Monday, August 31, 2015

5th Column

Sore spot?

“Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column”, appeared in the most recent issue of the National Security Law Journal, a student-run publication at the George Mason School of Law.

In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.

This “clique of about forty” scholars, Bradford writes, have “converted the US legal academy into a cohort whose vituperative pronouncements on the illegality of the US resort to force and subsequent conduct in the war against Islamism” represent a “super-weapon that supports Islamist military operations” aimed at “American political will” to fight. They are supported by “compliant journalists” marked by “defeatism, instinctive antipathy to war, and empathy for American adversaries”, but Bradford considers the lawyers a greater threat.

The offending legal scholars “effectively tilt the battlefield against US forces [and] contribute to timorousness and lethargy in US military commanders”, he writes. They are among several “useful idiots” who “separate Islam from Islamists by attributing to the former principles in common with the West, including ‘justice and progress’ and ‘the dignity of all human beings’”.

The West Point faculty member urges the US to wage “total war” on “Islamism”, using “conventional and nuclear force and [psychological operations]”, in order to “leave them prepared to coexist with the West or be utterly eradicated”. He suggests in a footnote that “threatening Islamic holy sites might create deterrence, discredit Islamism, and falsify the assumption that decadence renders Western restraint inevitable”.

As may be ascertained - the professor is getting creamed...  

Sunday, August 30, 2015


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

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

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

  • *First place with 3 2/3 votes!Puma By DesignBlack Lives Matter Hypocrites Oblivious to Epidemic of Black Violence, Genocide

  • Second place *t* with 2 1/3 votes Bookworm RoomThe collected (nit)wit and un(wisdom) of Bernie Sanders

  • Second place *t* with 2 1/3 votes The Right PlanetJurisdiction, Common Law and Birthright Citizenship

  • Third place *t* with 2/3 votes The Noisy RoomTed Cruz: Rise Of The Evangelical & Constitutional Warrior

  • Third place *t* with 2/3 votes Don SurberAstaire Way To Heaven

  • Third place *t* with 2/3 votes The RazorAmerican Imperialist Baby Killers Racially Profile and Attack Muslim

  • Fourth place *t* with 1/3 votes The Independent SentinelDecorated Green Beret Discharged for Shoving an Afghan Child Rapist

  • Fourth place *t* with 1/3 votes Nice Deb Intel Ops: Hillary broke “So many” laws (Video)

  • Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!

    Friday, August 28, 2015

    The Return Of The Kaga!

    Climb Mount Niitaka!

    Japan has launched the second in its new class of helicopter carrier — the largest Japanese ships since World War II — in a Thursday ceremony in Yokohama.

    The 24,000-ton Kaga (DDH-184) — built by ship builder Japan Marine United — bears the same name as the World War II Imperial Japanese Navy carrier Kaga that was part of Pearl Harbor attack and was sunk in the Battle Midway.

    The ship follows JS Izumo (DDH-183) which entered service in the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in March.

    The Japanese have said the primary roles of the two ships are anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) operations.

    The ships “heightens our ability to deal with Chinese submarines that have become more difficult to detect,” a JMSDF officer told Asahi Shimbum in March.

    The ships will field seven Mitsubishi-built SH-60k ASW helicopters and seven AgustaWestland MCM-101 mine countermeasure (MCM) helicopters, U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World.

    There is a potential for the two ships to work with American MV-22s and potentially the short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). However, the Japanese say they have no plans to operate the JSF from either ship.

    When Kaga commissions Japan will have four helicopter carriers. Along with Izumo, Japan has 18,300-ton Hyuga-class helicopter carriers already in commission.

    Thursday, August 27, 2015

    With Friends Like These...

    Problems with rapproachment?

    The Saudi Arabian terrorist suspected of leading a deadly, Iranian-financed attack on a U.S. base has reportedly been captured. State Department officials refused to comment on the reported arrest of Ahmed al-Mughassil, a leader of the Saudi chapter of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist group. The group has long been regarded as responsible for the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers, a U.S. Air Force housing complex, which killed 19 U.S. personnel and wounded hundreds of other people.

    Though al-Mughassil has been on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists for years, his arrest might have come at an inconvenient time for President Obama’s team. Congress is just weeks away from voting on a deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry that would ease sanctions on Iran as part of an accord that is supposed to halt the regime’s nuclear program for the next decade.
    A federal judge ruled in 2006 that Iranian “senior leadership” organized the 1996 attack, which al-Mughassil is suspected of leading. “The totality of the evidence at trial . . . firmly establishes that the Khobar Towers bombing was planned, funded, and sponsored by senior leadership in the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth wrote. “The defendants’ conduct in facilitating, financing, and providing material support to bring about this attack was intentional, extreme, and outrageous.”

