Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Miss Understanding

Never have heard of the Khorasan group before? It is, to put it simply, al Qaeda.

Why, then, did officials and reporters have such a hard time, at first, explaining that the airstrikes targeting the Khorasan group were really just part of our long war against al Qaeda?

The confusion is no accident. The way 44, his subordinates, and some U.S. intelligence officials think and talk about al Qaeda is wrong.

First, the so-called Khorasan group is part of core al Qaeda. The idea that terrorists cannot be core al Qaeda solely because they are located outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan is obtuse. Documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound show that the al Qaeda master ordered some of his minions out of the drones’ kill box in northern Pakistan and maintained ongoing communications with terrorists around the globe. The general manager of al Qaeda’s global network today is in Yemen.

What administration officials also ignore is that al Qaeda’s geographic expansion, or “metastasis,” has always been part of the plan. Despite al Qaeda’s leadership disputes with ISIL, there are more jihadist groups openly loyal to al Qaeda today than on 9/11 or when Barack Obama took office in January 2009. Earlier this month, the group announced the creation of a fifth regional branch, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), which likely subsumes several existing jihadist organizations. On September 6, AQIS-trained fighters boarded a Pakistani ship. Al Qaeda says they were attempting to launch missiles at an American warship, which would have been catastrophic, both in terms of the immediate damage and the ensuing political crisis in Pakistan.

AQIS joins Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Jabhat al Nusrah (Syria), and Al Shabaab (Somalia) as formal branches of al Qaeda, all of which owe their loyalty to Zawahiri. Other unannounced branches of al Qaeda probably exist, too. These are not just “cells,”but fully developed insurgency organizations that challenge governments for control of nation-states.

It is no wonder that, initially, there was such public confusion over the Khorasan group. Its very existence refutes the U.S. government’s paradigm for understanding the terrorist threat. Now more than ever, the administration should revisit its assessments of al Qaeda.

The idea that there is a geographically confined “core” of al Qaeda in South Asia that has little to do with what happens elsewhere is undermined by a mountain of evidence. Al Qaeda is still a cohesive international network of personalities and organizations. 
The details of al Qaeda’s plotting in Syria make this clear.

Pic - "You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan — the –Iranian–​Afghan border region — had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it."

Monday, September 29, 2014


Council Winners
Non-Council Winners Washington’s Ruling Class Is Fooling Itself About The Islamic State
submitted by Joshuapundit  
  • Second place with 2 1/3 votes – Matthew Barber/Syria CommentIf the U.S. Wanted To, It Could Help Free Thousands of Enslaved Yazidi Women in a Single Day submitted by The Glittering Eye
  • Third place with 2 votes – Kevin D. Williamson/NROThe Rape Epidemic Is a Fiction submitted by The Watcher
  • Fourth place with 1 2/3 votes – James Lewis/American ThinkerThe worldwide rise of sadistic political pathology submitted by Bookworm Room
  • Fifth place with 1 1/3 vote – Sultan KnishThe Rationing Society submitted by The Noisy Room
  • Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote – War News UpdatesAre American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq? submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
  • Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Daily CallerStingray Developer Misled FCC To Sell Cellphone Tracking Tech To Police submitted by VA Right!
  • Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote – All American BloggerWhy Is No One Bringing Up This Common Denominator In The NFL Domestic Violence Stories? submitted by Nice Deb
  • Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote – Blazing Cat FurUK: Work with extremist Islamic groups, says expert submitted by The Watcher
  • Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote – Phyllis SchlaflyThe Liberal Newcomers submitted by The Watcher
  • Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote – International Campaign for Human Rights in IranDeath Sentence for “Insulting the Prophet” on Facebook submitted by Rhymes with Right
  • See you next week!

    Friday, September 26, 2014

    Management Of Savagery

    Imperial Jihad by the book!

    It may not be as revealing as “Mein Kampf” or “The Communist Manifesto.”

    The “Savagery” manifesto proposes that the jihadists draw an overstretched America into a war in which it will eventually become “exhausted” and give up. This strategy requires polarizing the Muslim world and convincing those moderates who had hoped for U.S. protection that it’s futile.

    Published in 2004 by a jihadist who called himself Abu Bakr Naji, the book posits a world in which the superpower halo of the United States has disappeared and the Muslim world within the colonial boundaries known as the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement has descended into chaos — “savagery,” as the author bluntly puts it.

    Naji’s war plan was written in the aftermath of America’s 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq. His theme was the need to draw Great Satan even deeper into conflict across Muslim lands.

    Naji argues that if Great Satan overextends herself militarily, this will lead to her demise. “The overwhelming military power (weapons, technology, fighters) has no value without . . . the cohesion of (society’s) institutions and sectors.” Loss of America’s media reputation as an all-dominating superpower “removes the aura of invincibility which this power projects, [and reveals] that nothing at all stands in front of it.”

