Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Persia's Imperial Surge

As the nuclear negotiations betwixt Persia and Great Satan enter their final stages, one of the most salient questions that should be considered is...

How the Islamic Republic would spend the billions of dollars it would receive as a result of an accord. Proponents of a deal insist that Iran will funnel much of this newfound wealth into its depleted economy.

Proponents of the view that Iran will not become a more aggressive regional power in the aftermath of a deal ignore how the Middle East has evolved since the Arab awakenings of 2011.

The post-colonial Arab state system that featured the dominant nations of Egypt and Iraq is no more. Egypt is too preoccupied with internal squabbles to offer regional leadership while Iraq is a fragmented nation ruled by a Shiite government ostracized from Sunni Arab councils. Iran has embarked on a dramatic new mission and is seeking to project its power into corners of the Middle East in ways that were never possible before. This is not traditional Iranian foreign policy with its sponsorship of terrorism and support for rejectionist groups targeting Israel; imperialism beckons the mullahs, but it is also economically burdensome.

Without an arms control agreement and the financial rewards it will bring — from sanctions relief, the release of funds entrapped abroad and new investments — Iran would find it difficult to subsidize this imperial surge.

The massive financial gains from the deal would enable the Islamic Republic’s imperial surge while allowing a repressive regime that was on the brink of collapse in 2009 to consolidate power. This would be no small achievement for Iran’s emboldened rulers.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Believe it or don't - ISIS Caliphate celebrates their 1st Joyeuex Anniversarie today.

Since at least 2004, a significant goal of the group has been the foundation of an Islamic state. Specifically, ISIL has sought to establish itself as a caliphate, an Islamic state led by a group of religious authorities under a supreme leader—the caliph—who is believed to be the successor to Muhammad. In June 2014, ISIL published a document in which it claimed to have traced the lineage of its leader al-Baghdadi back to Muhammad and upon proclaiming a new caliphate on 29 June, the group appointed al-Baghdadi as its caliph. As caliph, he demands the allegiance of all devout Muslims worldwide, according to Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh).

When the caliphate was proclaimed, ISIL stated: "The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organisations becomes null by the expansion of the khilafah's [caliphate's] authority and arrival of its troops to their areas." This was a rejection of the political divisions in the Middle East that were established by Western powers during World War I in the Sykes–Picot Agreement.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


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

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

NATO Response Force Doubles


Despite any thoughts to the contrary - old Europa is semi sorta kinda getting serious about rowdy Russia's Near Abroad chicanery.

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said Monday the alliance will approve plans this week to more than double the size of its rapid response force, having already created a special spearhead unit in the fallout from the Ukraine crisis.

"NATO defence ministers ... (will) take a decision to further increase the strength and capacity of the NATO Response Force to 30,000 to 40,000 troops, more than double its current size," Stoltenberg said ahead of a meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels.

The US-led alliance set up what is known as the NATO Response Force in 2002, based on some 13,000 troops able to get to crisis hotspots much faster than its main forces.

But the Ukraine crisis and Russian intervention in support of pro-Moscow rebels showed that the NRF might not be able to move fast enough in a vastly changed security environment, Stoltenberg said.

Accordingly, in September, NATO leaders set up what is known as an NRF spearhead unit of some 5,000 troops able to deploy within days, not months.

Stoltenberg said the alliance was making steady progress on beefing up what is known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force with a full complement of resources.

He also said NATO would "speed up our decision-making process" to meet the new challenges, including setting up a new logistics headquarters unit within the overall command structure.
As a result, the NATO supreme commander would get "more responsibility on deployment" so the 28-member alliance could respond more quickly, he said.

Political controls over the military, he added, would not be compromised.

"These are important decisions, part of NATO's adaptation to a new security environment," he said, adding that the allies would also have to meet commitments made at the September summit to increase defence spending to the equivalent of 2.0 percent of annual economic output.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is due to attend his first NATO defence ministers meeting as Washington promises to do more to reassure its allies, especially those in eastern Europe once ruled from Moscow.

The US government is considering pre-positioning heavy equipment in the eastern Europe.

"If we're going to increase the resilience of the alliance and particularly of allies at the edges of alliance territory... this is an important thing to do," Carter said Monday in Berlin.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Since way back in the Before Time the world has been magically blessed with 2 Koreas - the yankee part is little more than a starving, slave trading underground rocket factory with an unfree, unfun new clear weaponized nation state attached.

The Great Satan SoKo Hook Up is up for grabs...

Throughout the history of the U.S.-ROK alliance, South Korea has faced abandonment fears stemming from the possibility that its great power sponsor would remove its troops from the Korean peninsula and end or weaken the alliance. South Korea’s fear is a reasonable reflection of historical events.

