Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang WoW!

WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - 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.

Without further adieu - (or a don't) here are this weeks winners 

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Velayat E 90!


Way back in the last millennium, when Europa still enjoyed open combat amidst and amongst themselves, certain opportunities led Great Britain's Admiralty, led by the ever avuncular Sir Winnie, to semi sorta think up an end run around those naughty Central Powers.

A surprise Royal Naval hi jinkery designed to knock out the Ottomans using RN's ubiquitous abilities to sweetly amphib sev British army Corps right into Dardanelles Straits.

Threading certain straight jacketed straits with the most expensive and deadliest water borne war craft ever created came crashing down in catastrophe at a place called Gallipoli.

As GsGf"s Royal Navy expert shares:

Battleships like HMS' Irresistible, Ocean, Majestic and Triumph were sank by mines or uboats. The French BB Bouvet was lost and even Fisher's "Greyhound of the Sea" the awesome battlelicious Battle Cruiser HMS Inflexible suffered a near death experience.

Almost a quarter of a million ANZAC troops would die in vain over the next year, without once breaking out of their beach head trenches.

Could such ancientful Straits chiz get swerved and served up in the new millennium?

Dang strait!!

Persia's gay free (totally) Preacher Command Grand Ayatollah flotilla Revo Guard Naval cats plot to close up the Hormuz Straits invites hot looks and slippery touches to the tender, sensitive Naval portions of the Dardanelles Campaign and shameless comparison with the Straits of Hormuz.
Iran has been building its military options. The Iranian navy during the time of the Shah focused on conventional capabilities. Iran's modern navy consists of both its regular navy and a naval component of its Revolutionary Guard Corps, the latter of which has strongly focused on the development of asymmetric capabilities. This focus was largely born of the Iran-Iraq War (and, more specifically, during the Tanker War of 1984-1988), when Iran attempted to control shipping through the SoH. 

To do this, Iran used both conventional attacks (naval gunfire and anti-ship cruise missiles) and asymmetric tactics (sea mines and small boat attacks). As a result of lessons learned by Iran at the hands of the United States Navy (Operation Praying Mantis') and an inability to procure a first-rate conventional navy, asymmetric tactics became the basis for much of Iran's modern naval doctrine.
 Naval doc doc doctrine like use of convent"l weapons in unconvent"l ways, capitalizing on the strengths of, uh, atypical assets, like swiftness, maneuverahility, and stealth of small craft, to target the sluggish weaknesses of more typical naval assets and conceptualizing concepts such as mass attacks, in which assets leverage large numbers to overwhelm their targets. 

And even better -
Finally, for Iran, asymmetric warfare uniquely includes concepts of a revolutionary spirit, jihad, and martyrdom
 Iran has several u boats - 3 Kilo class, 7 Yono class and one tiny tiny Nahang class midget u boat.
Most likely intended to be used for mine-laying, as well as special and anti-shipping operations. Iran also has a recently expanded torpedo capability.
Although Iran does have a small number of conventional surface ships such as corvettes and missile boats, it has also built or acquired many small- and medium-size fastattack craft (FAC). These FACs typically have the capability to carry armaments such as heavy machine guns or rocket launchers, as well as torpedoes and anti-ship missiles. Some are also equipped to act as covert minelayers. Iran would likely use these small boats as "swarms" in order to overwhelm a larger ship's defenses.
Persian missile stocks may be her Hormuzzing projectilin' pièce de résistance
Variants of the Chinese Silkworm missile; extended-range variants of the Rad missile (a follow-on to the Seersucker) that can perform evasive maneuvers and carry warheads up to 500 kg (1000 lbs); the Noor missile, which is an upgraded version of the Chinese C-802 and is deployed in mobile batteries along Iran's coast and islands; and the diverse Kosar series of small ASCMs which are reportedly truck-mounted and deployed on Iran's Gulf islands. 
With this suite of missiles, Iran can target any part of the SoH, and much of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman as well. Iran also maintains a number of rocket systems (some of which are gyro-stabilized for use on boats), as well as shore-based artillery rockets (the Fajr series).
Many of these systems would be based along the relatively mountainous Iranian coastline, which lends itself well to the shielding and bunkering of such assets.
Iran also has a stock pile of or over 2k sea mines of every imaginable type.

