Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lo Down Ho Down

Is Preacher Command hot for conflict with Great Satan? A Lo Down Ho Down?

"Member that tarded assassination plot to kill the Saudi cat and level a restaurant in the World Capitol a while back?

Indic dic dicative of Preacher Command's war ho mindset perhaps?
Why was the Quds Force, which had earned a reputation for operational prowess even among its enemies, so eager to move forward with an obviously flawed operation? What was the Quds Force thinking? 

 According to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the plot "shows that some Iranian officials -- probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei -- have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime." 

This new calculus, intelligence officials believe, dates back to January 2010, when the Quds Force decided that it and Hezbollah, its primary terrorist proxy, would embark on a new campaign of violence targeting not only Israel but U.S. and other Western targets as well.  

To understand the decision Iran made in January 2010 to engage in a new campaign of violence, one must hark back to the February 2008 assassination of Hezbollah master terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, who was allegedly responsible for the 1984 U.S. Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, and numerous other attacks. Following Mughniyeh's death in Damascus, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called for an "open war" on Israel. "The blood of Imad Mughniyeh will make them [Israel] withdraw from existence," Nasrallah vowed

Within weeks, Hezbollah would attempt the first of several failed and foiled plots -- a series of simultaneous car bombings around the Israeli and U.S. embassies, the kidnapping of the Israeli ambassador, and blowing up a radar tower in Baku, Azerbaijan -- intended to make good on Nasrallah's threat. 

Several additional plots were foiled, leading the Quds Force to partner with Hezbollah and provide extensive logistical support for a large-scale bombing in Turkey in fall 2009. Turkish authorities disrupted a plot in which Hezbollah and Iranian agents posing as tourists intended to attack Israeli and possibly American and local Jewish targets. According to one account, a cell led by Abbas Hossein Zakr was looking to strike Israeli tourists, Israeli ships or airplanes, or synagogues in Turkey. Turkish police arrested Hezbollah operatives who reportedly smuggled a car bomb into the country from Syria while Quds Force agents left the country posing as tourists.  

The foiled attack in Turkey was a watershed event for Hezbollah operational planners and their Iranian sponsors. According to Israeli intelligence officials, a blame game ensued between Hezbollah and the Quds Force over the past two years, as the two sides pointed fingers at each other for the failed operations. Meanwhile, by late 2009, Iran was increasingly interested in using Hezbollah to combat threats to its nascent nuclear program. The Islamic Republic was in need of an enforcer: Malfunctioning components had ruined Iranian centrifuges, IRGC officers had defected, and in January 2010 a bomb killed Iranian physics professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi outside his Tehran home.

Iranian officials were furious at Mohammadi's death, and reached two conclusions in its aftermath: 

First, Hezbollah had to revitalize its operational capabilities. And second, the IRGC would no longer act solely as logisticians supporting Hezbollah hit men -- it would now deploy Quds Force operatives to carry out terrorist attack abroad. 

And Iran was in the position to tell Hezbollah where it would fall within Iran's plans. In February, Clapper characterized the relationship between Hezbollah and Iran as "a partnership arrangement, with the Iranians as the senior partner." This "strategic partnership," as National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olson put it, is the product of a long evolution from the 1980s, when Hezbollah was just a proxy of Iran. 

Under Iran's instructions, Hezbollah's international terrorist wing, the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO), underwent a massive operational reorganization. New operatives were recruited from the elite of Hezbollah's military wing for intelligence and operational training, while existing IJO operatives were moved into new positions. At the same time, the IJO invested in the development of capabilities and tradecraft that had withered on the vine after the group decided to rein in most foreign operations in an effort to keep out of the crosshairs of the post-9/11 war on terrorism.

As part of its IJO shakeup, Hezbollah engaged in detailed talks with Iranian officials to lay out Hezbollah's role in Iran's larger plan for a coordinated shadow war targeting Israeli, American, British, and Arab Gulf state interests. The plan they settled on would include operations intended to achieve several different goals, including taking revenge for Mughniyeh's assassination, retaliating for attacks on Iran's nuclear program, and convincing Western powers that an attack on Iran would lead to asymmetric terrorist attacks worldwide.

To this end, Iranian decision makers settled on a campaign of violence based on three broad targets: Israeli tourists, formal government targets (diplomats, retired officials), and targets broadly representative of Israel or the Jewish community (community leaders, prominent Israeli companies). It assigned the task of targeting Israeli tourists -- a soft target -- to Hezbollah, and gave the Quds Force responsibility for operations targeting Israeli, American, British, or Gulf states' interests. The latter would be carried out by Unit 400, the Quds Force's new special external operations branch.  