In 1950, Kim Il Sung’s decision to invade South Korea depended on his belief that the United States would not come to Seoul’s rescue. Even today, South Korean fears of abandonment persist despite the current strength of the alliance. The U.S. is a global actor with an array of interests that make it difficult to maintain focus on any one relationship, no matter the importance. Since the United States has interests across the globe, it often has to react to unplanned circumstances that distract attention from declared policies and long-term strategies.

For the United States, it is important to be aware of abandonment fears of its allies. Awareness of these fears does not mean that U.S. strategy should be held hostage to them, but as in all relationships communication is important. Rather than consult with the ROK, Nixon and Carter unilaterally made plans that had serious implications for ROK security, and even let other parties know before South Korea. ROK feelings of insecurity can result in outcomes that are not in America’s best interests, such as Park’s secret plan to build a nuclear weapon.

For the ROK, it is important to realize that the U.S-ROK alliance is not an iron-clad guarantee, but a relationship that the ROK needs to tend carefully. Carter was clear that Americans found Park Chung Hee’s human rights violations repugnant and that this divergence in the U.S. and ROK government’s values was a factor in the planned troop withdrawal. While the ROK is today a liberal democracy that is closely aligned to the United States, maintaining close relations should remain a priority and should not be taken for granted.  
However, no matter how much communication and relationship building the United States and the ROK commit to, as the weaker partner in the relationship, it is likely that the ROK’s abandonment fear will play an important role in the alliance as long as it exists.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Pakistan Saudi Hook Up


If two dysfunctionals hook up is it like a dysfunctional hook up?

What if it's two dysfunctional nation states hooking up?

This question is an important one for a simple reason:

 Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are each other’s wild cards. Each is the other’s out-of-region game-changer, a factor that must play into the calculations of all other players in the Middle East and South Asia alike. Think you’ve got the complex equation sorted out of Arabs vs. Persians, Sunnis vs. Shi’a, Ba’athists vs. Islamists? Well, if Pakistan decides to throw its weight around the Middle East, you’ll have to re-tabulate your odds. Think you understand the delicate balance between New Delhi, Islamabad, Kabul, and Beijing? Well, Riyadh has long been staking one particular player at this table, and whether it chooses to double down or fold on its investment will affect everyone else’s bets. To understand the strategies of both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, one must understand what underlies their durable but lopsided relationship.

Despite decades of lavish funding to Pakistan, the Saudis might wonder what they are getting for their riyals. And Pakistanis, with all the problems they face in their own neighborhood, might be amazed that anyone would expect them to plunge into the treacherous miasma of the Middle East.

"Unfounded, baseless and untrue,” said Pakistan’s foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry earlier this month, when asked whether his nation was considering the sale of nuclear arms to Saudi Arabia. Earlier this spring, Defense Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif reiterated Pakistan’s “pledge to protect Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity” in response to a request for military assistance against the House of Saud’s Houthi foes next door. But within days, Pakistan’s parliament voted unanimously not only against sending troops to Yemen, but also against even taking sides in the conflict.


Maintaining a deep relationship with Pakistan advances Saudi Arabia’s ambition of expanding its ideological reach beyond the Arab world. Riyadh tries to achieve this goal globally, both through highly visible investments and by more covert means. With great fanfare, the Saudi government builds grand mosques and endows humanitarian charities; more quietly, it spreads its Salafist doctrine by funding ideologically focused madrassas, and by paying for clerics and opinion-shapers to visit, study, or conduct pilgrimages to the Kingdom.

For the Saudi royal family, Pakistan is the ultimate prize: It has the world’s second largest population of Muslims, and, unlike first-ranked Indonesia, is constitutionally an “Islamic Republic.” Pakistan was founded explicitly to provide a homeland for South Asian Muslims. Unlike Muslim-majority countries such as Bangladesh, the Central Asian Republics, and Turkey; near-majority ones like Nigeria; or massive-minority ones such as India, Pakistan has a Muslim identity as part of its national identity and mission. How that mission is translated into practice, however, is very much up for grabs.

And the Saudis would very much like to grab it.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia sees Pakistan as a crucial component of its plan to constrain Iran. Every Saudi ruler has, as part of his official title, the designation “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques:” that is, guardian of Mecca and Medina, the two most sacred sites in the Muslim world. The regime’s identity is not merely that of an oil-rich Arab nation, but also as the standard-bearer for Islam.

 The most potent challenger to this identity, in both spiritual and political terms, is Iran—a nation that is also oil-rich and theocratic, but is Persian rather than Arab and Shi’a rather than Sunni. From the Saudi perspective, one of the best ways to keep Iran off-balance is to bolster a powerful Sunni rival on its eastern border. How intense is the rivalry? In 2008, Saudi King Abdullah was quoted in a cable published via Wikileaks urging the U.S. to attack Iran and “cut the head off the snake.”

Pakistan says it won’t provide nuclear technology to the Saudis, and Saudi Arabia says it has no interest in asking for it. Of course they do. But the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, A.Q. Khan, ran the most extensive proliferation ring the world has ever seen, and remains a national hero. In 2004, after intense U.S. pressure on Pakistan’s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, Khan admitted to selling nuclear information and technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea; he received an immediate pardon, was confined to his luxurious home, and has lived freely ever since his release in 2009. The Saudis might well feel that an operation, which was once termed a “Nuclear Walmart,” will not keep its doors shut for long.

And with an $80 billion military budget, the Saudis might see any tab as “Always Low Prices.”


What it wants is money, and the Saudis have provided a lot of it: No comprehensive tally is available publicly, but over the past four decades the Kingdom has supplied Pakistan with many billions of dollars in aid through cash, credit, and cut-rate oil. During the 1980s, Saudi Arabia delivered perhaps half of the multi-billion-dollar stream channeled through Pakistan to the anti-Soviet mujahideen. In 1998, when Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was deliberating about whether to answer India’s nuclear test with one of his own, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah reportedly promised 50,000 barrels of oil per day to help Islamabad weather any potential sanctions.

In addition to cash, Pakistan is hoping to boost its credibility in the Islamic world. Pakistan was founded with a Muslim identity—but not necessarily an Islamic one. What is the distinction? It’s the difference between culture and faith. When arguing for a nation separate from India, Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah said that Islam and Hinduism “are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders.”

 Jinnah was himself hardly a rigorous observer of Islamic practices, and his nation’s transition from homeland for Muslims to Islamic Republic occurred only after his death. By far the most significant period of Islamization was the 1977–88 tenure of General Zia-ul Haq—a period that corresponded, whether by intent or coincidence, with the blossoming of the relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Indeed, Sharif was reported to have “become a member of the Saudi royal family” when, according to a diplomatic cable, his daughter married a grandson of King Fahd.

Beyond boosting the nation’s Islamic credentials, Pakistan is looking to diversify its stock of superpower supporters. Although China is said to be Pakistan’s “all-weather friend,” the precise meaning of this friendship is elusive. Has China stood beside Pakistan in tough diplomatic struggles? Not really. For example, it stood on the sidelines during the 1999 Kargil crisis. Does China bail Pakistan out of economic hardship? Perhaps it will in the future (if President Xi makes good on recent promises), but it has not often done so in the past. Did China actively support Pakistan during its three wars with India in 1948, 1965, and 1971? No, no, and no.

United States, meanwhile, is Pakistan’s—well, nobody is quite sure what. Friend? Enemy? Both? Neither? Even if Pakistan is not going to walk away from either of its two traditional patrons, it is pleased to have Saudi Arabia as a third. Just last year, for example, Riyadh helped Islamabad stave off a financial crisis with a $1.5 billion soft loan. Unlike the assistance provided by Washington, Saudi Arabia’s infusion came with no strings attached. And unlike the offer made by Beijing, all of Saudi Arabia’s promised funding actually materialized.

The relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has had its ups and downs. Ties tend to be closer when Pakistan is governed either by the military (under Generals Zia and Musharraf) or the Pakistan Muslim League (led by Sharif—a Zia protégé who tried to grant himself the power to enforce sharia). After Musharraf ousted Sharif in 1999, the once-and-future prime minister and his family spent seven years in exile, living comfortably in the seaside city of Jeddah.

Cooperation against terrorism has also ebbed and flowed. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have both been the victims of terrorism, and have also served as its incubators. Both governments have launched tough campaigns against Al Qaeda, but extremely well-connected individuals in both nations have supported the group, too: Osama bin Laden was the scion of one of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful families, and for the last half-decade of his life, he found sanctuary right outside Pakistan’s military academy in Abbottabad. Private Saudi funds fuel some of the most bloodthirsty terrorist groups based in Pakistan, including Lashkar-e Jhangvi (a Sunni sectarian force, which directs most of its violence at Shi’a) and Lashkar-e Taiba (whose primary target is India and was responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attack).

What, then, to make of Pakistan’s reluctance to join the Saudi campaign against Shi’a rebels in Yemen? Or to open the door to nuclear cooperation in the event that Iran manages to join the world’s most exclusive club? What, exactly, did the Saudis buy for their $1.5 billion bailout—and how much more will they be willing to pay?

For the answers to these questions, perhaps the best place to look would be a poker-table: Games of chance are officially banned in both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan—but the governments of both nations know the importance of keeping a wild card in the hole.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

ISIS' Dirty Bomb


Looks like Pentagon confirmed those 7th Century time travelling girl hating head chopping control freaks in the You Know What Caliphate have got enough chiz to create several high yield dirty bombs

 The claim was reported in ISIS’ recent English-language magazine, Dabiq. Also reported that such a claim has alarmed the Australian intelligence service, which initially revealed the prospect that ISIS fighters have seized sufficient radioactive and biological materials from research centers and hospitals…, which previously were under Iraqi government control.

According to Wikipedia, Dabiq is the title of the online magazine used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant for propaganda and recruitment. The magazine was first published in July 2014 in several languages including English. The BBC also reported in February 2015 that the Dabiq had listed Christians among ISIS's main enemies. Defense Department spokesperson, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Elissa Smith, says, “We are aware of claims that ISIL has declared its motives of developing a “dirty bomb” in a recent edition of its propaganda magazine. We share the same concern as our Australian defense officials and regional partners and will continue to use our intelligence resources to remain vigilant of any activity and indicators of this violent extremist organization’s intent to employ such weapons.”

It is the first time that any U.S. official has confirmed that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, had acquired a sufficient amount of radioactive materials to be incorporated in conventional weapons, such as artillery, to spread harmful radiation

Monday, June 22, 2015


"The entire World will hold it's breath!"

Unternehmen Barbarossa's 72nd Anniversary.

Just after 0300 hours local time this very day in 1941 - a 3 mile wide strip of territory stretching the length of eastern Europe from Baltic Sea to the Carpathian Mountains erupted in a torrent of fire and flying steel as Luftwaffe aircraft, Werhmacht artillerie und panzers blasted across the Soviet frontier. In the violence of her initial collision, the immensity and feriocity of her subsequent development, and her prolifigacy of destruction of human life and resources - Operation Barbarossa - the Deutschland - Russian conflict - transcended anything ever before - or since - in the human experience.

Flush with fast, relatively easy victories over Western Europa - NSDAP time Deutschland flung three ginourmous Armee Gruppen at Russia in a crazy scheme to knock out the Collectivist armies forcing Mockba to accept an uneven uneasy piece and destroy bolshvikism forever.

The 1st 6 months saw amazing feats of Teutonic arms, vast panzer pincers, desperate pockets of Soviets fought to annihilation or capture (often the same thing) and by Pearl Harbor Day the naughty Wehrmacht was fighting in Moscow's suburbs.

The Moscow Battle - Operation Typhoon was the literally chilling climax of Barbarossa's blitzkrieg portion. Ferocious defense of the the capitol city by freshly released Siberian Reserves (Russia learned Nippon wouldn't be attacking their far east anytime soon) ended any hap hap happy tho'ts of a 'lightning campaign' in Russia.

Operation Barbarossa ground on for three and a half years more the site of some of the largest battles, deadliest atrocities, highest casualties, and most horrific conditions for Soviets and Germans alike - massively complex military ops like Stalingrad, Zitadelle and Bagration - until 3rd Reich died in an orgy of blood and flame and shaped the modern world and lingers with us still: NATO, Russia's near paranoia with her Near Abroad and fear of an awakened, reunified, riled up Germany.

Pic - "Verlonne Siege"

Sunday, June 21, 2015


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

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.
Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

  • *First place with 3 1/3 votes!The Right PlanetThe Slave Trade Deal

  • Second place with 2 votes Puma By DesignTeach for America, Indoctrination, Agent Provocateurs?

  • Third place with 1 2/3 votes JoshuapunditA Few Words On The Defeat Of ObamaTrade

  • Fourth place with 1 1/3 votes The Noisy RoomObama’s Marxist Social and Demographic Engineering of America

  • Fifth place *t* with 1 vote Nice Deb State Dept. Whistleblower Scandal Coming Back To Haunt Hillary

  • Fifth place *t* with 1 vote VA Right! – HIPAA Complaint Filed Against Dr. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant

  • Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote Ask MarionBilderberg World Elite Meet to Plan and Plot the Future

  • Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote Don SurberFood deserts should embarrass residents

  • Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote Bookworm Room Out of the mouths of babes — Obamacare and economics

  • Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote The Independent SentinelLA Teacher Won’t Teach Shakespeare Just Because White People Said So Long Ago

  • Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote Rhymes With RightThe More I Hear From Carly

  • Seventh place with 1/3 vote GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnDFlag Day

  • Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!

    Friday, June 19, 2015

    The Off Shore Balancing Myth

    Cheese and rice!

    The amoral corrupt cult accolytes of realpolitk protrude yet another protruberance and a redux of Off Shore Balancing sans real results that can make you weep.

    The best way, as put by Dr. Stephen Walt, to attain our strategy goals in the Middle East is to act as an “offshore balancer” in the region, shedding ourselves of special relationships and attempts at regional re-alignment. Our forays into shaping the Middle East through favoritism, exclusionary alliances, and local power balancing have stalled our progress in achieving strategic interests, and are limiting our partners in the Middle East from accomplishing theirs. Our successes in the past are a direct result of a more flexible approach to our relationships in the region, and we have the opportunity to refine our strategic approach to the Middle East.

    As this sorry exercise in unserious non profit jawflapping appears, the fly in the ointment is the existence of ISIS' Caliphate. After all, is there a more better raison d'etre to tip the scales against organized rebirthed al Qaeda, now with sanctuary and a nation state of sorts?

    Actually, Off Shore Balancing was all thought up by the caboose end of the über risible yet unhelpfully hurtful Waltsheimer's Affliction, charter member of Little Satan Hating Posse infamy (and spiritual creator of the totally correct risque repartee' RE: "Wehrmacht Protuberance Envy") fires up a blunt grand strategy review, that shamefully takes up where the F. B. I told you so guy left off.

    This partic suspect piece is essentially yet another (yay) realpolitik salespitch for "Offshore Balancing" - fully crunk with fakebelieve you know what's - to counter Great Satan's internat'l diplopolititary couture, her smashin' fashion avec l' hyper puissance:

    Thursday, June 18, 2015


    In 1814, twenty five years of war finally came to an end with the surrender of the Emperor Napoleon and his banishment to the Mediterranean island of Elba. The Europa's powers began the task of restoring their continent to normality and rehabbing peace.

    On 1st March 1815 Napoleon escaped from Elba and landed in France. Nineteen days later he was in Paris and resumed his title as Emperor. His army rallied to him. The soldiers who had been captured during the years of fighting had been released enabling Napoleon to reform his Grande Armée.

    The European allies freaked out and formed the Seventh Coalition,armies. reassembled their armies and prepared to resume the war to overthrow the Emperor yet again.

    There are two huge coalition forces assembled near the northeast border of France commanded by Prussia's von Blucher and Great Britain's Wellington. Napoleon had planned to attack the said forces before they can unite with the other members of the Coalition in coordination of France invasion.


    The three-day engagement of the Waterloo Campaign happened in the Battle of Waterloo on June 16-19, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo was quoted by Wellington as the “nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.”

    Until noon of June 18, 1815, Napoleon delayed granting of the battle to let the ground get dry. The army of Wellington had positioned across the Brussels Road along the Mont St Jean escarpment. Repeated attacks by French take place along the road until evening but the army remained standing. The army of Prussians arrived in full force and eventually broke through the right border of Napoleon.

    During the breakage of the Prussians army towards Napoleon’s border, the British made a counter-attacked, and the Napoleon's Gurad Corps fought til annihilation to save the day.

    The Coalition drove the French army in chaos from the field. The forces of the Seventh Coalition have successfully entered France and reinstate Louis XVIII to the French throne.

    Napoleon resigned from the throne and surrender to the British government. In 1821, he was exiled to die at Saint Helena.

    Pic - "The closest run thing you ever saw!"

    Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    DOD's Law Of War Manual

    Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges!

    Well, not so much

    Last week, the Department of Defense published a gigantic, boring, and tremendously important book. The “Department of Defense Law of War Manual” is 1204 pages of rules for war. Since World War II, various branches of the military have published service-specific manuals, and a few of the more recent ones mentioned unmanned vehicles. The Navy manual addresses underwater robots, the Air Force manual included drones as military aircraft. The new Pentagon manual--which applies to the whole of America’s military--provides the clearest, most comprehensive vision yet of how the military understands drones within the laws of war.

    Using the preferred military nomenclature, they are “remotely piloted aircraft” and sometimes also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles.” (The word “drone” itself doesn’t appear; despite its military origins, the Pentagon isn’t too fond of the term.) The military definitely had remotely piloted aircraft in the past, where they were first used as dummytargets. Nowadays, though, unmanned aircraft have really taken on a new dimension, with drone strikes at the center of anti-terrorism and anti-insurgency campaigns.

    Remotely piloted aircraft first show up in the Pentagon manual on a list of “Other Examples of Lawful Weapons,” alongside shotguns, depleted uranium munitions, and non-lethal weapons. It’s distinct from prohibited weapons like poisonous gas or blinding lasers. Drones are also in a different category still from “Certain Types of Weapons With Specific Rules on Use” (we can call them “sometimes weapons”), such as nuclear warheads or herbicides. This means that the Pentagon sees drones as a tool that can be used as needed.

    Here is what the new manual says specifically about drones.

    6.5.8 Remotely Piloted Aircraft. There is no prohibition in the law of war on the use of remotely piloted aircraft (also called “unmanned aerial vehicles”). Such weapons may offer certain advantages over other weapons systems.
    Later in the manual, section 14.3.3 Status of Military Aircraft says that drones can be designated military aircraft if used by a country's military.

    There was never really any doubt that the Pentagon was going to approve the use of drones in war, but what's remarkable is that the justification is expansive enough to include CIA-style targeted strikes that spy on and and kill people who aren't on the battlefield.

    Two footnotes support the legal classification of drones as normal weapons, and they both come from John Brennan. Currently the director of the CIA, Brennan is largely the architect of the Obama Administration's drone-heavy targeted killing program. While the majority of the time, drones are just aerial scouts, it’s curious that in justifying their legality, the Pentagon explicitly cites their use by an intelligence agency for targeted killing.

    The entire 1204 page tome can be read as a pdf.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2015

    Sino Cyber Attack

    The scale of a massive cyber-attack on America’s governmental infrastructure that was revealed last week is still coming to light.

    As is the case with virtually all preemptive strikes, hackers believed to be linked to the People’s Republic of China have executed an attack so comprehensive and sophisticated that it could only have one aim: the preventative neutering of America’s defensive capabilities. Along with others, I dubbed this the nation’s cyber-Pearl Harbor last week, and that characterization looks only more apt today. In concert with the debilitating effect of Edward Snowden’s revelations while in Russian custody, this attack may seriously hinder America’s ability to secure and respond to more conventional threats to its interests.

    A little more than one year ago, the Department of Justice revealed that it had charged five members of the Chinese military’s Unit 61398, an economic cyber-espionage unit, of engaging in criminal activity. They had been accused of being part of a ring of cyber spies that had executed a variety of attacks and surveillance missions targeting U.S. commercial firms and interests. Apparently, around that same period, China executed the largest scale cyber-attack on an American governmental target in history. That’s right: The strike that exposed the personal data of all of the approximately 2.7 million federal employees in the Office of Personnel Management’s systems to People’s Liberation Army hackers went virtually unnoticed for over a year. The scale of the damage done to American information security was not discovered by federal investigators but rather by a private software development firm that uncovered the breach during a routine product demonstration.

    This staggering incompetence is eclipsed only by the extent of the damage done to American national security.

    The hack exposed the SF-86 background files of virtually every governmental employee; those 127-page forms include all of the applicant’s personal information, as well as the details of their relations, friends, current and former professional contacts, and even old college roommates. “U.S. officials speaking on the condition of anonymity say unequivocally such information was put at serious risk by the OPM hack. Of utmost concern are U.S. employees stationed overseas, including in countries such as China, whose government would covet personal information on relatives and contacts of American officials living in the communist country, according to officials,” read an ABC News report.

    “We believe that hackers have every affected person’s Social Security number(s), military records and veterans’ status information, address, birth date, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance, and pension information; age, gender, race, union status, and more,” a scathing letter from the president of the American Federation of Government Employees warned. “Worst, we believe that Social Security numbers were not encrypted, a cybersecurity failure that is absolutely indefensible and outrageous.”

    But the potential personal information exposed pales in comparison to the information about America’s governmental apparatus that was revealed to Chinese hackers. “In classified briefings to members of Congress in recent days, intelligence officials have described what appears to be a systematic Chinese effort to build a database that explains the inner workings of the United States Government,” the New York Times reported. “They are likely to be particularly interested in the contacts of Energy Department officials who work on nuclear weapons or nuclear intelligence, Commerce Department or trade officials working on delicate issues like negations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and, of course, White House officials.”

    That’s comforting.

    This information could be a coup for Chinese counterintelligence operatives, but it will also be a boon to the PLA’s offensive cyber-espionage operation planners. Not only can the Chinese identify federal officials in positions of authority, they are almost certainly in a better position to isolate those who have weakness or might be compromised. Those targets could be amenable to cooperating with Beijing. Former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler observed that the People’s Republic tends to rely heavily on ethnic Chinese for intelligence-related purposes, and it now has a list of potentially hundreds of thousands of viable targets in or close to those in positions of authority within the United States.

    “The modus operandi of Chinese intelligence and its operations abroad are understood by the FBI and the Intelligence Community. However, the extent of the information loss in the OPM hack is so vast that all the counterintelligence awareness in the world may not be able to offset the advantage in the SpyWar that Beijing has won with this vast data theft,” Schindler wrote. “If you are (or have been) employed with the Federal government and have listed Chinese persons in any way on your SF86, it’s time to be vigilant.”

    When the zeros screamed out of the sky over Hawaii in 1941, their targets were America’s offensive naval assets in the Pacific. But for a stroke of luck that kept America’s Pacific carriers out of the harbor, Japan might have successfully neutered America’s ability to defend its interests. Similarly, China’s effort to level the playing field with the United States is as brazen as it is troubling. Those professorial voices of mock prudence that only months ago warned, “we are not likely to see large scale cyber-attacks happen outside actual wars” have unfortunately been proven utterly wrong. While cyber strikes are certain to occur amid great power conflicts, it is clear that they can also be prelude to one.

    Monday, June 15, 2015

    Army Day!

    "This We'll Defend!"

    Happy happy BDay (#239 in fact!) to Great Satan's all weather original voltiguerres - the Army!
    Two hundred 40 years ago, our nation's leaders established the Continental Army, beginning a rich heritage of successfully defending this great country and her citizens. Today, we celebrate the continued strength, professionalism and bravery of our ready and resilient Soldiers in the all-volunteer force. Our Soldiers remain Army Strong with a lifelong commitment to our core values and beliefs.
    Following more than 13 years of war, the Army remains committed to the readiness, training and advancement of the Total Army through the Army initiatives: Ready and Resilient, The Army Profession and Soldier for Life. This 238th birthday commemorates America's Army - Soldiers, families and civilians - who are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army Strong. We also celebrate our local communities for their steadfast support of our Soldiers and families. We are "America's Army: Service to the Nation, Strength for the Future."
    "...We are “America’s Army: The Strength of the Nation."

    Pic "The American Army - Killing Our Enemies On Xmas Day Since 1776"

    Sunday, June 14, 2015

    Flag Day

    Old Glory Day.

    Proclaimed by Great Satan's only nuclear regime changer, August 3rd, 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

    "This famous name was coined by Captain William Driver, a shipmaster of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1831. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard the brig CHARLES DOGGETT - and this one would climax with the rescue of the mutineers of the BOUNTY - some friends presented him with a beautiful flag of twenty four stars. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first time, he exclaimed
    "Old Glory!"

    He retired to Nashville in 1837, taking his treasured flag from his sea days with him. By the time the Civil War erupted, most everyone in and around Nashville recognized Captain Driver's "Old Glory." When Tennesee seceded from the Union, Rebels were determined to destroy his flag, but repeated searches revealed no trace of the hated banner.

    Then on February 25th, 1862, Union forces captured Nashville and raised the American flag over the capital. It was a rather small ensign and immediately folks began asking Captain Driver if "Old Glory" still existed. Happy to have soldiers with him this time, Captain Driver went home and began ripping at the seams of his bedcover. As the stitches holding the quilt-top to the batting unraveled, the onlookers peered inside and saw the 24-starred original "Old Glory"!

    Captain Driver gently gathered up the flag and returned with the soldiers to the capitol. Though he was sixty years old, the Captain climbed up to the tower to replace the smaller banner with his beloved flag. The Sixth Ohio Regiment cheered and saluted - and later adopted the nickname "Old Glory" as their own, telling and re-telling the story of Captain Driver's devotion to the flag we honor yet today.

    Captain Driver's grave is located in the old Nashville City Cemetery, and is one of three (3) places authorized by act of Congress where the Flag of the United States may be flown 24 hours a day"

    Saturday, June 13, 2015


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

    Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.
    Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

    Council Winners

    Non-Council Winners

    See you next week!

    Friday, June 12, 2015

    ISIS al Qaeda Coup

    Isis has not simply eclipsed al-Qaida on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, and in the competition for funding and new recruits.

    ISIS is killing al Qaeda

    According to a series of exclusive interviews with senior jihadi ideologues, Isis has successfully launched “a coup” against al-Qaida to destroy it from within. As a consequence, they now admit, al-Qaida – as an idea and an organisation – is now on the verge of collapse.


    Al-Qaeda was stodgy and abstract.

    The Islamic State is exciting and even fun, at least for a certain kind of fanatic

    Thursday, June 11, 2015

    China's Carrier Envy

    By far the most powerful symbol of China’s design on regional dominance is the development of her own fleet of aircraft carriers. With one flat-top already launched and two to three more in the works, an interesting question arises.

    Why would a nation that has spent considerable time and effort to deny the U.S. Navy freedom of maneuver by creating the impression that its aircraft carriers were vulnerable embark on the expensive, logistically arduous, and operationally dubious decision to build its own carriers?

    Whether in a direct or support role, carriers have taken part in almost every major military operation the United States has undertaken since the Second World War. They also serve as first-rate diplomatic tools to either heighten or ease political pressure. When regional tensions increase, a carrier, or sometimes two, is sent to patrol off their coast. And when an election takes place in a nascent democracy or country central to U.S. interests, a strike group typically is sailing offshore.

    China understands that in the steady-state security environment of the Western Pacific, its carrier force would be a pivotal and influential capability, essential to its quest for regional dominance.  Furthermore, China understands that in a maritime conflict with virtually any nation but the United States, its carriers would be would be a powerful combat advantage.

    Aircraft carriers combine the ability to carry out everyday missions well while remaining a deadly warfighting platform. Carriers remain premier instruments for presence, deterrence, and coercion, while the embarked air wing renders the carrier a potent warfighting system able to project power and exert control of the seas around which it operates. Though achieving this unmatched capability has taken the U.S. Navy decades, the Chinese may realistically replicate it within twenty years. Additionally, the Chinese Navy will contend with the U.S. Navy for dominance in the Pacific under China’s growing anti-access/area denial umbrella, reducing the risk to its carrier force

    Finally, China understands that if conflict with the United States comes, its carriers’ warfighting capability would—like the rest of its arsenal—have to be employed based on the principle of calculated risk. It would be wise for strategists in the United States to remember these same principles.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    ISIS Could Win

    If ISIS wins...

    What would result from an ISIS victory? First, an official Sunni Muslim state would be consolidated, straddling the post-World War I Sykes-Picot Syria-Iraq border whose very existence exemplifies for the Islamic State how Middle Eastern geopolitics was unilaterally rearranged by European powers. The battlefield would decide exactly how much of Syria and how much of Iraq would fall under the state's control.

    In Iraq, the Islamic State would incorporate all Arab Sunni areas, beginning with Anbar, the largest Iraqi province. Kurdistan would be left alone, at least for the time being. The Peshmerga army, beefed up by the United States and highly motivated because the Kurdish fighters are defending their own territory, would be a fierce opponent for ISIS, whose leaders are rational strategists.

    Iraq south of Baghdad - that is, the country's Shiite-dominated area - would also be left unchallenged for the time being.

    Nevertheless, as with Turkey, the Islamic State logically at some future point would attack Iran. The Islamic State's goal is to reign over the entire Muslim world of believers, the umma, in a Sunni caliphate centered on Sunni beliefs and Sunni interpretations of the Koran. Iranian society is Persian and overwhelmingly Shiite; Turkey is Sunni, but comprises mainly Turkic peoples, along with a Kurdish minority accounting for 15 percent of the population.

    If ISIS wins its wars in Iraq and Syria, Iraq will have effectively broken down into its three historical ethnic-religious regions: a majority-Shiite south, a Sunni-Kurdish north, and a Sunni-Arab west. An international conference to legally redraw boundaries would be unnecessary and in any case anathema, to the Islamic State and outside powers alike.

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015

    Divine Eagle

    Shen Diao!

    The world's largest Collectivist State has developed Project 973 or Shen Diao (“Divine Eagle”) prototype, perhaps the world’s largest twin fuselage drone – and a new formidable long-range strike weapon in the arsenal of the People’s Liberation Army.

    A Russia style fighter looking drone...

    Developed by China’s Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and influenced by the Russian Sukhoi S-62 twin-fuselage high-altitude, long-endurance UAV (some media reports indicate that China stole key design features from Russia), the Divine Eagle is Beijing’s latest addition to its burgeoning anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities.

    The UAV prototype is a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) multi-mission platform with both long-range surveillance as well as strike capabilities and “has been the subject of speculative conceptual drawings since 2012,” according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.  It boasts anti-stealth capabilities, a special purpose radar and reportedly first flew in February 2015.

    According to Popular Science magazine, the Divine Eagle is designed to carry multiple Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, of the AMTI, SAR and GMTI varieties as well as Airborne Moving Target Indicators (AMTI) that are used to track airborne targets, like enemy fighters and cruise missiles.

    Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) radars could be used for identifying and tracking large groups of vessels such as an aircraft carrier strike force. Other radars like the “F-22 killer” JY-26 “have raised concerns in the American military that they could track stealth aircraft like the F-35 fighter and B-2 bomber at long ranges,” Popular Science magazine reports.

    However, “compared to the initial concept art and drawings available in February, the latest Divine Eagle iteration is less stealthy, having two satellite communications domes, completely vertical tails and an exposed engine intake,” the magazine additionally notes.

    Judging from the images, the Divine Eagle prototype appears to be larger than the U.S Air Force’s Global Hawk long-range surveillance drone and consequently could be equipped to “carry large missiles for satellite launching, anti-satellite and anti-ship missions,” elaborates the Washington Free Beacon.

    The article also quotes, Rick Fisher, an expert on Chinese military capabilities, who states that “China’s construction of large long-range Global Hawk-sized unmanned aircraft will greatly assist its goal of consolidating control over the western Pacific (…)These large UAVs will act as persistent satellites able to target missiles and other tactical platforms well beyond the first island chain.”

    The capacity to strike targets at a long distance was also the principal concern of another analyst.

    “The deployment of high-altitude, long endurance UAVs equipped with advanced sensors would enhance the PLA’s ability to strike U.S. bases and naval assets in the region, as well as those of its allies and partners,” says Mark Stokes, a former Pentagon official.

    Overall, the new UAV, once deployed, will make it harder for the United States and its allies to operate undetected close to Chinese shores,  Popular Science magazine emphasizes:

     Using the Divine Eagle as a picket, the Chinese air force could quickly intercept stealthy enemy aircraft, missiles and ships well before they come in range of the Mainland. Flying high, the Divine Eagle could also detect anti-ship missile trucks and air defenses on land, in preparation for offensive Chinese action.

    China’s drone program appears to be largely founded upon reverse engineering of foreign technologies. Some experts  caution that Chinese UAVs will primarily be deployed locally, requiring less sophisticated technology as well as less resources to operate them than U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles. The Divine Eagle prototype, however, could become the exception.