So, all in all - how credible is Preacher Command's threat to take the Ho out of Hormuz?
Iran has constructed a navy with considerable asymmetric and other capabilities designed specifically to be used in an integrated way to conduct area denial operations in the Persian Gulf and SoH, and they routinely exercise these capabilities and issue statements of intent to use them. This combination of capabilities and expressed intent does present a credible threat to internat"l shipping in the Strait. Further, it provides Iran with a level of deterrence for hostile action against it.
Would Iran really really be hot to really really wanna close down the straits? 1st glance the economics seem to go all the way Persia's way.
Worst-case results would be a more-than doubling of the price of crude oil; a decrease in U.S. gross domestic product of more than $161 billion, and a decline in real disposable personal income of more than $260 billion, over the course of the following year; and a loss of more than a million U.S. jobs over the following year and a half.
The economics swing both ways tho -
Iran itself is the second-largest exporter of oil among OPEC countries, with roughly two-thirds of its annual revenue coining from oil exports. Thus, blocking the Strait would significantly hurt Iran's economy as well. And, although Iran does have large foreign exchange reserves, these are much smaller than in neighboring nations. And Iran has a large, restive population that, in the past, has reacted negatively to economic hardships
Plus - 
Internat'l maritime law says passage through straits, even if they are entirely within a country's territorial waters, must be unimpeded and at no cost. Thus, any closure of the SoH by Iran would immediately and rightly be considered a casus belli
With all of the above taken into account, it seems likely that Iran would not offensively attempt to close the SoH, but, if it were attacked and wished to retaliate and/or escalate a conflict, an attempted closure remains a possibility.
 Could Iran actually close up the strait of Hormuz?

Not for long!
"Iran could not 'close the Gulf for more than a few days to two weeks even if it was willing to sacrifice all of these naval assets, suffer massive retaliation, and potentially lose many of its own oil facilities and export revenues. Its chronic economic mismanagement has made it extremely dependent on a few refineries, product imports, and food imports. It would almost certainly lose far more than it gained from such a “war."
 An especial counter in smashing fashion warns it could take up to 112 days to unAss all the mines Iran could spew before her navy and missile sites were annihilated 
If Iran were able to properly link all their capabilities, it could halt or impede traffic in the Strait of Hormuz for a month or more. U.S. attempts to reopen the waterway likely would escalate rapidly into sustained, large-scale air and naval operations during which Iran could impose significant economic and military costs on the United States—even if Iranian operations were not successful in truly closing the strait.
Hmmm - maybe so. Iran could also imposes significant PO abilities on other innocent bystander cats:
It is likely that most countries worldwide would support the use of force to protect the strait for two reasons; firstly, because most of the Gulf oil goes to the majority of Asian countries through this route, most notably China, Japan and India, in addition to European countries, which would support a war to protect the strait – if the need arose. 
Sooo, loss of cash, naval forces, rocketry stocks and getting dissed in the internat'l side of things as well -why cause is Iran always going on about shuttin down Hormuz?
The answer is that Iran gains more from the existence of their threat than they would by actually carrying it out.

Pic - "Operational art consists of space, time, and force factors, and, in the case of closing a maritime strait, these factors tend to favor the actor attempting to close it"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hiz'B'Allah's Syrian WMD Hook Up

Divine Victory!!

Long time friends of the teeter tottering totally illegit Allawicious regime in Basharopolis, the coked up rowdy rocket rich rejectionists led by their overtly robust (girthy) creepy Body Part Collector General may get their bloody mits on Syria's chemical weaponry. If (or when) Dr General President for Life al Assad's gov collapses. 

Check it.
The driving motivation behind Syria's CW program has been the need to find a way to balance Little Satan's growing conventional warfare capabilities. During the 1980s and 1990s, the differences in the relative capabilities of the two countries rapidly widened, leaving Syria in a position of heightened vulnerability.
The key dilemma facing Syria has been the need to develop and maintain a credible threat while not being so threatening as to trigger a Little Satan attack, which would expose Syria's inadequate conventional forces to the risk of severe defeat. In this regard, Syria has found it advantageous to adopt an opaque policy, not unlike Little Satan's nuclear policy, in which it neither confirms nor denies the existence of chemical weapons even as it continues to deploy and improve them.
Syria is currently believed to deploy between 100 and 200 Scud missiles fitted with sarin warheads. Some of these missiles may be fitted with V-agent warheads although this information is less reliable. In addition, Syria is believed to have stockpiled several hundred tons of sarin and mustard agents for tactical uses in the form of artillery shells and air-dropped munitions. Syria retains its production infrastructure of at least three and possibly four facilities; however, it is not known whether these are currently being used to produce new agent.
And all that was in the Before Time - when Arab Spring was LOL'd by Bashar as being impossible to get fully crunk in ye olde Suriya al- Kubra. And fiddling about with WMD was a very very sharp and shiny shiny two edged sword 
A military capability that was established to enhance national security through its deterrent effect, now endangers it, by threatening to attract the wrath of Syria's enemies. Although abandoning these programs might actually improve national security, too much has been invested in the combined missile and CW arsenals to easily surrender them, the more so given the critical role they play in Syria's national strategy.
Yet would hoarding chemicalicious WMD be a cursed blessing in the hands of a semi non state actor outer like the Posse of "llah?

Little Satan's spy guy gives up hot deets to Sexy Beast about righteous concerns
“The danger is that the situation in Syria will deteriorate to a point where there will be an absence of an orderly transfer of authority from one power base to another. In this kind of situation, the immediate danger is that concentrations of weaponry, including chemical weapons, will fall into HizBAllah’s hands"
Scary scary! 