    Under the terms of the pending nuclear deal, Iran would get as much as $150 billion in sanctions relief. The administration has admitted that at least some of this money will be used to finance more terrorism. “We’ve decided that we need to address the nuclear threat and then turn to the terrorism,” Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, told a Senate panel August 5.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2015


    Power Rangers indeed!

    For decades, the U.S. military and its private-sector partners have been working toward a technology straight out of science fiction: robotic suits.

    And it's no surprise. Exoskeletons could add to soldiers' natural strength, letting troops lift seemingly impossible loads and dart across the battlefield at incredible speed

    Currently, the military is exploring creating an Iron Man-like specialized suit through the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) program. The suit would provide soldiers with enhanced mobility and protection, and it would most likely run on top of an exoskeleton base.   

    Today's exoskeletons vary in utility, but they can allow soldiers to carry 17 times more weight than normal and march with significantly less strain on the body. With an XOS 2 suit, for example, a solider can carry 400 pounds but feel the weight of only 23.5

    Although robotic exoskeleton suits have been in development for over 50 years, things really started picking up speed in the 1990s, leading to more and more interest from the U.S military. Now, it's a clear priority.

    As former Air Force Chief of Staff General John Jumper said: "We must give the individual soldier the same capabilities of stealth and standoff that fighter planes have. We must look at the soldier as the system"

    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    USS Idaho

    Dive! Dive! Dive!

    The latest greatest Virginia-class attack submarine SSN 799, will bear the name USS Idaho.

    The future USS Idaho will be the fifth naval vessel to bear the name. The first, commissioned in 1864, was a steam sloop that served as a store and hospital ship; the second, commissioned in 1905, was a battleship that largely supported American Foreign Policy in Central America and conducted operations and exercises in Guantanamo Bay. The third Idaho was a motorboat commissioned in 1917 that patrolled New Jersey and Pennsylvania harbors. The last Idaho was a New Mexico-class battleship launched on June 30, 1917 and saw action in World War II.

    Virginia-class attack submarines provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. They have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.

    These submarines have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert, long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping. They are also designed for special forces delivery and support.

    Each Virginia-class submarine is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. They are designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship, reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time. The submarine will be built under a unique teaming agreement between General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS) wherein both companies build certain portions of each submarine and then alternate deliveries. Idaho will be delivered by GDEB located in Groton, Connecticut.

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    The Next Korean War


    Here we go again.

    After another war of words, and an exchange of fire across the world's most fortified border, the two Koreas appear to be set on a collision course.

    South Korea is angry at its unpredictable neighbor's provocations, while Kim Jong Un has placed his front-line forces on a war footing. But haven't we seen this before?

    On Thursday, the two sides traded artillery fire over the demilitarized zone -- though no casualties were reported by either side.

    Pyongyang hasn't explained its part in the incident, but a statement last week from the state-run KCNA new agency accused South Korea of committing a "military provocation."

    Seoul, meanwhile, has accused the North of planting landmines deliberately in the path of its patrols in the demilitarized zone after two soldiers were seriously wounded earlier this month. North Korea has denied the allegation.

    And if this wasn't enough, a massive military exercise involving South Korea, the United States and a host of other allies is underway, which North Korea says it views as a prelude to an invasion. It has threatened to retaliate against the U.S. "with tremendous muscle."

    This time around, North Korea appeared to shoot at loudspeakers the South had set up along the DMZ blaring out propaganda in the wake of the landmines incident, prompting a retaliation from South Korean forces. Pyongyang had previously threatened to blow up the speakers and warned of "indiscriminate strikes."

    North Korea usually responds to "provocations" such as military drills with angry rhetoric and perhaps a weapons test. Messages of impending doom and the firing of short-range rockets or missiles into the sea tend to become routine as the military exercises approach. "Their response is carefully calculated to convey a particular message," said Kwon.

    And that message is not always intended for its enemies abroad.

    Predicting the secretive North Korean regime's next move is a notoriously difficult game. Though tensions may not reach 2013 levels when long-range rocket tests and its third nuclear test earned it tougher United Nations sanctions. Pyongyang responded by ramping up its threats of nuclear war against South Korea and the United States.

