Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Arab Air Forces


The modern air forces built by autocratic Arab monarchies are designed primarily for self-defense, not attack. For Saudi Arabia, for example, the bogeyman is Iran. Saudi Arabia has bought scores of Eurofighter Typhoons from Britain, the front line equipment of many European powers. However, the Typhoon was designed in the 1980s for Cold War combat that envisaged Top Gun style dogfights between fighters, not close air support and ground attacks.

The Saudi Arabian Typhoons are of a later model that has been adapted to carry air-to-ground missiles for use on a battlefield, but it is not an ideal platform for that role. (After finding the limitations of Typhoons in the Libyan conflict the Europeans are only now making them more effective for precision attacks on ground forces.) The Saudi military is still essentially locked in a defensive mindset. Nonetheless it does have the region’s most sophisticated systems for managing air power, including the ability to refuel fighters in the air. They have carried out small strikes against terrorists in the Yemen, but a sustained campaign against ISIS would call for a far more public commitment and strength of will than any Saudi regime has so far exhibited.

Other Gulf powers have the same mindset. The UAE is buying the latest Predator drones, but is far from ready to use them. Tiny Qatar is shopping for 72 advanced fighters like the Typhoon but will not have an effective air force for years

Turkey is the closest of all countries to the conflict but is inhibited not by a lack of resources – it has a large force of U.S.-supplied F-16s and even an intelligence satellite – but by its tricky position in the region, with military links to NATO, Europe and the U.S., a delicate internal balance of secular and Islamic allegiances, and an evolving relationship with the Kurds after years of mutual hostility.

Jordan is in an even more delicate position, and a country that ISIS would dearly like to swallow. It also has a large force of U.S.-supplied F-16s. But Jordan’s highest priority seems to be a fear of insurgency and this year it is equipping its special forces with two highly lethal gunships, based on an Airbus supplied military airplane but armed by ATK, a U.S. supplier. Gunships are fearsome but they operate at low altitudes where they are vulnerable to the kind of shoulder-fired weaponry that ISIS most certainly has. Jordan doesn’t want to get into this air war any more than Turkey.

But if the Arab states mustered the will, they could demolish ISIS, as history has shown.

Seventy years ago, on Aug. 23 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the commander of the D-Day landings, went to inspect a battlefield in northern France. His forces had finally broken out of Normandy and were pursuing the remnants of a once-mighty Nazi battle group who were in full retreat.

The Germans were annihilated. They had no air cover and their exposed columns were like a fish in a barrel. The Allies had mastered a military equation that the Germans invented: the blitzkrieg, which combined air and land forces into one rapidly-moving killing machine. From that moment on it was obvious that any army without air cover would be fatally vulnerable – as long as there was air power to deal with it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dirty Wars Era

The Era of Dirty Wars?

Americans don’t always like to acknowledge it, but the U.S. has a long history of fighting so-called dirty wars.

Perhaps rather than insisting we should never get involved in these conflicts, we should learn how to do so as cleanly and efficiently as possible.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Worried About The Wrong Thing

Cheese and Rice!!

We all know them - the Unserious. Always inappropriate handwringers and worried about the wrong thing, you know?

Thankfully, no one's taking these goobs seriously.


Pic "The Army is the only service that can seize and secure large expanses of territory for extended periods of time."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mantra Not Strategy

No boots on the ground?

That kinda chiz is mantra as policy, not a strategy.

And that mantra features three key strategic audiences: domestic, international and enemy.

Domestically, the mantra appears to reflect America’s tiredness of war. This tiredness, however, could be more a reflection of not wanting to use lives and funds to no end. America generally supports wars seen as “righteous” (waged for the right reasons) and progressing in pursuit of achievable aims (waged well). The righteousness of the war in Afghanistan and against al Qaeda is not in question, but in the eyes of many Americans, the war in Iraq was. How well each of these three wars has been and is being waged, however, is a reasonable question.

Americans do not support wars whose aims are unachievable or wars that do not progress toward even reasonable aims. With respect to waging the post-9/11 wars, our performance is certainly mixed. If the U.S. could articulate a strategy that had a reasonable chance of success in ending these wars in ways that are favorable to U.S. security interests, perhaps Americans would not accept this mantra as a reflection of their will. Current polling does not make this nuanced distinction.

Internationally, the mantra sends a mixed message. On the one hand, it signals allies, friends and other partners of the need to step up their willingness to act and their security force capacity.   
On the other hand, the signal is “we’re out.” The former is a necessary message; the latter is an abrogation of leadership responsibility. Even if the latter signal is more mildly stated as “we could be in but only to a limited degree,” it is a signal of weak leadership at a time when the world needs strong leadership.

