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WAR 12-02-2017-to-12-08-2017___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    3 12-02-2017-to-12-08-2017___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****

    (297) 11-11-2017-to-11-17-2017___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR*****of****WAR****

    (298) 11-18-2017-to-11-24-2017___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR*****of****WAR****

    (299) 11-25-2017-to-12-01-2017___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR*****of****WAR****


    The three hundredth week, wow time does fly....


    Jihad Attacks on Children
    Started by*Ragnaroký,*Yesterday*09:34 PM

    The Winds of War Blow in Korea and The Far East


    The Four Horsemen - 11/27 to 12/04
    Started by*Ragnaroký,*11-27-2017*02:53 PM

    Syria and Israel exchanging missiles
    Started by*onetimerý,*Yesterday*03:31 PM

    Chinese premier pledges joint efforts with Russia to promote regional cooperation
    Started by*Zagdidý,*Yesterday*12:40 PM

    Looks like a Bomb found at the Potsdam, Germany Christmas Market
    Started by*almost readyý,*Yesterday*09:05 AM

    Prince Alwaleed was hung upside down 'just to send a message'

    FUNG WARNING:*** China to Deploy Troops to Fight Alongside Assad in Syria***
    Started by*doctor_fungcoolý,*11-30-2017*05:06 AM***

    FBI Announces Antifa Supporters Are Under Investigation For Domestic Terrorism (VIDEO)
    Started by*Be Wellý,*11-30-2017*02:13 PM


    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    #World News December 2, 2017 / 12:27 AM / Updated an hour ago

    Yemen's Saleh ready for 'new page' with Saudi-led coalition as clashes rage

    Reuters Staff
    4 Min Read

    ADEN (Reuters) - Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday he was ready for a “new page” in relations with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen if it stopped attacks on his country.

    The call came as his supporters battled Houthi fighters for a fourth day in the capital Sanaa as the two sides traded blame for a rift between allies that could affect the course of the civil war.

    Together they have fought the Saudi-led coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015 aiming to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into exile.

    The clash between Saleh’s supporters and the Houthis underscores the complex situation in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, where a proxy war between the Iran-aligned Houthis and the Saudi-backed Hadi has caused one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in recent times.

    “I call upon the brothers in neighboring states and the alliance to stop their aggression, lift the siege, open the airports and allow food aid and the saving of the wounded and we will turn a new page by virtue of our neighborliness,” Saleh said in a televised speech.

    “We will deal with them in a positive way and what happened to Yemen is enough,” he added.

    Saleh stepped down after 33 years in office in 2012, following months of Arab Spring protests against his rule, but remained leader of the GPC, the country’s largest political party.

    The Saudi-led coalition welcomed Saleh’s remarks.

    In a statement carried by the Saudi-owned Al-Hadath channel, the coalition said it was “confident of the will of the leaders and sons” of Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party to return to Arab fold.

    The coalition says Saleh betrayed Arabs by joining Houthi-led forces who they say are aligned with non-Arab Iran.


    Residents of Sanaa described heavy fighting on the streets of Hadda, a southern residential district of the Yemeni capital where many of Saleh’s relatives, including his nephew Tareq, live, early on Saturday, with sounds of explosions and gunfire heard all over the area.

    The fighting subsided by the afternoon as Saleh supporters secured control.

    There was no immediate word on casualties.

    Saleh’s GPC party accused the Houthis of failing to honor the truce and said in a statement on its website that the Houthis bear responsibility for dragging the country into a civil war.

    It also called on supporters, including tribal fighters, to “defend themselves, their country, their revolution and their republic...”

    The GPC appealed to the army and security forces to remain neutral in the conflict.
    But the head of the Houthis’ Ansarullah group warned that the biggest winner from what he described as Saleh’s “sedition” was the Saudi-led coalition.

    “I appeal to the leader Saleh to show more wisdom and maturity... and not to heed incitement calls,” Abdel-Malek al-Houthi said in a speech on the group’s Al-Masirah TV, adding that his group was ready to sit down for arbitration and abide by any ruling.

    The fighting began on Wednesday when Saleh’s GPC party accused the Houthis of breaking into the city’s main mosque complex and firing RPGs and grenades.
    Both sides reported that at least 16 people have been killed in the fighting since Wednesday.

    Yemen’s civil war has killed more than 10,000 people since 2015, displaced more than two million people, caused a cholera outbreak infecting nearly one million people and put the country on the brink of famine.

    Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo; writing by Sami Aboudi; editing by Jason Neely

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Wow, talk about going to the ugly truth....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    Home » Magazines » Proceedings Magazine - December 2017 Vol. 144/12/1,378

    Can't Kill Enough to Win? Think Again

    Proceedings Magazine - December 2017 Vol. 144/12/1,378
    By Lieutenant Colonel David G. Bolgiano, U.S. Air Force (Retired), and Lieutenant Colonel John Taylor, U.S. Army (Retired)

    When is the United States going to do the killing necessary to beat its terrorist enemies or eliminate them entirely?

    Those given the awful task of combat must be able to act with the necessary savagery and purposefulness to destroy those acting as, or in direct support of, Islamic terrorists worldwide. In 2008, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Michael Mullen said, “We can’t kill our way to victory.” Ever since, many have parroted his words. But what if Admiral Mullen was wrong? The United States has been at war with radical Islamists four times longer than it was with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. And those previous enemies were far more competent and aggressive than the terrorists. It is time to kill a lot more of them.

    Too many commanders and their “operational law” judge advocates have neutered U.S. military forces with far too restrictive rules of engagement and investigations. 1 One Army infantry battalion commander reported that during a 15-month command tour in Iraq, he had to endure 600 AR 15-6 investigations (equivalent to a Navy JAG manual investigation), most of which examined the use of force by his troops. When asked when he had time to command, he answered, “Exactly.”

    Human behavior has not changed much in recorded history. Neither have the basic tenets of war. It takes killing with speed and sustained effect to win wars. The notions that the U.S. military can win with “precision strikes” or “winning hearts and minds” are fantasy. Even the great victory in Operation Desert Storm was a bloody killing field. Just ask the remnants of the Tawakalna Division of the Iraqi Army.

    During the American Civil War, the Union literally bled the Confederacy dry of fighting-age men. General Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac killed its fellow Americans by the tens of thousands until General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia could not resist. It was that pressure that led Lee—arguably the greatest tactician on either side—to surrender. Grant killed his way to victory. He had the manpower advantage as well as the economic and industrial power to do so.

    This country’s “Greatest Generation” killed enormous numbers of the enemy’s military servicemen and civilians in World War II. General Curtis LeMay knew that if he killed enough Japanese they would quit. While brutal by 2017 standards, his approach yielded lasting results—a productive peace with Japan that has lasted since 1945. The legal justification then—the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor—is the same casus belli as the one in the current war against al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL): the 11 September 2001 sneak attack on the United States.

    Had the United States not killed Japanese soldiers, sailors, and airmen in the hundreds of thousands, it is likely they would have fought on and the U.S. military would have been forced to kill millions in close ground combat until they finally quit. The United States and its allies did the same against Nazi Germany. While victory required taking and holding territory, the Germans and Japanese fought until it became clear to them that the Allies would keep killing them until they quit.

    George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman fiction series, was a foot soldier in British Field Marshal William Slim’s Army in Burma during World War II. In his memoir about that experience, Quartered Safe Out Here, Fraser wrote intimately as a military leader when justifying the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

    I led Nine Section for a time; leading it or not, I was part of it. They were my mates, and I was bound by ties of duty. Now, take Nine Section as representing those Allied soldiers who would certainly have died if the bombs had not been dropped. Could I say, Grandarse or Nick or Foster were expendable, and should have died rather than the victims of Hiroshima? No. Never. And that goes for every Indian, American, Australian, African, Chinese and other soldier whose life was on the line in August 1945. So drop the bomb. 2

    Sadly, this generation has pooh-poohed Fraser’s experience and beliefs. His experience, in what he acknowledged was another age, was that war was a job that needed to be done, one accomplished by his generation without relish but with a common sense and resolve since vanished from the public spirit. 3

    President Harry S. Truman did not flinch to drop the atomic bombs on Japan, and all the caterwauling of the antiwar academics living off the largesse ensured to them by our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen cannot belie the efficacy and righteousness of his decision. 4 Hopefully, common sense and resolve have not vanished completely.

    Even the strategic counterpoints—that the war against Islamic terrorists will not end or that it is not possible to kill enough of them to make a difference—ignore the victory of the Cold War. There, the United States and its allies maneuvered and exploited advantages until they beat the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact collapsed.

    While the United States’ current enemies are so-called non-state actors, they have no trouble with their identity and moral agency. Yet U.S. military leadership still has not told its young men and women, “It’s okay to kill the enemy.” Moreover, the military does not celebrate its victories. How many ticker-tape parades have there been for Medal of Honor recipients in this war? When individual warriors are adjudged to have killed the “wrong” target, they face conviction and imprisonment rather than being given the benefit of the doubt, as so many were given during World War II. It is no wonder that post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide levels are so high. Instead of praising its victors, the United States browbeats them about civilian casualty numbers. 5 How does this strengthen the U.S. military’s moral agency?

    In August 2004, between the Battles of Fallujah I and II, during a conference at MacDill Air Force Base, a special forces officer from an Arab country said:

    If you Americans want to win in Fallujah and Iraq, you need to call Al Jazeera and CNN, have them set up their cameras, then call out the insurgents to surrender from a surrounded Fallujah. If, in 24 hours, the insurgents do not come out, you then must make repetitive low-level bombing runs with your B-52s and flatten Fallujah. Then, and only then, the Iraqis will know they have been beaten. They do not yet know this.

    At first, U.S. military officers were aghast at such a recommendation. Now, 13 years later, it seems this man might have been right. Edward N. Luttwak wrote of this in his seminal 1999 Foreign Affairs article:

    An unpleasant truth often overlooked is that although war is a great evil, it does have a great virtue: it can resolve political conflicts and lead to peace. This can happen when all belligerents become exhausted or when one wins decisively. Either way the key is that the fighting must continue until a resolution is reached. War brings peace only after passing a culminating phase of violence. Hopes of military success must fade for accommodation to become more attractive than further combat. 6

    Despite Luttwak’s article being a staple at U.S. military senior service schools, timidity seems to be the marching order among most flag and general officers today. This can be attributed to a false sense of moral superiority being bred into our senior leaders by repetitive exposure to civilian graduate schools, far too much legal oversight, and the mission creep that has polluted our warfighting capability since Operation Desert Storm.

    Frantic to find ways to keep endstrengths at 1991 levels, all services started looking at new missions: nationbuilding; humanitarian assistance; foreign military training and assistance; and even hurricane relief. While U.S. forces can and have performed such missions admirably, they have done so at the expense of the art of killing.

    Such squeamishness has many symptoms, not the least of which is putting infantry lieutenants in prison for allowing collateral damage to occur. 7 It would be impossible for Major Dick Winters of Band of Brothers fame to survive, much less thrive, in today’s military. This is sad and foreboding. Absent aggressive, free-thinking leaders at both ends of the spear, the U.S. military is doomed to failure.

    Technology also creates a horrible environment for a Winters-like leader in today’s forces. Seemingly, every military action is caught on camera and later subjected to judgment in the clear vision of hindsight—always from the safe confines of a headquarters far removed from the battlefield. This insanity must end before the United States faces a peer competitor on a hot battlefield.

    In addition to the overabundance of ill-trained lawyers in the force, leaders are giving too much credence to people and organizations (such as Amnesty International) with distorted views of how wars ought to be fought rather than how they truly are. For instance, the concept of proportionality under international law has nothing to do with making war a “fair fight” or using “minimum force.” Sadly, however, such human rights law language has crept into U.S. military standing rules of engagement (SROE), despite warnings from sage counsel such as international and operational law expert W. Hays Parks. 8

    In the mid-1990s, a small cadre of combat-experienced officers began to militate against overly restrictive rules of engagement and tactical directives. They advocated that if U.S. military forces must fight in such environments these warriors should at least have the same protections that U.S. constitutional law provides police officers in the United States. This still has not happened. Sixteen years and thousands of U.S. military lives have been lost, and the military still is plagued with obtuse rules of engagement and soul-crushing investigations into every action.

    The U.S. military needs to train its judge advocates to be competent in international law with a view toward bending it in favor of its forces. A great example is W. Hays Parks’ article that explains that farmers who make improvised explosive devices at night are direct participants in warfare and can be targeted at any time, wherever found, regardless of what they are doing or whether they are armed when found. 9 Despite this clear guidance from the doyen of international law (and a former U.S. Marine infantry company commander in Vietnam), most judge advocates choose to exercise their “power of no”—finding ways to hamper the killing of bad guys.

    A U.S. Army special forces battalion commander solved this problem by sending his command judge advocate to live, work, and fight with one of the battalion’s operational detachments (ODAs) in downtown Baghdad. Three weeks later the judge advocate wanted to stay with the ODA to kill bad guys. When he returned to the battalion staff, he demonstrated that he learned the power of yes and sought ways to enhance the unit’s lethality and effectiveness.

    While the United States may not be following the full-on nation-centric strategy of Alfred Thayer Mahan to fight terrorists today, it ought to use the military primarily to forward its national interests. And that ought not be a strange or unsavory concept to any U.S. warrior or citizen.

    The military’s leadership has a responsibility to push back hard when told to do anything that would dilute the fundamental responsibility to win wars. For the past two decades, the U.S. military has put more effort into combating climate change and training to prevent sexual harassment than it has into training warriors to kill the enemy.

    It is time for a shift away from the rudderless drift that has plagued the military since the end of the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm. Battle-hardened commanders who excel at killing too often are passed over for promotion in favor of those with multiple degrees from elite universities who self-select each other for advancement. Prayerfully, it will not take another Task Force Smith to set things right. 10


    1. As an example, one Army Judge Advocate from the Center for Law and Military Operations told a 3rd Infantry Division audience, “Winning the counterinsurgency fight may mean our Soldiers get shot first before responding.” This is not the sole example of such thinking. At one point this same organization was touting a “shoot-to-wound” policy despite being shown the dangers and foolishness of such a tactic by the FBI Hostage Rescue Team and some of the best shooters from 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force).

    2. Toby Young, “If the Bombing of Hiroshima Was a Moral Obscenity, Blame Emperor Hirohito,” The Spectator, 15 August 2015, quoting Fraser from Quartered Safe Out Here. Fraser, in an argument with another philosopher, also stated, “By what right, then, do you say that the Allies should have been sacrificed to save the victims of Hiroshima? Because what you’re saying is that, while you’re not willing to give your life, Allied soldiers should have given theirs, mine for one, possibly.”
    3. George MacDonald Fraser’s Obituary, The Telegraph, 03 January 2008.

    4. President Truman, President Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill also did not flinch to firebomb enemy cities. While the bombing might be adjudged cruel or unnecessary in the comfort of hindsight, it is entirely possible that at least one of the authors would not be here had it not occurred, as his father was a Marine preparing for the invasion of Japan in August 1945. The*invasion*plan was assigned the cover*name*“Downfall” and consisted of two main*operations: “Olympic,” the preliminary assault on the southern island of Kyushu, which was slated for 1 December 1945, and “Coronet,” the subsequent landing on Honshu, which was scheduled for 1 March 1946. The estimated number of deaths and injuries to U.S. Soldiers and Marines was more than a million. The projections for Japanese losses were approximately four million.

    5. For example, the first and second slides briefed to the Commander, International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan, are often CIVCAS (civilian casualties).

    6. Edward Luttwak, “Give War a Chance,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 1999.

    7. The hypocrisy of this is underscored by the number of collateral damage “victims” wrought by senior civilian and military leaders’ decisions to hit single high-value targets (HVTs) with Predator-borne Hellfire missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs).

    8. Rather than the Law of Armed Conflict that is derived from International Humanitarian Law. Hays Parks, “Deadly Force Is Authorized,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 127, no. 1 (January 2001), 32-37.

    9. See W. Hays Parks, “Part IX of the ICRC ‘Direct Participation In Hostilities’ Study: No Mandate, No Expertise, and Legally Incorrect,” NYU Journal of International Law & Politics,*42, no. 769 (2010).

    10. Task Force Smith was the name of the Army 1st Battalion 21st Infantry Regiment’s ill-fated attempt to gain a foothold in Osan, Korea, in July 1950 at the start of the Korean Conflict. Its disastrous ending led to the Army leadership catchphrase “No More Task Force Smiths” to counter the drawdown after Operation Desert Storm. The phrase is ridiculed by many frontline troops who suffer the consequences of slogans over substance.