    One North Korean government website even uploaded a YouTube video showing an imaginary missile attack on Washington.

    Sunday, August 23, 2015


    WoW - the Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.
    Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

    Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

    Council Winners

    Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!

    Thursday, August 20, 2015

    Joint Sea 2015

    Commonwealth Russia and Collectivist China hook up to like do the biggest ever naval exercise since D - Day!

    Well, not quite that big, yet...

    The “Joint Sea 2015 II” exercises will run through Aug. 28 in the Sea of Japan and off the coast of Vladivostok.

    The Chinese and Russian navies are gearing up for their largest-ever joint exercises, slated to begin Thursday in the Pacific with more than 20 ships and featuring anti-submarine operations as well as a joint-beach landing.
    While analysts say the operations have increased in size and sophistications during recent years, the Chinese and Russian navies have held five such joint exercises over the past decade.

    But in the current round of exercises, Chinese frigates have reportedly made their first-ever visit to the Russian Novorossiysk naval base in the Black Sea.

    The first “Joint Sea 2015” operation played out in the Mediterranean Sea in April. The USNI report noted that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said late last year that the U.S. was a factor motivating increased China-Russia military training.

    However, more recent comments by other top Russian officials suggest Moscow is generally in line — rhetorically at least — with U.S. calls for multilateral solutions to any territorial disputes in hotly disputed waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has angered other countries in the region with aggressive sovereignty claims in recent months.

    The drills will take place in the Peter the Great Gulf, waters off the Clerk Cape, and the Sea of Japan, according to Xinhua. Citing a “source close to the operation,” the news services said the two nations will simulate anti-submarine combat and air defense and other relevant missions, including the joint beach landing of troops.

    Six helicopters, five fixed-wing aircraft, 21 units of amphibious equipment and 200 marines are said to be preparing to join the exercise from the Chinese side, with the Russian navy reportedly planning to send 16 surface ships, two submarines, 12 naval aircraft, nine amphibious vehicles and 200 marines.

    The drills “are not targeted at any third party and are not relevant to regional status-quo,” the source was quoted as saying in the Xinhua report. “The drills are part of annual exchange program between Chinese and Russian militaries.”

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    Navy Versus Persia


    Despite all the warm and fuzzy feelings engendered by the recent nuclear accord with Iran, Iranian warships have been giving the U.S. Navy conniptions in the Persian Gulf this year. This week, an Iranian naval frigate trained its guns on a U.S. Navy helicopter that was performing training maneuvers with an auxiliary vessel. No shots were fired in the encounter. But at least twice this year, armed patrol boats from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have fired upon unarmed merchant vessels.

    It is the threat posed by these fast-attack boats, the mainstay of the Iranian navy, that our own navy aims to address.

    According to published sources, the Iranian navy and Revolutionary Guard own only a handful of real warships -- submarines, corvettes, and frigates. The bulk of Iran's seagoing military is comprised of a fleet of upward of 200 missile boats, patrol boats, fast-attack boats, and hovercraft.

    While dangerous and often packing powerful missiles, these are small warships, often displacing as little as 70, or even just 14 tons of water

    In short, they're threats, but threats too small to waste a million-dollar Harpoon or Tomahawk missile on. What's needed is something smaller and cheaper, capable of tracking multiple small boats as they maneuver erratically to swarm a warship -- and defeat those threats.

    That's where Hellfire comes in.

    Last week, the U.S. Navy released a report on test firings of a modified Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) Longbow Hellfire missile (the "Longbow" part refers to its advanced fire-control radar). Military watcher says the missile is designed specifically to take on the threat of Iranian fast-attack boats. The Navy plans to use these Hellfires in Surface-to-Surface Missile Modules (SSMM) aboard Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) expected to encounter small-boat threats.

    Each Hellfire has a five-mile range, and will be self-guiding (i.e., "fire-and-forget"). Once a threat is detected by shipboard or airborne radars, a Hellfire can be launched to destroy the target. In demonstration of this, the Navy's test firings at a series of eight targets maneuvering as small, fast-attack boats saw seven of the eight targets destroyed. The one miss, says the Navy, was "not related to the missile's capability."

    As part of the demonstration, the Navy conducted one rapid-fire test in which three targets "conducting serpentine maneuvers" were blown out of the water, one-two-three.