The balance is a delicate one to be sure. Great Satan cannot be the world’s policeman, nor should it be. Timid leadership, however, puts American interests at risk in a global security environment.

Global trends have been unraveling these post-World War II arrangements since at least 1989. The current international security threat posed by a non-nation-state, al Qaeda and its ilk, is a poster child for multiple aspects of this unraveling. America must be a leader in reversing this trend and helping put in place structures that make sense for the new world in which we live. Such leadership cannot be from behind, nor can it be remote.

The international community hears “no boots on the ground” as timid leadership, and our enemies hear the mantra as an opportunity to advance their agenda.

Simply put, the mantra cedes initiative to our enemies.   
Once our enemies know that Great Satan has limited its options to technical intelligence gathering, airpower, special operations forces and perhaps advisors (but only under conditions of limited risk), they can advance their political agenda by conducting their operations in ways that hide from most technical intelligence-gathering capability, limit the utility of airpower, and negate or reduce the capacities of special operations forces.

This provides our enemies with a significant operational freedom, a freedom that they have taken advantage of.
Pic - "We should not tolerate the existence of a terrorist state similar to Taleban-era Afghanistan sprawling across Iraq and Syria."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why We Fight

Forget Skippy Klondike's recent non profit jaw flapping about war fighting.


Maybe he is presumably familiar with the theory of “just war,” but there is no sign of it in his article that assumes that all wars are initiated for one ignoble motive or another. This is perhaps an indication of how far liberalism has come from the fighting faith of its greatest champions–presidents such as John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

They were familiar with war and yet did not dismiss it as nothing more than a crass, self-interested undertaking. Recall Kennedy’s famous inaugural address: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Or FDR’s D-Day prayer in 1944: “Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.”

America’s brave troopers today fight for freedom in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond, all the while yearning, as FDR said, “for the end of battle” when they can return home. They are not there to seize natural resources or to pump up a president’s approval ratings–nor, for all of my differences with 44, do I believe he has ordered troops into harm’s way for such nefarious purposes. War may be a brutal, ugly business, and one that should never be undertaken lightly; but it is also the essential safeguard of peace and freedom. Presumably cats understand that, but certain failures to take note if it is nevertheless startling–and telling.

Pic - "Common Enemy"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Self Defeating

7th Century alive and well?

The jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) are not, after all, nihilists. They are a highly professional military force, more similar to an army than insurgents, and seek a well-administered Islamic state. 

So why engage in beheadings and crucifixions?

First, psychological warfare is a key part of IS’s military strategy. As Lawrence Freedman writes in his most recent book, strategy “is about getting more out of a situation than the starting balance of power would suggest”. Even where outnumbered, as they were in Mosul in June, IS have used their reputation for terror to dissuade Iraqi forces from ever seeking battle. Which poorly paid soldier wishes to risk decapitation, impalement, or amputation for the sake of a distant, crumbling government?

Fear is a uniquely effective weapon.

Second, IS understands that Western governments are, to some extent, dissuaded by the prospect of a British or American soldier meeting with a similar fate. It would mean not just political ruin, but also an unimaginable propaganda boost for the jihadist cause. Two days before declaring their caliphate, IS threatened to attack the US if they were targeted militarily. Their rhetoric presently outstrips their capabilities, as former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove has argued, but the track record of massacre and torture gives these threats, to Western audiences, added menace.

Brutality is therefore also a form of deterrence.

Third, terrorism is a form of propaganda by the deed. And the more chilling the deed, the more impactful the propaganda. The graphic nature of beheading, the focus on the individual, and the act of bodily desecration involved all render this far more chilling than the explosion of a bomb, even where the latter’s death toll is greater.

There are two ways in which a strategy of brutality can backfire.

The first is that it can induce your enemies to fight even harder, because surrendering is such an awful option. IS can make its enemies flee, but it would be a foolish Iraqi unit that surrendered – and the net effect is that IS has to fight all the harder.

The second problem is that IS is in the state-building game. It is out to conquer, not merely to annihilate. But it was precisely such excessive and indiscriminate violence that proved the downfall of IS’ precursor, al-Qaeda in Iraq. Sunni groups, armed and protected by a surge of US forces, turned on the group in the so-called Awakening, expelling it from the same Sunni-majority areas in which it’s now encamped.

Although IS initially sought to restrain itself in the places it seized over the first half of this year, its record has been patchy, to put it mildly. Iraqis may be accustomed to being ruled by terror, but it doesn’t mean they like it.