Yes, yes and yes - long time bringer uppers of caveats "bout terrorists hooking up with nation state crafted WMD have been LOL'd - yet even 42 recently hello'd that very scenario keeps him up at night. 
"What I think would happen is if you have all this and then you give it to a terrorist group and they have a series of suitcase bombs that could terrify and paralyze the world without creating a nuclear cloud over J"Salem. It's really a deeply troubling thing"
And in the "Hey Ya'll! Watch this!!" moments of regime collapse and regime change - who can say if Bashar Bay Bee wouldn't say the heck with it - and fire off wads of rockets at Little Satan, Kurds or Arab League cats that dissed his power to death? Or hand them off to Hiz"B"Allah?

As Deputy Cat @ Center for Nonproliferation Studies muses:
“We don’t know where everything is, and there’s no obvious way to destroy these things or parachute teams in to intercept them. It would be a very big enterprise. It’s not clear if the soldiers protecting these sites would see responsible stewardship as their mission or would flee, fearing they would be condemned along with the rest of the regime 

Pic - "It would seem illogical to think that Pentagon has not brainstormed contingency plans"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Xian Nakbah


Everybody knows about the Nakbah - essentially a land grab by Little Satan's neighboring nation states that went horribly wrong - granting Little Satan even more real estate!

Yet what about the Xian Nakbah - ripping right along hand in hand with Arab Sprung and events au courant? 

The recent horror in Nigeria suffered by Xians celebrating their savoir X on Xmas Day no less by the “Western education is a sin” BoKo Harum cats is only a part of the murderous intolerance propagated by creepy control freaks who cannot  - for whatever reasons - bear the tho't of fun and free choice (free will, nicht wahr?) anywhere in weapons range.
The Christian population in Iraq is one of the most at risk. Around half of Iraqi Christians have fled the country since 2003, and those who remain expect growing challenges, given the U.S. military pullout. Christians have suffered periodic waves of violence, including bombings, assassinations and church burnings. When Iraq's government said in 2010 it would issue a license to carry firearms to any Christian family that wanted one, it was simply acknowledging the reality that followers of the faith had to arm or die.

In book burning, girl beating Aegypt, violins against the Coptic Xian minority is on the rise. Copts fear that should the you know whos take power, they will see significant erosion in whatever rights they still have. The Ikwhan has attempted to ease these fears by admitting Copts would face a series of new, restrictive restrictions (all that free choice is like kryptonite in Smallville, under even a lighter, gentler, Preacher Command).

Wahabbia Arabia is so convinced of the superiority of the Hijazzin' PBUH cat's chiz - authorities are terrified of especial letters like K, T, X, Y and that deutsch 7 with the little hackenkruez cleft because someone might see a crucifx - and baby Jesus overturns the entire kingdom into an orgy of fun, free will and free choice 
Land of the Pure - with 20 million Xians deal with crazy kinda thinking that mocks the very ideas of human rights and democracy. Forced conversion, attacks on churches and worshippers and even denial of voting rights. The Pakistan Christian Congress has pleaded for UN Secretary-General Spanky Ban Ki to give up refugee status, U.N. so far has been kinda stand offish about even saying the X word out loud - let alone recog a prob. 
Kabul refuses to admit the existence of the few thousand Christians in the country. An Afghan Christian named Aman Ali was forced to flee to India with his family after he received numerous threats on his life. He applied for refugee status but was told by an official of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that his case didn’t fit its criteria. His is one of a large number of cases of UNHCR unwillingness to acknowledge that being a Christian is tantamount to being under a death sentence.

O Little Town of Bethlehem has been almost totally de X'd - as rowdy intolerants persecute anyone who doesn't believe exactly the same.

Soooo.... should 'ligious freedom be hooked up with Statecraft moderne?

Pacifically, should concern 'bout Xian persecution be like hip and haunch with Great Satan's diplopolititary maneuvers? 

Wouldn't that run the terrible risk of creating even more enemies, hurt feelings and driving rowdy unhinged appearing elements in sunny sunny climes (with pitiful literacy rate where a wheel barrow is still regarded as a great invention and Mother's Day is unheard of) even more bloody batty?

So what? Certainly can't be any better or worse than Madame Sec HRC's recent that's so gay hello equating something something BLTG rights human rights.

Sans active meddling, blue ribbon commissions shining a massive lamp on xian persecution in nation/states (of sorts) Great Satan could help tremendously by LOLing frequently, repeatedly and without modesty or restraint that she will gladly grant asylum to any Xians from any where they are in danger
Christian refugees from m"Hammedist-majority countries who can reach Great Satan should be given the same special status that asylum-seekers from communist countries were accorded during the Cold War. 
Precedent exists: The definition of a “refugee-escapee” in the 1957 Immigration and Nationality Act included not only those who had fled “from any Communist-dominated, or Communist-occupied area” but also those “from any country within the general area of the Middle East, and who cannot return to such area, or to such country, on account of race, religion or political opinion.” 
Xians and other religious minorities are increasingly unwelcome in the you know what world; they should be given sanctuary in America.

And in an amazingly astute observation. America has always been a light reflecting X's admonishments, a beacon and a welcoming refugee

Pic -“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Battle Of Taiwan

Shashou Jian!

On or about 13:33 hours Feb 13th 2015, a Chinese SU-27 fighter and a Taiwanese F-16 collide over the Taiwan Strait.