    The author’s premise was that Great Satan was a paper tiger that would become fatigued by a long war in Muslim countries and by social problems back home: “Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly.”

    The key to undermining American power is raw violence, the more shocking the better, he argues. It wasn’t just that this ultra-violence would expose the West’s feebleness but also that it would force Muslims to make a choice. In the disorder of formerly stable Arab lands, the jihadists would make their name through “management of savagery.” Naji even urged his readers to consult books on business administration.

    Naji had special contempt for Muslim softness. “The ingredient of softness is one of the ingredients of failure for any jihadi action,” he wrote. “It is better for those who . . . are also soft to sit in their homes. If not, failure will be their lot. . . . If we are not violent in our jihad and if softness seizes us, that will be a major factor in the loss of the element of strength.”

    To support his case for brutal tactics, Naji notes that two caliphs who followed the prophet Muhammad “burned (people) with fire, even though it is odious, because they knew the effect of rough violence in times of need.”

    In another passage, he notes that “we need to massacre” others as Muslims did after the death of Muhammad. Violence is beneficial, Naji argues: “Dragging the masses into the battle requires more actions which will inflame opposition and which will make people enter into the battle, willing or unwilling. . . . We must make this battle very violent, such that death is a heartbeat away.”
    Pic - "To assume that ISIL will be satisfied to remain within the bloody borders they’ve already carved is to mistakenly think that Cold War theories of deterrence apply to them."

    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    Mission Creep

    The pacifists last non battle cry!

    As best understood, the def of 'Mission Creep" is the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes. Mission creep may be considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when an Epic, often catastrophic, failure occurs.

    The mission of 44's September 10th speech so vaguely defined— “We will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. … If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven”—it's hard to tell what the mission is creeping from, or what it might be creeping to.
    Oh no!

    On the other hand, it could be argued it's an escalation type plan.

    Moving an entire squadron of the beloved A10 Warthog Thunderbolt II to somewhere in the 'Mideast' and creating a new HQ for an American Army division in Iraq could signal a new pivot to the Middle East!

    Pic - "Wouldn't be the 1st time a limited war spread like wildfire"

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    Khorasan Group

    The recent Air Blitz on what's left of Iraq and Syria have made the knowledge of al Qaeda's Especial Einsatzgruppen nationwide ya'll!!

    Named after a future posse from m"Hammedist prophecy these creepy cats are AKA Khorasan Group. 

    The Khorasan Group is a relatively small al Qaeda unit – made up of just some 50 hardened fighters with mixing jihadist affiliations, according to a half-dozen officials with knowledge of the group. As the U.S. military’s Central Command put it, they are “seasoned al Qaeda veterans.” A senior administration official told reporters the group grew out of al Qaeda's old core group in Afghanistan.

    "It's the same cast of characters we have had our eye on for some time," the official said.

    Back in June, an alliance had been building inside Syria between al Qaeda operatives there and those from al Qaeda’s dangerous Yemen-based branch, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), home to expert bomb makers. Sources told ABC News today some of those allied jihadis, then unidentified, made up the Khorasan Group.

    The group is not thought to be affiliated with ISIS, which had a public falling out with al Qaeda earlier this year. In fact, the Khorasan Group’s leader may have been tasked with fighting ISIS in Syria as well as the West, according to government documents and reports in the Long War Journal, as part of the larger, violent conflict between ISIS and al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, al-Nusra Front.

    The Khorasan Group is believed to led by Muhsin al-Fadhili, a Kuwaiti native. While there’s scant information about the organization he leads, al-Fadhli has a long international rap sheet.

    He’s wanted in the U.S. for his work as an “Iran-based senior al Qaeda facilitator and financier,” according to the State Department, and is suspected of being one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted operatives – one of the few aware of the 9/11 attacks before they happened.

    Al-Fadhli, 33, was designated a terrorist by the U.S. back in 2005 for providing “financial and material support to the al-Zarqawi Network and al Qaeda,” the State Department said. Ironically over the years the al-Zarqawi Network in Iraq would mutate into what is now ISIS.

    Unlike ISIS, which is attempting to establish an Islamic kingdom centered in Syria and Iraq through large land grabs and local governance, U.S. officials say that as an al Qaeda group, Khorasan’s goal is to attack the West in spectacular fashion – and that such plots appear to be “imminent.”

    Pic - “In terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as the Islamic State.”

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    Significant Strike


    Great Satan just bush wacked the brand spanking new Caliphate with a historic series of air raids. Arab air forces from Whahabbi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Jordan were sweetly escorted into combat courtesy Great Satan's Air Force Raptors and Navy Super Hornets from USS GHW Bush.