Thus the modern jihadist’s dilemma: when does a strategy of calibrated terror turn into a self-defeating orgy of violence?

Pic - "Our last message is to the Americans. Soon we will be in direct confrontation and we have prepared for this day"

Monday, August 18, 2014

44's Jay Vee Team

Stupid Shiz!!

Way back in January, 44's little tete a tete with some cat at the Yankee New Yorker (a magazine - yes they do exist out side of doctors offices). Aside from actually decent and even burning rolling paper, the Iview had the snarky warky commentary from both the interviewing cat and 44 himself.

44 at his finest - the smartest-cat-in-the-room best. See, 44 ended one war (in Iraq) and was fixing to end up another (in Afghanistan). Asides alla that, OBL was as dead as Hitler and 44 LOL'd those wicked al Qaeda were all "decimated!"

The New Yorker cat pointed out that decimated al Qaeda were rebels in Suriya al Kubra and Iraq were flying the al-Qaeda flag, and bunchess in Africa were queering the mix too, 44 quickly fired back:

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a [junior varsity] team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”

Only now, months later, 44 addressed Great Satan just before explaining that his move to authorize air striking ISIL/ISIL/  forces in Iraq was part of a “long-term project” to contain the most dangerous al-Qaeda offshoot yet:

“Did we underestimate ISIL? I think that there is no doubt that their advance, their movement over the last several months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and I think the expectations of policy-makers both in and outside of Iraq.”

Cheese and Rice!!

Ever get the unsettling impression that there’s a junior varsity team in the White House?
Council n foreign Relations Kaiser wrote in Financial Timesr wrote this week in the Financial Times, 44 and his Jay Vee Team “tend to exaggerate the costs and risks of acting and discount those of inaction...” that allows threats to grow, eventually requiring a more costly response.

44 now seems desperate to avoid mission creep in Iraq. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening. “We’re not going to let them create some caliphate through Syria and Iraq,” 44 told The New York Times last week.

1,000 military cats are once again in the Land A' Twixt The 2 Rivers. After insisting there would be no combat boots on the ground, Pentagon is sweetly plotting plans for combat boots on the ground.

44 and his hand picked Don't Do Stupid Shiz Jay Vee team are learning the hard way sometimes it’s more stupid to do nothing.

Pic - "Governments are accustomed to thinking of religious militants as networks of terrorists, saboteurs, assassins and opportunists hiding among the population – quintessential non-state actors, fighting the state. These ideas are obsolete against ISIS. ISIS is no mere militia; it IS the state."

Saturday, August 16, 2014


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 weeks’ 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, August 15, 2014

Inside The Caliphate


Those 7th century girl hating, Xian killing head chopping creeps of ISIS/ISIL is a creepy place.

Chronicling the rise and spread of the Caliphate is

  VICE News is filling in some of the blanks with a fascinating and chilling “feature doc” on the Islamic State. Reporter Medyan Dairieh (@MedyanDairieh) gained unprecedented access chronicling the rise and spread of the Caliphate, spending three weeks embedded with terrorists across Iraq and Syria.

Pic - "The Terrorists Formerly Known as al Qaeda In Iraq"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Naval Irony

All Hands - man battle stations!!

Perhaps the most endearing and least appreciated objet d'ar of Great Satan's hyper puissance is her globe prowling Naval naughtiness.

See, Navy’s ability to provide the president with a variety of timely regional response options is its marquee contribution to American military strategy.

Yet has her reliability and readiness become a detriment to the greater strategic ends of readiness to deter and conduct great power war?

Faced with the prospect of a humanitarian nightmare (at best) and genocide (at worst) in northern Iraq, 44 made the decision to initiate a limited intervention, including an air drop of food and water to Yazidi refugees and of ordnance on their oppressors, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The combat power behind the latter operation came initially from the air wing of the USS George H.W. Bush the centerpiece of the nation’s on-call naval presence in the Arabian Gulf. For decades, the Navy has operated at least one aircraft carrier strike group in or near the Arabian Gulf, in addition to various other elements of naval power including cruise missile submarines and amphibious forces for delivering the U.S. Marine Corps’ own particular brand of combat power. When tensions rise in the region, a second carrier strike group is routinely deployed, straining already thinly arrayed assets.

These forward deployed naval forces—as the strikes on ISIL have highlighted—provide the president with a variety of response options to regional crises, both military and humanitarian. The 2013 earthquake in the Philippines demonstrated this equally well, as the U.S. Navy was able to sortie over a dozen ships to participate in the humanitarian relief effort within days. The reliability of on-call naval forces has achieved an almost “background music” quality in national security circles, with the trite cliché that presidents always ask, “Where are the carriers?” when the excrement hits the oscillating unit having achieved widespread recognition.