The incident spirals out of control when the world's largest collectivist mommieland does what she always does in a crisis: blame the other ho. 

For a myriad of mayhemic maneuvers (truly - who can say?) - events end up with a Air Power fight that makes Battle of Britain seem like an uneventful day at the mall.

And like watching your adored beloved xform into a shrieking hissy fitting, cussing spitting she devil - it ain"t pretty, my pretty.

GsGf"s Research and Development Cats deliver a spirited PDF***ing that satiates desires subtle and  ginormous
"The first objective of such a campaign would be to seize air superiority through attacks on air defense firepower, early warning, command and control, airbases, and aircraft on the ground."
 Arcing wads of Dong Fengs (DF's 11 - DF15b and c, and the porn star herself - the dreaded DF21) and other missiley minions get appropriate play along with asymmetrical and diplopolitical chiz (splitting Nippon away from Great Satan - or at least coaxing her to sit on her hands while Taiwan gets  her comeuppance may be a priority for China)
The primary threat to Okinawan airbases, the DF-15, cannot range many locations in mainland Japan or in the Philippines. But that is not to say that other regional bases, or potential contingency locations, are not exposed as well. The DF-21, in particular, could be used to hold a variety of USAF facilities or potential contingency locations at risk – especially given the very small numbers of submunition warheads required to inflict a grave amount of damage to aircraft parked in the open. There is no reason to assume that, given the efficacy of such weapons, that China will not produce more; convert some even longer-range weapons to conventional, airfield-attack duty; or build newer, conventional longer-range missiles.
A pre empting panty raid including Especial Forces raids on Kadena AB Okinawa (how bout Andersen at Guam?) with portable air defenses (MANPADs), rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), way more accurate (precision-guided) mortars, and large-caliber sniper rifles might yield a high return on invest - to be cold blooded about it.
"Well-trained SOF armed with sniper rifles might be able to target radars of AWACS aircraft; rocket-propelled grenades could damage or destroy airframes. The aerial view of a part of Kadena shows how close heavily populated areas are to parking ramps – including several high rises. The opportunities for mayhem that a SOF presence on Okinawa would present could make the effort worthwhile. A similar story could be told for other facilities in the western Pacific."
So when the catfighting dogfighting gets fully crunk on the approaches to and over Taiwan as China flings her projected 350 plus Flankers (Su 27"s and Su 30"s), Chengdu"s and Shenyang"s (J10"s and J11"s) against 96 Raptors?

An exhaustive (think Spring Break sans Red Bull) one on one tryst d'l'air l'guerre comparison essentially means like a 6 to 36 ratio of Raptors versus Flankers.
The result of a 6 on 36 engagement in which USAF fighters perfectly deconflict their targeted aircraft would be that all 36 hostile aircraft would either be destroyed or forced to disengage. However, 36 constitutes the upper limit that a 6-ship CAP, limited by internal armaments, could engage. This is a best-scenario, based on perfect deconfliction of targets and virtually invisible F-22s. Any aircraft beyond the first 36 would be unmolested, as the on-station missile magazine would be exhausted. This suggest a PLAAF CONOP as simple as sending two or more regiments of 24 aircraft each to attack USAF ISR, AWACs, and tankers. Such a raid, while not directly threatening the F- 22s, would result in losses to other critical assets – making the USAF air action untenable.

So far the consideration of an air battle has been largely onesided. USAF aircraft have attrited a PLAAF raid considerably, but their engagements are limited by the size of the on-station missile magazine. Engaging WVR will not result in a suitably high kill ratio to make it worthwhile. Thus, as long as PLAAF fighters raid with numbers sufficient to exhaust USAF fighters’ BVR missiles, some PLAAF aircraft will survive unmolested to engage their objective: high-value USAF aircraft like the E-3s, E-8s, and tankers that enable the entire operation (or ground or naval targets).

 The dramatic advantages that USAF fighters, especially the F-22, enjoy in combat are diminished or negated in close-range aerial combat.

If PLAAF fighters were to raid USAF ISR orbits or tanker tracks with even a modest-sized surge, they would overwhelm the ability of USAF F-22s to destroy them. The table above shows expected losses from a 48- aircraft raid in which 36 PLAAF aircraft are engaged, leaving 12 PLAAF fighters (those not shot down or engaged) that survive unmolested – able to engage USAF force enablers. If the raid were bigger, even more PLAAF aircraft could survive to the terminal stage – meaning more blue force enablers would be destroyed.

Further, it is not necessary that all of the PLAAF aircraft participating in such a raid be their top-of-the-line air superiority assets. The first regiment or two could be unmanned decoys or older, and somewhat expendable, aircraft – like China’s vast J-7 (Mig-21) inventory. As long as USAF aircraft shot at them, they would serve their purpose of exhausting the magazines of USAF fighters.

Pic - "In the end, you care more about LA than Taipei."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day WoW

WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - 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.

Without further adieu - (or a don't) here are this weeks winners 

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Killing Our Enemies On Christmas Day Since 1776

"...You, the officers and men of this American Army must remember that you are free men fighting for the blessings of liberty. 