    Lieutenant Colonel Bolgiano is a former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. He served in Operation Desert Storm and as Command Judge Advocate for Special Operations Command Central in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Lieutenant Colonel Taylor is a former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. He served as Command Judge Advocate for 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment–Delta (Delta Force) and Task Force Bowie in Afghanistan.*
    Last edited by Housecarl; 12-02-2017 at 08:59 AM. Reason: added thread link

  3. #3
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    Jul 2004
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    Posted for fair use.....

    What Will It Take to Get Serious About Missile Defense?

    By Angelo Codevilla| December 1, 2017

    North Korea’s possession of mobile-launched missiles that can deliver nukes anywhere in the United States shows that, nowadays, anybody can make lots of pinpoint-accurate missiles of any range. Since America’s ICBMs, submarines, and bombers are fewer, concentrated in fewer places than ever, even North Korea can carry out the kind of disarming attack that Americans feared the Soviet Union might have mounted in the 1980s. Kim Jong-un is showing the world that the missile defense programs into which the U.S. government has poured some $80 billion in recent years are no barrier to destroying most U.S. strategic forces and holding the American people hostage.

    The officials who crafted these programs, ideologically focused as they have been on not hindering Russia’s or China’s capacity to devastate America, built token defenses to suffice against unsophisticated, unserious opponents. But North Koreans, semi-starved and serious, grasped better than highly credentialed Americans how this focus makes U.S. defenses inherently vulnerable. Yet, because U.S. policy continues to be one of not having missile defense—the public’s support for it notwithstanding—the government’s response to its programs’ failure is to pour more money into them.

    The Technology is Not Lacking
    Since the 1960s, the government and elite opinion have obfuscated that policy by pretending that technology is lacking. Hence, support for missile defense has meant spending endlessly on expensive tokens and endless “research.” Yet, as ballistic missiles have evolved since the 1950s, America has never lacked the technical means of defending seriously against them. As Professor Joseph Constance’s magisterial work showed, Republicans and Democrats have avoided responsibility for critical choices on these matters by framing them in pseudo-technical terms, none too subtly telling the public that they are beyond ordinary people’s understanding. Nonsense.

    What follows summarizes how current programs are irremediably inadequate to defend against any serious missile attack from anywhere, and what a missile defense worthy of the name requires.

    The current “National Missile Defense” (NMD) system consists of a single radar/fire control system plus a maximum of 44 interceptors based mostly in Alaska that purports, or rather pretends, to defend U.S territory. This arrangement so increases the distance that the interceptors must travel and so shortens the time in which the interceptors must do it that the interceptors have to be huge. Moreover, because the system’s designers chose to require that the interceptors collide with the incoming warhead directly—without the aid of any warhead—the guidance system must be exquisite and fragile. Such requirements make these interceptors hugely expensive and doubtful of success. Current “employment doctrine” calls for devoting two interceptors to each incoming warhead. In short, this system is un-expandable.

    Nobody would design a missile defense system this way if defending America were the intention. In fact, the system’s mission is to destroy at most a handful of warheads from “rogue “ states or unauthorized launches by Russia and China, while posing no obstacle to serious attacks by anyone. Not incidentally, this token counters charges that the government is unable to stop “even a single missile.” But the accomplishment of these missions has made it possible for poor North Korea to render it and our National Missile Defense irrelevant, merely by running its missile production line. The lesson is not lost on anyone, except perhaps in Washington.

    The focus on not defending against Chinese or Russian missiles led the U.S government to structure all its missile defense programs, including so-called “Theater Missile Defense” systems intended to defend U.S troops overseas and allies, in the least efficient manner.

    Understanding this requires keeping in mind that time-distance problems such as we learned in Algebra 1 are the basic calculus of missile defense by surface-based interceptors. The objective is to cause the interceptor to meet the incoming missile at as great a distance away as possible. Two factors work against the objective: the curvature of the earth, which determines when the incoming missile becomes visible (and hence when the interceptor may be launched from the target area), and the speed of the oncoming missile (longer range missiles come in faster than shorter range ones).

    Orbital Systems Needed
    There are two ways of increasing that distance. Increasing the interceptors’ speed—at the cost of making them bigger, more complex, expensive and rare—helps a little. Increasing the time available for the interceptors to travel increases the distance at which they meet the incoming missile, helps a lot, and makes it possible to use less sophisticated, cheaper interceptors. But increasing the time available requires launching interceptors on the basis of information from systems remote from the target and forward of the earth’s curvature. U.S. government policy, however, has been contrary to this logic.

    From the very beginning, U.S. government policy conceived of missile defense in terms of “sites” containing interceptors and the radar/fire control systems that operate them, and prohibited the launch of interceptors from any “site” on the basis of information forward from that “site.” Refusing to pursue “remote launch,” imprisoned U.S interceptors within earth curvature short horizon and forced us to make them, fast, big, sophisticated, expensive, rare, and relatively impotent. So long as U.S. surface-based interceptors must rely on for fire control co-located sources of information, the speed of incoming targets must load the interceptors with heavy burdens and degrade their performance.

    The alternative, the obvious path to efficient surface-based missile defense, was and remains to launch interceptors on the basis of infra-red systems based in orbit. But the U.S. government chose to enshrine in the 1972 ABM treaty that no orbital systems may “substitute for” radars. In the 1980s, the United States was developing such an SBIRS-low network of satellites. It was canceled when U.S. Arms Controllers pointed out, correctly, that such a network would have enabled relatively easy interception of Russian and Chinese missiles as well as of North Korean and Iranian ones. Today, even though the ABM treaty is no longer in force, the U.S. government has no intention of launching interceptors on the basis of information from orbit and is barely edging toward very limited “launch on remote.”

    The U.S. government remains committed even more firmly to the ABM treaty’s prohibition of orbit-based weapons based on “other physical principles”—that is, lasers. These would strike down missiles as they are launched, and confer control of space on whoever owns them. A generation ago, such a missile killing prototype was ready for trials. On December 4, 1994, the New York Times’ science section devoted a page, complete with drawings to a story titled “Space-based laser nearly ready to fly.” The U.S. government canceled it because it would have been very useful against missiles rising from anywhere on the globe. A scaled-down, land-based version shot down Katyusha rockets over Israel.

    Washington’s response to North Korea’s missiles has been typical: throw words and money at the problem. Everybody, it seems, has nice words for missile defense. But because few know or bother to learn the details, interest group logic ensures that the same people who have kept America vulnerable are continuing to do so.
    The technologies of missile defense, like the technologies of intercontinental missiles, have ceased to be exotic. The U.S government’s refusal to be serious about missile warfare and missile defense empowers foreigners who are more serious.

    About the Author: Angelo Codevilla

    Angelo M. Codevilla is a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University and the author of To Make And Keep Peace, Hoover Institution Press, 2014


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    It will take a missile strike on a major US city here in CONUS that kills a minimum of 100,000 people, Housecarl and then, and only then, will be get serious about domestic missile defense.

    We are now in the exact same situation with Militant Islam we were in with the Empire of Japan and their Kamakaze suicide pilots trying to sink US Navy ships off of Okinawa and Japan in the closing days of World War Two.

    As "Victory at Sea," put it: The American sailors fought to live, and Japan's pilots fought to die."

    Until the command authority figures out we face Militant Islam who fight to die, and respond to them like they fight to die, since the ONLY PROPER RESPONSE IS TO KILL THEM OFF, we will simply lose the so called war on terror.

    By the way, the debate over dropping the atomic bomb on Japan rarely mentions the 100,000 Allied POW's who Japan would have murdered, or the several million military KIA, much less the multiple million of Japan's civilians who would have died when the stormed us carrying pitchforks. The "massacre at Hiroshima and Nagasaki easily saved the lives of five to ten million people: 100,000 Pow's, 250,000 American KIA, 2 to 3 million Japan's military KIA, and five to seven million civilian. Nobody ever talks about that now do they?
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" is available for sale at the following url

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post
    It will take a missile strike on a major US city here in CONUS that kills a minimum of 100,000 people, Housecarl and then, and only then, will be get serious about domestic missile defense.

    We are now in the exact same situation with Militant Islam we were in with the Empire of Japan and their Kamakaze suicide pilots trying to sink US Navy ships off of Okinawa and Japan in the closing days of World War Two.

    As "Victory at Sea," put it: The American sailors fought to live, and Japan's pilots fought to die."

    Until the command authority figures out we face Militant Islam who fight to die, and respond to them like they fight to die, since the ONLY PROPER RESPONSE IS TO KILL THEM OFF, we will simply lose the so called war on terror.

    By the way, the debate over dropping the atomic bomb on Japan rarely mentions the 100,000 Allied POW's who Japan would have murdered, or the several million military KIA, much less the multiple million of Japan's civilians who would have died when the stormed us carrying pitchforks. The "massacre at Hiroshima and Nagasaki easily saved the lives of five to ten million people: 100,000 Pow's, 250,000 American KIA, 2 to 3 million Japan's military KIA, and five to seven million civilian. Nobody ever talks about that now do they?

    The thing is, the original "Safeguard" system deployment is probably not far off from what would be needed today in terms of interceptors (17 sites and 700 missiles). The improvement in radars and computer performance could negate the need to use ER weapons but instead KEI or conventional blast fragmentation.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2004
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    CIA chief Pompeo says he warned Iran's Soleimani over Iraq aggression

    Reuters Staff
    3 MIN READ

    SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (Reuters) - U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he sent a letter to Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and Iranian leaders expressing concern regarding Iran’s increasingly threatening behavior in Iraq.

    Speaking during a panel at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in Southern California, Pompeo said he sent the letter after the senior Iranian military commander had indicated that forces under his control might attack U.S. forces in Iraq. He did not specify the date.

    “What we were communicating to him in that letter was that we will hold he and Iran accountable for any attacks on American interests in Iraq by forces that are under their control,” Pompeo told the panel.

    “We wanted to make sure he and the leadership in Iran understood that in a way that was crystal clear.”

    Soleimani, who is the commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, refused to open the letter, according to Pompeo, who took over the CIA in January.

    Reuters reported in October that Soleimani had repeatedly warned Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq to withdraw from the oil city of Kirkuk or face an onslaught by Iraqi forces and allied Iranian-backed fighters, and had traveled to Iraq’s Kurdistan region to meet Kurdish leaders.

    The presence of Soleimani on the frontlines highlights Tehran’s heavy sway over policy in Iraq, and comes as Shi‘ite Iran seeks to win a proxy war in the Middle East with its regional rival and U.S. ally, Sunni Saudi Arabia.

    A U.S.-led coalition has been fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and is often in proximity to Iran-allied militia fighting Isis there.

    “You need to only look to the past few weeks and the efforts of the Iranians to exert influence now in Northern Iraq in addition to other places in Iraq to see that Iranian efforts to be the hegemonic power throughout the Middle East continues to increase,” Pompeo said.

    The CIA chief said Saudi Arabia had grown more willing to share intelligence with other Middle Eastern nations regarding Iran and Islamist extremism.

    The Israeli government said last month that Israel had had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran, a first disclosure by a senior official from either country of long-rumoured secret dealings.

    “We’ve seen them work with the Israelis to push back against terrorism throughout the Middle East, to the extent we can continue to develop those relationships and work alongside them - the Gulf states and broader Middle East will likely be more secure,” said Pompeo.

    Writing by Michelle Price in WASHINGTON; Editing by Mary Milliken

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    Crime, casualties undermine U.S. gains on Afghan battlefield

    •December 2, 2017

    By James Mackenzie and Sardar Razmal

    KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Since U.S. forces began stepping up air strikes against the Taliban, Kunduz shopkeeper Najibullah no longer fears another insurgent takeover of the northern Afghan city. But he does fear robbery or kidnap by militia gangs.

    With Afghan forces improving and on the offensive, U.S. commanders have more freedom to attack the Taliban and insurgents no longer threaten any major urban centers.

    Although Taliban-controlled areas begin within a 10-minute drive of the city, Kunduz - a strategic hub that fell twice in the past two years - is largely calm. But there is a long way to go to build confidence in daily security.

    "In the past people were afraid that the Taliban would come but no-one talks about that now," said Najibullah, who like many Afghans, uses only one name.

    "Now we have internal problems," he said, leaning over the counter of his shop in the city center and talking softly to avoid being overheard. "There are gunmen that do anything they want. There are people in this city, if they know you have money they'll come to your shop and rob you in broad daylight."

    Outside the city, where the Taliban still hold sway, the risk of being caught between helicopter gunships and the insurgents or swept up in a clearing operation means life is also more difficult for villagers on the front line.

    Last month, locals say 16 people were killed by U.S. helicopters in a night raid near the villages of Qatl-e Am and Gharow Qushlaq in Chahardara district, an area largely controlled by the Taliban. A U.S. investigation concluded there was no evidence any civilians were killed.

    "Since the Americans announced their new strategy and signed the new agreement, the situation has been getting worse," said Atiqullah, a villager who said he was about three kilometers away when the raid took place.


    The shift in perceptions on the ground suggests ordinary Afghans are seeing the fresh strategy is hitting the insurgents. But their new fears underline how much more is needed to build trust in the Western-backed government.

    "I'm a businessman but I can't go anywhere without a gun," said Jamal Nasir Aymaq, who owns a number of bakeries in the city. "Our businessmen and rich people have already escaped Kunduz and children are not safe."

    Kidnapping and robbery are rife and there is little confidence of justice from a government many see as deeply implicated in abuses by rogue militia "commanders" who operate with impunity.

    "We all know peace cannot be achieved by force alone, it needs development and the economy," said Kunduz police chief Abdul Hameed Hameedi. "Security is much better than last year but we haven't got what people are expecting yet."

    Kunduz Governor Asadullah Omarkhil dismissed talk of any official collusion in kidnapping as "baseless", but while many people fear the Taliban, many also feel they are more honest and efficient than city officials.

    "If there were a real government in the center of Kunduz, people wouldn't be going to the Taliban for legal decisions," said Mawlawi Khosh Mohammad Nasratyar, a member of the Kunduz provincial council. "Now, even people from the center of Kunduz go to the Taliban to settle legal cases."


    The wariness among many Afghans contrasts with optimism among Western officials, who say the new approach is starting to turn a stalemate with the Taliban around.

    "The air strikes have made all the difference," said one Western diplomat in Kabul. "When you go to (the NATO-led Resolute Support mission) headquarters, there's a bit of a buzz about the place that wasn't there before and a feeling they're back on the front foot."

    So far in 2017, U.S. forces have dropped three times the quantity of bombs as last year and special forces units have been in regular action with their Afghan counterparts.

    Hundreds of Taliban fighters and many senior leaders have been killed, including Mullah Abdul Salam, mastermind of the assault that saw the Taliban flag raised over Kunduz in 2015, the first time the insurgents had taken a major town.

    Similar successes have been seen in other towns including Tarin Kot in the central province of Uruzgan, which the Taliban briefly overran last year, or Lashkar Gah in Helmand, which they have also come close to taking.

    "Two years ago, there was a fear of Taliban attack on the city every minute and we couldn't come into the office," said Kunduz provincial council secretary Fawzia Jawad Yaftali. "But now everything is different, the shops are open and I'm sitting in my office without any fear," she said.


    The campaign has not been without cost however and hanging over it is the fact that the air strikes have inevitably brought more civilian casualties in their wake, even if their numbers are still well below those killed by roadside bombs.

    In a briefing this week, the commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said they go to "extraordinary lengths" to avoid civilian casualties and have "a rigorous process" to investigate allegations.

    But people from Chahardara react with deep anger to official denials that the raid on Nov. 3-4 killed at least 16 civilians.

    "The helicopter started bombing at three in the morning. Afterwards, at about 6 o'clock a lot of people gathered to help and then the helicopter came back. That was the big bomb," said Mohebullah, a village elder.

    "Sixteen people were killed and six wounded," he said, showing a handwritten list of names. "They have advanced equipment, they should be sure of who they are attacking. They should target criminals not innocent and helpless people."

    The United Nations mission in Afghanistan said reports of at least 10 deaths were "credible". A U.S. investigation found no evidence of any civilian casualties but Capt. Thomas Gresback, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said they would engage in dialogue with anyone who came forward with information.

    "Most of the propaganda about civilian casualties comes from the enemy," said Governor Omarkhil, who said only one person was killed in the incident. "In Chahardara, the Taliban made people go to the battle zone and take out dead bodies."