The operational blitz that followed is now well known. Hezbollah operations included plots in Bulgaria, Thailand, South Africa, and Cyprus. Meanwhile, Quds Force operatives were at work in India, Georgia, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Kenya, and -- through Mansour Arbabsiar -- the United States. Tehran was desperate to implement its new strategy and exact revenge for covert attacks against its nuclear program, so the Quds Force traded speed for tradecraft -- and reaped what it sowed. In some cases, Iranian agents employed laughable operational security; in others, the agents, like Arbabsiar, were kooky. 

But the threats were real enough. Last June, Jonathan Evans, the director-general of the British intelligence agency MI5, noted that the plot to assassinate the Saudi envoy in Washington "leads straight back to the Iranian leadership." 

The Quds Force is sure to recover from its operational sloppiness, and Iranian leaders appear committed to a policy of targeting Western interests. Arbabsiar's guilty plea ends one chapter in Iran's shadow war against the West, but authorities must remain vigilant for the plots yet to come.

Pic - "The problem from Hell" 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Little Satan"s Sudan Raid

Kheil HaAvir!

Little Satan"s recent panty raid on naughtiful weapon factories in Sudan could be seen as a mini dry run for Persia?

During the assassination of senior Hamas cat "Skippy" Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai two years ago, Mossad Agents obtained an original  signed copy of a super secret hookup betwixt Iran and Sudan regarding the manufacture of arms in Sudan under the supervision of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Spoiler Alert! the claim that the target was a factory building Shahab ballistic missiles which were meant for Hamas and other Iranian allies in the region - it is highly improbable that Iran would allow manufacture of its most advanced missile outside its territory and organizations such as Hamas (relations have been portrayed as suck suck sucking recently with Persia recently) and Hiz"B"Allah have no use for a missile with a range of thousands of kilometers. Unless of course they were meant for cats in, oh, say Libya.

2-seater F-15I "Ra'am" fighter-bombers, each carrying two one-ton bombs and accompanied by four additional F-15s providing air-cover in case Sudanese Mig-29 fighters attempted to intercept. Along with the fighters were two CH-53 "Yasur" helicopters carrying teams of IAF search-and-rescue commandos in case air-crew from a downed fighter needed extracting from enemy territory.

The fighters were refueled en-route by a Boeing 707 "Re'em" aerial tanker and a Gulfstream 550 "Shavit" executive, adapted for electronic warfare, jammed the Sudanese radar and air-defense systems. According to the report, the fighters took off from a Negev airbase and flew for four hours over the Red Sea on a round route of 3,900 kilometers.

2 central challenges in the attack were to evade detection by Egyptian radar and air-traffic control in neighboring Djibouti. The jamming and evasive tactics seemed to have worked, as no Sudanese fighters were launched against the attackers.

Officially Little Satan has effectively LOL"d the raid by not saying anything about it. 

Pic - "Roni Z"

Monday, October 29, 2012

Internationally Illicit

Oh - you didn't know?

It's true!! Great Satan und her wild und wicked Drones Gone Wild are totally ruining the entire world!! 

Drones have serious disadvantages. They create rage in the countries where they are used, such as Pakistan. If, as is evident, they are carried out with the connivance of Islamabad, this discredits the government as American proxies. Exact figures about civilian casualties are often mythical since outsiders do not know who is living in family compounds in Afghanistan or north-west Pakistan (witness the time it took for intelligence to find ObL in his Abbottabad compound).
 Drones Gone Wild! have been unleashed over Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. In Pakistan alone some 337 CIA strikes have killed 1,908 to 3,225 people since 2004, according to the Washington-based New America Foundation. Of these, between 1,618 and 2,769 are said to have been militants.

The drones make more political sense at home than military sense abroad. Whatever the accuracy of the missiles, targets must still be identified before they are destroyed, requiring good local information. Where the local state is weak or nonexistent, as in Yemen, Somalia, Libya or Waziristan in north-west Pakistan, this is easy to do because the CIA can have its own network of agents or co-operate with local intelligence agencies. (Those slanted letters were slanted via moi - for especial emphasis LOL)

Secret assassination campaigns by drones, hot-air balloons, bombs or rare poisons all carry the risk that somebody, somewhere is plotting their retaliation.  

Foreign Peace Mongers at the UN are gon fire up War Crime investigations against Great Satan for Drones Gone Wild early in 2013

UN's Especial Rapporteur (a distinct spoken word poetry performed in time to a beat) Ben Emmerson, like most Peace Mongers, is like, totally worried about the wrong thing.

"Together with my colleague Christof Heyns, [the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings], I will be launching an investigation unit within the special procedures of the [UN] Human Rights Council to inquire into individual drone attacks."

"The global war paradigm has done immense damage to a previously shared international consensus on the legal framework underlying both international human rights law and international humanitarian law," he said. "It has also given a spurious justification to a range of serious human rights and humanitarian law violations.