"...At this fateful hour the eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us. The eyes of the world are watching. Let us show them all that a freeman contending for Liberty is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.

"...And when the hour is upon us fight for all that you are worth and all that you cherish and love. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct that you show."

Pic - "It is a great stake we are playing for."

Friday, December 23, 2011


"And the man in the back said everyone attack and it turned into a Baghdad Blitz"

al Qaeda makes their murderous presence known with traditional mayhem - multiple synchronized boom boom and a wicked flashback w/ a gussied up suicide ambulance vehicular borne attack.

Horrific as the attacks were - aQ atwixt the 2 Rivers is more a nuisance than a threat to the Iraqi gov.

The threat to Iraq may actually be the gov - as in the Prime Minister.

Since Great Satan unAssed the place - it seems like it's on now bay bee for a sectarian struggle like the sort that brought Iraq to the edge of the abyss when Surge started getting all crunk up. The Iraqi VP is hiding out in Kurdistan, sev province are talking about openly dissing the central gov and Iraqi PM seems only too hot for combat.
If this seems like interesting timing, it’s because it’s supposed to be. Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s increasingly ambitious Shia prime minister, waited until the US withdrawal was complete. Then he pounced, issuing an arrest warrant for Hashimi. 
To understand the brewing political crisis, we should remember a few important things. First, Iraq is not really a normal democracy – it’s a negotiated state, delicately balanced between assorted ethnicities and sects. It’s a game of geopolitical Jenga, in which the removal of one block, a single Sunni leader, can bring the whole edifice crashing down.

The ethno-sectarian settlement achieved at such cost to Iraqis and Americans is unraveling rapidly. The principal Sunni bloc has withdrawn its members from the Iraqi Parliament and is threatening to withdraw from the government altogether within two weeks unless Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki adheres to the written commitments he made during the negotiations to form a government.

The crisis is not confined to Baghdad. Fearful of the moves Maliki had already made to consolidate autocratic rule under the fist of his Shi’a Dawa Party, Sunni provincial leaders in Salahuddin and Diyala Provinces have declared their intention to form federal autonomous regions. Maliki has angrily rejected their rights to do so. Communities have reportedly begun mobilizing to defend themselves against potential sectarian conflict in Diyala.
So why cause shiafied PM al Malaki is gunning for sunnilicious VP Hashemi?
The motivations behind the current hostility between Maliki and Vice President Hashemi are still unclear. Though both men have always viewed one another with suspicion and mistrust, it appears that Maliki has two separate rationales that have prompted him to aggressively target Hashemi by deploying tanks to surround his residence and arresting several of his bodyguards. Both allegations appear exaggerated. Maliki’s opportunistic recognitions and ongoing efforts to consolidate power and marginalize his political opponents are most likely serving as the underlying logic in his decision-making. 

Assassination Plot: The Maliki government is accusing Hashemi of allegedly financing a recent terrorist attack. In early December, the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC) suggested that the November 28 attack on the parliament was aimed at assassinating the prime minister. 

The BOC first implied that Speaker Nujaifi, a senior Iraqiyya politician, was complicit because video evidence showed the bomber drove directly behind Nujaifi’s vehicle in order to receive entrance privilege. Iraqiyya, however, stated that the assassination attempt was against Nujaifi himself. Regardless of the questionable evidence, or lack thereof, the ease at which the accusations are being made by the central government is unprecedented.

Instigating Federalism: During an interview with Niqash published just days before tanks surrounded his residence, Hashemi responded to a question regarding the establishment of federal regions by mentioning that the “people in the central and southern areas” are demanding to exercise federalism “because they are unwilling to accept further injustice, corruption and bad management from the central government.”

It appears that soon after making his comments, Hashemi was accused of instigating federalism movements in the Shi’a south. A statement issued by Hashemi’s media office rejected the allegation that he called for the southern Shi’a provinces to announce a federal region. Hashemi’s statement maintained that the decision to form federal regions is entirely dependent on the inhabitants of the provinces and that any reports to the contrary have no credibility. Nevertheless, Maliki’s recent efforts to intimidate Hashemi may be one way the prime minister is seeking to suppress the growing calls to establish federal regions.

 The Kurds appear to have already adopted a mediating role in calming tensions and bringing both sides to arranged negotiations. The Kurdish bloc is likely the only third actor that is able to credibly mediate between the two blocs. Given the lack of U.S. leverage, the White House appears to be working directly with Barzani in order to resolve the crisis before it escalates any further.

 Rather than street celebrations marking the end of foreign occupation, Iraqis are weary of the severe political deterioration they are currently witnessing in Baghdad. Although adhering to the timetable stipulated by the 2008 U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement, it is becoming more and more apparent that the full U.S. withdrawal was premature. Iraq’s politics and discourse have not matured toward a level of stability that can reinforce confidence in the political system. 