    USS Philippine Sea and USS Arleigh Burke launched drones and world famous Tomahawk crusade missiles.

    Target sets look like headquarters and weaponry supply depots in Syria. Logistics capabilities and infrastructure in MILSPEAK. Qatar – who bears some responsibility for the entire sorry mess to begin with - may have ratted out certain sites in the ISIS caliphate

    This is a significant strike.

    Using bunches of jets from Araby is a first – and could be considered a blue print of sorts for a Persian panty raid down the line. Also the F22 Raptor made her combat debut

    Qatar has to make a choice. Giving up righteous intell and deets on certain tender portions of al Qaeda's einsatzgruppen nom d'guerr'd "Khorasan Group" is a good start.

     The Ottomans have changed their tune regarding their air bases as every neighbor IS has is starting to turn against it either through out right belligerence or hapless by stander mode.

    The regime in Syria and their creepy bff's in Hiz”B”Allah and al Quds are no doubt doing some serious thinking as the caliphates Capital in Raqqa gets some overtly robust aerial attention...

    Pic - "Tonight, the international community has joined our fight against ISIS in Syria“

    Monday, September 22, 2014

    Dong Feng Phobia

    Dong Feng!!

    Collectivist China's The DF-21D "Dong Feng" Sino speak for East Wind) anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is more than just a missile!

    She requires a broad, sophisticated support system. Unlike a missile launched at static targets, a carrier-killing ASBM requires terminal guidance, as she must revise its flight path after reentering the atmosphere. 
    From launch to strike, the flight of an ASBM can take fifteen or so minutes, at which time the carrier in question will have more than likely moved its position on the open ocean. The missile thus needs to be adjusted remotely or needs to have the capacity to identify the carrier on its own. Both of these processes depend on the operation of a sophisticated set of sensors, as well as a communication system capable of integrating these sensors and transmitting information to shooters. 

    As  emphasized, “the successful achievement of high-quality, real-time satellite imagery and target-locating data and fusion as well as reliable indigenous satellite navigation and positioning would facilitate holding enemy vessels at risk via devastating multi-axis strikes .”
    If a swarm of Dong Fengs were like fired off, a percentage (depending on reliability) would invariably go astray without help. American escorts would shoot down some percentage with ship-board ABM systems. Electronic disruption would cause some to plunge harmlessly into the ocean. And finally, some might hit a carrier, or hit carrier escorts.

    A successful hit will almost certainly result in at least a “mission kill,” disabling a  carrier for the remainder of the conflict.

    Or worse...
    "USS George Washington was conducting routine patrols off the coast of China to send a signal of U.S. resolve. China responded with a signal of its own—sinking the massive ship.

    "The ship broke in two and sank in twenty minutes. The Chinese medium-range ballistic missile had a penetrator warhead that drilled through all fourteen decks of the ship and punched a cavernous hole measuring twenty-feet wide from the flat-top landing deck through to the bottom of the hull.

    "Ammunition stores ignited secondary explosions. Two million gallons of JP-5 jet fuel poured into the sea. The attack was calamitous and damage control was pointless.

    "While the Pentagon was reeling to determine exactly what happened, a well-orchestrated and pre-planned ‘‘rescue’’ effort was already underway by a flotilla of first responders from China.

    "The Chinese media reported on the bravery of Chinese naval forces, fisheries enforcement police and common fishermen who happened to be in the vicinity of the disaster and were able to save numerous lives.

    "The massive warship had a crew of 3,200 sailors, and there were nearly 1,800 additional sailors and airmen embarked with the wing of aircraft on board the ship. Among this floating city, thousands of souls either incinerated or drowned. "

    Pic - "Our intelligence analysts need to come to closer grips with China’s grand strategy (if she has one)"

    Saturday, September 20, 2014


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

    Thus, sans further adieu (or a don't)

    Council Winners

    Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!
    Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

    Friday, September 19, 2014

    Ally Free

    As 44's magical international community organizing skills enjoy another Epic Fail - time to ponder...

    The so-called Islamic State has left destruction everywhere that it has gained ground. As in the case of the tribal Scythians, Vandals, Huns or Mongols of the past, though, sowing chaos in its wake does not mean that the Islamic State won’t continue to seek new targets for its devastation.

    If unchecked, the Islamic State will turn what is left of the nations of the Middle East into a huge Mogadishu-like tribal wasteland, from the Syrian Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. They will happily call the resulting mess a caliphate.

    It is critical for Great Satan to put together some sort of alliance of friendly Middle East governments and European states to stop the Islamic State before it becomes a permanent base for terrorist operations against Great Satan and her allies.  
    Unfortunately, it appears unlikely that America will line up a muscular alliance — at least until the Islamic State reaches the gates of Baghdad or plows on through to Saudi Arabia and forces millions of Arabs either to fight or submit.