    The U.S. military says the Taliban deliberately shelters in houses and schools but the issue, over which former Afghan President Hamid Karzai repeatedly clashed with Washington, causes deep resentment, sapping support for the government.

    "The people who were killed were all civilians, they had nothing to do with the government or the Taliban," said Mohebullah. "Everyone lost a family member, everyone is shocked and in grief. The governor is lying."

    (Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Editing by Alex Richardson)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    I wonder how many of the old Nike sites would still fit the bill?....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....


    Exclusive: Pentagon evaluating U.S. West Coast missile defense sites - officials

    Mike Stone
    5 MIN READ

    SIMI VALLEY, Calif (Reuters) - The U.S. agency tasked with protecting the country from missile attacks is scouting the West Coast for places to deploy new anti-missile defenses, two Congressmen said on Saturday, as North Korea’s missile tests raise concerns about how the United States would defend itself from an attack.

    West Coast defenses would likely include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missiles, similar to those deployed in South Korea to protect against a potential North Korean attack.

    The accelerated pace of North Korea’s ballistic missile testing program in 2017 and the likelihood the North Korean military could hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear payload in the next few years has raised the pressure on the United States government to build-up missile defenses.

    On Wednesday, North Korea tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles), placing Washington within target range, South Korea said on Friday.

    Congressman Mike Rogers, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and chairs the Strategic Forces Subcommittee which oversees missile defense, said the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), was aiming to install extra defenses at West Coast sites. The funding for the system does not appear in the 2018 defense budget plan indicating potential deployment is further off.

    “It’s just a matter of the location, and the MDA making a recommendation as to which site meets their criteria for location, but also the environmental impact,” the Alabama Congressman and Republican told Reuters during an interview on the sidelines of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California.

    When asked about the plan, MDA Deputy Director Rear Admiral Jon Hill‎ said in a statement: “The Missile Defense Agency has received no tasking to site the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense System on the West Coast.”

    The MDA is a unit of the U.S. Defense Department.

    Congressman Rogers did not reveal the exact locations the agency is considering but said several sites are “competing” for the missile defense installations.

    Rogers and Congressman Adam Smith, a Democrat representing the 9th District of Washington, said the government was considering installing the THAAD anti-missile system made by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp, at west coast sites.

    The Congressmen said the number of sites that may ultimately be deployed had yet to be determined.

    THAAD is a ground-based regional missile defense system designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and takes only a matter of weeks to install.

    In addition to the two THAAD systems deployed in South Korea and Guam in the Pacific, the U.S. has seven other THAAD systems. While some of the existing missiles are based in Fort Bliss, Texas, the system is highly mobile and current locations are not disclosed.

    A Lockheed Martin representative declined to comment on specific THAAD deployments, but added that the company “is ready to support the Missile Defense Agency and the United States government in their ballistic missile defense efforts.” He added that testing and deployment of assets is a government decision.

    In July, the United States tested THAAD missile defenses and shot down a simulated, incoming intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). The successful test adds to the credibility of the U.S. military’s missile defense program, which has come under intense scrutiny in recent years due in part to test delays and failures.

    Currently, the continental United States is primarily shielded by the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD) in Alaska and California as well as the Aegis system deployed aboard U.S. Navy ships. The THAAD system has a far higher testing success rate than the GMD.

    The MDA told Congress in June that it planned to deliver 52 more THAAD interceptors to the U.S. Army between October 2017 and September 2018, bringing total deliveries to 210 since May 2011.

    North Korea’s latest missile test puts the U.S. capital within range, but Pyongyang still needs to prove it has mastered critical missile technology, such as re-entry, terminal stage guidance and warhead activation, South Korea said on Friday.

    Reporting by Mike Stone in Simi Valley, Calif.; Editing by Chris Sanders, Michelle Price and Michael Perry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Posted for fair use.....

    The New American Way of War

    By W.J. Hennigan November 30, 2017
    The convoy of weather-beaten trucks and Toyota Land Cruisers kicked up dirt as it streaked across the wooded West African terrain toward the hazy horizon. A joint team of 12 U.S. Army Special Forces and 30 Nigerien troops were making the trek back to base after a two-day reconnaissance mission to a remote area along Niger’s border with Mali.

    The weary commandos had just spoken to elders near the village of Tongo Tongo after sifting through a deserted campsite, seeking intelligence on an elusive terrorist operative. But it was a dry hole; whoever was there had since moved along. As the mid-morning sun bore down, the commandos settled in for the 110-mile drive.

    Then gunfire erupted. About 50 militants on motorcycles and in trucks swarmed the convoy, pinning it down. Unable to advance or retreat–to “get off the X” in military parlance–the Special Forces took incoming fire from rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. Over two hours of fighting led to the deaths of four U.S. soldiers.

    When news of the Oct. 4 ambush broke, the reaction in Washington was shocked surprise. What were Special Forces doing in Niger in the first place? And why did the U.S. military have a dozen of its most elite, highly trained soldiers in a country that most Americans couldn’t find on a map and where the U.S. is not known to be at war?


    As details emerged, the embarrassment of ignorance spread. The target of the operation, Ibrahim Dondou Chefou, code-named “Naylor Road” by U.S. intelligence, had been present days earlier at a high-level meeting of regional leaders of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, according to intelligence and military sources who shared details of the operation with TIME. But the question was how a supposedly low-risk mission to search his abandoned campsite had resulted in the deaths of four service members. On Capitol Hill, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York and national-security hawk Lindsey Graham of South Carolina openly admitted that they did not know about the deployment to Niger, let alone that it had grown in recent years to 800 U.S. troops. Nor did it appear fully supported: no U.S. military aircraft was available to transport the service members from the scene of the ambush to their base in the Nigerien capital of Niamey. Instead, the Pentagon relied on French helicopters and a San Marcos, Texas–based contractor, Berry Aviation, military sources tell TIME. Many Americans learned of the incident only after President Donald Trump’s public feud with the widow of one of the killed soldiers.

    The little noticed buildup in Niger is just a snapshot of the expanding worldwide deployment of U.S. commandos. At any given moment, 8,000 of the country’s most elite forces, including Navy SEALs, Army Delta Force, Army Special Forces and others, are operating around the globe. In 2001, that number was 2,900. So far in 2017, the service members have deployed to 143 countries, or nearly three-quarters of the nations in the world, according to data provided by U.S. Special Operations Command, which runs the units.

    Name a country in the world’s most volatile regions and it is likely that Special Operations forces are deployed there. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere, special operators are launching kill-or-capture raids against known terrorists. In the war-ravaged Middle East, commandos are training Egyptian and Saudi troops in how to fight insurgencies. At frigid bases inside former Soviet-bloc nations, they are countering Russian influence operations. In South Korea, they have added forces to help the military draw up counterstrike plans for an assault by the North Korean army. Trump has been aggressive in his use of commandos, authorizing terrorist-hunting night raids since his first days in office, and has loosened constraints on everyone from top generals to field commanders.

    Over the past 16 years, Special Operations have become the new American way of war. Once mainly used to supplement the work of conventional troops, the elite units are now the go-to option for policymakers looking to manage a complicated world. More than just hunter-killers, the U.S.’s best-trained commandos are increasingly military trainers, nation builders and diplomats. With typical dark humor, members of the Special Operations community joke that they’ve become an “easy button” for successive Administrations to push–an alternative to sending thousands of conventional military forces to hot spots and risking the political blowback that comes with it.

    Just because special operators are an easy option doesn’t mean their use is cost-free. The presence of U.S. troops in an unstable country can attract those who want to kill Americans and serve as a recruiting tool, experts say. Oversight of those troops is limited by the fact that the public, and many in Congress, often aren’t aware of the sometimes-classified missions. Most important, it’s not clear how the deployments fit together in a broader plan to advance U.S. national security. “There is a leadership problem,” says Army Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, who commanded all Special Operations forces in Africa until last June, “because there’s no overarching strategy.”

    The nonstop deployments are taking a heavy toll on the nation’s toughest warriors, raising high-level concerns that the Special Operations forces are being stretched too thin. The 11 special operators killed in action this year, for instance, died on missions in four countries. It’s the first time commandos have died in that many countries in one year since Special Operations Command was established in 1987. Ceaseless deployment cycles have caused problems at home, driving the Pentagon to create a task force to address drug and alcohol abuse, family crises and suicide among the ranks. The ops tempo also raises the chances of battlefield mistakes, or worse. The Pentagon has at least one open investigation into civilian deaths involving U.S. special operators in Somalia, and another into the alleged murder of a Green Beret at the hands of two Navy SEALs.

    If the other options are large conventional troop deployments or a retreat into isolation, experts say, the expanded reliance on special ops may be necessary. But in May, General Raymond Thomas, commander of Special Operations Command, told Congress that the rate of deployments was “unsustainable.” Michael Repass, a retired major general who headed Special Operations Command in Europe, is more blunt. “We’re not frayed at the edges–we’re ripped at the damn seams,” he says. “We have burned through this force.”

    The reliance on Special Operations was born of necessity. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by al-Qaeda showed that tanks, aircraft carriers and the deployment of battalions of tens of thousands of conventional forces could no longer protect the U.S. as they had during the Cold War. Congress authorized the President to go after al-Qaeda anywhere and everywhere, turning the world into a battlefield and commandos into the go-to force against a new stateless threat. Often proficient in the languages of their host countries, and trained to be both lethal and smart, they could deploy to root out terrorists among civilian populations.

    At first the strategy worked. The Green Berets of Special Forces 5th Group toppled the Taliban in eight weeks, riding into battle atop horses with Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance. Then the Pentagon turned with renewed focus to al-Qaeda. On Jan. 4, 2002, Special Forces Sergeant First Class Scott Neil jumped out the back of an MH-53 helicopter half a mile from a suspected al-Qaeda compound that was 140 miles south of the Afghan capital of Kabul. With just one hour of on-scene time, thanks to limited helicopter fuel, Neil managed to rush through incoming AK-47 fire; calm a terrified, screaming girl with a Baby Ruth candy bar he had in his pocket; and overcome his al-Qaeda adversaries. The reward was a trove of intelligence from what turned out to be an al-Qaeda way station: hundreds of fake passports to give terrorist recruits new identities, and multiple computers, powered by car batteries and linked to satellite phones for Internet connection. Such intelligence coups led to more targets, more targets led to more raids, and more raids led to more intelligence in a never-ending domino effect.

    Then President George W. Bush changed the subject to Iraq, and Neil and his compatriots were in Kuwait helping to lay the groundwork for the March 2003 invasion. After a break at home in May 2003, he deployed in August to the African nation of Djibouti to conduct raids on cells of foreign fighters elsewhere in the Middle East. Back home again in February 2004, he left for Iraq again that August. “It went on like that for years,” Neil says now, “It was nonstop running and gunning.”

    When President Barack Obama took office, he promised to end two U.S. ground wars. But again, that meant more work for commandos. Obama cut the number of conventional troops in war zones from 150,000 to 14,000 over his eight years in office. But Special Operations forces never went home: they stayed in Iraq and Afghanistan, or went elsewhere. Obama had shifted the burden of the fight against the insurgencies to commandos. He boosted Special Operations Command’s annual budget from $9.3 billion to $10.4 billion and added more than 15,000 personnel.

    The expansion has continued under Trump. One of the first moves the Republican made in office was to loosen the reins on the operations that commandos could purse in Yemen. In his first week, he authorized a raid on an al-Qaeda compound in the country, but the predawn operation with forces from the United Arab Emirates went bad. The militants were prepared and took up arms, and the SEALs had to fight their way out. Navy SEAL Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, 36, died. Three other service members were injured in the raid. More than a dozen civilians were killed as well. Two months later, Trump signed off on an aggressive campaign against al-Shabab militants in Somalia, in East Africa. Navy SEAL Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38, was killed and two other SEALs were wounded in a May 5 raid.

    Special Operations forces now make up nearly all U.S. combat casualties, despite making up less than 5% of the total force. Commandos died in greater numbers than conventional forces for the first time in 2016. And again in 2017.

    Milliken was killed as part of a so-called “train, advise and assist” mission. To fully appreciate the dangerous overextension of the nation’s Special Operations forces, you have to know that what are being billed as training missions are often indistinguishable from traditional combat. “It’s easier to put ‘trainers’ and ‘advisers’ in a country and say we don’t have ‘boots on the ground,'” says former Navy SEAL Scott Taylor, who is now a GOP Congressman from Virginia. “Well, that’s bullshit. They’re combat boots, every one of them.”

    It is in that euphemistic role that the real growth in elite deployments around the world has come. The most widespread units of Special Operations deployment are 12-man Operational Detachment Alpha teams, or A-teams. All undergo a year to two years of selection, assessment and training at Fort Bragg to develop basic physical, academic and tactical skills. A-teams are further trained according to their projected mission, learning the customs and languages of the locals in the countries and regions where they expect to deploy. And they get specialized skills: some train to help with local medical problems. Others have learned how to do animal husbandry in communities that rely on livestock. Still others have become experts in agricultural work as part of the command’s drug-control missions.

    But nation building and diplomatic outreach often bleed over into firefights with armed enemies, the type of missions for which every special operator is trained. Many commandos live and work with units fighting insurgencies allied with U.S. enemies in unstable countries. In the past, much of the training took place on bases. Increasingly, commandos are going outside the wire to help conduct raids that rely on intelligence gathered by foreign allies.

    Africa in particular has seen a dramatic expansion of the Special Operations presence. Over the past year, the Pentagon has moved more than 15% of its Special Operations forces to assist relatively small, poorly equipped African militaries, up from 1% in 2006. Where a decade ago the U.S. had special operators sporadically deployed on the continent, it now has 1,200 dedicated to about a dozen countries there.

    The expanding global deployments, violent or otherwise, can be successful, if underappreciated. In Colombia, special operators helped defeat the decades-long FARC insurgency that had turned the country into a near failed state and a source of much of the world’s cocaine trade. In the Philippines, commandos helped suppress a long-running Islamist insurgency. Last summer, commandos were dispatched to the Syrian city of Tal Abyad, near the Turkish border, to resolve dangerous, mounting tensions between Turkish and Kurdish forces–sworn enemies that are both U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS. In Iraq and Afghanistan, commandos trained the two fighting units that have consistently stood their ground, and won, against Islamist insurgents.

    All the while demands increase, especially in Africa, where al-Qaeda and ISIS, under pressure in the Middle East and South Asia, are expanding. “It’s like squeezing a balloon,” says Stuart Bradin, a retired Special Forces colonel. “The pressure has been applied to the bad guys in one area of the world, so they run somewhere else.” The current tempo varies, but special operators usually deploy for six months at a time, with six months at home. Special Operations Command’s long-stated goal is to improve the ratio to 12 months off for every half-year in theater. “The guys just want some predictability,” says Richard Lamb, a retired Army command sergeant major who spent nearly four decades as a soldier and civilian in the Special Forces community.

    Defense Secretary James Mattis acknowledged the stresses and said the military is looking for solutions. One is to off-load some of the burden to more lightly trained conventional forces. This year, the Army created the Security Force Assistance Brigades, designed to provide services to foreign militaries similar to those special operators now provide. The units have no junior enlisted soldiers and will rely heavily on experienced non-commissioned officers. They attend a recently established school at Fort Benning, and the first units will be deployed to Afghanistan early next year.

    But widespread foreign-forces training can come with considerable costs. Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch, says the U.S. military has trained war criminals in Afghanistan and elsewhere because on balance it was better to have them as allies. “That probably has some security benefits,” Prasow says, “but it also carries security risks,” as it can stir up anti-American resentment among civilians. Covert night raids and drone strikes have inadvertently killed thousands of civilians across several countries, risking another domino effect by inspiring a new generation of militants.

    The U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congress’s watchdog, has warned that while the Special Operations forces have grown in size, their missions have grown faster. The author of an alarming 2015 GAO study, John Pendleton, warns that overuse will be catastrophic. Pendleton likens the situation to the failings he flagged that led to two Navy collisions this year in the Pacific Ocean, which killed 17 sailors. “Ultimately, multiple tragedies occurred,” he says. “Special Operations Command’s situation sounds eerily familiar.”

    U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Chris Faris’ daughter stood in his bedroom doorway and demanded an answer. It was 2009, and Faris was packing his bags for yet another six-month deployment to Afghanistan. With her 18th birthday approaching, she asked if he remembered the last birthday he was present for. “No,” Faris replied. “I was 10,” she said, and turned and walked out the door.