The U.S. exit had removed a critical deterrent from Iraq’s political environment that helped stabilize discourse and expectations between the various conflicting factions. Today, the level and type of rhetoric, accusations, and the lengths that the Maliki government has gone to intimidate and undermine political rivals demonstrates an unprecedented era of political hostility not seen since Iraq’s sectarian war. 
Without the pacifying effect of the U.S. military’s presence, uncertainty and fear are likely to be the dominant forces shaping Iraq’s politics. As a consequence, such an environment will be prone to unpredictable scenarios and behavior that move Iraq towards armed conflict and societal fragmentation. 

Pic - "Iraq in a hard place"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Open Letter To 44 RE: Syria

The Honorable 44
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Mr. President:

The situation in Syria is rapidly deteriorating.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that over 5,000 Syrian civilians have been killed, and 14,000 more detained, since President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown against anti-regime protestors began in March 2011.  Cities such as Homs are under siege, with the Syrian military’s tanks and armored vehicles firing indiscriminately into residential areas, and regime forces going house-to-house to arrest or murder the regime’s opponents.  The conflict is quickly escalating towards civil war.

We are glad that, in the time since your call for President Assad to step down on August 18, 2011, the United States, European Union, and regional powers have increased the breadth and strength of sanctions imposed against the Assad regime.  However, it is increasingly clear that more assertive American leadership and international action are required to ensure that the Syrian people have the opportunity to enjoy a post-Assad future as soon as possible.

America’s interests in Syria are clear.  The Syrian government, which has been on the State Department’s State Sponsors of Terror list since 1979, maintains a strategic partnership with Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah.  For years, the Assad regime also assisted the transit of foreign fighters who were responsible for killing numerous American troops in Iraq.  And for years, the Syrian government secretly pursued a nuclear program with North Korean assistance.  The emergence of a representative Syrian government that protects the rights of all of its citizens and opposes violent extremism in all forms would therefore be a significant blow to Tehran and dramatically improve regional security and stability.

Members of your administration, however, have made statements against the militarization of the uprising, even warning that such a turn could threaten international support for their cause.  Such a position is counterproductive, especially since the protesters themselves are calling for international protection from the Assad regime’s forces.  As of now, this protection is coming only from defectors from the Syrian military, who are fighting in support of the revolution.  U.S. condemnation of their armed resistance undercuts them, and could have the effect of discouraging further Syrian military defections.

As was the case in Libya, the situation in Syria is one in which our interests and our values converge.  We therefore urge you to take the following immediate actions to bring an end to Assad’s brutality:
  • Show leadership on sanctions by immediately supporting legislation originally proposed by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Mark Kirk, and Joseph Lieberman, and Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Eliot Engel, and working with allies to impose other crippling multilaterally-based sanctions on the Syrian government.
  • Form a contact group of like-minded international partners to coordinate national strategies to further increase pressure on the Assad regime.
  • Establish direct contact with various anti-regime Syrian groups, especially the Syrian National Council, as well as those who have defected from the Syrian military, and evaluate their leadership and membership with the aim of increasing the capabilities of those groups whose political goals accord with U.S. national security interests.
  • Work with Turkey and other partners to establish safe havens in Syria, as well as no-go zones for the Assad regime’s security forces to protect civilians.
 In the absence of American leadership, other countries that do not necessarily share our goals and values are stepping in to fill the void in Syria.  Given the stakes, it is important that the United States lead on this issue.  The Syrian people are calling for protection from the Assad regime.  It is our moral obligation and in our interest to assist them.

As you said in the case of Libya, it is now time "to live the values we hold so dear."


Khairi Abaza Eric S. Edelman William Kristol Randy Scheunemann

Ammar Abdulhamid Douglas J. Feith Robert J. Lieber Gary J. Schmitt

Hussain Abdul-Hussain Jamie M. Fly Tod Lindberg Daniel S. Senor

Elliott Abrams Reuel Marc Gerecht Bashar Lufti Lee Smith

Tony Badran Abe Greenwald Lila Lufti Kurt Volker

Bassam Bitar John P. Hannah Thomas G. Mahnken Kenneth R. Weinstein

Max Boot William Inboden Michael Makovsky Pete Wehner

L. Paul Bremer Bruce Pitcairn Jackson Ann Marlowe Leon Wieseltier

Matthew R. J. Brodsky Ash Jain Clifford D. May R. James Woolsey

Seth Cropsey Allison Johnson Courtney Messerschmidt Robert Zarate

Toby Dershowitz Robert Kagan Joshua Muravchik

Thomas M. Donnelly Sirwan Kajjo Andrew S. Natsios

Mark Dubowitz Rachel Kleinfeld Kori Schake

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


 From GsGf's Czechspert and Vaclav's associate, comrade and friend

Long before Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime collapsed in 1989, Václav Havel was one of the most remarkable figures in Czech history — already a successful playwright when he became the unofficial leader of the opposition movement. Though he hoped to return to writing, the revolution catapulted him to the presidency of Czechoslovakia and, after the country split in 1993, he was elected president of the new Czech Republic, serving until 2003.

A political career rooted in historical coincidence made Havel an unusual politician. Not only did he bring to post-1989 politics a certain distrust of political parties, as a former dissident he considered it essential to emphasize the moral dimension of politics — a stance that steered him onto a collision course with the pragmatists and technologists of power, whose main representative, Václav Klaus, succeeded him as president.