    Why the reluctance for allies to join Great Satan?

    Most in the Middle East and Europe do not believe the administration knows much about the Islamic State, much less what to do about it. The president has dismissed it in the past as a JV group that could be managed, contradicting the more dire assessments of his own secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    When 44 finally promised to destroy the Islamic State, Secretary of State John F. Kerry almost immediately backtracked that idea of a full-blown war. Current CIA Director John O. Brennan once dismissed as absurd any idea of Islamic terrorists seeking a modern caliphate. It may be absurd, but it is now also all too real.

    Such confusion sadly is not new. The president hinges our hopes on the ground on the Free Syrian Army — which he chose not to help when it once may have been viable. And not long ago, he dismissed it as an inexperienced group of doctors and farmers whose utility was mostly a “fantasy.”

    No ally is quite sure of what 44 wants to do about Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom he once threatened to bomb for using chemical weapons, before backing off.

    Potential allies also feel that the administration will get them involved in an operation only to either lose interest or leave them hanging. When 44 entered office in 2009, Iraq was mostly quiet. Both the president and Vice President Joe Biden soon announced it secure and stable. Then they simply pulled out all U.S. troops, bragged during their re-election campaign that they had ended the war, and let our Iraqi and Kurdish allies fend for themselves against suddenly emboldened Islamic terrorists.

    In Libya, the administration followed the British and French lead in bombing Moammar Gadhafi’s regime out of power — but then failed to help dissidents fight opportunistic Islamists. The result was the Benghazi disaster, a caricature of a strategy dubbed “leading from behind,” and an Afghanistan-like failed state facing Europe across the Mediterranean.

    Now, the president claims authorization to bomb the Islamic State based on a 13-year-old joint resolution — a 43rd administration-sponsored effort that 44 himself had often criticized. If the president cannot make a new case to Congress and the American people for bombing the Islamic State, then allies will assume that he cannot build an effective coalition either.

    Finally, potential allies doubt that Great Satanwants to be engaged abroad. They are watching China flex its muscles in the South China Sea. They have not yet seen a viable strategy to stop the serial aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Iran seems to consider U.S. deadlines to stop nuclear enrichment in the same manner that Mr. Assad scoffed at administration red lines. With Egypt, the administration seemed confused about whether to support the tottering Hosni Mubarak government, the radical Muslim Brotherhood or the junta of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi — only at times to oppose all three.

    44 himself seems disengaged, if not bored, with foreign affairs. After publicly deploring the beheading of American journalist James Foley, 44 hit the golf course. When the media reported the disconnect, he scoffed that it was just bad “optics.”

    There is a legitimate debate about the degree to which Great Satan should conduct a pre-emptive war to stop the Islamic State before it gobbles up any more nations. So far, the president has not entered that debate, much less won it.

    No wonder, then, that potential allies do not quite know what Great Satan is doing, how long America will fight, and what will happen to U.S. allies when we likely get tired, quit and leave.

    For now, most allies are sitting tight and waiting for pre-emptive, unilateral U.S. action. If we begin defeating the Islamic State, they may eventually join in on the kill; if not, they won’t.

    That is a terrible way to wage coalition warfare, but we are reaping what we have sown.

    Pic - "And then there's Little Satan..."

    Thursday, September 18, 2014


    Operation Market Garden!

    70th anniversary of the unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time.

    Field Marshal Montgomery's goal was to force an entry into Germany over the Lower Rhine. He wanted to circumvent the northern end of the Siegfried Line and this required the operation to seize the bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine) as well as several smaller canals and tributaries.

    Crossing the Lower Rhine would allow the Allies to encircle Germany's industrial heartland in the Ruhr from the north. It made large-scale use of airborne forces, whose tactical objectives were to secure the bridges and allow a rapid advance by armored units into Northern Germany.

    Alas, Deutschland, unbeknownst to the Allies,  parked one of her premier Ss panzer divisions nearby to rest and refit after losing their hide in France.

    Several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured at the beginning of the operation but Gen. Horrocks' XXX Corps ground force advance was delayed by the demolition of a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal, an extremely overstretched supply line at Son, and failure to capture the main road bridge over the river Waal before 20 September.

    At Arnhem, the British 1st Airborne Division encountered far stronger resistance than anticipated. In the ensuing battle, only a small force managed to hold one end of the Arnhem road bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them, they were overrun on 21 September. The rest of the division, trapped in a small pocket west of the bridge, had to be evacuated on 25 September.

    The Allies had failed to cross the Rhine in sufficient force and the river remained a barrier to their advance until offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Market Garden ended Allied expectations of finishing the war by Christmas 1944.

    Pic - "Out of ammunition. God Save The King"

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014


    Amidst all the non war non profit jaw flapping from the JV Team AKA 44's Posse, the fact is - Strategy = Ends + Means + Ways.