The Navy is seemingly able to respond to whatever it is asked to do. This is a particular point of pride within the service, and the “can-do” spirit (certainly not peculiar to the Navy) means that whatever must be done, will be done, to meet the president’s requirements. It is not difficult to imagine that this readiness and availability is quite comforting to U.S. presidents. It does, however, present us with a potential paradox: Since the Navy seems to be able to respond whenever and wherever it is needed, it must be adequately sized, and even possibly, too big.

There is a certain rationality to this view, as long as one views the Navy simply as a crisis response force. And while this is the predominant mode d’emploi of the Navy in peacetime, its wartime value slips further from the discussion and its readiness for high-end warfighting declines in comparison to its potential adversaries. This is the state of things today, although as recent events have shown, the Navy’s ability to respond even to regional crises has declined.

The U.S. Navy is to some extent, a victim of its own success. It consistently provides presidents with flexible options for response and it rarely has to say, “No, we cannot do that.” Unless a president comes into office with the idea that the nation must begin to prepare for the rigors of great power competition again, the Navy will appear sufficiently sized to meet the requirements of crisis response, for these are the requirements against which its size and capabilities are resourced.

And since there is no bureaucratic incentive for anyone within the chain of command to advocate for such preparation in the absence of presidential leadership, we may unfortunately someday find ourselves with a navy we can afford, but not the one we need.

Pic - "Three Hub Navy!"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

HRC Dishes 44


Heck hath no fury like a distancing hootchie!!

Former Madame Sec HRC dishes on 44 with some eye opening chiz.

Her view of Great Satan in the world here...

We've also learned about the importance of our power, our influence, and our values appropriately deployed and explained. ... One of the reasons why I worry about what’s happening in the Middle East right now is because of the breakout capacity of jihadist groups that can affect Europe, can affect the United States. Jihadist groups are governing territory. They will never stay there, though. They are driven to expand.   
Their raison d'être is to be against the West, against the Crusaders, against the fill-in-the-blank—and we all fit into one of these categories. ... Now the big mistake was thinking that, okay, the end of history has come upon us, after the fall of the Soviet Union.

That was never true, history never stops and nationalisms were going to assert themselves, and then other variations on ideologies were going to claim their space. Obviously, jihadi Islam is the prime example, but not the only example—the effort by Putin to restore his vision of Russian greatness is another. In the world in which we are living right now, vacuums get filled by some pretty unsavory players. ... You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you’re not going to make any better decisions.

Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.
Pic - "Either win it or lose it!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014



One of a handful of reliable allies of Great Satan in the Middle East these days. Its economy has boomed in recent years, attracting investors from all over and yielding a shiny new international airport and other glistening facilities. Of course, in comparison to, say, Jordan or the United Arab Emirates, Kurdistan has one notable deficit as a staunch American ally: it is not a state.

Maybe it's time to fix that?

Crafting a Kurdistan would totally freak out what's left of Iraq, Syria and also totally PO the Ottomans - not to mention the Persians.


After all, Turkey has utterly failed to craft a Syrian safe zone or even offer to go into northern Iraq to save minorities under threat from ISIS slash ISIL. Iraq and Syria have little to say since their respective Gov's helped create l' crisis au courant as did Persia in fomenting a shia only Iraq idea. And the entire sorry mess could have slowed at least if the Ottomans actually lived up to the jaw flapping about their regional puissance

Pic - "Reshape that bee otch bay bee!"

Monday, August 11, 2014

Iraq Redux

Iraq's Back!

There was no question that America had an interest in seeing the southward advance of ISIS rolled back. But dropping bombs on behalf of Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s thuggish, failing government was a possible fool’s errand: We would have been essentially serving as “the air force for Shia militias” (to quote David Petraeus, no dove) and by extension for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This time, the case for war is much stronger, and the decision to intervene is almost certainly the right call.

In the earlier debates, the humanitarian case for action was in clear tension with strategic issues on the ground. In northern Iraq right now, the two are much more closely aligned. Alongside a stronger moral obligation to act than we had in Syria or Libya, we have a clear enough military objective, a more tested ally in the Kurds and a plausible long-term strategy that could follow from intervening now.

The stronger moral obligation flows from two realities. First, this humanitarian crisis is one our actions directly helped create: The cleansing of Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities began in the chaos following our invasion of Iraq, and it has taken a more ruthless turn because ISIS profited from the fallout from our too-swift 2011 withdrawal. (Indeed, it’s often using American-made weapons to harry, persecute and kill.)