Havel’s public life could be divided into three distinct periods: artist (1956-1969), dissident (1969-1989) and politician (1989-2003) — except that he always combined all three sensibilities in his public activities. As a promising playwright in the 1960s, he was certainly very “political,” focusing on the absurdity of the regime. He was also one of the most vocal critics of censorship and other human-rights violations, which made him a dissident even during the liberal “Prague Spring” of 1968.

Havel was blacklisted and openly persecuted after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of that year, but he continued to write antitotalitarian plays. In 1977, he and more than 200 other dissidents founded the human-rights movement Charter 77, which quickly established itself as a leading opposition force. Havel was one of its first three spokesmen.

The following year, he wrote a seminal essay, “The Power of the Powerless,” in which he described Czechoslovakia’s post-1968 “normalization” regime as a morally bankrupt system based on all-pervasive lying. In 1979, he was sentenced to a five-year prison term for his activities in the Committee of the Unjustly Prosecuted, an offshoot of Charter 77 that monitored human-rights abuses and persecution in Czechoslovakia. He was released near the end of his term after contracting pneumonia (a source of serious health problems for the rest of his life). His Letters to Olga, philosophical essays written from prison and addressed to his wife, quickly became a classic of antitotalitarian literature.

As president of Czechoslovakia, Havel continued to combine his political, dissident and artistic sensibilities. He insisted on writing his own speeches, conceiving many of them as philosophical and literary works, in which he not only criticized the dehumanized technology of modern politics, but also repeatedly appealed to Czechs not to fall prey to consumerism and mindless party politics.

His was a conception of democracy based on a strong civil society and morality. That distinguished him from Klaus, the other leading figure of the post-Communist transformation, who advocated a quick transition, stripped, if possible, of inconvenient moral scruples and impediments posed by the rule of law. Their conflict came to a head in 1997, when the Klaus-led government fell after a series of scandals. Havel described the economic system created by Klaus’s post-Communist reforms as “mafioso capitalism.”

Although Klaus never returned as prime minister, his “pragmatic” approach gained the upper hand in Czech politics, especially after Havel’s departure from presidency in 2003. Indeed, Havel’s greatest defeat may be that most Czechs now view their country as a place where political parties serve as agents of powerful economic groups (many of them created by the often-corrupt privatization process overseen by Klaus).

In the last years of his presidency, Havel’s political opponents ridiculed him as a naïve moralist. Many ordinary Czechs, on the other hand, had come to dislike him not only for what seemed like relentless moralizing, but also because he reflected back to them their own lack of courage during the Communist regime. While he continued to enjoy respect and admiration abroad, if only for continuing his fight against human-right abuses around the world, his popularity at home was shaken.

But not anymore. Czechs, given their growing dissatisfaction with the current political system’s omnipresent corruption and other failings, have increasingly come to appreciate the importance of Havel’s moral appeals. In fact, now, after his death, he is well on the way to being lionized as someone who foresaw many current problems, and not only at home: while still president, he repeatedly called attention to the self-destructive forces of industrial civilization and global capitalism.

Many will ask what made Havel exceptional. The answer is simple: decency. He was a decent, principled man. He did not fight against communism because of some hidden personal agenda, but simply because it was, in his view, an indecent, immoral system. When, as president, he supported the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 or the coming invasion of Iraq in 2003, he did not talk about geopolitical or strategic objectives but about the need to stop human-rights abuses by brutal dictators.

Acting on such beliefs in his political career made him a politician of the kind that the contemporary world no longer sees. Perhaps that is why, as the world — and Europe in particular — faces a period of profound crisis, the clarity and courageous language that would bring about meaningful change is missing.

The death of Havel, a great believer in European integration, is thus highly symbolic: he was one of the last of a now-extinct breed of politicians who could lead effectively in extraordinary times because their first commitment was to common decency and the common good, not to holding power. If the world is to make it through its various crises successfully, his legacy must remain alive.

Pic - "Hope is the belief that freedom and justice have meaning . . . and that liberty is always worth the trouble.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Year One

An entire year has zoomed by since the innate crushing corruption and locked down societies via designer despotry drove a young cat to horrific battyness in Tunisia, literally igniting himself and Arab Spring.

First causality in the diplopolititary realm was the freshly minted "Off Shore Balancing." Totally bassackwards Amazingly ironic with it's democrazy forsakingment meme, on release it was instantly obsolete by the 1st week end it ever saw the light of day
"...Washington should also get out of the business of trying to spread democracy around the globe, and more generally acting as if we have the right and the responsibility to interfere in the domestic politics of other countries. 

"...This behavior, which violates the all-important principle of self-determination, not only generates resentment toward the United States, but also gets us involved in nation building, which invariably leads to no end of trouble.

Trick statement -  failing to promote democrazy is the very same thang as promoting autocrazy.
Plus - it's an unclever attempt to inject the incorrect notion that Great Satan should be "...even handed..." in her dealings with the world - as if Libya or NoKo were the same as Australia or Denmark.