"The [global] war paradigm was always based on the flimsiest of reasoning, and was not supported even by close allies of Great Satan. The 44th administration initially retreated from this approach, but over the past 18 months it has begun to rear its head once again, in briefings by administration officials seeking to provide a legal justification for the drone programme of targeted killing in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia …"
 "Since 44 took office at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. Christof Heyns … has described such attacks, if they prove to have happened, as war crimes. I would endorse that view."

Gee sir, since Drones Gone Wild op op operate over a wide range on nation/states (of sorts) that cannot - for whatever reasons impose and up hold Writ of State it actually makes the case the war IS global. And since NATO, Japan and other countries hopped on board the train - wishing it was flimsy sans allies - is only a wish - and not a very informed one either.


"Contrary to conventional wisdom, we see little evidence that these actions are generating widespread anti-American sentiment or recruits for AQAP.... In short, targeted strikes against the most senior and most dangerous AQAP terrorists are not the problem, they are part of the solution."
And such sexyful solutions are sweetly swaying just in reach 

 While most Pakistanis deplore the drones when polled about them, FATA residents who have first-hand knowledge of specific strikes and who really died in them are, "very positive.... They know who's being killed."

While the risk of backlash against Drones Gone Wild!! attacks maybe real, the alternatives are worse because they would cause even more unintended casualties -- American, allied, and civilian -- while doing less damage to the terrorists. It would be ideal to capture terrorists, bring them to justice, and interrogate them rather than kill them yet in the Pakistani tribal lands, "there are no police, there are no law enforcement agencies. When the Pakistani military goes in after insurgents, they're very imprecise and kill loads of ppl, sending thousands of civilians fleeing from their homes.

An American ground attack would be even more costly in human, military, and political terms After 9/11, Great Satan"s initial response to countries that it thought harbored terrorists was to invade, not just bomb specific targets

If Hybrid War truly replaces Total War as abovingly indicated - a drone-deterrence strategery is sweetly blossoming: Drones Gone Wild is how Great Satan stops al-Qaeda from attacking the American homeland, without getting bogged down in protracted wars against insurgents

Pic - "Only game in town, bay bee"

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trick Or Treat WoW!!


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! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Shot

  • Iran said to nearly finish Fordow nuclear enrichment plant
  • UK reportedly denies US access to bases for Gulf buildup
  • UN to Investigate Drones Gone Wild as War Crimes 
  • Wings Over Iraq Friday Defense Briefing
  • Holiday ceasefire in Syria appears to take hold
  • Panetta lays out priorities for Congress, says risk impeded Benghazi deployment
  • NYT: Wen Jiaobo’s family has become rich, NYT blocked in China
  • Lieberman: My line on defense – no more cuts (WSJ sub req)
  • Remote US base at the core of secret counterterror ops
  • Russian opposition says activist kidnapped, gov’t ups pressure
  • Sec. Clinton could stay on longer at State (WSJ sub req)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Clear Nippon

The land of backward comics, Harijuku Girls, and cool robots - Japan is HOT! Instead of scary missiles and secret police - Japan built a fun, rich democratic tech saavy, tolerant, egalitarian society with a free, uncensored press, transparent, periodic elections, and independent judiciary that hasn't bothered anyone in over six decades.

A literacy rate of over 99%, Nippon is a wonderful example of the human spirit unbound.

Japan has been a long time ally of Great Satan for eons -- and has the world's second (or third, based on purchasing power parity) largest economy, 2nd biggest contributer to UN, yet Tokyo remains dependent on America for its security, a minor military player despite having global economic and political interests.

That was the 'Golden Age"

It is certainly true that nuclear weapons are no longer the third rail of Japanese politics -- a topic officials and pundits dare not touch lest it strike them (politically) dead. But Japan's painful past experience as a target of atomic warfare, its ardent sponsorship of nonproliferation accords, and the fury with which pacifist-leaning citizens and Japan's Asian neighbors would greet evidence of a bombmaking program add up to a forbidding political barrier. That barrier is hardly unbreachable, but it would demand quite a feat of political persuasion on Tokyo's part. 

A nuclear triad -- land- and sea-based missiles combined with weapons delivered by manned bombers -- holds little promise in light of Japan's lack of geographic depth and the vulnerability of surface ships and aircraft to enemy action. That means fielding an undersea deterrent would be Tokyo's best nuclear option. But doing so would be far from easy. 

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force operates an impressive fleet of diesel submarines but has no experience with naval nuclear propulsion. And that leaves aside the difficulty of developing sea-launched ballistic missiles and their nuclear payloads.

Such engineering challenges are far from insoluble for Japan's scientific-technical complex but cannot be conquered overnight. A force of nuclear-powered ballistic-missile subs, or SSBNs, thus looks like a remote prospect for Japan. As an interim solution, the JMSDF might construct cruise missiles resembling the U.S. Navy's old TLAM-Ns, or nuclear-tipped Tomahawks. JMSDF boats could fire such missiles through torpedo tubes, the easiest method. Or, shipyards could backfit Japanese subs with vertical launchers -- much as the U.S. Navy installed Tomahawk launchers in its fast attack boats starting in the late Cold War.