    Monday, August 17, 2015

    Blessed Are The Peace Fakers


    Democratic peacemaking has amounted to very little more than political theater. From 39 to 42 to 44 the Democrats have not been peace-makers but peace-fakers.

    The list of countries designated by the United States as state sponsors of terrorism is a pretty exclusive club, a veritable Legion of Doom populated by the likes of North Korea and Syria. 44's administration has, for reasons that seem to be mainly political, shown extraordinary solicitude toward two countries that were on the State Department’s list when he became president: Cuba and Iran.

    What invites disaster — and the disaster of war — is wishful thinking, including the wishful thinking that the terrorist regimes in Havana and Tehran can be reformed by gentle talk and good wishes. And those of us who put peace high on our agendas must begin with a frank acknowledgment that whatever it is that Iran and Cuba are engaged in, it isn’t “waging peace.”

    Friday, August 14, 2015

    Inherent Resolve Year One

    Joyeuex Anniversarie!

    This week marks the one-year anniversary of the U.S.-led airwar against the self-declared Islamic State, which in October 2014 was named Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).

    What began with “targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys” to protect the Iraqi city of Erbil, according to 44, expanded into a pledge “to degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State, which has recently been altered to “lasting defeat,” by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

    Some U.S. military officials consistently claim that the Islamic State is losing because “they’re defending more than they’re on the offensive. Their attacks are smaller, they are more focused, and they’re less enduring,” as Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, chief of staff of the Combined Joint Task Force – OIR, described it on July 31. Other officials echo the sentiment of Lt. Gen. Bob Neller, who told the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 23 that the Islamic State was not winning: “I don’t believe they’re winning either, I believe they’re at a stalemate.” Everybody in uniform or the U.S. intelligence community would either agree with Neller’s assessment or be more pessimistic about the U.S.-led coalition’s progress toward either 44 or Carter’s declared strategic objective.

    The one thing that has certainly been achieved, which is unsurprising given the nearly four hundred strike aircraft involved and benign air defense environment, is a tremendous number of suspected fighters have been killed (12,000 by the last estimate provided in May) and their assorted equipment and fighting positions have been destroyed (10,684, according to the Pentagon). As  demonstrated last month, this airwar is relatively limited when compared with recent U.S.-led air campaigns.

    In many ways this intervention resembles the Iraqi no-fly-zones of the 1990s, where pilots operated under rules of engagement that allow them to do just enough to give the appearance of doing something. “Groundhog Day” was how the commander of the northern no-fly-zone described it. Although the administration gave no estimate of how long this air war would last early on, by late fall they settled upon three years, while outgoing Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno recently estimated “10 to 20 years.”

    To visualize progress during this first year of war, please see the two charts provided below. Understand that these are based upon data provided by the U.S. military, specifically the U.S. Air Force Central Command and the Combined Joint Task Force – OIR.  The first chart covers the overall strike sorties by the United States and coalition partners from August 8, 2014 through August 8, 2015. The second chart is a month-by-month breakdown.

    Source: Public Affairs Office, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve.
    Source: Public Affairs Office, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Source: U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Airpower Summaries.
    Source: U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Airpower Summaries.

    Thursday, August 13, 2015

    Air Force's Way Of War

    Wild Blue Yonder!

     The Air Force Way of War: U.S. Tactics and Training After Vietnam has a lot of afterburner excitement!

     “The four-ship of F-15C Eagles raced across the sky at thirty thousand feet. The flight lead, call sign Death-1, focused on his radar, looking for enemy aircraft in the vicinity. He also knew those enemy aircraft were looking for him.”

    It is not about the aircraft, the pilots, or the enemy in the imagined skies he describes. Instead,it weaves together an intricate history of the causal connections among failures in the skies over Vietnam, revolutions in training and operational preparation of the United States Air Force (USAF) that led to the creation of Red Flag, and the service’s resultant wartime successes of the last three decades. An important work that fills a void in the popular historical narrative, one lacking an appreciation for the human element responsible for transforming a nuclear-focused Air Force into the world’s most potent conventional force — forever blurring the line between tactical and strategic forces.

    It's best work is connecting the failures of Vietnam to the development of designed operational capability (DOC) statements, the “building block approach” to training, and the creation of large, realistic exercises such as Red Flag.

     These three fundamental changes to how the USAF prepared its fighter crews, and eventually all of its fighting forces, revolutionized how the Air Force prepared its forces, incorporated new technology, and conducted warfare.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Battle of Guantánamo Bay

    Just like diamonds - Gitmo is Forever!