    In essence, the strategist identifies the overall goals or objectives (the “ends”), then takes the available resources, including personnel and equipment (the “means”) and develops concepts (the “ways”) that use these resources to accomplish the overall goals. This elegant formulation of strategy has been taught widely, and its influence was evident in the president’s speech.

    Today, it is striking to see this dialogue played out in near real time with speeches, bombs, tweets, and beheadings — both sides acting and reacting. This interplay will continue for some time, as ISIS is a thinking, learning, and adaptive enemy that will take steps to defend against U.S. strikes, reinforce its core constituencies, and attack in asymmetric ways. Eventually, the anti-ISIS coalition will need to adjust its strategy with an eye to gaining the continuing advantage.

    That will be interesting indeed.

    At least an Army combat Aviation Brigade (about 3,300 soldiers) to operate transport, reconnaissance, and attack helicopters.

    These special operators will be at high risk of locally-overwhelming enemy force, as well as attacks by ISIS operatives infiltrating the tribes and even the security forces among whom they will be living.

    They must have access to a large and responsive quick reaction force (QRF ) that can get to threatened units rapidly and with dominating force. We estimate that two battalion-sized QRFs will need to be available at all times, one in Iraq and one in Syria.

    Sustaining the availability of two battalions requires the deployment of two brigades, perhaps 7,000 soldiers in all. Additional forces will be required to secure temporary bases, provide medevac coverage, and support necessary enablers.

    Flight times and the medevac requirements to get wounded soldiers to help within the “golden hour” dictate that the U.S. will have to establish temporary bases inside Iraq and Syria. Bases in Kurdistan, Turkey, and Jordan are simply too far away from the core ISIS safe-havens along the Euphrates.

    Subsequent phases depend entirely on validating the assumption that the Sunni Arab communities in Iraq and Syria are both willing and able to fight alongside the U.S. and our partners against ISIS. The details of those phases will depend on which specific tribes and groups step forward and what their capabilities and limitations might be.

    They will also depend on the speed with which the ISF can be rebuilt and reformed
    into a non-sectarian and effective security force. The first phase itself will take months. Subsequent phases will take longer.

    Adopting this strategy entails signing up for a prolonged deployment of military forces, including ground forces.

    Even then, this strategy suffers from the high risk of failure and the near-certainty that the U.S. will suffer casualties, including at the hands of supposedly friendly forces. American troops dispersed among the Sunni population are at risk of being kidnapped.

    The significant anti-aircraft capabilities of ISIS put American helicopters at risk. It may turn out that the Sunni Arabs cannot or will not fight with us, finally, and that the overall strategy proposed here is infeasible. In that case, it will be necessary to abandon this strategy and reconsider our options.

    Great Satan should adopt this strategy despite these risks.

    The consequences of inaction or inadequate action are evident:
    ISIS will retain control of much of the territory it holds, sectarian war will escalate, more foreign fighters including Americans and Europeans will cycle through the battlefield and get both trained and further radicalized, and al-Qaeda will benefit from the largest and richest safe-haven it has ever known.

    It's worth accepting the risks of this strategy to avoid this outcome

    Pic - "Last week, 44 announced a strategy to re-defeat the terrorists in Iraq. But instead of listening to his commanders this time around, 44 once again rejected the advice of his Generals."

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    Keep It Simple

    Shout It Out Loud!

    KISS - the olde Keep It Simple Stupid meme can also be applied like Black Diamond eyeliner to l'sitch au courrant in Suriya al Kubra and the Land Betwixt The 2 Rivers....

    Complexity is all too often the enemy of success. When too many uncertainties mix together the unknowable amount of resulting risk always becomes unmanageable. Unfortunately, the administration’s newly announced strategy to deal with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) severely violates this principle.

    First, the strategy seems ignorant of Iraq’s troubled history — the lessons of which a generation of American service members have learned at great cost. The administration is desperately hoping to hold together a state whose borders were defined by the West less than a hundred years ago, but which has been marked by internecine strife between three distinct cultural segments — Sunnis, Shi’a, and Kurds — for nearly 1400 years. Indeed, this is yet another instance of the tribalistic “my family against my neighbor, my neighbor against my clan, and my clan against the neighboring clan” cultural view dominant throughout much of the Middle East.

    The past three decades have continued this pattern in Iraq: Sunnis brutally repressed and starved out the country’s Shi’a during a horrific decade-long war with Iran, a predominantly Shi’a country, and following the 1991 Gulf War there was a series of Shi’a and Kurdish uprisings against Saddam Hussein, the suppression of which included forcible relocation of the mainly Shi’a Marsh Arabs living in the Tigris-Euphrates river basin and the deadly gassing of thousands of Kurds.