The problem of constructing nuclear weapons small enough to fit on a missile would remain -- but nuclear-armed diesel boats would represent a viable course of action should Japan decide to join the nuclear-weapons club. Years down the road, then -- not overnight -- a modest Japanese nuclear deterrent might put out to sea.

 Pic - "The prospect no longer appears unthinkable."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Non Profit Jaw Flappng

Whoa! Sanctionlicious sanctions are take a toll!

Persia freaks the freak out and announces she will will stop ALL oil exports - driving up oil prices!

The sanctions are most likely just one raison d'etre for Preacher Command's sudden hotness for dialogue.

The hot deets and big phased cookies of Austere Challenge 2012 may be another. 

They fear that the collapse of their economy will lead to a mass public protest and that the major bluff regarding their military capabilities will gradually be exposed. The West is becoming less and less impressed with Iran's claims of advanced capabilities and technology.

Earlier this week the large Great/Little Satan joint air defense exercise kicked off. Two armies with the most advanced warning and satellite systems will simulate an extreme scenario in which will Iran will launch hundreds of long-range missiles toward Little Satan. But the Iranians do not have the capability to launch such an attack, and they know it.

The Iranians are closely following, with great concern, the successes of the Iron Dome system against short-range missiles. They assume that the Iron Dome's technology is similar to that of Little Satan's long-range air defense systems: The Arrow 2, which has been operational for a number of years, and the Arrow 3, which is still in the experimental stage.

The Iranians read in Little Satan"s free, uncensored press that the success rate of the Iron Dome in intercepting missiles reaches 80%, and they assume, obviously, that the Arrow 2 has a similar success rate. However, they also have to take into account that the Arrow 2 has been upgraded and that the more advanced missiles are supported by improved radar systems.

The math is simple: Even if the Iranians do manage to simultaneously launch 100 Shabab-3 missiles (1,200 km range), Little Satan would still be able to intercept them with 124 Arrow 2 and advanced Arrow 2 missiles – an 80% success rate.

There are two more factors that must be considered: The Iranian missiles are inaccurate, and some of them may hit Jordan. Moreover, in the future the successful interception rate of the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 will surpass 80%. Since the Shahab is more expensive than an Arrow missile, it would be a shame for the Iranians to launch them knowing they would not cause serious damage.

Little Satan"s security establishment is making these same calculations, so there is no need to get overly anxious when a few public figures speak of Iran's military capabilities.

In light of all this, the Iranian military threat is gradually diminishing. These are the threats of a suicidal regime, but the ayatollahs do not plan on committing suicide, they want the Lebanese to do it for them. Iran is seeking dialogue in hopes that the West will ease some of the economic pressure.

Pic - "Iraq could be the indirect path from Moscow to supply Tehran, or at least turn a blind eye to such technology transfers."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Syrian Safe Zone Time?

Suriya al Kubra!

Syria’s internal crisis is spinning out of control.  Dictator Bashar al-Assad’s military has ramped up its use of force by employing not only artillery and tanks, but also helicopters and warplanes, to indiscriminately kill Syrian rebels and unarmed civilians.  Since February 2011, over 30,000 people have died in Syria, over 1.2 million civilians have been internally displaced from their homes, and more than 340,000 refugees have fled the country.

All too predictably, the escalating violence is now spilling over Syria’s borders—especially into Turkey, where Syria’s deadly cross-border artillery attacks, air and territorial incursions, and use of civilian air traffic to smuggle arms and munitions for resupply have further angered Ankara. 

“There’s an attitude that encourages, [and] gives the green light to Assad to kill tens or hundreds of people every day,” Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan recently said, adding:  “How sad is that the United Nations is as helpless today as it was 20 years ago when it watched the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in the Balkans, Bosnia and Srebrenica.”  Now Turkey is more intensely patrolling its border and airspace, while urging the United States and NATO to provide assistance.

However, current U.S. policy towards Syria, which has relied on international diplomacy, economic pressure, and non-military assistance, has failed to halt the country’s spiraling violence, let alone persuade Assad to step down.  Indeed, U.S. efforts to outsource support to the rebels have only served to empower those in Syria who do not share America’s values or interests.  

Instead, the United States—working with European allies, Turkey, and other regional partners—should advance a new strategy that uses combined airpower to impose a safe zone in northern Syria, where the country’s armed opposition groups have de facto control of large territory, and the Assad regime’s air defense systems are weaker and fewer in number.

Specifically, the safe zone in Syria should extend a partial no-fly zone over the Idlib and Aleppo provinces, and create protected space not only for embattled civilians to find refuge and humanitarian aid, but also for various armed opposition groups to better organize themselves by establishing civilian control and a durable chain-of-command.  