    Shutting down Gitmo remains a glaring, unfinished campaign promise.

    The White House wants to quickly cut the number of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. One man is standing in the way: President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Ash Carter.

    Carter and the White House are increasingly at odds about how to whittle down the number of detainees held in Guantánamo Bay, hampering the administration’s push to close the detention center by the end of its term.

    The White House believes that Carter is unwilling to be accountable for the transfer of Guantánamo detainees and their conduct post-release, even to the point of defying the president’s policy on the detention facility

    Gitmo's closure goes through Carter’s office. Carter’s signature is needed for the release of 52 of the 116 detainees cleared for leaving the detention facility by several government agencies that have reviewed their files.

    Current law bars federal funds from being used to transfer Guantánamo Bay prisoners to American soil, meaning that the administration has to finding foreign countries willing to take the detainees. The 52 cleared detainees have been approved for release through an extensive interagency process, which includes the Pentagon.

    But it is Carter’s signature that leads to a detainee’s release. The complaint heard at the Pentagon is Carter and the Defense Department are not moving fast enough for a White House that hopes to have the question of closing the facility answered by the end of its term. So far, Carter has signed off on only a handful of detainees at one time and has waited weeks to act on those cases.

    As one defense official explained, Carter “is definitely under pressure… The White House, if it had its way, would like to see more regular signatures.”

    There’s even speculation that if the president follows through on his threat to veto the defense budget bill to win changes on detainee policy, he will ask that the law be amended so that the president, not the defense secretary, has the final say on detainee transfers.

    Closing the detention facility has, of course, been a priority of the president’s since his first day in office, but political realities have so far stymied the administration.

    “This is not something the president wants to turn over to his successor,” LOL'd Lisa Monaco, who serves as a Homeland Security Advisor to 44.

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    Lucky So Far

    Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki - the world has been incredibly luck luck lucky  

    Is the world likely to go another 70 years without nuclear weapons being used? The short and troubling answer is no. Even worse, the potential for such use has increased in recent years and seems likely to rise further. The potential for use is least among those that maintain the largest inventories of nuclear weapons and have possessed them the longest. The chance of the five formal nuclear weapon states — the US, Russia, China, Britain and France — deliberately using such weapons is minuscule.
    And yet... 
    Though many states are downsizing their stockpiles, Asia is witnessing a buildup; Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear program in the world. By 2020, it could have a stockpile of fissile material that, if weaponized, could produce as many as two hundred nuclear devices. South Asia is the region most at risk of a breakdown in strategic stability due to an explosive mixture of unresolved territorial disputes, cross-border terrorism, and growing nuclear arsenals.

    Emerging technologies such as missile defenses, cyber and antisatellite weapons, and conventional precision strike weapons pose additional risks, and could potentially spur arms races and trigger crises.

    Monday, August 10, 2015

    General Suleimani

     'Qassem Suleimani is the one who has been exporting malign activities throughout the Middle East for some time now. He’s absolutely responsible for killing many Americans, in fact I would say the last two years I was there the majority of our casualties came from his surrogates, not Sunni or Al Qaeda.'

    Thus spake Army Chief of Staff General Odierno about Iran's Revolutionary Guard General - Qods Force Commander  General Qassem Suleimani.

    Suleimani, now 57, was in his early 20s when he joined Iran's forces in the war Saddam launched against the country in 1980 – a conflict that became the longest conventional war of the last century and which left more than a million dead on both sides in its eight bloody years. Afterwards he was deployed to Iran's eastern border, fighting drug smugglers from Afghanistan. In 1998, he was appointed commander of the Quds (Jerusalem) force.

    The Quds Force is the special forces external wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, responsible for supporting terrorist proxies across the Middle East. It reports directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

    Estimated to be several thousand strong, the Quds force carries out a range of highly sensitive functions: intelligence, special operations, arms smuggling and political action – anything that constitutes protecting the revolution or attacking its enemies, Israel foremost among them. "It combines the functions of MI6, the SAS and DfID," a British official quipped. "It is Iran's long arm – everywhere."

    Suleimani was also pictured last year with the son of Imad Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah military commander whose assassination in Damascus in 2008 was widely blamed on Israel's Mossad secret service.