Anywrought -
 Arab Spring acquired its name in part because it conjured memories of the upheavals that brought an end to dictatorship in other parts of the world — including the former Soviet bloc, East Asia and Latin America. It seemed logical that Middle Eastern states would, at last, follow the same path that led in other places from dictatorship and economic stagnation to free elections, free markets and integration into a global economy.

J"ever note that Great Satan"s shameful hooked up despotries were comparatively benign xfers of pow pow power compared with enemy regimes like Libya and  Suriya al- Kubra?
A year later, it’s clear that the Arab revolutions are different in some fundamental ways — Colonel Khadaffy is history, the Assad and Saleh regimes may soon follow. Yet the thousands of deaths they caused have cast a pall over their countries; no one yet knows when and how the killing will end or whether there will be reconciliation.

2nd diff in the Arab transformation is the worrying economic prospects of newly liberated countries. Arab states so far are leaning toward a populism that could inhibit foreign investment and trade. They are also unlikely to receive as much Western aid as helped the new democracies of the 1980s and ’90s. Libya will prosper with oil. But many young Arabs may find that their aspirations for jobs remain unmet.  

A final distinction is the nature of the political movements coming to power in the revolution’s aftermath. Though the Islamists of Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and elsewhere say that they are democrats, they are not liberal — and their relations with the West are uneasy at best. The true liberals of the Arab world — those who plotted the uprisings on Facebook and brought the secular middle classes to the street — risk being marginalized. They lack the organization of mosque-based movements or the foreign funding supplied by conservative states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In Egypt, they also remain the prime target of a military establishment that hopes to preserve an outsize measure of power. 
Plus -
Consider how unprepared Western governments were for the events of the Arab Spring. They shouldn’t have been. Ordinary people were losing their fear, daring to exercise their long-suppressed faculty to not only speak but also think freely. It was merely a matter of time before the actions of a few would multiply and become, in the end, irrepressible. 
Arab Spring gave the lie to the stability model, which was in fact a recipe for instability. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square the people spoke, and what did they demand? Not the destruction of Little Satan. Not the damnation of Great Satan. They demanded the right to live in a society where minds would no longer be controlled. Their demand was local, but their message was universal.  

Irrepressible indeed!  
There are too many men and women who have too many ways of making their voices heard, whether on the streets or in cyberspace. There’s no looking back. These once-closed societies are now open or opening, and that process cannot be reversed. The history of the modern Arab world has only just begun.

 Pic -"The best cure for what ails the Middle East is what it has lacked: free debate and democracy."  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dear Leader

 NoKo"s Dear Leader went on to the great collectivist ash heap in the sky

Ddok barohae neon joengmal bad boy!

"Dear Leader Kim Jong Il is a rare great man of Baekdu type who was born at Mt.Baekdu, the sacred mountain of our nation, and made an unusual growth amidst the special revolutionary education of his parents, brilliant commanders of Baekdu, as well as the practical training of the revolutionary struggle. He personifies the revolutionary spirit, trait and nature of Mt.Baekdu.

The revolutionary spirit of Mt.Baekdu personified by him is the spirit of independence associated with the soul of Baekdu, the spirit of gun inheriting the linage of Baekdu, the indefatigable revolutionary spirit replete with the mettle of Baekdu and the optimistic spirit consistent with cheerfulness of Baekdu. 

The revolutionary trait of Mt.Baekdu possessed by him is pluck and courage of Baekdu-style giant, ever-victorious sagacity of the brilliant commander of Baekdu, broad-mindedness befitting a heroic man, organizing ability of leading millions of people, indefatigable attacking spirit, strong ability of execution."

Dear Leader got his start back on the day Great Leader posed a riddle.
"The American scoundrels are about to start a war against us. Will we be able to defeat them?” The generals replied without hesitation: “Yes, we can win!” “When have we ever lost a war?” “We shall win every battle!” “How can we ever lose when we have you, Commander of Steel, our Great Leader, to lead us?” “Oh, Great Leader! Just give us the order!” “In a single breath we will rush to the South, drive out the American imperialists, and unify the fatherland!”
Despite such vigorous displays of bravado, Great Leader did not appear especially convinced.
“That’s all very well. But what if we lose? What shall we do if we lose?” The moment Great Leader uttered the word “lose,” the generals’ lips closed and remained tightly shut. As they sat still in extreme anxiety, the 51-year-old Kim Jong Il suddenly stood up.

Raising his clenched fists, Kim yelled out,

“Great Leader! I will be sure to destroy the Earth! What good is this Earth without North Korea?”

Great Leader looked with fatherly love and pride at his eldest son

“That is surely the answer. I am pleased to see that a new North Korean general has been born at this very gathering. Henceforth, I transfer to you the operational command of the North Korean military."
Dear Leader is gone and all eyes will be on his heir, Young General

 Pic - “Following in the footsteps of the General, offering guidance to the troops, comrade General Kim Jong Eun delivers a great blow to the enemy with the resourcefulness of his keen insight.” 

Saturday, December 17, 2011


WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - 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.

Without further adieu - (or a don't) here are this weeks winners 

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

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