Through a safe zone, the United States and its allies should be able to better vet and identify members of the opposition who share America’s interests and values, and provide them with critical training, equipment, and self-defense aid in a more controllable and accountable manner.  

Finally, a safe zone could fundamentally change the terms of the conflict by prompting more desertions from the Assad regime’s military, helping to reverse fragmentation among the rebels, and creating the critical mass needed to advance serious planning for a post-Assad Syria that respects the impartial rule of law, minority and women’s rights, and peace with its neighbors, including Israel.

Opposition Groups Call for a Safe Zone in Syria

Despite repeated U.S. and international demands that Assad step down, the Syrian dictator has adamantly refused to loosen his ruthless hold on power.  Given Assad’s unwillingness to end the internal bloodshed, President Obama recently conceded that “the likelihood of a soft landing [in Syria] seems pretty distant.”  Euphemisms aside, Syria’s death toll will likely only further increase unless U.S. and international policy towards the Assad regime fundamentally changes.

In August 2012, President Obama told reporters that America will intervene in Syria if the Assad regime crosses the “red line” of using—or distributing—chemical or biological weapons.  Yet this red line has become difficult, if not impossible, to monitor because Syria has “moved” some of its chemical weapons to locations unknown to U.S. intelligence, according to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s statement in late September 2012.

As the crisis in Syria worsens, sitting on the sidelines is no longer a feasible option for the United States.  The ongoing civil war has begun to destabilize neighboring Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan.  Senior military leaders in Iran have admitted that Iranian military personnel, including members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Forces, are operating inside of Syria and directly assisting the Assad regime’s military forces.  

In Lebanon, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, Hezbollah has also taken an active role in facilitating Assad’s war on the Syrian people.  Meanwhile, sub-state entities from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Gulf States—and some entities that decidedly do not share America’s strategic interests or values—are reportedly supplying money and light arms to anti-regime forces, empowering radical elements of the opposition at the expense of moderate forces.  

What’s worse, violent extremists from across the Middle East are starting to enter into Syria and exploit the increasingly lawless situation.  The influx of foreign jihadists—some of whom are thought to be affiliates of al-Qaeda, or at least ideological sympathizers of the network—increases the risk that Syria could become a failed state.  If Washington and its partners do not take concrete steps to end the Assad regime, then it is not too soon to envison a time when future terrorist attacks against America or its allies might be staged from a country that once begged Washington for rescue.  

Prolonging this conflict, in other words, would be not only a moral disgrace but could be a national security nightmare for the United States.  

To help halt the crisis, major groups within Syria’s armed and political opposition now support the creation of a safe zone in the country.  On August 22, 2012, the Commanders of the Military Councils of the Free Syrian Army stated that “the establishment of a safe zone is required in order to mitigate the growing humanitarian calamity in Syria.”  A few days earlier, the Syrian National Council’s President Abdelbaset Sieda echoed a similar sentiment when he said, “Now that Syria's air force is taking part in bombing cities and towns, there must be protection for the Syrian people.  There must be a no-fly zone so that there will be safe havens to refugees.”

Syrians in the country appear to strongly support a safe zone in their country.  For example, the International Republican Institute released a September 2012 survey in which Syrian respondents “exhibited support for a range of international armed intervention measures.”  The survey noted that “[m]easures that would require only air power and air strike support scored the highest, including the imposition of a no-fly zone (average 6.35 on a scale of one to seven, seven being the strongest agreement), the establishment of humanitarian corridors (6.25 average) and armament training to the Free Syrian Army (6.25 average).”

It appears that the American public also now supports the imposition of a safe zone in Syria. 

 In particular, a recent Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) nationwide survey of 1,000 likely voters in America’s upcoming November 2012 general elections found that a strong majority of Americans (65.8% of respondents) support Washington working “with our allies to establish no-fly zones in Syria to protect civilians and help ensure a transition to a more pro-Western government instead of the current terrorist-supporting regime of Bashar al-Assad.”  As FPI elaborated:  “Support for a more active policy towards the Assad regime held strong across party lines, with 62.9 percent of typically Democratic voters and 69.5 percent of typically Republican voters supporting intervention in Syria.  

Similarly, a recent survey conducted by the Brookings Institution found that “[m]ajorities of the American public support increasing sanctions on Syria and imposing an international no-fly zone.”

How a Safe Zone in Syria Can Help End the Crisis—and Advance U.S. Interests

Opponents of intervention often argue it would be too difficult to implement a safe zone in Syria due to the regime’s advanced military capabilities.  But the fact is that the Assad regime’s inability to decisively end the country’s internal insurrection demonstrates that the Syrian military is not as powerful as many presumed.  Indeed, various opposition groups have successfully pushed back against the Assad regime’s offensives and claimed de facto control of sizable areas in northern Syria.   

