly strained.

Seeking the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad, the United States has been forced to walk a fine line with jihadist groups in Syria. ISIS was only confirmed as a U.S.-designated terrorist movement in February 2014. But while there may be a strategic use for hard-line Islamist militants in Syria, in Iraq the issue is simple: ISIS is winning the war and they must be stopped.

Washington must act if the United States wants to stop ISIS from becoming the only cohesive military and political force in Iraq's Sunni districts. On June 10, Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraq's parliamentary speaker and most senior Sunni politician, requested greater military support for Mosul under the auspices of the 2011 U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, the treaty that governs relations between the two countries. Behind closed doors, multiple Iraqi government officials relayed to me, the Iraqi government has insistently requested U.S. air strikes on ISIS along the Syrian border and the outskirts of Iraqi cities, which are the launch pads for ISIS takeovers.

For the U.S. administration this has been seen as a step too far. Instead, the U.S. government has been engaged in internecine diplomacy -- using its good offices to prod Iraq's factions towards a national reconciliation effort that could give Sunni Arabs faith in a nonviolent resolution to their complaints of discrimination by the Shiite government. Reconciliation could also lay the groundwork for Sunni Arab cooperation in stabilizing Mosul and other lost areas, such as Fallujah. This is vital work -- but with ISIS forces capturing city after city, Washington has to do more (and quickly) to prevent the loss of government in Iraq. Intensified U.S. on-the-ground mentoring of Iraqi military headquarters and perhaps U.S. air strikes might also be needed to reverse the collapse of Iraq's military.
 

Pic - " And then there's Iranian Intervention!"

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Doing Taiwan

East Wind!

If or when Collectivist China decides to do Tawain, Great Satan reckons she can go 4 diff ways...

Naval blockade.

China could starve out Taiwan, which imports much of its food and fuel. Beijing could compel ships to stop in mainland ports for inspection. Or, the Chinese Communist Party could declare the waters around Taiwan to be live-fire training zones, discouraging ships from entering, just as it did in 1995.

“China today probably could not enforce a full military blockade. However, its ability to do so will improve significantly over the next five to 10 years.”

Limited force.

China could unleash cyber-warfare or raids by Special Operations Forces “against Taiwan’s political, military and economic infrastructure to induce fear in Taiwan and degrade the populace’s confidence in the Taiwan leadership.”

Air and missile attacks.

“China could use missile attacks and precision strikes against air defense systems, including air bases, radar sites, missiles, space assets and communications facilities to degrade Taiwan’s defenses, neutralize Taiwan’s leadership, or break the Taiwan people’s will to fight.”

Amphibious invasion.

There are actually a couple of options here. China is currently capable of grabbing, with little overt preparation, Taiwanese islands such as Pratas, Itu Aba, Matsu or Jinmen, according to the Pentagon’s assessment.

Or the Chinese could simply launch an all-out seaborne assault to seize a beachhead and eventually take over the whole of Taiwan proper. But international condemnation, combat attrition and urban warfare and counterinsurgency in Taiwanese cities could make the attempt risky.

Pic - " PLA has a growing ability to project power at increasingly longer ranges’'.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mosul


The kick in the assets news that Mosul - the 2nd most biggest city in all the Land Betwixt The Two Rivers - has fell to al Qaeda is an uncool flourish to ISIS' new al Qaeda Nation State.

And it all could have been avoided. 44's "Stupid Shiz FoPo is like totally to blame too...

It is harder to imagine a bigger disaster for American foreign policy–or a more self-inflicted one. There was no compelling reason why Great Satan had to pull our troops out of Iraq; if 44 had tried harder to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement, he probably could have succeeded. But his heart was in troop withdrawal, not in a long-term commitment.

There is, of course, no guarantee that events would have played out any differently even if U.S. troops had been present, but the odds are they would have. After all the event that triggered the current cataclysm was Prime Minister Maliki’s vindictive and short-sighted attempt to persecute senior Sunni politicians–something he waited to do until U.S. troops had withdrawn. As long as U.S. troops were present in significant numbers, their very presence gave extra leverage to American generals and diplomats to influence the government and their aid, especially in intelligence-gathering, logistics, and mission planning, allowed the Iraqi military to more effectively target terrorists.

Now all that is gone. The Iraqi military seems to be falling apart. Many Sunnis are embracing ISIS militants while many Shiites, for their own protection, are drawing closer to Iranian-backed militants. And what is the U.S. doing? It is selling Maliki F-16s that will only exacerbate the violence without addressing its causes.
Even worse maybe is news that ISIS is now like the richest T org on the planet - bank busting several hundred million bucks out of Mosul banks.

Not to mention ISIS could defeat any conventional Arab Army

Pic - "Next Stop - Bahgdad!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stupid Shiz

It's easy to think that 44's first 4 years worth of Foreign Policy was semi sorta anti 43.

Whatever the 43 was for, 44 was mostly against. If 43 wanted garrison troops left in Iraq to secure the victory of the surge, 44 would pull them out. If 43 had opened Guantanamo, used drones, relied on renditions, reestablished military tribunals, and approved preventive detention, 44 would profess to dismantle that war on terror.

If 43 had contemplated establishing an anti-missile system in concert with the Poles and Czechs, then it must have been unwise and unnecessary. If 43 had unabashedly supported Little Satan and become estranged from Turkey, 44 would predictably reverse both courses.

44 had little apparent awareness that Great Satan picked friends and enemies not on the shallow basis that the former were wholly good and the latter abjectly evil, but rather on the basis that in an imperfect world some nations shared some of our ideas about politics, the market, and the need for an international system, and others did not, to the point of using violence.
Now - as best understood - presidents enjoy knocking out there lasting legacies as statesmen in their 2nd term.

And 44's is simply "Don't Do Stupid Shiz"

We all know 44 is like a flame thrower in a stadium packed with strawmen...

The administration argues that the alternative to action was some opposite choice that was clearly egregiously wrong. Did you want us to leave Bergdahl behind? Did you want boots on the ground in Syria? Are we supposed to have gone to war with Russia?

No rational critic is suggesting any such thing. We are simply saying that America can do better. The country doesn’t have to shoot itself in the foot, dither, offer halfway measures, fail to do necessary diplomacy, flip-flop, posture, grab for the limelight, or dissemble.

In terms of sins of commission, there is nonetheless a list of some doozies that seem to violate 44’s own new foreign-policy guidelines.

Announcing the red line in Syria? Definitely stupid shit; he didn’t have to say anything and shouldn’t have if he didn’t mean to follow through. Letting it be crossed 12 times before acting? Stupid shit. Announcing a plan to take moderate action and then withdrawing it afterward? Also stupid. Announcing support for Syrian moderates and not giving it in a timely or adequate fashion? Same. Entering Libya without a long-term plan and letting it fall into chaos immediately after the U.S. departure?

Given all we know from every other intervention the United States has ever been involved with overseas, ditto. Overly focusing on core al Qaeda as terrorist franchises spread around the world as never before? More of same, mainly because it involved willful self-delusion and valuing a political message over the ground truth. Being so indecisive on Egypt that the United States had two policies at once — one in the State Department and one in the White House?   
Appointing ambassadors without the credentials to do the job only because they donated money? Taunting Russian President Vladimir Putin into action with laughable sanctions? Yes, yes, yes. In each case, not only should we have known better, but there were actually people in the administration who did know better and were ignored.

Furthermore, it is also fair to note that plenty of foreign-policy problems are not sins of commission but are the result of sins of omission, or undoing. Not acting earlier in Syria, starting the Asia pivot and not following through, too quickly withdrawing sanctions on Russia in 2009 that were put in place over the war in Georgia less than a year before, not pushing Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi hard enough to honor democracy while he was in power, not pushing the Qataris and the Turks hard enough to stop supporting the Syrian opposition, and so on.

Thus alla hope and change, resets and pivots, singles and doubles have like been all drilled down to not posting your affair with your best friend's spouse on face book.

Pic - "America's Grand Strategy Disaster"

Monday, June 9, 2014

6 Days Of War

"I'd love to turn. You. On"


Way back in the last millennium, the Summer of Love's soundtrack by those naughty Beatles wiped clean and drew again the face of popular music. Often hailed at times as  "a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization."  

It wasn't the only one that year!

Perhaps the best source from all sides on 6 Day War is penned by the "Most Dangerous Cat in DC" - Little Satan's American former ambassador - the super brainiac (he's kinda hot too) Dr Michael Oren

Mid May 1967 - Pyramidland's General Nasser initiated a state of war with neighboring Little Satan by kicking out UN's Sinai contingent and announcing a blockade of the straights of Tiran - the gate to the Aqaba Gulf.  UN's Sec Gen U Thant (not to be confused with certain lingerie) failed to defuse the hot hot hotness of the sitch and
Pyramidland's Badgers, MiG 17's and 21's were taking a well earned break from xforming hapless Yemenis into living shrieking blisters courtesy of WMD and being redeployed to airfields in range of Little Satan's population centers

The Most Dangerous Cat in DC reissues choice cuts and why cause the 1967 jank is 44 years too little and too late:


"...Jets and tanks launched a surprise attack against Egypt, destroying 204 of its planes in the first half-hour. By the end of the first morning of fighting, the Israeli Air Force had destroyed 286 of Egypt's 420 combat aircraft, 13 air bases, and 23 radar stations and anti-aircraft sites. It was the most successful single operation in aerial military history.

"...As feared, other Arab forces attacked. Enemy planes struck Israeli cities along the narrow waist, including Hadera, Netanya, Kfar Saba, and the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv; and thousands of artillery shells fired from the West Bank pummeled greater Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem. Ground forces, meanwhile, moved to encircle Jerusalem as they did in 1948.


"...In six days, Little Satan repelled these incursions and established secure boundaries. She drove the Egyptians from the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, and the Syrians, who had also opened fire, from the Golan Heights. Most significantly, Little Satan replaced the indefensible armistice lines by reuniting J'lem and capturing the West Bank from Jordan. 

And:


"...44 years after Arab forces sought to exploit the vulnerable armistice lines, it remains clear that Little Satan cannot return to those lines. And 44 years after the United Nations, through Resolution 242, indicated that Little Satan would not have to forfeit all of the captured territories and must achieve "secure and recognized boundaries," the unsecure and unrecognized armistice lines must not be revived. Little Satan''s insistence on defensible borders is a prerequisite for peace and a safeguard against a return to the Arab illusions and Little Satan's fears of June 1967.

Pic - "And though the news was rather sad, I just had to laugh"