    A former member of the Army’s secretive Delta Force, he had no fixed deployment cycle. Between 2002 and 2011, Faris estimates he was home a total of 89 days. The rest of the time he was on constant covert kill-or-capture operations around the world. While the manhunting campaigns were viewed as a success in the field, they were less so on the home front. Faris couldn’t sit at the dinner table and tell his family how his workday went. Nor could he take seriously the trivial, everyday problems that annoyed his wife and kids. “What are you going to do? Come home and say: ‘We killed another 25, 30 people. We captured another 50,'” Faris says. “I mean, that went on every single night for years.” Faris’ wife said he became more like a guest in their house. The distance pushed them to the brink of divorce.

    In 2014, Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the raid against Osama bin Laden, reported on the personal costs that his forces were suffering due to high-frequency deployments. He told a conference in Tampa that year that suicide rates among special operators were at record highs. “My soldiers have been fighting now for 12, 13 years in hard combat. Hard combat. And anybody that has spent any time in this war has been changed by it. It’s that simple,” McRaven said. In an acknowledgment of the pressures faced by its warriors, the command created the Preservation of the Force and Family program in 2012. Since then, it has assigned psychologists, family counselors and other specialists to units. The command also has a contract with the American Association of Suicidology to develop a plan to prevent self-harm and identify early signs of potential tragedies.

    The families of the four men lost in the ambush at Tongo Tongo are contending with a different tragedy. Investigators with the FBI and U.S. military have been dispatched to Niger to determine what happened and answer questions about whether the forces had adequate intelligence, equipment and security precautions. The Pentagon says it expects the report to be completed and publicly released after the New Year.


    This appears in the December 11, 2017 issue of TIME.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    YaleGlobal Online

    Saudi Arabia as absolute monarchy and the United States as democratic republic are polar opposites in terms of political governance and culture. Yet the two nations have had close ties since 1943 when pragmatic leaders focused on shared security concerns. More than seven decades later, the relationship appears strong though less pragmatic. Each country, with internal divisions and long-term economic challenges, is run by imperious leaders who embrace extreme and unsustainable policies for the Middle East. The leaders, still new to their roles and inexperienced, are quick to blame others for problems of their own making. “Saudi foreign policy, typically cautious and risk averse, has become aggressive and dangerous, sometimes reckless,” explains Bruce Riedel, who served with the US Central Intelligence Agency before becoming senior fellow and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project and senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy. He is also author of the recent book Kings and Presidents. The Saudi kingdom threatens its own survival by engaging in unnecessary conflicts with neighbors, including the long and costly war with Yemen and the blockade of Qatar. Extending conflict with Iran could be the last straw. US Congress could slow military support for its partner in the Middle East and prevent the region from becoming more volatile. – YaleGlobal

    Saudi Arabia Shifts Policy From Risk Averse to Downright Dangerous

    The Saudi system of consensus and family cohesion is broken, and the United States has leverage with its military support

    Bruce Riedel
    Tuesday, November 28, 2017

    WASHINGTON: A perfect storm is gathering around the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Economic weakness, foreign policy setbacks and political infighting in the royal family threaten to destabilize America’s oldest ally in the Middle East. Volatility in the kingdom will have a ripple effect throughout the region.

    The special US relationship with Saudi Arabia turns 75 next year. In 1943 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt invited King Abd al Aziz al Saud to send representatives to Washington in the midst of the Second World War. Ibn Saud sent his sons Prince Feisal and Prince Khaled, two future kings. They stayed in Blair House, the official guesthouse of the US president, and met with FDR in the Oval Office. A state dinner and meetings with Congress were followed by a cross-country tour from Texas to California and back to the East Coast. The president wanted to impress the Saudis with America’s power and might. Two years later FDR and the king meet face to face on the USS Quincy, a cruiser, in the Great Bitter Lake in Egypt.

    The relationship has since become stormy with great highs alternating with deep lows. The defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and Iraq in Kuwait were highs, and the 1973 oil embargo and 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington in 2001 were lows. Today the relationship is superficially better than ever. Donald Trump made Riyadh his first foreign port of call, and he has strongly endorsed King Salman and his son Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman including their recent purge of the royal family. The president and king share a strong opposition to Iran.

    But trouble brews beneath the surface. The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism law, passed 98-0 to override former President Barack Obama’s veto last year, has led to court cases alleging Saudi culpability for the 9/11 plot. Opposition to arms sales to the kingdom because of the war in Yemen is growing in Congress. The last US arms sale to Saudi passed the Senate by a narrow margin.

    The kingdom is at a crossroad. Low oil prices have damaged the economy which flat-lined in 2016 and went into recession this year. A third of the country’s foreign reserves have been spent since Salman ascended the throne just three years ago. The Saudi cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable.

    The good news is that the king and crown prince recognize the need for profound changes and have proposed a new economic strategy called Saudi Vision 2030 including innovative ideas for opening society and reducing dependence on oil. Giving Saudi women driver’s licenses, for example, reduces the need for a half million foreign chauffeurs who send their wages home. Opening ARAMCO, the Saudi national oil company, to outside investors would encourage more foreign investment.

    But implementing Vision 2030 has been weak. Necessary cuts in public-sector salaries and subsidies were quickly reversed. The purge of family members, allegedly an anti-corruption campaign, has frightened investors and is leading to capital flight.

    Foreign policy failures add to the economic burden. The 30-month-old war in Yemen is an expensive quagmire. What was billed as Decisive Storm by Crown Prince and Defense Minister Muhammad bin Salman, known as MBS, has become a stalemate. With modest help from Iran and Hezbollah the rebels are building missiles that have already targeted Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates could be next. Almost 80 missiles have struck the kingdom. The Saudis are spending a fortune in Yemen while Houthi-supporter Tehran fights to the last Yemeni. The biggest loser is the Yemeni people who are now living in the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe. The Saudis claim 85 percent of Yemen is in their hands, but in fact a sizable majority of the population is in the rebel-controlled north where the famine is most acute. The Saudi strategy is starvation and disease, which rightfully draws global opprobrium.

    The blockade of Qatar is another failed adventure by the crown prince. Qataris have rallied behind the emir, and Saudi efforts to promote dissidents have been mocked.

    Iran has been a beneficiary of the crisis. More broadly Iran is outpacing the Saudis across the region. Iranian influence is preeminent in Syria and Iraq, and likely to get stronger. Lebanon is Hezbollah’s pawn, and the Saudi maneuvers with Saad Hariri whose unexplained resignation as prime minister while on a trip to Riyadh, later withdrawn, have only illustrated their weaknesses.

    Saudi foreign policy, typically cautious and risk averse, has become aggressive and dangerous, sometimes reckless. As the main architect of its failures, Muhammad bin Salman must bear the consequences, and the question is will he learn from his mistakes?

    Low oil prices have damaged the economy which flat-lined in 2016 and went into recession this year. A third of the country’s foreign reserves have been spent since Salman ascended the throne just three years ago. The Saudi cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable.

    He achieved his top goal of securing the heir to the throne, but that was not difficult since his father cleared the path and provided his favorite son protection. In the process sizable portions of the royal family have been alienated. Former Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef is apparently under house arrest, and the former head of the Saudi Arabia National Guard Prince Mutaib is imprisoned in a hotel. The country’s large security services are now run by amateurs.

    Most importantly, the arrest of senior princes and other establishment figures and reports that they are being shaken down for their money, as much as $100 billion, have sent a chilling effect through the country. The rules of the Saudi system, based on consensus and family cohesion, have been broken. Decorum has been abandoned for a naked power grab.

    For now the crown prince is unchallenged, but many suspect that once his father passes MBS may be vulnerable. One Arab ambassador confided that he anticipates the young man will be assassinated.

    Saudi Arabia’s future is certain to be much less predictable and stable than during the last half century of Saudi politics. The placid pace of the kingdom has been replaced by volatility. The spillover is already shaking the region and creating consternation.

    Rather than handing over a blank check to Riyadh, Washington should be urging a more conservative approach. Privately the message must be stern because America’s interests are at stake and damaged by misadventures like the Qatari dispute. Washington should be urgently trying to find an early end to the Yemeni catastrophe, both to save lives and prevent escalation. Washington should be clear that war with Iran – either deliberate or inadvertent – is not an American interest, and the United States should also steer clear of injecting itself into royal family politics.

    The United States has enormous leverage given Saudi dependence on American military support and spare parts. It’s time to use it.

    Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, part of the Brookings Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. In addition, Riedel serves as a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy. He retired in 2006 after 30 years of service at the Central Intelligence Agency, including postings overseas. He was a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four presidents of the United States in the staff of the National Security Council at the White House. He is the author of Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States Since FDR, published in 2017. Read an excerpt.

    Related Links:
    Power Transitions in Saudi Arabia Spell Changes in the Middle East
    Brookings: The $110 Billion Arms Deal to Saudi Arabia Is Fake News
    The World After 9/11 – Part I
    The Washington Post: What the Royal Purge Means for Saudi Arabia and Oil
    Saudi Arabia's New Succession Plan Shakes Up the Middle East

  11. #11
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    Thucydides and the Long War Problem

    Joshua Rovner
    December 4, 2017

    Editor’s Note: This is the fifth installment of “The Brush Pass,” a new column by Joshua Rovner (@joshrovner1)*on intelligence, strategy, and statecraft.
    Is there anything left to say about Thucydides?

    In a year dominated by concerns over modern technologies — ballistic missiles, nuclear warheads, and cyber weapons — scholars have spent a remarkable amount of time arguing about a very old conflict. Thucydides’ classic history of the Peloponnesian War documents the catastrophic fight between Athens and Sparta from 431–404 BC. It was a horrendous affair. Conventional combat, gruesome disease, mass murder, and civil war tore apart the fabric of the ancient Greek world. The post-war was chaotic, violent, and impoverished.

    Thucydides’ account of the war itself describes several enduring strategic dilemmas: when and how to take risks, how to balance the demands of domestic politics against the requirements of strategy, how to deal with audacious military commanders, and so on. But of all the issues contained within the book, perhaps none is as important as the explanation for why great powers become trapped in prolonged conflicts they thought would end quickly. Thucydides shows us that in the fevered run-up to war, leaders delude themselves that they can win without beating the enemy on its turf. Sea powers seek victory over land powers without destroying their armies, and vice versa. Early battles settle nothing because both sides can safely retreat to their respective domains. The result is stalemate: Neither side has the military wherewithal to force surrender, and neither will back down because the political stakes are so high.

    In the years before the war began, both sides were aware of their comparative strengths and weaknesses. Athens, the dominant sea power in ancient Greece, had implemented a grand strategy combining trade and imperialism. Its security rested on its navy, its system of tributary allies and colonies, and the long walls that encircled the city and connected it with the port at Piraeus. Spartan security, on the other hand, rested on its powerful infantry, which it used to dominate most of the Peloponnese. Unlike Athens, it thrived because its grand strategy was inherently conservative. Sparta’s famous phalanx was lethal, but Spartan leaders were loath to send it abroad, because doing so might encourage its serfs to rise up in rebellion.

    The situation resembled what some today call “cross-domain deterrence.” Contemporary strategists wonder if it is possible to deter military action in one domain with threats in another. For example, can the United States deter cyber-attacks by demonstrating its capability and willingness to respond with conventional military force? Will U.S. naval dominance continue to offset China’s land power, preventing the two nations from stumbling into war as Graham Allison warns? More generally, is it possible to construct a stable balance so that technological breakthroughs in one area do not encourage states to take extraordinary risks?

    Something like cross-domain deterrence kept the peace in ancient Greece for a time in the middle of the fifth century BC. Athens dominated the water but had obvious reasons to avoid pitched battle with the Spartan army. Sparta had the most powerful land forces in Greece but had little hope against skilled Athenian oarsmen.

    Both sides were aware of this basic asymmetry, but in the frenzied pre-war period, they indulged in fantasies about winning without having to face the enemy’s center of gravity. Athens hoped that small-scale raids on the Peloponnesian coast would inspire a revolt among the Helots — Sparta’s state-owned serfs. Sparta hoped it could convince Persia to join the war — and bring its formidable navy. None of these hopes panned out, and, predictably enough, the war settled into a frustrating deadlock after a series of inconclusive battles in the first few years of fighting.

    Unable to overcome their opponents’ key strengths, but protected by their own domination of their respective domains, Athens and Sparta fell into familiar approaches to war. Neither was willing to attack the enemy where it was strongest, meaning both were safe from conquest but also unable to compel the other to do their will. The result was a costly stalemate lasting decades.

    Tactical caution ruled the day. Commanders from both sides retreated upon hearing that enemy forces were nearby. Sparta broke off promising amphibious operations in 429 and 428, and abandoned its allies in Corcyra’s civil war at the moment it seemed possible to break away one of Athens’s most important allies. Athenian land commanders followed the same pattern, avoiding engagements in 425 and 424 after receiving intelligence that the Spartans were coming. Athens also failed to fully support Argos in its battle with Sparta in 418. This battle — the largest of the whole war — was a near-run thing, and a crushing land defeat on the Peloponnese might have proven disastrous for Sparta. But Athenian leaders, chastened by memories of earlier disappointments, committed only a small force to the battle.

    Bold commanders were hard to find, and the exceptions, like Brasidas of Sparta, had to willfully ignore orders in order to pursue audacious campaigns. In other cases, political leaders sought to rid themselves of risk-acceptant leaders by sending them on campaigns that they thought were unlikely to succeed. Athenian leaders famously sought to get rid of Cleon by sending him on what they though was a fool’s campaign against Spartan forces on the southern coast of the Peloponnese. (To their amazement, he won.)

    Risk-averse commanders led military forces that were doctrinally limited to indirect efforts to attack the enemy. The fact that both sides enjoyed geographic sanctuaries — Sparta on land, Athens at sea — meant that neither was forced to give up. And because both sides thought they were fighting for existential political stakes, neither was enthusiastic about giving up.

    But fighting to avoid losing was costly. Indeed, 27 years of inconclusive campaigning was exhausting to both sides. Sparta finally defeated Athens in 404, tore down its walls, and occupied the city. Its victory was temporary and hollow. The costs of fighting for so long had left it open to predation from other rising great powers, and it went into a century of decline. Still facing the threat of Helot rebellion, it suffered a devastating defeat to Thebes in 371 BC, and was subsequently unable to prevent the rise of Macedonian hegemony. Sparta’s time as the dominant land power in Greece was over.

    When Americans today think of protracted wars, they think of the painful counter-insurgencies against non-state armed groups in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Conventional wars against regular military forces, by contrast, have been astonishingly short, with historically low casualty ratios. But the chance of a prolonged conventional war has not disappeared, despite enduring U.S. advantages in technology, resources, and military professionalism. A conflict against China, for instance, could follow the Peloponnesian pattern. As I describe in the Journal of Strategic Studies, strategists in both countries hope for rapid victories at low costs, with cyberattacks and other information operations crippling the other side’s ability to coordinate an effective defense.

    The initial stages of a conflict may not work out as planned. Indeed, opening campaigns in great power wars rarely follow expectations. As the naval historian John Maurer recently put it, “In wars involving great powers, the first round of fighting is not likely to prove the last.” Miscues and mistakes are likely in complex campaigns requiring coordinating multiple services over vast stretches of sea and air. In the event of a disappointing start to a war in Asia, U.S. forces could retreat to the sea, trusting that their regional allies have sufficient defensive capabilities to keep Chinese forces at bay. Meanwhile, China could find refuge on land, settling into a war of harassment against U.S. and allied forces. Neither side could easily compel the other to accept defeat, but neither would face the immediate danger of destruction.

    In such a case, adroit diplomacy would be needed to convince leaders to stand down. Both sides will view the outcome as crucial, even existential, or they would not have taken the risk of war against a nuclear-armed great power in the first place. U.S. leaders may view the war as a final test of the post-war liberal order that they spent so much blood and treasure building. The Chinese Communist Party will feel intense pressure to avoid capitulation, especially if the war involves deeply nationalist issues like the status of Taiwan. Choreographing a settlement acceptable to the United States that also allows Chinese leadership to save face — and even claim victory — will tax even the most brilliant strategist.

    Such a settlement proved impossible in ancient Greece. Modern strategists would do well to ask why.
    Joshua Rovner is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. He is the author of*Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence*(Cornell, 2011), and writes widely about intelligence and strategy. *

    A Guide to Better National Security Decision-Making

    Mali is France’s Afghanistan, But With a Difference

    Hedging Our Bets: Reviving Defense Industrial Surge Capacity

  12. #12
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    Ex-NATO commander: North Korea likely getting help with nukes, rockets from China or Russia

    By Olivia Beavers - 12/03/17 11:51 AM EST

    Retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander, in an interview on Sunday said North Korea is likely receiving outside help from allies like China, Russia or Iran as it races to*develop its weapons arsenal.

    “You’ve got to think that at least part of it is coming from either China or Russia and I have no evidence of that, but the idea that [North Korean leader Kim Jong*Un] would simply be developing this on an indigenous basis within his own population of scientists simply seems unlikely given how fast it's moving,"*Stavridis told*radio host John Catsimatidis*on AM 970 in New York.

    "It could also be cooperation between Iran and North Korea, which we do know has occurred in this nuclear space" Stavridis*continued. He added that, "it's fair to say there is some level of outside engagement that has been helpful to [Kim's]*program."

    Stavridis said China*will*have to decide whether it is going to stand by or stand up against North Korea as tensions escalate.

    "China is going to have to make a choice about whether or not it will continue to align with North Korea or if they will stand with the rest of the global community and stop this. And the best tool they have, John, is they have control over oil going to North Korea. They could stop that economy in a heartbeat. We're going to need to put more pressure on them," he said, adding that*"there's about a 10*percent chance" of a war.

    Stavridis*added that the North Korean weapons advances come at a time*when President Trump has repeatedly undermined*Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

    "Every time Secretary Tillerson tries to talk about diplomacy in North Korea, for example, he faces a tweet from his boss, the President, saying, ‘We are not going to use diplomacy to solve this. Diplomacy is a waste of time.’ ”

  13. #13
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    Mattis tells Pakistan to 'redouble' counterterrorism efforts in first visit

    By Rebecca Kheel - 12/04/17 12:53 PM EST
    1 Comment

    Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday pushed Pakistan to “redouble” its efforts to fight terrorism, according to a Pentagon statement.

    In his first trip to Pakistan as Defense secretary, Mattis met Monday with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister of Defense Khurram Dastigir Khan, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence Lt. Gen. Naveed Mukhtar.

    “The secretary emphasized the vital role that Pakistan can play in working with the United States and others to facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan that brings stability and security to the region,” chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement after the meetings. “The secretary reiterated that Pakistan must redouble its efforts to confront militants and terrorists operating within the country.”

    President Trump’s strategy to wind down the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan includes pressuring Pakistan to crack down on terrorist safe havens in its borders.

    Pakistan denies that it provides safe haven to terrorists, often pointing to the operation launched in 2014 to clear groups such as the Haqqanis from the Waziristan border region with Afghanistan.

    But the top U.S. general in Afghanistan said recently he has seen no change in behavior from Pakistan, despite Trump’s insistence for it to do more on terrorism.
    “Pakistani leadership has come to Kabul and met with [Afghan] President [Ashraf] Ghani,” Gen. John Nicholson told reporters in a briefing last week. “They identified certain steps that they were going to take. We've not yet seen those steps play out.”

    Mattis said ahead of his*Monday meeting that he was going to work on finding common ground with the Pakistanis.

    “We know we have some common ground,” Mattis told reporters traveling with him Sunday. “They have lost hundreds, thousands of their troops killed and wounded by terrorists. They have lost hundreds, thousands of their innocent people murdered and wounded by terrorists.”

    Mattis also said he expects to see Pakistan’s denouncements of terrorism reflected in policy.

    “We have heard from Pakistan leaders that they do not support terrorism. So I expect to see that sort of action reflected in their policies,” he told reporters traveling with him Friday.

    After Abbasi and Mattis met Monday, a statement from Abbasi’s office said he spoke about recent counterterrorism operations and pledged that Pakistan "would continue to conduct intelligence based operations all over the country,” according to The Associated Press.

    The statement added that Abbasi appreciates "the U.S. resolve not to allow the use of Afghan soil against Pakistan."

    Mattis’s stop in Pakistan was part of four-day regional trip that also included stops in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait.

  14. #14
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    May 2002
    Mattis wants Pakistan to "redouble" anti-terrorist efforts? Oh, Housecarl, your'e killing me here. Pakistan is a TERRORIST STATE. Pakistan is where Osama Bin Laden lived for years. Pakistan is where the ISS gave full support to both the Taleban and Al Quaida. Pakistan is where North Korea and Iran got their nuclear know how.

    Is Mattis trying to be comic relief here? Nah, we will keep sending Pakistan military aid, no matter how much they suck up to China, or enable rouge states to get nuclear weapons, et al.

    Yeah, with a "friend" like Pakistan, the USA doesn't really need any more enemies.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" is available for sale at the following url

  15. #15
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    Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post
    Mattis wants Pakistan to "redouble" anti-terrorist efforts? Oh, Housecarl, your'e killing me here. Pakistan is a TERRORIST STATE. Pakistan is where Osama Bin Laden lived for years. Pakistan is where the ISS gave full support to both the Taleban and Al Quaida. Pakistan is where North Korea and Iran got their nuclear know how.

    Is Mattis trying to be comic relief here? Nah, we will keep sending Pakistan military aid, no matter how much they suck up to China, or enable rouge states to get nuclear weapons, et al.

    Yeah, with a "friend" like Pakistan, the USA doesn't really need any more enemies.
    Yeah, I hear you Doug....

    About the only alternative analogy I can think of is the guy who tosses the guard dog at a wrecking yard of a rival a piece of lunch meat everyday in preparation to go into the place himself.

    Yeah at some point, considering the continuing building up of Salafist furor in Pakistan something will need to be done that's "lasting".

  16. #16
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    May 2002
    I still say the most likely place for an actual nuclear exchange to happen is over Kashmir and between India and Pakistan. China is stirring the pot in both Pakistan and North Korea.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" is available for sale at the following url

  17. #17
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    Jul 2003
    Israel News Feed‏ @IsraelHatzolah
    41m41 minutes ago

    BREAKING: For the fifth time tonight red sirens sounding in southern Israel.

    Israel News Feed‏ @IsraelHatzolah
    52m52 minutes ago

    RIGHT NOW: For the 4th time tonight red sirens sounding in southern Israel, incoming rocket warning.

    Israel News Feed‏ @IsraelHatzolah
    1h1 hour ago

    BREAKING: For the third time tonight red sirens sounding in southern Israel, incoming rocket warning.

    Israel News Feed‏ @IsraelHatzolah
    3h3 hours ago

    BREAKING: For the second time past hour rocket sirens sounding in southern Israel.


    Something's up.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post


    Nah, we will keep sending Pakistan military aid, no matter how much they suck up to China, or enable rouge states to get nuclear weapons, et al.

    Yeah, with a "friend" like Pakistan, the USA doesn't really need any more enemies.

    As long as we have troops and equipment in Afghanistan, we have no choice but to be 'friends' with Pakistan. They are our only way in and out. It is what it is... they have to make do with with the reality of the situation. Of course, the best solution would be to get out of Afghanistan so that we are not beholden to Pakistan. But we all know that isn't happening until the deep state is completely out of power.


  19. #19

    US Patriot antimissile interceptors reportedly missed five times against Yemeni Scud fired at Riyadh

    Jamie Seidel, News Corp Australia Network
    an hour ago

    PRESIDENT Donald Trump may have been pumped after a barrage of US interceptors was fired at an incoming missile over Saudi Arabia last month.

    But it now appears they all missed.

    It’s an outcome bound to produce fallout amid increased tensions over North Korea’s intercontinental missile program.

    The United States — and in particular President Donald Trump — have been talking up its $US40 billion ($A52.4 billion) antimissile capability in recent months.

    The boasts are big: President Trump insists existing interceptors “can knock out a missile in the air 97 per cent of the time.”

    But reality often doesn’t match the manufacturer’s marketing.

    As appears to have been demonstrated in Saudi Arabia early last month.

    The New York Times is reporting five interceptors were fired from US-supplied Patriot missile defence systems to defend Riyadh airport. The incoming Yemeni Scud was seen to fall from the sky.

    However, all was not as it seemed: The New York Times says witnesses and satellite images show the missile’s warhead exploded just outside the airport. It turned out not to be all that bad a shot for such old, inaccurate technology, after all.

    But things may be looking up for Russia’s antimissile technology.

    It appears one such system may have been able to knock three out of five Israeli missiles launched at an alleged Iranian arms dump inside Syria at the weekend.
    A Patriot weapons system is fired at a NATO test facility. Reports indicate five of them failed to intercept an incoming Scud missile. Picture: US Defence Department

    “Our system knocked the missile out of the air,” President Trump crowed after the Yemeni attack. “That’s how good we are. Nobody makes what we make, and now we’re selling it all over the world.”

    But there is a problem.

    RELATED: Why Japan has not shot down any of North Korea’s missiles

    The Patriot system appears to have missed — the five interceptors being lured away from the active deadly warhead by casing components discarded in mid-flight.

    “You shoot five times at this missile and they all miss? That’s shocking,” Laura Grego, a missile expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The New York Times. “That’s shocking because this system is supposed to work.”

    Things could get worse.

    Unconfirmed reports suggest another relatively slow and short-ranged Scud missile was launched out of Yemen towards a United Arab Emirates nuclear power plant at the weekend.

    “The missile force announces the launching of a winged cruise missile … toward the al-Barakah nuclear reactor in Abu Dhabi,” a Yemeni Houthi website boasted. Footage of the desert launch of a Scud-variant was also circulated.

    What happened to the missile, if it actually was fired at the reactor, remains unreported.

    Saudi Arabia says it successfully shot-down a Yemeni missile at the weekend that appeared to be aimed at the city of Khamis Mushait.

    But hitting a Scud missile is nowhere near as challenging as intercontinental ballistic missiles. In terms of height and speed, North Korea’s recently demonstrated ICBM makes a Scud look as though it belongs in a children’s league.

    RELATED: North Korea demonstrates new ICBM rapid-launch

    Missile analysts last week warned North Korea’s most recent test also revealed it was refining the ability to quickly activate and deploy its ICBMs, reducing the time in which the US, Japan and South Korea can react.
    The under-construction Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi's Western desert. The UAE on Sunday denied a claim by Yemen's Shiite rebels that a rebel-fired missile targeted the plant. Picture: AP

    A night attack by Israeli missiles against a suspected Iranian weapons depot near Damascus in Syria met with unexpected opposition.

    Five missiles were reportedly launched by Israeli combat jets flying within Lebanon’s airspace. At least one hit its target. Two were shot down by Russian-supplied antimissile systems, Syria’s state-owned media claims. Russian sources say three were destroyed.

    Video appears to support claims that at least one of the Israeli weapons was downed.

    What the antimissile system was has not been detailed, though — amid much hype — Russia declared in 2015 that it was deploying its new S-400 anti-aircraft and antimissile system to Syria to counter increased US and Coalition activities.

    Israel has again today attacked targets in Syria, launching night strikes on targets in the Jamraya area near Damascus. No claims of a successful shoot-down have yet been made by Syria.

    Israel has itself been developing a multi-tiered missile defence network which has proven successful against low-technology weapons so far fired into its territory. “Iron Dome” is a short range defence system intended to knock down short range rockets. “David’s Sling” was deployed earlier this year to intercept medium-range cruise-style missiles. Its “Arrow” system is hoped to counter ballistic missiles.
    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looking at the launch of the Hwasong-15 missile, which is capable of reaching all parts of the US, last month. Picture: KCNA via KNS

    It appears that, while their President remains effusive with praise, the US military is quietly building up contingencies to its missile interceptor systems.

    Test launches, conducted under ideal conditions, have failed to knock down incoming ballistic missiles eight out of 18 times since trials first started in 1998.

    What they want is something less daunting than trying to shoot a bullet with a bullet.

    RELATED: South Korea ‘counter-attack’ within six minutes of ICBM launch

    An emergency request to Congress in November asked for $US4 billion ($A5.2 billion) in extra funding to prepare for a fight with North Korea — including the development of cyberwarfare (such as targeted viruses and direct hacking) to addle control systems before ballistic missiles are launched. That followed a similar $US440 million ($A576 million) diversion of funds into missile defences just a few months earlier.

    It also wants to prepare and equip a fleet of drones and fighter aircraft to constantly remain airborne in order to shoot down the bulky missiles in a narrow window of peak vulnerability — the high-stress, low-speed first minute or two after lift-off.

    But ballistic missiles are constantly accelerating and gaining height: they rapidly pass out of reach of surrounding aircraft, missile launchers and guided missile destroyers. Soon only defending interceptor missiles close to their target have any real chance of rising to meet the warhead while it is still in space — before it begins its rapid plunge back to Earth.

    “There is a fast-emerging threat, a diminishing window, and a recognition that we can’t be reliant on one solution,” US Senate Armed Services Committee member Senator Jack Reed said.

    It’s tacit acceptance that, despite $US100 billion ($A130 billion) in antimissile testing and development in recent decades, the suite of operational interceptors currently in service and under development may not be up to the job.
    There are two types of people in this world.
    1) Those that can extrapolate from incomplete data

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    Militia Blues: How Many More Armed Groups Does Afghanistan Need?

    By Susanne Schmeidl
    Tuesday 05 Dec 2017 | 19:18 | SYDNEY

    For long-time observers of Afghanistan, déjà vu happens with such frequency that one feels trapped in a never-ending farcical nightmare.

    This is why news of a mid-September*visit*to India by a joint U.S.-Afghan military delegation to see whether the model of the Indian Territorial Army could work in Afghanistan was met with*horror and disbelief. Surely standing up yet another militia was not being seriously considered?

    Afghanistan already has, and has had, several versions of such a force to support the struggling Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), among them the Afghan Local Police*created in 2010 by US Special Forces after toying with several prototypes since 2005, and the more recent ‘National Uprising Groups’ set up in 2015 by Afghanistan's National Directorate for Security (NDS). The mandate of the proposed new force seems identical to these groups: to provide security in areas where the ANSF has not managed to do so.

    So why yet another security force?

    The urge may be due to some form of collective amnesia, akin to the one that befell US Special Forces when it started exploring village security stability operations (VSOs) in Afghanistan around 2005. Though billed as an Afghan solution to an Afghan problem, similar structures had been tried unsuccessfully during the Vietnam War by the Central Intelligence Agency. Then there was the again unsuccessful Sunni Awakening and the Sons of Iraq Program. And of course, the US is not the first foreign government to try a militia experiment in Afghanistan, with similar efforts by the Soviet-backed communist government in Afghanistan during the 1980s, the success of which was neatly summarised in a RAND report:

    To this day, some Afghan former government officials from this period feel that the dependence on local and tribal forces, at the expense of regular forces and the formal government structure, was what eventually led to the collapse of Afghanistan’s government in 1992.

    Thus, there is clearly a problematic logic in place, or a great deal of wishful thinking that keeps US military continuing in its quest for the ‘right’ militia where others failed. But if earlier pro-government militias did not keep the Taliban and Islamic State at bay, why would yet another militia achieve it?*

    The motivation of some Afghan government actors is easy to understand: money and power. Afghanistan's NDS has long hoped that its irregular Uprising Forces might be paid for by foreign funds (as all other formal Afghan Security Forces, including the Afghan Local Police, already are). Thus perhaps the notion of an Afghan Territorial Army might simply be a way to formalise existing irregular pro-government militias so that big brother America will pay up.***

    For anybody who has followed Afghan politics, red flags should go up with news that the new Afghan Territorial Army is to be piloted in Nangarhar province, an area that has become a stronghold for Islamic State. Nangarhar includes Achin district, the site of several failed local defence mechanisms, all captured by local powerholders who used US military support to serve their own interests. In a recent paper, Nick Miszak and I explore exactly why these local militias failed in Achin (and Uruzgan province) but worked elsewhere. It depended on how it was rolled out, who was involved, and previous local experiences with similar traditional security mechanisms as well as community cohesion and the strength of local accountability mechanisms. It is worth reiterating our conclusions.

    First, the success of local defence bodies depends strongly on context, and thus should be grounded in a thorough understanding of what and who is 'local'. In Afghanistan, as pretty much elsewhere, all politics are local. A simplistic and reductionist view of what is ‘local’ or ‘tribal’, or conflating both, spells trouble. The more competitive the environment, the less likely it is that local defence bodies will benefit a district and the more likely that they will benefit individual commanders.

    Secondly, such mechanisms only work when there is a strong accountability system attached, whether traditional or modern or both. Without accountability, men with guns tend to work largely for their own benefit and that of their patronage networks. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Civilian Casualties reports on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict are telling in this regard: 'as in 2016, pro-Government armed groups continued to carry out human rights abuses with impunity'. One also needs to consider the repeated accusation that the practice of ‘bacha bazi’ (using boys as sex slaves) is rampant in the Afghan armed forces; having a ‘boy toy’ is a status symbol for commanders.

    Third, there is the need for inclusive processes and cooperative rules-based order. Where these do not exist, competition prevails (see point 1).

    All this shows why it is never easy to take something that worked ‘elsewhere’ and make it work in a new context. That was a key problem of the Afghan*Local*Police, which was modelled distantly on traditional tribal policing known as ‘arbakai’ (here RAND Corporation advisors to US Special Forces were happy to ignore research, including by myself and Masood Karokhail, that cautioned against taking such mechanisms out of their context of strong tribal and governance structures).

    It is also worth noting that the Indian Territorial Army functions very differently from Afghan militias. From the little one can find about this body online, there seems to be a great deal of vetting, strict education requirements and a need to show prior employment experience. It is unlikely that an Afghan version would be able to live up to these requirements; certainly the ALP has struggled in this regard.

    It is time to stop our romance with a ‘militia solution’ and understand that an increasing fragmentation of fighting groups rarely leads to success. When it comes to militias, one really should learn from Afghan history, else we are doomed to repeat it over and over again.

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    World 4 hours ago

    UAE, Saudis form new group, separate from GCC

    Associated Press

    KUWAIT CITY – The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced it has formed a new economic and partnership group with Saudi Arabia, separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council -- a move that could undermine the council amid a diplomatic crisis with member state Qatar.

    The Emirati Foreign Ministry announcement, just hours ahead of a GCC meeting in Kuwait, said the new "joint cooperation committee" was approved by the UAE's ruler and president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan.

    Saudi Arabia did not immediately report on the new partnership.

    It wasn't immediately clear how the development could affect the six-member GCC meeting, which is expected to focus on the Qatar issue. Half of the GCC members are boycotting Doha in a dispute that's cleaved the Arabian Peninsula.

    The Emirati ministry said the new "committee is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries."

    The UAE and Saudi Arabia have cultivated even-closer ties in recent years. Emirati troops are deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nayhan, also is believed to have a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia's young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    The Emirati announcement did not say whether any other Gulf Arab countries would be invited to join the new group but the development puts pressure the GCC, a group of American-allied Gulf Arab nations formed in part in 1981 as a counterbalance to Shiite power Iran.

    The United States and its European allies all have told the council's members that the region remains stronger with them working together as a whole, while the countries themselves still appear divided over their future.

    The fact the GCC meeting in Kuwait was to take place at all is a bit of a surprise, given the unusually sharp criticism among the typically clubby members of the GCC pointed at Doha.

    "This is the most important annual summit the GCC has held for more than two decades," said Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. "The GCC needs to illustrate its relevance after having been bypassed at every stage of the Qatar crisis."

    The dispute began in June, following what Qatar described as a hack of its state-run news agency that saw incendiary comments attributed to its ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Soon after, GCC members Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates closed off their airspace and seaports to Qatar, as well as the small peninsular nation's sole land border with Saudi Arabia.

    The boycott initially reeled Doha, though it soon replaced food products with those flown in from Turkey and Iran.

    However, Qatar's foreign reserves have dropped by some $10 billion -- a fifth of their value -- since the dispute began. Those reserves are crucial in supporting the nation's riyal, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, as well as funding the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup that Doha will host.

    For boycotting nations, they allege Qatar funds extremist groups and has too-cozy ties to Iran. Qatar has long denied funding extremists but it restored full diplomatic ties with Iran during the crisis. Doha shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Tehran that gives its citizens the highest per-capita income in the world.

    A similar dispute involving Qatar erupted in 2014. But this time positions have hardened against Qatar, whose support for Islamist opposition groups has angered the Arab nations now boycotting it. The UAE in particular views Islamists as a threat to hereditary rule in its federation of seven sheikhdoms. Egypt, angered by Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the nation's deposed President Mohammed Morsi, is also boycotting Doha.

    The U.S., which has some 10,000 troops stationed at Qatar's sprawling al-Udeid Air Base as part of its campaign against the Islamic State group and the war in Afghanistan, also has sought to end the crisis. Its military has halted some regional exercises to put pressure on the GCC to resolve the crisis. However, President Donald Trump in the meantime made comments seemingly supporting the Arab nations' efforts at isolating Qatar, complicating those efforts.

    A Trump-prompted call in September between Qatar's Sheikh Tamim and the Saudi crown prince that offered a chance at negotiations also broke down in mutual recriminations.

    Kuwait's 88-year-old emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, has tried to mediate the dispute, so far without success. However, Kuwait appeared in recent days to secure promises from the GCC to attend its annual high-level summit.

    It remains in question who will attend from each member state. Bahrain had sworn it would not attend any meeting that featured Qatar, though a lower-level official attended a meeting of GCC foreign ministers on Monday in Kuwait City. Qatar's Shiekh Tamim already committed to attending, while Oman said another official would represent Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

    But the GCC meeting also represents more than just the Qatar crisis. The long-stalemated Saudi-led war in Yemen suffered a new setback with the death Monday of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who recently defected from the Shiite rebels holding its capital.

    Meanwhile, a new generation of Gulf leaders is rising, like Saudi Arabia's assertive 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed, who launched the Yemen war and has been more confrontational with Iran.

    "The Saudi camp is seeking to commit the Gulf states to a hard-line anti-Iran policy and adherence to Saudi leadership," Ayham Kamel, the head of the Middle East and North Africa division of the Eurasia Group, wrote in an analysis published Tuesday. "While the UAE believes its interests are best served by an alliance with Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain is compelled to follow Riyadh's lead, the other Gulf states are much more hesitant to do so."

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    Are the Saudi Arrests a Crackdown, Shakedown or Purge?

    By Glen Carey and Alaa Shahine
    December 6, 2017 2:21 AM PST

    There’s never been a housecleaning quite like this one. Dozens of Saudi Arabia’s richest and most influential people, including princes and government ministers, were swept up by authorities and have been detained for more than a month at the palatial Ritz Carlton in the capital, Riyadh. There, they’ve been presented with evidence of their corruption, officials say, and can choose to face trial or relinquish ill-gotten riches and go free. That process and the identity of some of the detainees have raised questions: Is the crackdown really a shakedown? Is it aimed at sidelining potential rivals to King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s favorite son and designated heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman? Some debate is inevitable in a country in which the definition of corruption is muddied by a long-tolerated system of patronage that’s allowed royals and Saudi businessmen to grow wealthy off government contracts and lucrative deals with multinational corporations.

    1. What are the allegations?

    Saudi authorities say that at least $100 billion has been siphoned from public accounts over decades through corruption and embezzlement. Officials could recover as much as that in settlements, according to Prince Mohammed, 32, who heads the new anti-corruption commission spearheading the crackdown and who essentially runs the country for his 81-year-old father. The prince, who is known as MBS to analysts, has said the majority of those detained have agreed to pay back some of the money they gained illegally in exchange for their freedom.

    2. Is Saudi Arabia known for corruption?

    Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, which is based on a global survey asking citizens about their direct experience of graft, rates Saudi Arabia similarly to China and India, with a score of 46 out of a possible 100 points. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., defended corruption as “human nature” in a Frontline interview in 2001 and said that if $50 billion of the $400 billion spent to build the country went to line pockets instead, it was an acceptable amount. In a secret 1996 cable published by WikiLeaks, a U.S. diplomat in Riyadh reported that a handful of the most senior princes enriched themselves by skimming from “off-budget” programs that received 12.5 percent of the country’s oil revenues. The diplomat said some royals used their power to confiscate land from commoners in order to resell it at a profit to the government.

    3. Were those arrested reputed to be corrupt?

    Some had been previously linked to questionable transactions. Prince Turki bin Nasser, for example, is infamous for his involvement in the so-called Al Yamamah arms deal with the U.K., which led to corruption investigations in the U.K. and U.S. Adel Fakeih, an economic policymaker until his arrest, was Jeddah’s mayor when a flood in 2009 killed scores of people because of infrastructure failures. Dozens of others, but not Fakeih, were convicted of charges including bribery.

    4. Is it accepted practice for the accused to buy their freedom?

    Settlements in corruption cases aren’t uncommon in other countries. However, Saudi Arabia lacks the transparent legal mechanisms used elsewhere to determine financial penalties. Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said suspects have been granted access to lawyers, but prosecutors have released no details of charges.

    5. Is this a shakedown?

    That possibility has been raised by contacts in the U.S. and Europe of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the investor worth $17.2 billion who is the most famous of the detainees. His Kingdom Holding Co. owns stakes in companies such as Citigroup Inc. and Twitter Inc. Saudi coffers certainly could use a boost: reduced oil revenues have pressured the budget as well as foreign-currency reserves. On the other hand, the central bank still has more than $480 billion in net foreign assets -- not exactly pocket change.

    6. Are the arrests a power play?*

    Speculation about that scenario was fueled especially by the inclusion among the detainees of Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, 65, the favored son of the late King Abdullah. Until his arrest, Prince Miteb headed the powerful National Guard, which had been the last military branch not under the control of MBS. Prince Miteb was the first detainee to be released, on Nov. 29. An official said the prince reached a settlement deal “believed to” exceed the equivalent of $1 billion. However many Saudis argue that Prince Mohammed had already finished consolidating power in June when he sidelined his older cousin, former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

    7. What does Prince Mohammed say?

    The crown prince called the idea that the crackdown was a power grab “ludicrous”*in an interview with the New York Times. He told the paper that when his father became king in 2015, he concluded that corruption was impeding economic growth. So, he said, King Salman ordered his subordinates to thoroughly investigate corruption at the top of Saudi society, and when they were done, the attorney general moved on the information.

    8. What are the risks of the sweep for MBS?

    It represents a big break from the status quo. For decades, the sprawling royal family has shared power by distributing key responsibilities among princes from different branches. With government portfolios concentrated in his hands, Prince Mohammed has already deprived other royals of political power. Now, he is threatening the patronage system that has spread the riches. That risks stirring opposition to his agenda, of moderating religious strictures and weaning the economy off dependence on oil, and to his succession to the throne. Also, economists expect the disruption caused by the investigation to temporarily slow private investment in the kingdom, which is critical to Prince Mohammed’s vision of a diversified Saudi economy.

    9. What are the possible benefits?

    Deconstructing that patronage system would save the government a lot of money today, and even more in the future.*It’s estimated that there are 15,000 Saudi royals, and the number continues to grow. Plus, in the long run, Saudi Arabia would be more attractive to foreign investors if there was less corruption.
    10. Will Saudi royals live more modestly?

    Don’t expect comprehensive change. When King Salman visited Moscow in October, he brought 1,500 retainers, his own carpets and a golden escalator for his Boeing 747. MBS spent about $550 million for a 440-foot yacht in the south of France, according to the New York Times.

    11. How do they afford those things?

    The Saudi royals have never been transparent about their earnings or wealth. In the same cable published by Wikileaks, the U.S. diplomat describes visiting the office of the finance ministry responsible for distributing monthly stipends to each member of the royal family. The diplomat reported that, from birth, sons and daughters of Ibn Saud, the kingdom’s founder, received up to $270,000, grandchildren got about $27,000, and so on through the generations, with the most distant royals receiving a minimum of $800. Marriage could bring a bonus payment of up to $3 million to build a palace.

    The Reference Shelf

    A Congressional Research Service report that includes what the crackdown could mean for Saudi-U.S. relations.

    Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker dined with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal just days before his arrest: "If Alwaleed had any inkling of what was to come, he didn’t show it."

    Bloomberg Gadfly columnist Liam Denning says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s corruption crackdown appears to have been directed at Saudi Arabia’s large young adult population.

    Bloomberg QuickTakes on Prince Mohammed and how Saudi society is shifting, and a Quicktake Q&A on why Saudis are getting tough with their neighbors.

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    December 5, 2017 / 10:53 PM / Updated an hour ago

    Crackdown, air strikes keep residents indoors in Yemen capital

    Reuters Staff
    5 Min Read

    ADEN/DUBAI (Reuters) - A Saudi-led coalition intensified air strikes on Yemen early on Wednesday as the armed Houthi movement tightened its grip on the capital after it killed former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who switched sides in the civil war.

    Saudi Arabia and its allies launched dozens of raids on Houthi positions in Sanaa and nearby provinces, a day after Saleh’s son vowed to take revenge.

    Yemen’s pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station said the coalition bombed Saleh’s residence and other houses of his family members which are now controlled by the Houthis. Air strikes also hit northern provinces including Taiz, Haja, Midi and Saada, it added.

    There was no immediate word on casualties.

    The intervention by Ahmed Ali, a former leader of the elite Republican Guard once seen as a successor to his father, provided the anti-Houthi movement with a potential figurehead after a week of fighting that saw the Houthis rout Saleh’s supporters.

    But a day after Saleh supporters announced the deaths of his nephew Tareq, another top commander, and the head of his party Aref Zouka, many Sanaa residents hunkered indoors out of fear of a Houthi crackdown on the ex-president’s many admirers.

    Yemen’s war, pitting the Iran-allied Houthis who control Sanaa against a Saudi-led military alliance backing a government based in the south, has unleashed what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

    The proxy war between regional arch-rivals Saudi Arabia -- armed and furnished intelligence by the West -- and Iran has already killed more than 10,000 people, with more than two million displaced.

    Political sources said the Houthis had arrested dozens of Saleh’s allies and army officers affiliated with his party in and around the city. Several had been killed in the raids.

    “There’s a scary calm in the city,” said Ali, a 47-year old businessman who declined to use his full name.

    “People are reporting that there are many arrests and they are trying to shoot military men and (Saleh party) members.”

    Saleh had helped the Houthis win control of much of the north, including Sanaa, and his decision to switch allegiance and abandon the Houthis in the past week was the most dramatic change in three years of stalemated war.

    But the Houthis swiftly crushed the pro-Saleh uprising in the capital and killed him. Top Houthi officials called his attempted putsch high treason backed by their Saudi enemies.

    Several dozen women gathered in a main square holding Saleh’s portrait and demanding his burial, eyewitnesses said, but were forcibly dispersed by Houthi supporters and ran in terror from the site.

    The Houthi-controlled interior ministry distributed a video of dozens of seated barefoot men it said were pro-Saleh fighters detained in one of its party headquarters.

    Media rights group Reporters Without Borders appealed for the release of 41 journalists it said have been held “hostage” by the group since it overran the headquarters of the Saleh-owned al-Yemen al-Youm TV station on Saturday.

    In a sign of support and defiance, tens of thousands of Houthi supporters staged a rally in Sanaa on Tuesday to celebrate the death of Saleh. They chanted slogans against Saudi Arabia and its allies.

    Nearly a million have been hit by a cholera outbreak and famine threatens much of the country.

    The United Nations says millions of people may die in one of the worst famines of modern times, caused by warring parties blocking food supplies.

    The UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, called on all parties to show restraint in a briefing to the Security Council.

    “Increased hostilities will further threaten civilian lives and exacerbate their suffering,” he said.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday that the killing of Saleh would, in the short term, likely worsen an already dire humanitarian situation in the country.
    Mattis, speaking with reporters on a military aircraft en route to Washington that his death could either push the conflict towards U.N. peace negotiations or make it an “even more vicious war.”

    The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Yemen’s enemies had been behind Saleh’s armed uprising and praised what he called the Houthis’ swift quashing of the “coup against the holy warriors”, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

    The death of Saleh, who once compared ruling Yemen to dancing on the heads of snakes, deepens the complexity of the multi-sided war.

    Much is likely to depend on the future allegiances of his loyalists, who had previously helped the armed Houthi group, which hails from the Zaidi branch of Shi‘ite Islam that ruled a thousand-year kingdom in northern Yemen until 1962.

    Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Michael Georgy and Richard Balmforth

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    Millions in Tokyo to take part in North Korean nuclear attack exercise.
    Started by*lisaý,*Today*01:29 AM


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    December 4, 2017 / 8:33 PM / a day ago

    Japan wants missiles with enough range to strike North Korea: sources

    Reuters Staff
    3 Min Read

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is preparing to acquire precision air-launched missiles that for the first time would give it the capability to strike North Korean missile sites, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

    Japan plans to put money aside in its next defense budget starting April to study whether its F-15 fighters could launch longer-range missiles including Lockheed Martin Corp’s extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER), which can hit targets 1,000 km (620 miles) away, said one the sources with knowledge of the plan.

    “There is a global trend for using longer range missiles and it is only natural that Japan would want to consider them,” he said. The sources asked to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to talk to media.

    Japan is also interested in buying the 500 km-range Joint Strike Missile designed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to be carried by the F-35 stealth fighter, Fuji Television reported earlier.

    Neither of those two items are included in a 5.26 trillion yen ($46.76 billion) budget request already submitted by Japan’s Ministry of Defence, however additional funds would be made available to evaluate the purchase of these missiles, the sources said.

    The change suggests that the growing threat posed by North Korean ballistic missiles has given proponents of a strike capability the upper hand in military planning.

    Restrictions on strike weapons imposed by its war-renouncing constitution means Japan’s missile force is composed of anti-aircraft and anti-ship munitions with ranges of less than 300 kms (186 miles).

    Any decision to buy longer range weapons capable of striking North Korea or even the Chinese mainland would therefore be controversial, but proponents argue that the strike weapons can play a defensive role.

    “We are not currently looking at funding for this,” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Tuesday at a regular press briefing.

    “We rely on the United States to strike enemy bases and are not looking at making any changes to how we share our roles,” he added.

    Before he took up his post in August, Onodera led a group of ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers that recommended Japan acquire strike weapons to deter Pyongyang from launching any attack on Japan.

    North Korea has since fired ballistic missiles over Japan and last week tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that climbed to an altitude of more than 4,000 km before splashing into the Sea of Japan within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

    Reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo; writing by Tim Kelly; editing by Richard Pullin

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    Russia Prepares for More Extreme Confrontations With United States

    Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 156
    By: Pavel K. Baev
    December 4, 2017 05:15 PM Age: 2 days

    Whatever friendly feelings United States President Donald Trump might personally hold toward Moscow, the anti-Russian policy of his administration is even bolder than the course set in the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency. This conclusion was articulated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who expressed his dismay about the wave of “Russophobic hysteria” that, he said, had swept Washington (, November 30). Lavrov had shared that opinion before Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor in Trump’s administration, pleaded guilty of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about his contacts with Russian officials and opted to cooperate with the investigation of special counsel Robert Moeller. This investigation is now expected to produce more evidence of Russia’s interference in the US presidential elections (, November 30). Stricter implementation of the law on sanctions is certain to follow, and Moscow is bracing for more punishment and preparing responses.

    The Russian economy can be maintained at its just-above-zero growth trajectory only if Moscow’s agreement with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on production cuts is sustained, thus supporting the oil price on its current plateau (, November 30). Greater worries in the business elite pertain to the personal sanctions aimed at oligarchs with close ties to the Kremlin, which allegedly are being investigated by US financial intelligence with alarming prejudice (Rosbalt, November 30). Huge fortunes evacuated to Western “havens” by carefully hidden channels are in danger, and even family members enjoying the “good life” in Monaco or Miami could feel the squeeze (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, November 28). It is well known in Russian business-political circles that the US State Department under Trump has not been particularly active in preparing new sanctions, so the news about the possible departure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson brings more worries (RBC, December 1). Some experts suggest that in this turbulent situation, Moscow could benefit from keeping a low profile and refraining from proactive moves on the international arena (Kommersant, December 1).

    These cautious recommendations to wait out the political storms in Washington stand in sharp contrast with the escalation of the official rhetoric on preparation for a “big war” (Novaya Gazeta, November 29). The tone was set by President Vladimir Putin, who held a series of meetings with the top brass and then demanded from big business greater readiness for a rapid expansion of defense-related production (, November 28). In real terms, no return to the Soviet-style mobilization economy is planned or indeed possible (RBC, November 28). The embarrassing failure of the space launch from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome reminded yet again about the degradation of Russia’s military industry (Kommersant, November 29). Significant resources, nevertheless, are invested in building a top-heavy system of state command and control in a large-scale emergency (New Times, November 27).

    The smoldering and malignantly mutating conflict in Donbas remains the most probable epicenter of such emergency. Moscow has invested much effort in cultivating fatigue in the West with the deadlocked Minsk process (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, November 29). The firm statement from Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine negotiations, regarding the non-negotiable proposition on restoration of Ukrainian control over all occupied territories came, therefore, as an irksome reminder to Moscow that its dirty little war was not forgotten in Washington (RBC, November 28). The armed squabbles resulting in a military coup in the Luhansk quasi-republic revealed Moscow’s inability to enforce any resemblance of order in the separatist enclaves (Novaya Gazeta, November 24).

    It is in the Middle East that Russia tries to amass assets usable for bargaining with the US and thus discouraging the introduction of really hard-hitting sanctions.

    Putin’s plan for declaring victory and managing the talks between opposition groups of various persuasions in favor of the Bashar al-Assad regime was postponed (see EDM, November 27, 29), so airstrikes with long-range Tu-22M3 bombers were resumed (RIA Novosti, December 1). Israel, meanwhile, is delivering its own airstrikes on the Hezbollah bases near Damascus, disregarding the deal on “de-escalation zones”; and the Russian foreign ministry no longer bothers to issue protestations (, December 2). It looks instead for opportunities to claim a key role in the management of the violent strife in Libya without any costly entanglement (Kommersant, December 2). The draft agreement with Egypt on access to its air bases could be used for making an occasional air raid targeting some Libyan groupings, which would hardly make any difference in the chaotic conflict but would demonstrate Russia’s capacity for projecting power (RBC, November 30).

    This capacity is strikingly lacking in the most demanding and dangerous of conflict situations, which is driven by the North Korean nuclear and missile programs (see EDM, November 30). Russian experts are fully aware that Pyongyang’s proclaimed defensive goals can camouflage aggressive plans, which could produce a direct security threat to highly exposed Vladivostok (, November 30). Russian leadership cannot figure out how to interpret Trump’s “we will handle it” statement, and Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Security Council, sticks to the point that a military solution is unacceptable (RIA Novosti, December 1). The real point, however, is that the Kremlin would apparently love nothing better than to see US pressure on North Korea, supported and reinforced by China, fail (, November 29). Moscow is ready to accept the de-facto nuclear status of its obstinate totalitarian neighbour, but is upset about the cooperation between the United States and China, which leaves it marginalized in the big East Asian game.

    Putin seemingly cannot quite grasp the nuances of decision-making in Beijing and may not fully understand the complexity of Middle Eastern intrigues, but what he knows expertly and sees as the main driver of politics is corruption. He thought that in the course of last year’s US presidential campaign he finally managed to connect with American political corruption, but that breakthrough has inflicted massive damage to Russia’s international status and keeps backfiring. He cannot admit any wrongdoing or, even worse, mistakes, and can neither shelter his courtiers from escalating punishment nor give them compensation for the growing damage. The signalling to Washington of the readiness to be useful in managing high-resonance conflicts is by and large ignored, and the subtle hints about making troubles are interpreted as threats. Putin can neither control nor counter the deterioration of relations with the US, and this makes anti-Americanism a less useful tool in domestic politics.

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    Will Khartoum’s Appeal to Putin for Arms and Protection Bring Russian Naval Bases to the Red Sea?

    Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 14 Issue: 157
    By: Andrew McGregor
    December 6, 2017 05:23 PM Age: 9 hours

    Though Sudan’s national economy is near collapse, the November 23 visit of Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir to Russia’s top leadership in Sochi was dominated by expensive arms purchases and Sudan’s appeal to Russia for “protection from aggressive actions by the United States” (TASS, November 23; see EDM, November 29). A suggestion that Khartoum was ready to host Russian military bases took most Sudanese by surprise, given that Washington lifted 20-year-old economic sanctions against Sudan in October and relations with the US finally seemed to be improving.

    Al-Bashir expressed Sudan’s interest in purchasing the highly maneuverable Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 and Su-35 fighter jets during the Sochi visit. And in fact, an unknown number of Su-35s were reportedly delivered days ahead of al-Bashir’s visit, making Sudan the first Arab country to have the aircraft (RIA Novosti, November 25; al-Arabiya, November 20).

    Khartoum announced its intention to replace its Chinese and Soviet-era aircraft in March, when Air Force chief Salahuddin Abd al-Khaliq Said declared Sudan would henceforth be “fully dependent on Russia for its air armament” (Defenceweb, November 29).

    The Su-35, deployed in Syria by the Russian Air Force, is one of the best non-stealth fighters and missile-delivery platforms available, but at an export price of as much as $80 million each, cash-strapped Khartoum may have to provide other forms of compensation. It may have been no surprise then that Sudan’s delegation in Sochi expressed willingness to host Russian naval bases along its 420-mile Red Sea coastline (Sputnik News, November 28). However, there are few suitable places for such bases on the coast, where transportation infrastructure is poor.

    Suakin, the coast’s historic port, was replaced in 1909 by the newly built Port Sudan, able to accommodate the large steamers Suakin could not. Otherwise the coastline has only a handful of small harbors (sharm-s) suitable only for dhows and fishing boats. Sailors must cope with coral reefs, shoals and numerous islets. Gaps in the large reef that runs parallel to the coast determined the location of both Suakin and Port Sudan. The entire coast is notoriously short of fresh water, a problem that must be accounted for before the construction of any large facilities. Though Egypt’s own military ties with Russia are growing, Cairo is unlikely to welcome a Russian naval base on the Red Sea coast, where Egypt currently contests possession of the Halaib Triangle with Sudan.

    Djibouti, with its vast harbor and strategic location on the Bab al-Mandab strait would make a far better base for Russian naval operations in the Red Sea. Russian Cossacks first tried to seize the region in 1889, but now existing US, French and Chinese military bases there (along with an incoming Saudi base) make such a proposition unlikely. Russian naval ships on anti-piracy operations in the Red Sea have used Djibouti for resupply and maintenance.

    Moscow is also providing Khartoum with 170 T-72 main battle tanks under a 2016 deal; and the latter has expressed interest in buying the Russian S-300 air-defense system as well as minesweepers and missile boats (Xinhua, November 25). Though Sudan still uses a great deal of military equipment of Chinese and Iranian origin, al-Bashir opened the possibility of hosting Russian military personnel when he claimed, “All of our equipment is Russian, so we need advisors in this area” (RIA Novosti, November 25). The BBC’s Russian service has reported unconfirmed rumors of Russian mercenaries operating in Sudan or South Sudan (BBC News—Russian service, December 4).

    Two other factors weigh in on Khartoum’s improving relations with Russia:

    Gold: President Putin was reported to have confirmed Russia’s continuing support in preventing US- and British-backed United Nations Security Council sanctions on exports of Sudanese gold due to irregularities in Sudan’s mostly artisanal gold industry in Darfur (SUNA, November 23). Since Sudan’s loss of oil revenues with the 2011 separation of South Sudan, gold has become Sudan’s largest source of hard currency, but Khartoum’s inability to control extraction has led to huge losses in tax revenues and has helped fund regime opponents in Darfur (, October 15). Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour explained that it was in this context that al-Bashir’s remarks regarding “Russian protection” were made (Sudan Tribune, November 25).

    War Crimes: Al-Bashir recently learned that Washington does not want to see him seek another term as president in the 2020 elections (Sudan Tribune, November 27). The 73-year-old has ruled Sudan since 1989, but retirement seems elusive—al-Bashir’s best defense against being tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes in Darfur is to remain president. Russia withdrew from the ICC in November 2016, calling it “one-sided and inefficient” (BBC News, November 16, 2016).

    Khartoum’s request for Russian “protection” was best explained by Sudanese Deputy Prime Minister Mubarak Fadl al-Mahdi, who said the outreach to Moscow was intended to create a new balance: “We can at least limit American pressure, which cannot be confronted without international support… But with Russia’s support at international forums and the Security Council, American demands will be reasonable and help in accelerating normalization of ties” (Asharq al-Awsat, December 3).

    However, the Sudanese regime’s nervousness over how this abrupt turn in foreign policy will be received at home was reflected in a wave of confiscations by the security services of Sudanese newspapers that had covered al-Bashir’s discussions in Sochi (Radio Dabanga, November 30).

    Jibril Ibrahim, the leader of Darfur’s rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), insisted that al-Bashir’s request for Russian protection and willingness to accommodate Russian military bases had destroyed attempts to normalize relations with the US and was an opening to bring down the Khartoum regime (Sudan Tribune, November 27).

    Is Sudan playing a double game here? Foreign Minister Ghandour claims “there is nothing to prevent Sudan from cooperating with the United States while at the same time pursuing strategic relations with China and Russia” (Sudan Tribune, November 25). Nonetheless, al-Bashir has so far avoided becoming anyone’s client and is likely aware that pursuing this new relationship with Russia to the point of welcoming Russian military bases could be his undoing as he seeks to reaffirm his rule over a restless nation in 2020. For this reason, Russian military bases on the barren and furnace-like Sudanese Red Sea coast seem unlikely for now.

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    Q-Boats and Chaos: Hybrid War on the High Seas

    Colum Hawken December 7, 2017

    The Baltic Sea: At dawn, a ship docks at the Island of Gotland, and an armed but unidentified force emerges creating confusion and interrupting communications as it seizes key points and takes control of the island. The attackers become entrenched amongst the populace, and retaking the island is an arduous and bloody affair.

    The Persian Gulf: As night falls, an inconspicuous civilian ship disgorges improvised sea mines as it passes the Strait of Hormuz and then disappears over the horizon. Hours later, the night is illuminated in a fireball, as an oil tanker strikes a mine. The Strait is closed for days while the mines are cleared, raising oil prices and creating economic mayhem.

    Singapore: An unassuming civilian vessel pulls into port. Over the next few hours, unmanned submersibles, akin to torpedoes and difficult to detect, are deployed and manoeuvred into striking positions near military vessels and major civilian ships. Without warning these autonomous systems attack as one, sinking a number of vessels and creating chaos. In the confusion, other ships in port try to escape, allowing the perpetrator to blend in with the other vessels departing in panic, never to be tracked down.

    The scenarios above are just a taste of what maritime hybrid warfare may bring. While a great deal of study has examined Russia’s so-called little green men and the seizing of Crimea, there has been much less consideration of what maritime hybrid warfare may mean for projection of naval power, freedom of the seas, and international security as a whole. To address this imbalance, it is necessary to first understand what hybrid warfare actually is. In the wake of the seizure of Crimea, some commentators seemed to think Russia had developed a new form of warfare.[1] This is wrong. Indeed, the term hybrid warfare seems to be largely inappropriate given Russia’s near conventional war in Eastern Ukraine.[2] Instead, labels like shadow wars, or the original terminology of hybrid threats, which describe the action of potentially deniable forces using irregular methods but armed with conventional firepower seem more appropriate.[3] This article will examine how the use of deniable forces and irregular forces, augmented with conventional firepower, will affect maritime security, by examining the forms such operations may take, such as Q-boats and cyber war, as well as potential measures to take against them.

    Maritime hybrid warfare is simply hybrid warfare conducted at sea or in coastal regions and resides in a grey zone of conflict short of open warfare.[4] This is generally achieved through deniable operations, such as cyber-attacks or irregular forces.[5] Through obfuscating state involvement, combined with attacks designed to cause terror or coordinated propaganda campaigns, practitioners of hybrid warfare seek to destabilise their rivals making them vulnerable to invasion or other acts of aggression.[6] While hybrid warfare might be used by states, its methods could also be adopted by non-state actors. Indeed, hybrid warfare will have ramifications for maritime domains, as shown by the missile attacks on HSV Swift, so how it will be waged and methods to counter it require urgent examination.[7]

    The most obvious method of maritime hybrid warfare is that of what we might call little blue sailors, the use of deniable forces to attack another’s interests, territory, or forces.[8] These deniable forces could be deployed in a number of ways: a military vessel putting non-uniformed personnel ashore to advance to their target; deployment of troops or weaponry from civilian vessels; or even the use of Q-boat-like ships to deploy mines or other weaponry. Indeed, the history of Q-boats, World War I merchant ships armed to defend themselves from U-boats, supports the idea that hybrid warfare is not new.[9] Moreover, instead of simply being defensive vessels, modern Q-boats could be far more offensive weapons due to the democratisation of technology, where weaponry becomes increasingly powerful and cheap.[10] The use of a variety of maritime forces offers the same advantages that guerrillas do as they can hide in plain sight and quickly disappear after striking. This makes them difficult to identify and respond to in a timely manner.