This includes large areas in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Daraa, and Damascus, as well as four pivotal border crossings with Turkey.  Rebels have also waged increasingly sophisticated raids on Syrian air bases in or near Idlib and Aleppo, destroying or confiscating materiel, and even downing MiG fighter jets and helicopters—all with no direct outside assistance. 

In contrast to the western or southern areas of Syria, the north is relatively undefended by anti-aircraft systems, and what there is of them is mostly Soviet-era, making the possibility of establishing a no-fly zone over these two provinces feasible.  There are only seven air bases in total between Idlib and Aleppo.  

Indeed, Michael Weiss of the Henry Jackson Society recently interviewed retired Syrian Brigadier General Akil Hashem, who describes the military that he helped to train as a “paper tiger” and adds that the regime’s supposedly formidable air defense systems would be no match against the superior prowess of U.S. or NATO warplanes.  

With large portions of Syria already under opposition control, Washington should work with regional partners to use air power to patrol border areas to protect Syrian civilians and opposition groups from the Assad regime’s continuing use of indiscriminate aerial- and ground-based attacks. 

A U.S.-led multilateral air campaign would accomplish four important goals.  

First, a safe zone in Syria would protect many thousands of fleeing civilians from attack by government forces.  Over 100,000 Syrian civilians have already fled to neighboring Turkey, up from approximately 25,000 in April.  The United States recently sent a team of U.S. military advisors to Jordan to help it absorb refugees and prepare Jordanian Special Forces to deal with the contingency of chemical weapons being deployed or falling into the hands of extremists.

Second, a multilaterally-backed safe zone would empower opposition groups to coalesce, and provide a venue for international assistance and training.  Although Syria’s internal opposition remains fragmented, various factions have taken positive steps towards cooperation in recent months.  A protected portion of land would provide armed opposition forces with cover to better coordinate efforts and organize themselves, and political opposition groups with the needed space and time to prepare for and plan a post-Assad Syria.

Third, it would link large swaths of land already claimed by opposition forces to major cities, enabling the free movement of much needed medical and communications equipment. 

Fourth, establishing a safe zone would allow Western and Turkish intelligence to better coordinate the flow of weapons to the Syrian opposition and prevent jihadists or ideological extremists from obtaining them.  This has proved an impossible task given what reportedly few intelligence assets that the United States currently has stationed in southern Turkey.  Inside opposition-held Syria, however, an inventory would be easier for the CIA and other intelligence services to track.  

Moreover, a no-fly zone would obviate the need for Syrian rebels in Aleppo or Idlib provinces to be armed with surface-to-air missiles or MANPADs since the skies would be free of the Assad regime’s aircraft.

Regional allies are eager to work with the United States to take action.  In September, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani stated his support for a “Plan B” in Syria that involved a no-fly zone.  Turkey has already deployed a battery of anti-aircraft munitions, supplies, and soldiers to key points along its border with Syria, and has repeatedly scrambled fighter jets from the NATO-leased Adana air base to chase away Syrian helicopter gunships that fly within three miles of that border.  Indeed, Ankara appears willing to intervene in Syria, but only with the material assistance and overt support of the United States and other allies.  

A safe zone would be an achievable goal for the United States and regional partners, as Michael Weiss and General Akil Hashem have detailed.  In 2011, aircraft from the United Kingdom, France, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates joined the United States in enforcing a NATO-backed no-fly zone over Libya.  A similar operation in Syria, however, would not necessarily require approval from the U.N. Security Council.  Multilateral approval could be provided by the Arab League and possibly NATO, or through a coalition-of-the-willing approach.

Operations for a safe zone in Syria would similarly coordinate efforts with international partners, and could take advantage of the U.S. air base at Incirlik, Turkey, two U.K. bases in Cyprus, and nearby allied bases in Jordan, Turkey, and across the region.  As Max Boot and Michael Doran recently wrote, one option could begin in Aleppo—Syria’s second largest city—where rebels continue to battle regime forces.  “With American support,” they note, “Turkish troops could easily establish a corridor for humanitarian aid and military supplies.  Defeating the government’s forces in Aleppo would deal a serious blow to Mr. Assad and send a powerful signal to fence-sitters that the regime was dying.”


Syria’s armed opposition groups are bravely standing up to the Assad regime’s escalating use of force against its own people.  Now is the time for the United States to show comparable courage, and work with like-minded nations to create a safe zone with protected airspace, with the aim of halting the Assad regime’s campaign of indiscriminate violence, empowering moderate members of Syria’s armed opposition, and hastening the emergence of a post-Assad Syria that respects the impartial rule of law, protects the rights of minorities and women, and is at peace with its neighbors.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Austere Challenge 2012

Unsexyfully nom d"guerr"d perhaps, the most biggest ev Military Hook Up betwixt both Little and Great Satan kick off this week!