Second, ISIS represents a more distinctive form of evil even than a butcher like Assad. As the blogger Razib Khan argued last week, the would-be caliphate is “utopian in its fundamentals,” and so its ruthless religious cleansing isn’t just a tyrant’s “tool to instill terror” and consolidate power; it’s the point of gaining power, an end unto itself.

These arguments — a distinctive obligation, a distinctive (and thus potentially more expansive) evil — still do not compel action absent a clear strategic plan, which is why the president was right to hesitate to take the fight to ISIS around Baghdad.

Pic - "So where is the plan?"

Sunday, August 10, 2014


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

Friday, August 8, 2014

al Qaeda's Rules Of War

The New York Times has published letters exchanged in mid-2012 between two senior Al Qaeda leaders, in which Abu Basir of the Arabian Peninsula tries to impart guidance to Abdelmalek Droukdal, leader of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Buried in Basir’s letters are a fascinating series of “lessons learned” by the aging terror network.

DiD gives up the deets and how to interpret aQ's War Plan Rules

It’s okay to retreat and regroup.

Al Qaeda affiliates should be willing to retreat when their calculus indicates that operating costs are too high or the objective is out of reach.  This should be seen as a chance to refinance (often through kidnapping) and continue recruiting.

As Basir notes, following a year-long period of control, the pushback from indigenous and Western forces became too great. “After four months of fighting, we were forced to withdraw. The offensive was very tough and it could hardly be stopped before achieving all its targets…Our position now is far better. The war was waged against us by all parties, but now they have turned against each other, which gave us a rare opportunity for guerrilla warfare and liquidations.”

The larger battle is about competent governance to win over the population.

Discussing the implementation of Sharia law and the importance of persuading the population, Basir notes, “You have to take a gradual approach with [the occupied populace] when it comes to their religious practices. You can’t beat people for drinking alcohol when they don’t even know the basics of how to pray…When you find someone committing a sign, we have to address the issue by making the right call, and by giving lenient advice first, then by harsh rebuke, and then by force.”

Awareness of global perceptions should also shape these policies. “The world is waiting to see what you’ll do next and how you will manage the affairs of your state,” Basir says. “Your enemies want to see you fail…to prove to people that the mujahedeen are people that are only good for fighting and war, and have nothing to do with running countries, and the affairs of society.”

Never underestimate the power of the media.

Basir acknowledges, “Our most important weapon is the media,” emphasizing how important it is to carefully cultivate Al Qaeda’s media image. He also notes, reflecting on recent defeats, that media is also an important weapon of the states they fight. As he says, “The media campaign [our opponent] waged was no less than the military one, if not stronger.”

Basir also advises that AQIM must take great care in selecting its spokesmen. “You are kindly requested to put in place the right people, who can express themselves and convey our message. They must know the different stages of jihad, so as to be able to illuminate each stage for others. It shouldn’t be that every fighter and commander is allowed to talk to the media. You have to keep the message under control…”

No war—not even Al Qaeda’s—can be fought without money.

Basir sadly reflects, “[W]e have been exhausted in the course of many battles and fronts. Despite their undeniable benefit, they are exhaustive in terms of money, men and weapons. We have seized weapons we thought would be enough for years, but as soon as we withdrew, we found ourselves having to buy arms.”

To this end, Basir strongly endorses the practice of kidnapping and ransoming as a source of revenue. He notes that following a prolonged campaign that cost $20 million, “Thanks to Allah…Almost half the spoils came from hostages. Kidnapping hostages is an easy spoil, which I may describe as a profitable trade and a precious treasure.” Since 2008, Al Qaeda has taken an estimated $125 million in ransom money, with the average ransom increasing from $200,000 per hostage in 2002 to as much as $10 million today.

Pic - "Hipster Jihadi"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Machiavelli's Art Of War

WOTR gives up the deets on Machiavelli’s Art of War

  1. What benefits the enemy, harms you; and what benefits you, harm the enemy.
  2. Whoever is more vigilant in observing the designs of the enemy in war, and endures much hardship in training his army, will incur fewer dangers, and can have greater hope for victory.
  3. Never lead your soldiers into an engagement unless you are assured of their courage, know they are without fear, and are organized, and never make an attempt unless you see they hope for victory.
  4. It is better to defeat the enemy by hunger than with steel; in such victory fortune counts more than virtu.
  5. No proceeding is better than that which you have concealed from the enemy until the time you have executed it.
  6. To know how to recognize an opportunity in war, and take it, benefits you more than anything else.
  7. Nature creates few men brave, industry and training makes many.
  8. Discipline in war counts more than fury.
  9. If some on the side of the enemy desert to come to your service, if they be loyal, they will always make you a great acquisition; for the forces of the adversary diminish more with the loss of those who flee, than with those who are killed, even though the name of the fugitives is suspect to the new friends, and odious to the old.
  10. It is better in organizing an engagement to reserve great aid behind the front line, than to spread out your soldiers to make a greater front.
  11. He is overcome with difficulty, who knows how to recognize his forces and those of the enemy.
  12. The virtu of the soldiers is worth more than a multitude, and the site is often of more benefit than virtu.
  13. New and speedy things frighten armies, while the customary and slow things are esteemed little by them: you will therefore make your army experienced, and learn (the strength) of a new enemy by skirmishes, before you come to an engagement with him.
  14. Whoever pursues a routed enemy in a disorganized manner, does nothing but become vanquished from having been a victor.
  15. Whoever does not make provisions necessary to live (eat), is overcome without steel.
  16. Whoever trusts more in cavalry than in infantry, or more in infantry than in cavalry, must settle for the location.
  17. If you want to see whether any spy has come into the camp during the day, have no one go to his quarters.
  18. Change your proceeding when you become aware that the enemy has foreseen it.
  19. Counsel with many on the things you ought to do, and confer with few on what you do afterwards.
  20. When soldiers are confined to their quarters, they are kept there by fear or punishment; then when they are led by war, (they are led) by hope and reward.
  21. Good Captains never come to an engagement unless necessity compels them, or the opportunity calls them.
  22. Act so your enemies do not know how you want to organize your army for battle, and in whatever way you organize them, arrange it so that the first line can be received by the second and by the third.
  23. In a battle, never use a company for some other purpose than what you have assigned it to, unless you want to cause disorder.
  24. Accidents are remedied with difficulty, unless you quickly take the facility of thinking.
  25. Men, steel, money, and bread, are the sinews of war; but of these four, the first two are more necessary, for men and steel find money and bread, but money and bread do not find men and steel.
  26. The unarmed rich man is the prize of the poor soldier.
  27. Accustom your soldiers to despise delicate living and luxurious clothing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Revolutionary Guard vs ISIS


If only both sides could lose - nicht wahr?

Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps just buried Colonel Kamal Shirkhani. 

He did not die in a battle inside Persia. He was killed nearly a hundred miles away from the Iranian border in a mortar attack by the militants of the Islamic State “while carrying out his mission to defend” a revered Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra, according to a report on Basij Press, a news site affiliated with the Basij militia which is overseen by the Revolutionary Guards.     
At least two other members of the Guards have also been killed in Iraq since mid-June, a clear sign that Shi'ite power Iran has ramped up its military presence in Iraq to counter the threat of Sunni fighters from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that seized much of northern Iraq since June.

Senior Iranian officials have denied that any Revolutionary Guard fighters or commanders are inside Iraq. But there’s no doubt that prominent politicians and clerics in Iran have been rattled by the rapid gains of the Islamic State and the threat it poses, not only to the Iraqi government but to Iran itself.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani pledged his government’s support to help counter the threat posed by the Islamic State if the Iraqi government requested it.

“When the Islamic State reached Shi'ite areas in Iraq, the Revolutionary Guards had forces there who fought them,” said Mohsen Sazegara, a founding member of the Revolutionary Guards who is now a U.S.-based dissident. “A number of them were killed.”

Qassem Soleimani, the head of the external operations branch of the Guards known as the Quds Force, recently traveled to Baghdad, according to reports from a number of Iranian news sites. An Iraqi parliamentarian posted a picture on the Internet of himself with Soleimani in Iraq in mid-June.

Regional experts believe the Revolutionary Guards have increased the supply of weapons and funds to proxy militant groups inside Iraq in recent weeks.

A high-level Iraqi security official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media said Iran had now mobilized up to 20,000 Iraqi militiamen from groups it funded and trained.

The fighters are spread south from Samarra to Baghdad and down into the farming communities south of the capital, the official added.

Several thousand Iraqi fighters were also brought back from Syria where they were helping defend the government of president Bashar al-Assad, the same official said. Some have now joined units of security forces from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence. Some of the groups were deployed since the spring with the blessing of Maliki, and put under a military chain of command, as the Iraqi security forces first struggled fighting in western Iraq and in Baghdad's rural hinterlands.

In addition, there are dozens of members of Lebanon's Shi'ite militia Hezbollah in Iraq, sources familiar with the group say. Hezbollah militants have been fighting in Syria to support Assad for more than two years. Their presence in Iraq now is a sign of the broader regional dimensions of the conflict which has pitted Shi'ite Muslims against Sunnis.

Unlike the fighters in Syria, the Hezbollah militants in Iraq are battle-hardened veterans leading and supervising operations, sources familiar with the group say. One Hezbollah commander, a veteran of the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel named Ibrahim al Haj, was killed near Mosul recently.

The presence of the Iranian Guards in Iraq also comes after months of committed military support from the Quds Force in Syria. Senior Iranian officials had denied Guard personnel were there until websites linked to the Guards and Basij began publishing pictures and posting video of the funerals of Iranian fighters killed in Syria.

"The Iranians have seemingly calculated that they cannot preserve their interests in Syria without Bashar Assad, They have not made those same calculations about Maliki,” Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in an email.

“But the question is whether there exists a unifying alternative to Maliki, an Iraqi politician who’s both a steadfast Iranian ally and still palatable to Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds.”

Pic - "Iran’s offer to assist Iraq’s fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) was not conditional on Maliki making any immediate reforms or changes to his government."

Monday, August 4, 2014

Axis Of Resistence


In analyzing the conflict in the Strip, many cats have focused on the role of HAMAS's backers, Qatar and Ottomans. But this analysis misses a key player. To understand the Strip's rocket rich rejectionists strategy, the place to look is Persia.

Hamas's primary objective, according to this line of analysis, is to force a change in Egypt's policy toward Gaza. In addition, Hamas is said to have sought to dilute Egypt's role by leveraging Turkish and Qatari support, thereby revitalizing the status of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood camp.

While there's no denying the rivalry between Doha and Cairo, which is supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, this dynamic was not the principal driver behind Hamas's decision. Nor is it obvious that either Qatar or Turkey, both secondary actors, could be leveraged against Egypt. In fact, the irrelevance of those two states, especially the Turks, was on display during the Gaza war of 2012, when Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammad Morsi explicitly kept Ankara out of the ceasefire negotiations. In addition, Hamas attempted and failed to force Egypt's hand on the border crossing restrictions in 2012, when it had an ostensibly sympathetic government in Cairo. One wonders if Hamas, its desperation notwithstanding, actually calculated that it could force concessions from Egypt under Abdel Fattah Sisi's rule.

There's an alternate reading. This was not an attempt to revive the pro-Brotherhood regional camp on which certain factions in Hamas bet the house three years ago. Rather, it was the opposite. Having witnessed its regional gambit hit a catastrophic dead end, Hamas, or perhaps a faction therein, sought to return the movement back to its place within the resistance axis.

A week into Operation Protective Edge, pro-Iranian media was framing the war precisely in those terms. To be sure, this is a move that's been in the making for a while. Certain figures within Hamas, most prominently the Gaza-based Mahmoud Zahar, have consistently maintained that the group cannot squander its ties with Iran. Zahar, along with military commanders from Hamas's Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades - with whom Iran deals directly - like Marwan Issa have been working in the last few months to get the relationship with Tehran back on track.

There were signs in early March that the relationship was on its way to being restored. Ali Larijani, president of Iran's Shura Council, stated back then through the pro-Iranian al-Mayadeen TV that the relationship with Hamas had "returned to what it was in the past." In late May, Mashaal met with Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in Doha. The message from the meeting that Abdollahian wanted to put out was that the two sides had buried their differences over Syria. Hamas made it clear that the strategic relationship was on the mend, and there was talk at the time of an impending visit by Mashaal to Tehran. But that didn't materialize, as the circumstances were apparently not yet ripe. A little over a month later, Hamas sparked the conflict with Israel. The war was a necessary gateway for Hamas to resume its place in the resistance axis.

Notwithstanding Larijani's characterization from March, however, there are changes in how Iran will deal now with Hamas. If the Gaza war is the obligatory portal for reconstituting the Iranian bloc and for Hamas's repentant return to the fold, it's not a cost-free homecoming. It carries with it structural and hierarchical modifications in the relationship with Tehran.

A notable detail in the Iranian rhetoric in support of Hamas was how it positioned the group on a par with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad - a wholly owned Iranian subsidiary whose allegiance to Tehran never wavered. In addition to the elevation of Islamic Jihad's stature, the Iranians will now privilege ties with Hamas's military commanders, bypassing the politburo. Mashaal may even now need the mediation of Islamic Jihad's Ramadan Shallah in his dealing with Tehran. A visit might soon be granted to Mashaal, but not before he is made to understand his place and atone for his choices over the last three years.

Hamas has had to pay a steep price in finally deciding to reorient its ship back toward Iran. It has taken a beating and it will have to compete more with Islamic Jihad, whose profile the Iranians will now raise further. After Hamas's unsuccessful attempts to diversify its regional options, Iran's grip over the movement will tighten. Moreover, the prominence of the politburo will be diminished in favor of military commanders who answer directly to Tehran. Still, the war has served to clarify Hamas's mission and place on the regional map. After a period of failed choices, the group will emerge battered, but no longer strategically adrift.

Pic - "Palestinian people are nothing more than pawns in the radical scheme of Iran’s ayatollahs."

Sunday, August 3, 2014


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!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Future Air Force

Great Satan's Wild Blue Yonder cats have bombs away'd a spirited PDFing about a 30 Years In The Future Air Force
Money Shot (one of several):
Our Air Force has always sought to maintain a technological advantage over adversaries. We are in the midst of a period in which technological advances are abundant, so as we look to the future we will focus on those that amplify many of the enduring attributes of airpower – speed, range, flexibility, and precision. To be agile enough to maintain our advantage, the Air Force must reach for these game-changing technologies and evaluate their utility early in development.
 Some of the more promising include:
This technological pursuit is certainly not new, and though it still has not reached its long awaited goal of practical application, the advantage such a capability can yield warrants our continued investment and focus. Throughout aviation history, our advancements in operational speed have been steady, measuring progress in hundreds of miles per hour. This has produced a constant evolution in our operational concepts and tactics.
The leap to effective hypersonic operational speed will have a profound impact that can revolutionize the way we approach our core missions in the future – from investments, to force posture, to tactics, techniques, and procedures. It is an often heard phrase in combat – “speed is life” – and though we may not always desire to operate at the fastest possible speed, the ability to do so creates a significant advantage.
The explosion of nanotechnology will open up new opportunities with respect to both material structures and size. By manipulating materials at the molecular level, we can create structures that are both stronger and lighter, contributing to both speed and range. Such a breakthrough will have significant implications for air-breathing and space platforms.
The vexing problem of cost per pound when launching payloads into space becomes more manageable with lighter, stronger materials. Miniaturization aids in weight reduction, but also provides promise in the area of detectability.
Innovative application of miniaturized systems can open the door to new concepts for sustained operations in highly contested environments
Directed Energy
Exploiting directed energy technology will provide the opportunity to fundamentally alter operational concepts and support requirements. As we seek flexibility in our weapons effects and the ability to operate in contested environments, directed energy weapons with deep magazines can alleviate the need for acquiring and transporting large stockpiles of munitions into the theater, while providing precise, responsive, and persistent effects. In addition, classes of directed energy weapons can deliver temporary and reversible effects that offer more options to commanders in the field.  
Unmanned Systems
Where unmanned aircraft once offered little more than a preferential risk profile, their utility is now growing
exponentially, and must be embraced. The absence of an onboard human may not only reduce size, cost, and complexity – it can increase range, endurance, and performance.
The imperative to protect the occupant can be replaced with an unemotional assessment of value versus effect, enabling us to take greater risks in highly contested environments. Future unmanned systems will be more autonomous and will place less demand on critical and vulnerable communications infrastructure. In high-intensity conflict, they will provide additional capacity or a level of redundancy for heavily tasked space assets. In an offensive scenario, they will swarm, suppress, deceive or destroy.
Their weapon effects might range from kinetic to non-kinetic; permanent to reversible; single-use to self-recharging. Better affordability will reduce the barriers to entry for smaller nations, increasing the potential for future coalitions, and wider security relationships. Affordability will also deliver quantity and mass.

Autonomous Systems
The accelerated development of artificial intelligence and like technologies will revolutionize the concept of autonomy. Whereas we view autonomous systems as those able to execute a set of pre-programmed functions, future systems will be better able to react to their environment and perform more situational-dependent tasks as well as synchronized and integrated functions with other autonomous systems. This will provide tremendous flexibility in highly-contested environments. We must not allow technology to outpace legal, moral, and doctrinal considerations – these must all be pursued in parallel to maintain tempo and sustain the advantage.
This list is by no means exhaustive.

 In fact, it’s just the beginning! The future will generate new combinations of technologies we cannot describe, or possibly even imagine, which will shape the way our service provides airpower. Maintaining awareness of advancing technology and harvesting the opportunities it creates is in our blood as innovative Airmen. 
The aircraft as an instrument of war was once considered “game changing” – pursuit of the next “game changing” technology is central to maintaining the asymmetric advantage our Air Force has always provided the nation.