    Experts agree that is hard to overestimate Suleimani's role in Iraq. "At times of crisis Suleimani is the supreme puppeteer," said Prof Toby Dodge of the London School of Economics. "He is almost like a Scarlet Pimpernel. He is everywhere and he's nowhere. He can be blamed for everything. Suleimani is doing in Baghdad what he did in Damascus – giving advice and help to an ally in trouble, Maliki in this case."

    On July 24, one week before Secretary of State John Kerry testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee and faced questions about the newly struck nuclear deal, Suleimani arrived in Moscow for meetings with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin. It was not immediately clear what the Iranian leader discussed, but the revelation comes as the United Nations and European Union arms embargo against Iran is slated to be lifted in five years as part of the comprehensive nuclear agreement announced in July from Vienna.
    Kinda make ya wonder why this cat is still breathing...

    Sunday, August 9, 2015


    WoW - the Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.
    Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

    Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

    Council Winners

    Non-Council Winners 

    First place with 2 2/3 votes!David P. GoldmanWill Israel Save America? submitted by Joshuapundit

    See you next week!

    Friday, August 7, 2015

    Despot Hunter

    Who will be the next dictator in the dock? Two names immediately come to  mind: “Yahia Jammeh,” a military man who has been in power in Gambia since 1994, and “of course Robert Mugabe,” in Zimbabwe, the oldest African dictator

    Meet the cat that tracks down supreme leaders!

    Tacked to the world map that covers one of the walls of his office, on the 34th floor of the Empire State Building, in New York, are pictures of his prey: Augusto Pinochet (Chile); Jean-Claude Duvalier (Haiti), Alfredo Stroessner (Paraguay), Pol Pot (Cambodia), Suharto (Indonesia), Saddam Hussein (Iraq), Omar al-Bashir (Sudan) — a who's who of warlords, generals, tyrants, rais, dear leaders, number one comrades that, beyond their ideological differences, have all oppressed and massacred their fellow countrymen.

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

    The Problem With Egypt...


    The military under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s leadership is seeking to rebuild the Nasserist bully state, which was itself in many ways a reconstruction of Muhammad Ali’s version of the same. Maybe it will be a case of third time lucky, but that is unlikely, and not only because military state building has twice failed. The constraints on military state building in 2015 are much greater and the opportunities much fewer than in 1952, to say nothing of 1805. Projection of Egyptian power into the region is not only far more difficult, but as polls show, now opposed by the majority of Egyptians, at least as regards sending expeditionary forces into either Libya or Yemen.   
    Assertion of a breast-beating independence à la Nasser is similarly difficult for Sisi when the national economy is kept afloat by the Saudis, Emiratis, and Kuwaitis. Flirting with Moscow now seems weak rather than bold. Rumors of discontent with Sisi’s leadership within the military grow as the economy flounders and the political system remains in deep freeze. There is and can be no equivalent to the Nasserist ideological agenda. The officer republic has so hollowed out civilian state institutions that they barely function.  
    In way over its head, the military is simultaneously trying to manage the economy, reconstruct the political system, conduct a counterinsurgency campaign, modernize its own forces, and devise a consistent foreign policy, all without substantial civilian input….Visibly in charge of the state, the economy, public security, and indeed, everything, the military will be held to account for the ever more evident shortcomings. As state decay under military tutelage progresses, onetime terrorists are morphing into insurgents, claiming to be inspired by the Islamic State’s dream of establishing an alternative to the Egyptian state, an unthinkable proposition even for the radical jihadis of the 1990s, to say nothing of the Muslim Brothers.  
    More than two centuries of Egyptian state building is now under threat. External support for the Egyptian military only perpetuates the inappropriate model it has perpetrated, further encouraging it to dismiss civilians and to pursue rents rather than to attempt to build a state based on a ruler-ruled relationship that both generates economic surplus and legitimates its extraction.  
    The relationship between the Egyptian military and state is turned on its head, with the latter reporting to the former rather than vice versa. The task facing Egypt is thus to reverse this relationship and so terminate once and for all the national myth of military as state builder.

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    30,000 Pound Bomb

    Bombs Away!

    For all of the debate and politicking surrounding the Iran nuclear deal, there does seem to be consensus on one question — the absence of a deal increases the likelihood of military conflict with Iran. Walking away from a deal negotiated in good faith with America’s allies would, by many accounts, make it difficult to find a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear problem.

    But there’s a much bigger weapon in the American arsenal that could be used to stop Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. It’s a 30,000-pound bomb. Such a weapon would be necessary to penetrate Iran’s enrichment facility at Fordo.This nuclear enrichment facility was a closely kept secret by the Iranians until satellite imagery shed light on it in 2009. This facility is built deep inside a mountain in order to make it impenetrable to airstrikes, as the Iranians presumably knew any nuclear weapons program would be targeted militarily by the international community.

    But Fordo is not completely impenetrable. There is one nation that possesses one weapon with the capacity to crack the mountain facility.

    That nation is the United States of America. That weapon is the massive ordnance penetrator. At 30,000 pounds, it is six times the size of the largest bunker-busting bombs that existed prior to its development. It’s more than 20 feet long, nearly 3 feet wide, and delivers a 5,000-pound warhead.

    The massive ordnance penetrator is so large it can only be dropped by the United States’ massive strategic long-range bombers, the B-52 Stratofortress, and the B-2 Spirit. Even if the United States didn’t have the only military with the massive ordnance penetrator, it is the only country that could use it.

    The weapon is capable of penetrating several dozen feet of concrete before detonating deep underground with a, well, massive explosion.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2015

    Palestine Versus Allies And Survival

    Ah - the olde Ghost of something something Palestine trumps nation state theory again!

    Last week, Dore Gold, the director general of Israel’s foreign ministry, raised eyebrows across the political world when he remarked of Iran: “What we have is a regime on a roll that is trying to conquer the Middle East, and it’s not Israel talking, that is our Sunni Arab neighbours – and you know what? I’ll use another expression – that is our Sunni Arab allies talking.”

    Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Arab states against “talking with Israel and even negotiating with it”. This may have “disastrous results”, he blustered.

    Israel cannot have diplomatic progress, let alone anything approaching an alliance, with the Arab world as long as millions of Palestinians remain non-citizens in their own land, with no realistic prospect for freedom. In particular, Israel cannot successfully engage with the Arab states while it is conducting an aggressive settlement project, gobbling up Palestinian land in violation of black-letter international law.

    Jordan and Egypt made peace with Israel in their own interests, and those agreements are rock-solid. But Arab states in the Gulf region don’t share the same imperatives. Limited progress might be possible in specific areas. Israel might be able to cooperate with Qatar on reconstruction in Gaza, or with Saudi Arabia on Palestinian national reconciliation and relations between Hamas and Fatah. But despite the diversity in their policies none of the Gulf states will be prepared to enter into anything remotely resembling an alliance with Israel, despite the threat of Iranian hegemony, as long as the occupation continues with no end in sight.

    Israelis often debate the cost of the occupation. The fact that it precludes them from building strong working relationships with Arab states with whom they share powerful strategic concerns needs to be factored in as a very high cost indeed.

    Imagine a reality in which Mr Gold was completely accurate in referring to Israel’s “Sunni Arab allies”, and what that would mean for Israel’s regional interests and long-term security. And now return to today’s diplomatic reality, in which no matter how much Israel and many of the Arab states agree on the threat posed by Iran’s and the urgent need to counter it, there is a strict limit to how far they can coordinate, largely because of Israel’s own indefensible policies towards the Palestinians. The cost is clear, and prohibitive.
    So it looks like Skippy Ibish is making a pretty far fetched point. In the face of Gulf States regimes possible downfall by wicked Persians, the sad old tale of Palestine trumps evberything including their survival.

    Monday, August 3, 2015


    How would Iran respond in the event of Israeli airstrikes on Tehran’s nuclear enrichment and research facilities? Would Iranian retaliation really be that devastating to the United States and its allies?

    1.  Use Diplomatic Channels at the United Nations

    For understandable reasons, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu genuinely believes that the Islamic Republic of Iran is run by a collection of unreasonable, unconstrained, irrational men who are too deceptive and/or crazy to deal with. Yet if past history is any guide, the first response from the Iranian Government is likely to be a full-court press at the United Nations against Israel and a formal complaint to the United Nations Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Human Rights Council that Israel’s aggression is a violation of their national sovereignty and a direct infringement of Article 2 in the United Nations Charter.

    Using diplomatic channels would be an especially appealing option for President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif—both of whom have devoted their tenure to improving Tehran’s image in the eyes of the world.

    A formal Iranian complaint would be dead-on-arrival once it hits the desk of the Security Council, but it would nonetheless serve its intended purpose: demonstrate to the developing world (Russia and China in particular) that the Iranian Government is a responsible power whose sovereignty was targeted by the aggressive actions of another state without sufficient cause. The objective, therefore, is not to actually pass a resolution in favor of Iran, but rather to embarrass Israel and depict it as a belligerent to a wide swath of the global community.