Actually part of a series of "purely defensive" (dang it) military chicanery with especial emphasis on Little Satan"s rocket rich Near Abroad.
Little Satan"s Arrow 2 and Iron Dome missile-defense systems will also play a role in the exercise, as will David’s Sling, a newer interceptor designed to tackle medium-range rockets and missiles. The exercise will mostly be based on computer simulations, but it will also include a live-fire exercise.


AC 2012 may also include fakebelive attacks via turf like likely Sinai and Lebanonese rocket sites to take out rowdy rejectionist rocketeers 
Great and Little Satan will work as a team to prepare for the possibility of rockets, mortar rounds, and short-range and long-range ballistic missiles fired from multiple fronts. 

Pic - "“It’s about military teamwork." "

Sunday, October 21, 2012


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! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Friday, October 19, 2012

Drone Age

As Great Satan girds her loins to extract righteous payback for Benghazi, it may very well mean the expandingment of the drone wars

If so, Great Satan will have used drones to kill members of al-Qaida and affiliated groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya—six countries in just a few years. Mali may take its turn as the seventh.
This startlingly fast spread of drone warfare signifies a revolution in foreign affairs. And, for good or for ill, in an unprecedented way it has transformed the  presidency into the most powerful national office in at least half a century.

In the past, presidents faced two major obstacles when trying to use force abroad. The first was technological. The available options—troops, naval vessels, or air power—posed significant risks to American military personnel, cost a lot of money, proved effective only under limited conditions, or all of the above. Dead and maimed soldiers, hostages, the massive expense of a large-scale military operation, and backlash from civilian casualties can destroy a presidency, as Vietnam and Iraq showed.

The second obstacle was constitutional. The Constitution includes a clause that gives Congress the power to declare war. Presidents have been able to evade this clause for small wars—those involving only naval or air power, or a small number of troops for a limited period of time. They have mostly felt compelled to seek congressional authorization for large wars, no doubt in part so that they could spread the blame if something went awry.

But drones have changed the calculus. Because they are cheap and do not risk the lives of American soldiers, these weapons remove the technological obstacle to the use of force. And because drone strikes resemble limited air attacks, they seem to fall into the de facto “small wars” exception to the Constitution’s declare-war requirement. Unlike large wars, drone actions do not provoke congressional attention or even much political debate.

Courts will also not stop the drone program. Judges say that they possess no authority to interfere with military activities abroad, cannot compel the government to disclose secret information that would be necessary to referee a challenge, and cannot order government officials to pay damages for harm that they cause as they discharge their duties. Judges lack the capacity to second-guess the political and military judgments of the president, and they know it.

The Constitution has thus become a sleek and lethal machine for projecting violence abroad in order to protect Americans without risking democratic values at home. No downside exists unless you live in a foreign country in Southwest Asia or North Africa, where people deemed terrorists and those living among them will start dying in ever greater numbers as the drone program swells into a worldwide system of policing.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Collapse Of Autocrazies?

Are Collectivist China and Commonwealth Russia nearing their expiration dates?

Specifically - their ancient corrupt autocrazies are battling Fun and Free Choice, suffocating corruption versus command and control economies thatare creating a steady cadre of uber savvy kids that are educated, worldly connectioned and desireous of chiz that may not put the state 1st in each and any endeavour.

See, since the last millennium
 China and Russia have been constants in the world. They have been autocratic, resistant to the spread of freedom, occasionally belligerent toward their neighbors, and increasingly prosperous. They have consistently joined together in order to block Western initiatives in the UN Security Council and to defend dictatorships like Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

The two countries have created the illusion of durability. Vladimir Putin has just begun a six-year presidential term, with an option for another. Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao are planning to hand over power in October to a new tandem, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, who are expected to serve for ten years.  

Yet the evidence is growing that the apparent stability in Russia and China is untenable. For similar reasons, the two states have exhausted their current political and economic systems. Their rulers have grown rigid and are mired in corruption. 

Both their political elites and their average citizens are growing visibly restless. In the next decade, it is likely that one or both of these global powers will undergo an economic crisis and a dramatic political transformation. 

When and how it will happen is the most important “known unknown” that Great Satan and Free World will face

It's a wonder they are still around - even tho from like the Thin Lizzy era up til the new millennium - 1/2 the world's unfree, unfun dicts got the old heave.

How longer can certain elements remain in power? How do despotries defy the Universal Values of the Human Spirit?

Pic - "Darling Leader"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

44"s Most Epic F Up

As Electile Dysfunction Day roars to a climax - 44' s FoPo is taking more hits than HMS Indefatigable at Jütland

Plenty of chiz to get all choosy about - nicht wahr? The Commonwealth Reset, The Bystander in Chief pose while Preacher Command crushed the Green Revolution, Arab Sprang time travelling back to the 7th Century, announcing AFPAK"s UnAss date, drone wars, keeping Gitmo open, running away from Iraq and on and on...