    Is it any wonder then that when Shi’a Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki came to power he demonstrably favored his own sect and that Sunnis and Kurds roundly rejected him? More to the point, is there any real chance the new Shi’a prime minister will be significantly more successful in uniting these disparate, ages-old enemies when centuries of mistrust continue to cloud public and sectarian opinion, and be able to do so amidst an ongoing civil war?

    It is a fool’s errand to try to force the state of Iraq to remain intact when that outcome requires political compromises and burying of religious and ethnic hatreds that are all too evident throughout the entire region. The facts on the ground and decades of Western political and military failures support the conclusion that forcing these disparate sects together without also accepting a ruthless dictator brutal enough to force public acquiescence is simply not possible. And, obviously, this policy also means hoping against hope that the complex swirl of sectarian divides, unstable (if not untenable) power-sharing arrangements, and splitting of spoils and oil revenues can be contained while the central government fights the prolonged civil war against ISIS that has taken root within its borders.

    Yet the administration’s plans hinge on providing support to Iranian-backed Iraqi leaders in taking on the Sunni extremists of ISIS by arming and supporting moderate Sunnis who will be fighting to sustain their subservience to a Shi’a government. Wouldn’t it make more sense to recognize the reality of three distinct territories of what used to be Iraq and thus help Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi’a fight ISIS in the name of their own respective sovereignties? Then all the parties would be defending their own self-interest, and the anti-ISIS battle can be separated from the entangled complexity of objectives that arise when defeating ISIS leads to political outcomes against the fighting forces’ own interests.

    Similarly, in Syria the administration has chosen the complexity of cross-cutting entanglements by being either unwilling or unable to make the necessary, but miserably distasteful, alliances with various actors like Syria’s President Assad and his Iranian backers – despite making alliances with those same Iranian backers in Iraq. Instead, we are choosing to try and find some elusive segment of Syrian society that, though they have not yet emerged three years into a civil war, is capable of bearing arms effectively against both ISIS and the Syrian military, is less radical than ISIS, and yet still strong enough to rule post-Assad.

    No such force exists, and building one — if it is even possible — would take years and require arming untold hordes of fighters, any number of whom could easily switch sides and join ISIS at any moment or, perhaps more likely, retreat from the fight and leave all the U.S.-supplied weapons systems in the hands of ISIS, just as happened with the Iraqi Army earlier this year. Again, the complexity and opportunity for failure as a function of unknown and uncontrollable events is impossible to calculate.

    In the end, the simplest military strategy almost always works best. Diplomacy and politics exist in a realm where there it is possible to navigate complicated and entangled subtleties, but when the bullets start flying and people start dying it is better to keep it simple: Identify the main enemy, make whatever alliances you have to in order to win, and get the job done. It was surely hard for Churchill and President Roosevelt to be aligned with Stalin to eradicate the greater evil of Hitler; and no one envies Truman’s difficult decision to drop the atomic bomb to achieve the end of World War Two. But that is what wartime strategy often entails — hard choices, anguishing alliances… and the will to win.

    In his speech to the nation last week, the president clearly identified the three pillars of his real strategy for defeating ISIS: (1) ISIS must be destroyed, (2) he is unwilling to use our military on the ground to do it, and (3) he cannot or will not make hard choices like splitting up Iraq or partnering with Assad. Perhaps any two of these might be doable, but there is no way all three can hold for the period of time this effort will require. In the end, being unwilling to use our own troops means crafting a coalition of people with different interests, capabilities, and senses of morality.

    Accepting this truth should lead us to a simple, straightforward plan that partitions Iraq and makes a deal with Assad. Instead, the president plans to make complex alliances with multiple Sunni states to strengthen the non-ISIS Sunnis in Syria — “moderate militants” — that also want to topple Iranian-backed Assad, while in Iraq he plans to support Iranian-backed Shi’a in fielding a mixed army of Shi’a and Sunni against ISIS. This plan has become a complex morass before we even start, and reflects a gross misunderstanding of what constitutes a plausible, successful military strategy. War is hard enough without undue complications, and keeping it simple is the best way to avoid making this another case of doing stupid “stuff.”
    Pic " I wanna rock and roll all night and party every day!"

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    Boots On The Ground

    If it's true that Great Satan's security depends of foreign conscripts in 44's new IS/ISIS/ISIL War and those conscript boots are gon be from Araby - what kinda boots are we talking here?

    For the most part, the Gulf states use their military to protect the ruling elite and menace civilians who dare challenge their authority. Their utility against a lethal force like ISIL is, at best, questionable.
    How do Gulf Arab militaries compare with those of other nations? To rank 106 countries by their military strength, the website Global Firepower uses over 50 factors, not including nuclear weapons. By their reckoning, the highest-ranking Gulf Arab military belongs to Saudi Arabia, which is 25th.

     That’s in part because the quality of the military hardware at its disposal: the best that petrodollars can buy. (For instance, it ranks 13th in the number of attack aircraft and 9th in the number of armored fighting vehicles.) 
    Even so, Saudi Arabia ranks just one place higher than Syria overall. And, as we’ve seen, Bashar al-Assad’s forces, despite overwhelmingly superior arms, have lost vast swathes of the country to ISIL. It’s far from clear that the Saudis would fare much better. 
    The other Gulf states rank much farther down the list: the UAE is 42nd, Yemen 45th, Oman 69th, Kuwait 74th, Bahrain 81st and Qatar 82nd. 
    How can this be? After all, Gulf Arab states spend vast amounts of their oil revenues on shiny military gear, most of it from the US and Europe. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is the world’s fourth-largest military spender—the second-largest, as a proportion of its annual budget. 
    But, like most other Gulf militaries, the Saudis have little actual combat experience. They barely contribute to the UN’s peacekeeping forces

    Although Qatar and the UAE contributed aircraft to the coalition that imposed a no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, the heavy lifting was done by US and European air forces. (More recently, UAE planes have bombed Islamist militants in Tripoli.) 
    Ironically, the Gulf military that has the most fighting experience comes from the poorest state in the region: Yemen, where a Houthi insurgency in the north and an al-Qaeda franchise in the east keep the military constantly busy. 

    Looking beyond the Gulf states, Egypt’s military is ranked 13th, which is impressive until you consider how much it has struggled to contain militant groups much smaller than ISIS and lacking serious weaponry in the Sinai Peninsula. (Jordan, another Arab nation that is part of the coalition, is ranked 67th.)
    Outside the Arab world, Turkey is ranked 8th. The Turkish military has experience dealing with Kurdish separatists as well as a homegrown Islamist terror threat, so its absence from the coalition will hurt.

    The other major power in the region is not invited: Iran is ranked 22nd. 
    Untried and untested though they may be, Gen. John Allen, brought out of retirement by the  administration to herd the military cats of the coalition, will still be hoping he can get Arab air forces in the mix. That’s because the optics are important, even if their presence in any actual fighting is mostly optional.

    Saturday, September 13, 2014


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

    Thus, sans further adieu (or a don't)

    Council Winners

  • *First place with 3 2/3 votes!Obama’s Untruth, Inc. submitted by Joshuapundit

  • Second place *t* with 1 1/3 votes The Noisy RoomCuba Trolls America’s Left for Spies

  • Second place *t* with 1 1/3 votes The Independent SentinelYour child’s school might be pushing Zinn’s Marxist view of US history

  • Third place with 1 vote The RazorIt’s Jews All The Way Down

  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote The Right PlanetThe Immigration Nightmare

  • Fourth place *t* with 2/3 vote VA Right! - Bob McDonnell Guilty on 11 Counts, Maureen Guilty on 9 Counts

  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 voteBookworm RoomBook Review — Bing West’s “One Million Steps : A Marine Platoon at War”

  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 voteThe Glittering Eye -Second Term Foreign Policy

  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 voteNice Deb Ward Churchill Still Crazy After All These Years (Video)

  • Fifth place *t* with 1/3 voteThe Colossus of RhodeyAs a life-long Rams fan, I say this is patently ridiculous

  • Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!

    Friday, September 12, 2014

    Blades At A Gunfight?

    As 44 directs Great Satan back into World Police mode with Iraq III, gotta wonder again about the utter unseriousness with Nat'l Defense of a certain political party and their best and brightest hanging on the reins of hyper puissance.

    1st Off - texting all our punches. Whisker Tangy Foxwhat? Been doing some massive research and reading on the kick off of WWI (recently an exact century old)and despite multiple sources - can't seem to find anything where the naughty Imperial Germans broadcast what they would or wouldn't do. The Allies had no idea and dang near lost the war in the 1st 30 days. Broadcasting no troops on the ground doesn't seem to help our side much.

    2nd - If IS/ISIS/ISIL is making tons of cash on a daily basis with captured oilfields, shouldn't we be seeing an audacious American vertical envelopment to take over these fields for our own delights? As in take over and hold and gather the ill gotten riches unto ourselves. At least - shouldn't we see a massive Ploesti type raid that wrecks the place beyond their ability to get it back up and running?

    3rd - As best understood the Caliphates HQ is in Syria. An air campaign to take out Syria's air defense system may be in the works - which would allow us to destroy their capital. Capturing it with a brigade or two would send a far greater message that we are in it to win it.

    Too much to list perhaps, yet as 'Allies" do the non profit jaw flapping dance and skate away from using their conscripts as infantry to sieze and hold turf, it looks liked a certain political party and their brainiacs are again totally unserious.

    Pic - "44 anounced he's bringing counter terrorism to a counter insurgency fight"

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    44's War Speech

    44 kicks off a war. Sort of...

    My fellow Americans — tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.

    As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.

    Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL — which calls itself the “Islamic State.”

    Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.

    In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. In acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists — Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

    So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East — including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region — including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners — including Europeans and some Americans — have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.

    I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

    But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.

    Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.

    First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.

    Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American service members to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi Security Forces. Now that those teams have completed their work — and Iraq has formed a government — we will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission — we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We will also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL control.

    Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.

    Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into — and out of — the Middle East. And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the UN Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.

    Fourth, we will continue providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.

    This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.

    My Administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL. But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.

    Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved — especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.

    My fellow Americans, we live in a time of great change. Tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked. Next week marks 6 years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression. Yet despite these shocks; through the pain we have felt and the grueling work required to bounce back — America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.

    Our technology companies and universities are unmatched; our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades. For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history. Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day — and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.

    Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America — our scientists, our doctors, our know-how — that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people — or the world — again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.

    America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia — from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East — we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding. Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. I do so as a Commander-in-Chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform — pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the Middle East, and service-members who support our partners on the ground.

    When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said. “We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”

    That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety — our own security — depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation, and uphold the values that we stand for — timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.

    May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.

    Pic - "44 and the Wimp Factor"

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    Pragmatic Progressive Foreign Policy?

    As ebberdobby waits for 44's Big War Speech, can't help to look back as the fopo that brought us to this point.

    So what is the president if not a realist? A progressive pragmatist?

    As the president himself has put it, his foreign-policy philosophy is “Don’t do stupid s***,” which would be a decent tagline for pragmatism. Consequently, the administration’s foreign policy has a distinctly ad hoc quality: It occasionally resembles realism but also sometimes looks like liberal hawkishness, as in Libya in 2011, or old-school progressive idealism, as in the president’s Cairo and Ankara speeches, which gave the impression that 44 believed he could talk people out of their interests, grudges, and hatreds.

    A truly realist president would look very different. Rather than elevating ad hocery to the level of foreign policy, he would act strategically, figuring out where to invest effort and resources and where to withhold them. Rather than presiding over inaction and drift, he would focus intently on maintaining America’s power by undertaking tough but necessary domestic reforms to spur growth. Where appropriate, he would be visibly strong and decisive, following the advice Eisenhower reportedly gave Nixon: Never let your enemy know what you will not do. In a world that is increasingly competitive, unstable, and dangerous, we could hardly hope for better.

    Pic - "Long War Redux"

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

    The Space Between

    War On The Rocks has a great bit up that reflects how unserious a certain political pary is about stuff like Nat'l Defense and Foreign Policy...

    44's commitment to reducing America’s reliance on the military instrument of power is well-known. It has been a constant theme of his presidency – from his first presidential campaign through his major speech on foreign policy at West Point earlier this year. It is therefore paradoxical that the administration’s foreign policy outlook and operational style have made use of the military instrument almost unavoidable. By failing to understand that the space between war and peace is not an empty one – but a landscape churning with political, economic, and security competitions that require constant attention – American foreign policy risks being reduced to a reactive and tactical emphasis on the military instrument by default.

    This tactical mindset provides an explanation for the apparent failure to appreciate how to leverage military force for strategic ends. This view leads to an under-appreciation of its broader deterrent value and the role that military forces can play in shaping security environments and consolidating tactical gains to ensure progress toward policy goals.   Military forces – strong land forces especially – provide reassurance and tangible presence of American commitment.   One of the key insights of the recently released National Defense Panel report was to make the important point that powerful U.S. military capabilities can shape events and provide options that may, by their mere existence, deter others from taking actions that require a U.S. military response. They help to establish the conditions to allow U.S. diplomats and policymakers to engage in that space between peace and war.

    The emphasis on short-term military tactics as opposed to the strategies that must undergird the use of force occurs on both sides of the political spectrum. Isolationists on the right are prey to the view that American power abroad equates purely with military power, and as such is too expensive and costly (in American lives) to project. Their version of power is far too narrow. America is about more than its military power abroad. Although many on the right correctly highlight the importance of American economic power, few seem to embrace ideas about how to constructively shape and influence. While many Republicans in Congress are now advocating for strikes against ISIS, the key question will be whether they will support the consolidation and active diplomacy that will also be required to address the drivers of conflict.

    The tragedy of America’s inability (or unwillingness) to develop the mindset and the mechanisms to compete in this “space between” means that we reduce our options and in the end, resort to the military instrument. Peace does not exist in a state of inertia. It must be actively and consistently maintained by engaging in the political competitions that are its constant feature.

    Pic - "Why on earth is 44 tipping his hand to ISIS?"