    2.  Redoubling support to its proxies

    According to a 2013 profile in The New Yorker on Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp-Quds Force, Iran contributed $100 million to Lebanese Hezbollah every year from 2000-2006. Hundreds of millions of additional dollars have been given to the organization since that time — a consistent pool of resources that has permitted Hezbollah to stockpile a conservative estimate of 50,000 missiles in southern Lebanon in preparation for another war with Israel. Tens of millions more have been transferred to Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades since the two began a reconciliation after a falling out over support for the Assad regime. “Apart from using Iranian aid to rebuild the [Hamas] tunnel network,” writes Con Coughlin of the Telegraph, “the Palestinian brigades are also replenishing their depleted stocks of medium-range missiles…”

    Because Iran doesn’t share a land border with Israel, you can expect Tehran to extend its material and arms support to both of these organizations after an Israeli air campaign against its nuclear program (Iran would have more resources to do so, given the sanctions relief that it is receiving for implementing the JCPOA). Through improved technology and successful defense research with the United States, Israel has been able to render many of Hamas’ rockets ineffective. Yet even with Israel’s sophisticated anti-missile defense system, it would be difficult to counteract a coordinated attack from Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the west simultaneously. Iran, meanwhile, would still be afforded some small degree of plausible deniability.

    3.  Al-Qaeda

    It may seem like an incredibly odd thing for Iran to do given its Shia composition, but the country has tacitly worked with Al-Qaeda in the past—a Sunni jihadist group that has killed thousands of people just because they happened to be worshipping in the wrong way. The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned numerous Al-Qaeda commanders for using Iran as a staging ground to transfer fighters and money to and from South Asia and the Middle East. And the ayatollahs in Tehran have largely looked the other way when Al-Qaeda is working to target the United States or American interests.

    An October 2012 notice from the Treasury Department summarizes the Al-Qaeda-Iran relationship quite well. “This [Al-Qaeda] network uses Iran as a critical transit point and operates under an agreement between al-Qa’ida and the Iranian government,” former U.S. Undersecretary of the Treasury (and now Deputy CIA Director) David Cohen writes. “Under the terms of the agreement between al-Qa’ida and Iran, al-Qa’ida must refrain from conducting any operations within Iranian territory and recruiting operatives inside Iran while keeping Iranian authorities informed of their activities. In return, the Government of Iran gave the Iran-based al-Qa’ida network freedom of operation and uninhibited ability to travel for extremists and their families.”

    4. Make Afghanistan a living hell

    If you think Afghanistan is chaotic today, it can get a lot bloodier if the IRGC-Quds Force increases its covert support to insurgent groups fighting the Afghan national security forces. Whereas Iran and the Taliban were once bitter enemies in the late 1990s (Iran was all but ready to launch military action against the Taliban in 1998 after nine Iranian diplomats were slaughtered by the movement), the two have turned into allies of convenience—if only because both consider the United States to be a major irritant in the region.

    Thanks to Wikileaks, we know how extensive that cooperation has been in the past: Taliban fighters training across the border in eastern Iran; Iranian agents providing money and weapons to anti-government insurgent groups; millions of dollars in bribes given to senior Afghan government officials, among other cases. Defense Secretary Robert Gates lambasted Iran in 2010 for “playing a double game” in Afghanistan—supporting the Afghan government with cash, while at the very same time building contacts among the various Afghan insurgent factions.

    At a time when the United States is closing out its fourteen-year engagement in Afghanistan, the last thing that Washington wants is an Iraq-style disintegration of that country’s security situation. Yet this is exactly what Tehran could foment in order to retaliate against an Israeli attack. Such a decision would also have the effect of jeopardizing another multi-year U.S. military engagement in a country where Americans have fought and died.


    However Iran chooses to respond to an Israeli attack on its nuclear program, Khamenei will instruct the IRGC-QF to do its work as discreetly as possible. Any overt missile attack on an American ally in the Arab world — let alone a conventional missile attack on Israel — would prompt the U.S. armed forces to scramble the fighter jets and deploy the aircraft carriers. This is not something Iran wants and a full U.S. military operation is certainly not something that they can afford to confront.

    The name of the game for Iran is to maximize the damage on Israeli and U.S. interests without provoking a conventional military assault from both nations that will degrade its military capability and potentially destroy the regime.