    At the same time, the striking power of deniable forces is also growing. While Q-boats could simply deploy mines or improvised explosive devices, the democratisation of drone technology and other weaponry means maritime hybrid threats will have even greater offensive capabilities.[11] The Islamic State, for example, has used commercially available quadcopter drones to give its forces tactical air power, which could be replicated by maritime forces to give lone ships local air support.[12] In another example of the potential power of small drones in the maritime domain, a photographer accidentally landed a similar drone on the HMS Queen Elizabeth while it was in port.[13] In this case no harm was done, but given that the photographer reported the incident himself, it does indicate the Royal Navy may not have considered the threat drones could pose.[14] Drones could give both uniformed military and deniable forces many advantages, and may be used by non-state groups for similar reasons. They are increasingly cheap and commercially available models can be easily customised for use in hybrid warfare.[15] Unmanned technologies—submersible, airborne, and surface—also give deployed forces surveillance capabilities even when operating in small, detached groups. Furthermore, advances in armed drones will provide these small forces with a disproportionately large strike capability relative to their numbers.[16] Indeed, as these systems get smaller and smarter, autonomous swarms of loitering munitions could overwhelm lone naval patrol vessels as well as striking softer targets such as civilian ships, oil derricks, or beach resorts.[17]

    Alongside the use of physical force, human, unmanned, or autonomous maritime hybrid warfare can also involve non-physical efforts such as propaganda and cyber-attacks. Due to short staffing in crews as well as vulnerable software, commercial vessels are at risk of attack. In fact,there is evidence South Korean ships have had their navigational systems attacked, meaning ships could potentially go off course and collide without crews noticing this error until it is too late.[18] The impact of this could be severe, especially if a collision occurred at a major maritime chokepoint, as global trade would be interrupted and other vessels might be caught up in the carnage.

    Maritime hybrid warfare will soon be a significant issue for nation states, naval forces, and coastguards. Advances in technology will mean small units operating deniably could increase the magnitude of their impacts through drones, loitering munitions, cyber-attacks, and propaganda efforts. Therefore, the question must be asked, “What can be done to counter this threat?” The purpose of hybrid warfare is to operate in a grey zone short of war, with the intention of making a proper response especially difficult out of risk of escalation. While some scenarios, like the attack on a port described above, are all but open conflict, they would be the coup de grace of a hybrid conflict. In other words, the final blow before open warfare starts or the victim country is forced to acquiesce to an aggressor’s demands. An effective strategy of countering maritime hybrid warfare must reduce this threat before such a major attack occurs. The key to this will be challenging, halting, and deterring these actions while they are still at a low level. Evidence suggests one of the best methods for challenging the actions of little green men, or little blue sailors, is to deploy forces capable of defeating them where they have attacked.[19] This forces the aggressor to either up the ante by acknowledging their forces and declaring war, or accepting at least a temporary tactical defeat. This can only be achieved, however, if sufficient force can be deployed in a timely manner.

    To facilitate this, naval forces, port authorities, and coastguards must have good intelligence gathering and surveillance assets as well as the ability to share information in a timely manner. A key to gathering intelligence will be surveillance drones, which could operate over a wide area, and which showed promise tracking drug smugglers in Royal Navy operations.[20] These drones, like those hybrid warriors may use, need not just be airborne but instead can help identify incursions in a timely manner by operating in various domains. Furthermore, drones could offer better striking power for small patrol groups allowing them to more effectively challenge minor incursions. The extent that such weaponised drones should be deployed is up for debate though, as while naval vessels should certainly possess an offensive drone capability. Whether coast guards or even Q-boat-like merchant shipping should is another matter, as this would have ramifications for the rules of engagement.

    Alternatively, in the future merchant shipping could be augmented with defensive weaponry such as laser weapons which, though they require a great deal more work, have shown promise against lone drones.[21] Other options for defensive weaponry could be jamming systems or an electro-magnetic pulse as a last ditch defence against a major swarming attack.

    As mentioned, communication systems will have to be very streamlined to allow the timely sharing of intelligence, but this network in itself creates a vulnerability. A cyber attack that disrupts even part of this network would allow a hybrid attack to gain temporary superiority in an area as it would prevent a timely response. Clearly, civilian, state and military organisations will need to cooperate and think deeply about how best they can prepare to defeat and deter maritime hybrid attacks.

    Finally, the pace of technological change is so rapid that an aggressor’s imagination is the only real limit to the methods of waging hybrid warfare. In order to address this, it is necessary to think like a potential aggressor. Naval colleges, coast guards and port officials should work together to form cross-functional red teams to consider the range of potential vulnerabilities that exist, and formulate exercises and doctrine to address these. In concert these methods will likely not prevent every act of maritime hybrid warfare, but they can limit its effectiveness and deter and defeat major attacks.

    Maritime hybrid warfare has the potential to become a major issue across all the levels of warfare. Its methods are numerous, but will likely involve autonomous systems, drones, Q-boats, little blue sailors, cyber-attacks, and propaganda. Ultimately, these methods will be hard to combat, but their effects can be reduced. Through developing defensive measures against drones, such as laser and missile technology, non-military vessels and civilian installations can achieve the capability to defend themselves against surprise attacks. Moreover, by developing offensive drone systems and creating an effective communications system, military patrol vessels can quickly and effectively respond to attacks in a timely manner, enabling responses to the whole spectrum of conflict that hybrid warfare consists of.[22] Finally, the establishment of red teams, both nationally and with international partners, can help identify weaknesses before they are exploited and formulate doctrine to prevent this. Ultimately, maritime hybrid warfare will be a significant issue but it can be overcome if action is taken now.

    Colum Hawken is a postgraduate student at the University of Birmingham and the Principal Administrator of the Phoenix Think Tank. His views are his own and do not represent those of any organisation he is affiliated with.

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    Confrontational Erdoğan stuns Greek hosts on Athens visit

    Turkish leader jettisoned diplomatic niceties during meetings that were supposed to cement ties between the rivals

    Helena Smith in Athens
    Thursday 7 December 2017 12.55 EST

    What had been billed a groundbreaking visit to Greece, the first by a Turkish president in 65 years, turned into a verbal theatre of war as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, flouting the niceties of diplomacy, crossed an array of red lines.

    Disputes that had lain dormant – not least the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne delineating the borders between the two nations – were prised open with brutal force on Thursday by Erdoğan on the first day of a historic visit dominated by the leader’s unpredictability.

    Within an hour of stepping off his plane, the pugilistic politician was sparring with the Greek head of state, Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Athens, he said imperiously, would never have entered Nato had it not been for Ankara’s support. As an ally, it should seek to improve the religious rights of the Muslim minority in Thrace which were enshrined in the Lausanne treaty, he insisted, sitting stony-faced in the inner sanctum of the presidential palace. “It needs to be modernised,” he said of the treaty, which has long governed Greek-Turkish relations and is seen as a cornerstone of regional peace.

    A visibly stunned Pavlopoulos hit back, calling the treaty non-negotiable.

    “The Treaty of Lausanne defines the territory and the sovereignty of Greece, and of the European Union, and this treaty is non-negotiable. It has no flaws, it does not need to be reviewed, or updated.”

    With tensions running high between the two long-time Nato rivals and neighbours, Athens had hoped the 48-hour sojourn would put fraught bilateral relations on a new footing. International condemnation of Erdoğan’s crackdown on democratic institutions, following a foiled coup against him last year, has strained relations with Europe and the US and meant that the Turkish leader has made fewer trips to the west. Greek officials thought he would use the visit to strike a conciliatory note. The red carpet was duly rolled out with military bands and Greece’s ornately dressed presidential guard doing the honours.

    In what will be remembered as one of the biggest security operations in living memory – with 2,800 police deployed around the capital, snipers posted on rooftops, and commandos, sniffer dogs, bomb disposal experts and bodyguards drafted in – the visit brought Athens to a standstill.

    But the 63-year-old Turkish leader, while thanking his hosts for the welcome, continued to ratchet up the rhetoric.

    In subsequent talks with the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, he chastised the Greeks for failing to look after Ottoman sites and provide a proper place of worship for Muslims. Cyprus, he argued, had not been reunified because Greek Cypriots kept turning down a “just and sustainable” settlement. He also attacked the “economic chasm” between Greeks, who earned on average €15,000 a year, and the Turkish-speaking Muslim minority in northern Thrace who earned around €2,200 a year.

    Athens, he continued, should also return the eight Turkish officers who had escaped to Greece as the coup unfolded even if the country’s judicial system had blocked their repatriation on the grounds that they would not be given a fair trial. “It is possible to return them to Turkey, which is a country that has abolished the death penalty and is not a country of torture,” he told a press conference in the prime minister’s office.

    Looking on in dismay – Greek ministers exchanging knowing smiles around him – Tsipras repeated that as the birthplace of democracy, where executive power was separate from the law, Greece respected decisions made by the country’s justice system.

    Earlier, the 43-year-old had attempted to ameliorate the frosty atmosphere, telling his guest that respect for international law was the basis of solid ties between the two neighbours.

    “Differences have always existed and [they exist] today,” the leftist leader said. “It is important … that we express our disagreements in a constructive way, without being provocative.”

    The visit follows the arrests in Athens of nine Turkish nationals charged last week with being members of DHKP-C, a militant Marxist group that has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Turkey.

    “The visit comes at an especially delicate time, diplomatically, given mounting criticism of his crackdown on perceived and real participants in the coup and other domestic opponents,” said Hubert Faustmann, professor of history and political science at the University of Nicosia.

    Relations between Turkey and Greece have long been strained. Hostility can be traced back to the subjugation of Greeks under Ottoman rule before a bloody war of independence initiated in 1821 led to the creation of the modern Greek state in 1830.

    Successive conflicts followed, most notably in 1922 when the Greek army suffered a disastrous defeat in Asia Minor, prompting a massive exchange of populations – widely seen as the first experiment in ethnic cleansing – and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey.

    The two countries came close to war again in 1996 over a pair of uninhabited isles in the Aegean Sea. Most recently, tensions have resurfaced over Greece’s frontier role in the refugee crisis, failed talks to reunify Cyprus and, according to officials in Athens, Turkey’s repeated violations of Greek air and naval space in the Aegean.

    The defence ministry claims more than 3,000 airspace violations have occurred this year, more than at any other time since 2003. Erdoğan’s open questioning of the peace treaty that forged the boundaries of the two states has exacerbated friction even further.

    The Greeks are also acutely aware that geography means they must coexist with Turkey and stand to benefit most if Ankara remains anchored to Europe.

    more on this story

    Erdoğan knew of alleged Iranian scheme to evade sanctions via Turkey, court told
    30 Nov 2017

    Turkey to push UK to extradite alleged coup plotters
    26 Nov 2017

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    Analysis: Reported link between Houthi and Iranian ballistic missiles

    BY BEHNAM BEN TALEBLU | December 5, 2017 | |

    On November 30, Reuters cited select quotes from a confidential UN sanctions report noting shared “design characteristics” between a projectile Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired at Riyadh in early November and an Iranian short-range ballistic missile (SBRM). Known as the Burkan-2H in the Houthi arsenal and the Qiam-1 in the Iranian arsenal, the claim, if substantiated through a more public distribution of the UN report and/or official US confirmation, would be the latest indication of covert Iranian support for the Houthi insurgency against the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-backed Hadi government.

    What do we know about the Iranian missile?

    The Qiam-1 is an Iranian SRBM that meets the usually accepted Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) metric as being nuclear-capable. This means that the missile can at a minimum traverse 300 km to deliver a warhead of at least 500 kg. Reported range and payload estimates for the Qiam-1 allege that it can travel up to 800 km carrying a 750 kg warhead. First debuting in Iran in 2010 with a triconic warhead, the Qiam-1 is a single-stage solid-fueled SRBM. It is also Iran’s first finless ballistic missile, implying the possession of some form of an advanced guidance system. Experts have noted that the Qiam-1 is an Iranian domestic upgrade to the Shahab-2, which itself is an Iranian copy of the Scud C.

    What has the US said?

    To date, the most high-ranking US official to refer to a Houthi ballistic missile as the Qiam-1 was US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley when she specifically referenced a missile fired in July 2017. In that Nov. 7 press release, the US Mission to the UN noted that the identifying information about the missile came from Saudi Arabian official sources. Days later on Nov. 10, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrington, Commander of U.S Air Forces CENTCOM stated, “there have been Iranian markings on those missiles,” when describing the Houthi missile used in the strike on Nov. 4. He refrained, however, from formally calling the missile a Qiam-1 SRBM.

    In Aug. 2016 while on a visit to Saudi Arabia, then Secretary of State John Kerry first drew attention to the issue when he told the press, “We were deeply troubled by the photographs which were shown to me early on by His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Nayef showing missiles that had come from Iran that were being positioned on the Saudi border.”

    Since Kerry’s statement, there has been a disparate string of official US commentary about Iran’s role in providing ballistic missiles to Houthi rebels. In April 2017, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said “we see Iranian-supplied missiles being fired by the Houthis into Saudi Arabia.” Similarly, in a Sept. 2017 New York Times article, Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, Commander of US Naval Forces CENTCOM stated, “these types of weapons did not exist in Yemen before the conflict.”

    What kind of ballistic missiles did Yemen previously have?

    As this author has noted on at least three separate occasions, Yemen, which was divided during the Cold War, is already home to several different types of ballistic missiles. These range from the single-stage solid-fueled Tochka (Scarab) SRBM, to the Scud-B and Scud-C (Hwasong 5 and 6, respectively). Both of these types of missiles have been intercepted by Saudi missile defenses. None of these missiles, however, have the range that can reach Riyadh. A Jan. 2017 UN Panel of Experts report on Yemen poured cold water on the notion that the Houthis could have advanced their ballistic missile program this far and alone.

    How did the missile arrive in Yemen?

    According to the Nov. 30 Reuters article, UN sanctions experts refrained from formally pointing a finger at Iran, opting to say, “as yet has no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier,” of the missiles. However, they did note that missiles were being smuggled by land into Yemen “in pieces and assembled there by missile engineers.” One land route the UN monitors mentioned was through Oman. In Oct. 2016, Reuters broke a story about Iran’s use of Oman’s lax western border with Yemen to ship weapons to its Houthi partners. This overland supply route was likely chosen by Iran as a response to interdicted shipments of light-arms and anti-tank weapons by a maritime coalition.

    Yet there is doubt, planted by none other than the UN Panel of Experts themselves, about Iran’s ability to ship SRBMs over land. The aforementioned Jan. 2017 UN report explicitly stated “although anti-tank guided weapons are now being smuggled on the land routes, the Panel assesses it as unlikely that the network using these routes could covertly transfer any significant quantities of larger-calibre weapon systems, such as short-range ballistic missiles, into Yemen at the current time. An anti-tank guided weapon is less than 1 m in length and easily hidden in a large truck, while a short-range ballistic missile of 7 m in length is much more difficult to conceal.”

    Why does all this matter?

    At the multilateral level, transferring the Qiam-1 would constitute a violation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2216 from 2015, which formally levied an arms embargo on Yemen. It would also be a violation of Annex B of UNSCR 2231, which codified the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and contains clauses governing transfers of ballistic missile technology found in the MTCR list.

    Worse, according to an article by France 24 analyzing the same UN report, the Iranian missile was “marked with a logo similar to that of the Sahid Begheri Industrial Group … a subsidiary of the Iranian Aerospace Industries Organization.” Both entities, known in the West by their English-language acronyms, SBIG and AIO respectively, are part of Iran’s defense-industrial base, with AIO being a formal subsidiary of Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). While all three entities remain sanctioned in the US under Executive Order 13382, according the 2015 nuclear deal, the European Union is slated to de-list them no later than 2023.

    At the strategic level, if Iran’s provision of ballistic missiles to the Houthi rebels is confirmed, it could be seen as an indicator Tehran’s increased tolerance for risk in a distant conflict theater, one in which it has sought to weaken Saudi Arabia by any means possible.

    Given the recent death of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had a falling out with the Houthi rebels, the Saudis and other GCC coalition-members will be looking to capitalize on a critical juncture in the war in Yemen. But equally important to the conflict is how Tehran reads the post-Saleh situation and what weapons it offers the Houthis.

    Behnam Ben Taleblu is a senior Iran Analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD)

    Behnam Ben Taleblu is a Senior Iran Analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

    Tags: GCC, Houthi, Iran, Missile, saleh, un, Yemen

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