Yet the most biggest Epic Fail?

Suriya al- Kubra!

Check it -  
44"s handling of Syria exemplifies every weakness in his foreign policy — from his excessive faith in “engaging” troublesome foreign leaders to his insistence on multilateralism as an end in itself to his self-defeating caution in asserting American power.   
 The result is not a painful but isolated setback, but an emerging strategic disaster: a war in the heart of the Middle East that is steadily spilling over to vital allies, such as Turkey and Jordan, and to volatile neighbors, such as Iraq and Lebanon. Al-Qaeda is far more active in Syria than it is in Libya — while more liberal and secular forces are turning against Great Satan because of her failure to help them. More than 30,000 people — most of them civilians — have been killed, and the toll mounts by the hundreds every day. 

Of course, 44 is not solely responsible for this mess. But his serial miscalculations have had the consistent if unintended effect of enabling Syria’s Bashar al-Assad — first to avoid international isolation, then to go on slaughtering his own population with impunity.

44"s Syria policy began in 2009 with the misguided idea of reaching out to the dictator. Within a month of his inauguration, 44 reversed 43’s approach of isolating Assad. He later reopened the Embassy and dispatched senior envoys, such as George Mitchell.

The problem with this policy was not just the distasteful courting of a rogue regime but the willful disregard of the lessons absorbed by 43, who also tried reaching out to Assad, only to learn the hard way that he was an irredeemable thug. Yet 44 insisted on reversing 43’s policy of distancing Great Satan from strongmen like Assad and Hosni Mubarak — a monumental miscalculation.

For the past three months, 44’s policy has become a negative: He is simply opposed to any use of American power. Fixed on his campaign slogan that “the tide of war is receding” in the Middle East, 44 claims that intervention would only make the conflict worse — and then watches as it spreads to NATO ally Turkey and draws in hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters.

It's Syria that is 44’s greatest failure; it will haunt whomever occupies the Oval Office next year.

Pic - "Syria's disregard for its civilian population is all too evident in its air campaign, which now apparently includes dropping these deadly cluster bombs into populated areas" 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Will Girl Power Save Pakistan?

 Nishan - e - Haider!

 Global 1st glancers could be forgiven for thinking at 1st glance that Land of the Pure's nation/state motto is  "Hey y'all! Watch this!" 

Aside from enjoying an amazingly underwhelming lit rate of 49%, Pakistan is sweetly poised to leap way ahead of Great Britain in the number of weaponry available for deployment and detonation as the world's 5th largest new clear power  
Pakistanis have united in outrage over the Taliban's attack on 14yo girl. Malala Yousafzai, campaigned for girls' education and became a prominent symbol of defiance against 7th century m"hammedist autocrazy. Gunmen boarded a school bus, asked for Malala by name, and shot her in the head (she is in critical condition). A Pakistani Taliban spokesman defended the attack, justifying it because Malala was promoting "enlightened moderation." He said they would attack her again if she recovered.

Will this atrocity finally push Pakistan's military and ISI intelligence agency to reject the militancy that pervades the country? Will Pakistan's leaders acknowledge they can't fight certain Taliban groups while providing a haven for other groups that are useful tools against their archenemy, India?

Is Malala's sacrifice is enough to wake the country to the threat it faces? Pakistani  religious parties, while denouncing the attack on Malala, have not condemned the Taliban by name. Nor has Imran Khan, who offered to pay for Malala's medical care but who still talks of deals with the militants.

Pakistan's top general rushed to Malala's bedside. But Pakistan still harbors the Afghan Taliban leaders who are responsible for the death of many thousands of civilians and want to take over Afghanistan after Great Satan splits the AO. And Pakistan harbors terrorist groups that murder Pakistani Shiites, Ahmadis, and Xians

Pic - "One person with courage is a majority”

Monday, October 15, 2012


Ah cover ups.

The charming thing about them is they eventually fail on an epic scale.

This week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a contentious hearing on the security situation in Benghazi before the murder of the Ambassador to Libya. 

As the events of September 11, 2012 continue to be detailed, check the chronology time line.

1 worthy quiz is why cause 44, Madame Sec HRC, and Madame Ambassador Rice repeatedly sans modesty or restraint publicize a video that really ain"t all that - in effect - ensuring easily violently excitable elements betwixt Suez and Indus would act out and in a tactically diagonal dimension - put even more ambassadors at risk?

Or even attempt  to “politicize” a security fiasco and national humiliation in Benghazi.

  • Hope Yet for Libya – Ann Marlowe – Wall Street Journal Europe – September 18, 2012
Pic - "Too much political cost.”

Sunday, October 14, 2012


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! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter