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Good Luck On That Cease Fire

January 19th, 2009 by Kevin

Israel and Hamas declare a cease-fire

Israeli troops, some smiling and dancing, began to withdraw from Gaza Sunday after their government and Hamas militants declared an end to a three-week war. But neither side achieved long-term goals, and the burden of consolidating the fragile calm fell to world leaders.

Bottom line…it won\’t last.  Hamas will be launching rockets again within 48 hours.

This is a cease-fire Israel should not have agreed to.  They already had a cease-fire with Hamas, who launched rockets at Israel on a daily basis.  How is this any different?

Israel was making progress.  Killing militants, killing Hamas leaders and not taking significant losses in the process.  Hamas promised to drive Israel out and turn Gaza into a cemetary for Israeli forces…neither happened.  Israel had overwhelming support for the war at home, Arab nations were lukewarm in their opposition to the conflict, and the rest of the world reluctantly acknowledged there were good reasons for it, if not outright supported it.  Conditions are not going to get better than that.

Declaring a ceasefire and negotiating with people that don\’t at least agree to your right to exist is pointless and unfortunately Israeli\’s will pay the price.  This ceasefire will be very temporary.

However, there can be a silver lining for this.  Iran was pushing for this conflict because it needed a distraction from it\’s nuclear weapons program.  And it needed Israel occupied so it could not strike it\’s nuclear weapons facilities.  That distraction no longer exists.

Hamas leaders in the Gaza strip are going to be reluctant to start another conflict with Israel, after seeing many of their fellow leaders fall victim to a mild cause of violet death.  Hamas leaders in Iran are going to be pushing to restart the conflict, using the existance of Jews as an excuse.  How long this ceasefire lasts will depend on how much each group holds sway with the bottom rank of militants.

Like I said above, I\’d wager on less than 48 hours and hope I\’m wrong.

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Posted in Israel, Middle East Mayhem, Terrorism | 1 Comment »

Reid Attempts To Remain Relevant

January 6th, 2009 by Kevin

Sometime I have to wonder if Reid just assumes nobody actually listens to him, because he sure takes every opportunity to prove himself clueless.

In a conversation on Meet The Press on January 4th, Reid futiley tried to explain away his declaration last year that the surge was a failure.  Apparently his tactic is that he was only referring to a very small part of the plan otherwise known as \”The Surge\” and it\’s our fault for not divining what he meant.  Besides, the war itself is the failure…or so says Reid…

SEN. REID: David, listen, someone else will have to determine that as the years go on.  What has the war done?  It\’s brought about–it\’s destabilized the Middle East.  We have a civil war going on in Israel.  We have a civil war in Iraq, as indicated today, more than 50 people killed with a bomb in Iraq today.  We have Lebanon, a civil war there.  We have Iran thumbing their nose with every, everyone.  And if that weren\’t bad enough, our standing in the world community is so far down as a result of this war, so–and that doesn\’t take into consideration the tens of thousands who have been injured…

Huh, that\’s quite a list of supposed effects of the Iraq War…surely they stand up to the barest of historical fact-checking right??

Iraq War begun on March 20th, 2003.
The Middle East hasn\’t been stable since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, or at the very least shortly after World War II. Coincidentally around that same time Muhammad Jed was shooting at some food, and up through the ground came a bubbling crude. Well the next thing you know, ol\’ Jed is living in a farking hell hole.

Iraq War begun on March 20th, 2003.
There has been constant conflict in and around Israel since literally the day after it was created in 1948, starting with the Arab-Israeli War. Ever since that day, Israel has been the unofficial proving grounds for terrorists to test their weapons and tactics. Apparently, on Sundays the first 200 suicide bombers get an extra virgin in heaven.

Iraq War begun on March 20th, 2003.
Ok the Iraq civil war has started since the Iraq War, but that surge you repeatedly claim has failed has gone a long way in making that civil war less violent than your average day in Chicago, Washington DC, Detroit, LA, or New York.

Iraq War begun on March 20th, 2003.
Lebanon has been in a state of virtual conflict since the Lebanese Civil War, which began in 1975. The conflict was rather complex, but was fought mostly over which type of tree would be displayed on the flag. General Cedar eventually led his forces to victory in 1990.

Iraq War begun on March 20th, 2003.
Iran…well you may remember this tiny thing called the Islamic Revolution in 1978 during which some Americans decided to vacation there. The Iranians have been thumbing their nose at the world ever since….apparently the Americans stole some towels or something.

Iraq War begun on March 20th, 2003.
Our world standing has been down since….well the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Seems we were never really liked, it\’s just that after World War I and World War II, the world had learned that the only country worth a damn at doing anything was the Americans and therefore they\’d just follow us around for awhile. When the Soviet Union fell and Europeans stopped ritualistically crapping their drawers, the world decided those warmongering Americans were no good.

Iraq War begun on March 20th, 2003.
Well, not including the Iran-Iraq war, anywhere from 300,000 to 1 million Iraqis were killed in Saddam\’s reign of terror starting in 1979. Saddam\’s reign of terror mysteriously stopped shortly after March 20th, 2003, for reasons unknown to Senator Reid and other Democrats.

Ok so I owe an apology to Senator Reid, he\’s clearly got his grasp of the facts well in hand. Now if only we knew what realities he lives in, we\’d know where those \”facts\” apply.

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Posted in Destined To Be Repeated, Iran, Iraq, Middle East Mayhem, Political Mumbojumbo, Terrorism | Comments Off on Reid Attempts To Remain Relevant

Naval Blockade Of Iran Likely

August 14th, 2008 by Kevin

I wrote previously that we had sent two aircraft carriers and their battle groups to join two battlegroups already in the Persian Gulf, and about the significance of this move. At the time I theorized that the move was related to a move against Iran, but then later thought that perhaps we have advance knowledge of the strike on Georgia. Turns out, not only was I right on both counts, but what I then termed as \”not a trivial chess piece in a global chessboard\” is just the tip of the iceberg.

There is a massive naval fleet heading for the gulf, most of which just completed Operation Brimstone, a joint US/UK/French/Brazil naval wargame. From descriptions of Operation Brimstone, it appears it concentrated on international cooperation to conduct military operations in littoral waters. All handy skills to have if one is planning a international naval blockade of another country.

Previously, I was aware of only the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the USS Ronald Reagan and their battle groups heading for the Gulf. Now it appears they are joined by the USS Iwo Jima, an amphibious assault ship (similar to the Peleliu), the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal aircraft carrier, and her battle group, along with assorted French naval assets including the nuclear attack submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. By virtually any measure, that is a massive amount of firepower, especially combined with the forces already in the Gulf. Forces which include the USS Abraham Lincoln and her battlegroup, the USS Peleliu and her battle group, at least one US nuclear attack sub and miscellaneous other forces. This is the largest buildup of US allied naval forces in the Gulf since the invasion of Iraq.

There are several possible reasons for this buildup of forces:
1) The US and several allies have decided to enforce at least a partial naval blockade of Iran
2) The US and several allies are preparing for an Israeli and/or US strike on Iranian nuclear facilities
3) The US and several allies are preparing for an invasion of Iran.

Option #3 is the least likely, as this buildup is happening absent any major redeployment of air and ground forces. Both of these would be necessary for an invasion. Also with it\’s easily deployed ground forces already committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with the potential of action in Georgia. The timing of this, make option #3 severely unlikely.

Option #2 while possible, has become increasingly unlikely. Israel certainly has the capability. And if they feel the US isn\’t gonna do it, then they may feel the need to step up. And they may very well be at that stage. However, the US just rejected a request from Israel for military equipment necessary to make a strike on Iran. So clearly the Israelis lack some equipment necessary to make a strike. Even if they could manufacture it themselves, they are clearly not at a stage were a strike on Iran is imminent hence no need for a force buildup.

Which leaves us option #3, which I think it increasingly likely, especially considering that a majority of the forces involved just participated in a training exercise practicing precisely this. Plus a naval blockade would be a likely next step in the escalation of force to get Iran to comply with UN demands. While Iran is rich in oil, it has limited domestic refining capability. Which means while it exports lots of oil, it also has to import benzene in massive quantities. So a naval blockade would cripple their economy and that tends to draw attention.

Now certainly a much smaller force would certainly be capable of a naval blockade. The fact that such a large force is being arrayed also says quite a bit about the operational planning that went into this, and tends to imply two different possibilities.

First that it was considered possible that such a blockade would be resisted either by Iran or others (i.e. Russia). In the latter case, this formidable force would likely be intended to make intervention seem futile, or at least impractical. While Russia does have forces in the area, most notably the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, in the Mediterranean, it\’s aircraft would have to pass over Iraq, and the US forces deployed there, in order to reach this flotilla.

Almost certainly the Iranians would attempt to resist as well, through quite a few different methods. Air attacks from land based aircraft would seemingly be met by aircraft from the four different carriers. Helicopters from the amphibious assault ships would likely be tasked to anti-sub detail. And the numerous warships in the battlegroups would fend of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard high-speed boats, functioning as suicide boats, similar to the attack on the USS Cole.

Almost certainly there would be an attempt by Iran to close the oil route chokepoint (only 21 miles wide) of the Strait of Hormuz, since one side is controlled by Iran, and the other by US allies United Arab Emirates and Oman. With the forces currently being positioned in the Gulf, it seems very likely that the US would be able to keep this route open, and prevent any attempts by Iran to break through the blockade.

Of course, a naval blockade is generally considered an act of war. So it\’s unlikely that everything will be just this simple. The board is set, the chess pieces are moving. This game is about to get interesting.

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Posted in Iran, Iraq, Middle East Mayhem, Military | 10 Comments »

We Speak Softly But We Just Moved Two Really Big Sticks

August 10th, 2008 by Kevin

Late last week I saw an article that the US was sending two aircraft carriers, and their battle groups, to the Gulf. The US routinely maintains a carrier presence in the Gulf and it\’s common for carriers to rotate in their position. However, the current US carrier in the gulf, the USS Abraham Lincoln, arrived in March of 2008, and is scheduled for a seven month deployment, making her departure date October of 2008. This makes it highly unlikely that the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan are heading to the gulf to relieve the Lincoln of her station.

In addition, the Lincoln is not alone either, along with her own battle group, there is also a battle group centered around the USS Peleliu. The Peleliu is an amphibious assault ship, the home of lots of helicopters, Harrier jets and a few tons of Marines. And apparently a US nuclear sub just entered the gulf as well.

A large shift in the distribution of forces is enough to peak my interest, especially when it involves a relatively large number of a very finite set of a particular unit. Carriers are by their very nature very expensive, and very valuable. They are not a trivial chess piece in a global chessboard. A US carrier entering any area instantly become one of the largest cities, most advanced hospital and most powerful military asset in the area.

They are also machinery, which means they take maintenance. It\’s one of the reasons why the threat of China building an aircraft carrier is less than an immediate danger. To be truly a factor they would need three of them. Because at that point it becomes possible to always have one deployed. The US maintains a force of eleven carriers. And there are always at least a few down for maintenance and others that are busy with training and trials of new equipment. This leaves a relatively few available for action.

So I took a look at our carrier force and what they\’re up to….

USS Kitty Hawk – With it\’s home port in Japan, it is the ever present thorn in China\’s side and one of the biggest trump cards in any hostile intentions China has towards Taiwan. With the Olympics also going on, it is pretty much unavailable for anything short of a foreign invasion of the United States.

USS Enterprise – The Big E is most definitely out of action. She\’s in drydock for an much needed overhaul.

USS Nimitz – The Nimitz is down for planned incremental availability until December. While she could set sail if needed, really she\’s down for repairs, upgrades and other miscellaneous maintenance.

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower – She\’s somewhere in the Atlantic doing qualifications. She\’s be easy to pull into action. However, it\’s also nice to maintain a presence in the Atlantic, it being a pretty big ass pond and all that.

USS Carl Vinson – Most certainly down, as she is down for refueling. Which for a nuclear powered carrier means she\’s pretty much in pieces in a drydock. She\’s unavailable even if the fate of the free world depending on her sailing tomorrow.

USS Theodore Roosevelt – Just set sail for the gulf, for unknown reasons.

USS Abraham Lincoln – Already in the gulf supporting the war in Afghanistan.

USS George Washington – In dock for repairs following a onboard fire while enroute to permanently relieve the Kitty Hawk in Japan. Not available for action until the end of August.

USS John C Stennis – Prepping for her next deployment in the Pacific. Once again, it\’s nice to maintain a presence in a pond the size of the Pacific. Currently the Kitty Hawk in Japan, is the closest we got.

USS Ronald Reagan – She was in the Pacific, now steaming for the Gulf.

When you break it down, our carrier force while not exactly stretched thin, does exactly have carriers to spare either. So committing at least two and potentially three carriers to one region is a significant statement. Originally, when seeing the story, I thought perhaps the United States was either worried about, or preparing for an Israeli strike on Iran, which they\’ve been threatening to do.

Now with the sudden war between Russia and Georgia, I have to wonder if perhaps the US had advanced warning of it and decided they needed more assets in field in case we had to make a move to protect US interests. Either way, this move is worthy of notice and certainly warrants keeping an eye on the region because something big is either happening or about to happen.

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Posted in China, Iran, Middle East Mayhem, Military, Olympics, True North | 1 Comment »

We\’re Running Out Of Virgins

September 27th, 2007 by Kevin

While understanding that every American soldier lost is a tragedy, this still seems damn impressive…

Mullah Omar may have wanted to see his metrics improve from the 100-1 loss ratio in Kandahar last month. Well, those numbers certainly changed — from humiliating to catastrophic [165:1]

Granted it\’s a rough estimate, but even considering ballpark figures that\’s damn impressive.  And it says a hell of alot about the efficiency of our forces there.  Plus the idea that there are 165 more terrorists at room temperature makes me very pleased.  On the other hand, there is grieving US family out there and suddenly 165 seems a very small number.

However, I\’ve been unable to come up with even a ballpark figure for Iraq that I have any degree of confidence in, although these guys are making an effort.  Certainly the styles of battle are apples and basketballs, so I\’m not sure one can make any meaningful comparisons.  Plus obviously something as simple as a kill-ratio does not win a war, nor even a battle.  As evidence of that, there were plenty of WWII battles in which the Germans and Japanese possessed overwhelmingly superior kill ratios.

However, it does go to support the flypaper theory of attracting lots of fanatical martyrs to the battlefield were they can be removed from the equation.  Although, how Allah is coming up with enough virgins, simply boggles the mind, even if just from a logistical standpoint.

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Posted in Islamofacists, Middle East Mayhem | 1 Comment »

Syria Shooting At Phantoms?

September 6th, 2007 by Kevin

Most of you may have read about the little international incident between Israel and Syria recently. Basically Syria fired upon some Israeli aircraft it claims entered it\’s airspace, didn\’t hit them but did manage to chase them off. Now Israel is refusing to acknowledge the incident, but Syria is claiming it happened. The US isn\’t commenting either.

So it\’s basically an international he (Israel) said, she (Syria) said….but something is striking me as not making sense here. For at least a couple reasons.

Jettisoned Fuel Tanks

The current version of the story indicates that when they were fired upon the aircraft jettisoned fuel tanks.

I say the current, because earlier in the day news reports indicated the aircraft \”pushed out\” their fuel tanks and bombs. Ok I don\’t think aircraft have \”pushed out\” bombs since WWI. And extra fuel tanks are usually attached externally. However, I\’m willing to chalk that up to a journalist not knowing what they were talking about….if not combined with other discrepancies.

Now they only fuel tanks being jettisoned, no mention of bombs. Fair enough, normally that wouldn\’t raise an eyebrow. It\’s common practice to attach external tanks and use that fuel up enroute to the target, jettison them as you enter hostile territory to improve aerodynamic performance.

One problem though….Israel doesn\’t use external fuel tanks. They\’ve rather cleverly come up with what they call Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT). They\’ve retrofitted their F-16s (designated F-16Is) with them, and their F-15s (designated F-15Is) were manufactured with them. They serve the same purpose but they conform to the aircraft itself and as a result have minimal effect on aircraft handling, and they can\’t be jettisoned.

That alone raises all sorts of red flags

From the Northern Border

Supposedly they infiltrated Syria\’s NORTHERN border from the Mediterranean?? Take a look at a map of the area. That\’s not even close to Israel, and it\’s not close to anything that Israel would likely be flying over. Israeli pilots are very good at what they do, not that you\’d really have to be to not mistake Syria for Israel.

Exactly how were these established as Israeli aircraft? Because if the Israelis just wanted to mess with the Syrians or test their defenses, much like the Russians have been doing to Norway lately, it would make more sense to do it on the southern border of Syria. Not only for logistically reasons but also it\’s closer to home just in case something goes wrong.

Headed East

So four or five Israeli aircraft penetrated their northern border and were heading east?? Let\’s take a look at that map again…

Only thing within range of these aircraft would be either Iraq, Iran, or Syria itself. All three of which are not a target that you would send in only four aircraft for. Much less if your route to target takes you through hostile territory.

Syria On The Pipe? 

Personally there are too many things that don\’t make sense about this story for me to accept it as presented. I have to assume one of the following happened:

  1. Syria is just making stuff up
  2. Israel is probing Syrian defense in a very unorthodox manner using aircraft that I\’m not sure they have in their inventory
  3. Aircraft did penetrate Syrian airspace but they were not Israeli aircraft
  4. Some very critical details were left out of this story.

Other than the above, I have to call bullshit on this story.

UPDATE : Capt Ed smells something funny as well

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Britain Agrees To Castrate Self, Thatcher Clinically Depressed

April 3rd, 2007 by Kevin

It appears as if Britain, already a mere shadow of it\’s former greatness, has decided to finally end all speculation and formally declare it\’s impotence.  Essentially they have agreed to meet to discuss how to prevent future boundary disputes, which to all but the most optimistic sounds like they are basically admitting that they crossed into Iranian territory.

And from the sounds of it, they should even have become hostages.  In addition to the Cromwell, it appears the sailors had plenty of other support nearby, including US forces, whom weren\’t alerted to the situation until it was too late.  Politically correct impotence at it\’s greatest

If you think this isn\’t going to teach the Iranians that not only can they get away with stuff like this, but they\’ll be rewarded when they do, you\’re fooling yourself.  This will only embolden them, much like embarassing the US back in 1979 did (thanks alot Carter).

Thank you for proving there isn\’t anything you won\’t roll over for.  You have now shown you won\’t stand up for your own people.  What lesson should your allies and those that depend on you for their protection draw from this episode?

It is said that history repeats itself, and while it\’s hardly an impeccable historical reference, one only need to recall this tale of how a fledgling city-state of Rome dealt with hostage-taking, and began their rise to prominence.  A few lessons can be drawn there me thinks.

And yes I\’m aware that the Iranians appear to have done this in retaliation for a US raid on an Iranian laison office.  Which only serves to prove the point more.  We offended them but they didn\’t dare hit us, so they picked the weakest player on the team to hit.

Heh Brits, buck up buttercup, time to play ball.  We\’ll back you up every step, but you\’ve gotten take the lead for your own men (and woman).

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Posted in Iran, Iraq, Middle East Mayhem | Comments Off on Britain Agrees To Castrate Self, Thatcher Clinically Depressed

WTF On Iran

March 27th, 2007 by Kevin

Ok I\’ll admit I\’m a little confused over this Iran capturing British sailors as they were conducting UN-authorized searches.

Now first of all, Iran claims they are gonna interrogate them and try them for espionage, which, as Capt Ed points out, is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Where is the outcry for that?? If all those assholes in Gitmo are supposed to be considered soldiers, surely a bunch of British sailors in uniform, on a British Navy boat are considered soldiers. Yet no outcry from the local media, which isn\’t suprising because they are stupid, so they can\’t help it. But heh UN and Amnesty International, where the hell are you on this one??? Where is our outcry about this one?? Prove you\’re worth your weight. And why isn\’t the Bush administration pushing that issue. We\’re getting pounded internationally because supposedly we don\’t follow the Geneva Convention, why not point out to the world the double standard and watch them attempt to explain it.

Also, how the hell did they get captured. I mean sure, you\’re a dozen sailors and you got a warship bearing down on your little dinghy, fair enough, not much you can do. But they were in a dinghy basically, that was launched from a British warship. Anyone else have this same question?? What the hell was the HMS Cromwell doing during this time?? Did this happen during their afternoon tea or what? Your shipmates are in harms way, how about a little something? Why did you even allow them so close? I should sure hope a US vessel wouldn\’t allow their mates to get ambushed or even get in the area without a challenge.

And finally why the silence from the US. Hello, at the very least the Brits are a NATO ally. A little loyalty maybe? Not to mention they\’ve been at our side through both Afghanistan and Iraq. Now they suffer a bit of an incident and we\’re standing silent? At the very least I hope we\’re play a role behind the scenes, because our current posture doesn\’t seem very ally like.

UPDATE : So now Iran has paraded captured sailors on TV.  And where is the outrage by the usual suspects?  Where is the cries for the violations of the Geneva Convention?  When video of US troops rounding up prisoners during the march to Baghdad were broadcast, everyone was raising holy hell.  When we showed pictures of Saddam in captivity to reassure the Iraqi public, it was a horrible miscarriage of justice.  Now no outcry.  Congrats world, you have shown your true colors

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Posted in Iran, Middle East Mayhem | 2 Comments »

Syria Says US Behind Attack On Own Embassy

September 13th, 2006 by Kevin

LOL, so Syria thinks we attacked our own embassy. Well they are nuts that\’s their right to say goofy crap. In fact it\’s probably the only reason they still exist. Especially when they also utter phrases such as

\”Only the Americans can succeed in carrying out an attack just 200 meters from President [Bashar] Assad\’s residence in the most heavily guarded section of Syria.\”

Anyone else think we should take them up on that challenge?

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Posted in Middle East Mayhem | 1 Comment »

Sarcasm : Thanks Alot Israel

September 6th, 2006 by Kevin

Thanks for teaching terrorists all over the world that kidnapping people and holding them hostage eventually pays dividends

Israel and the Palestinians have reached an agreement to swap the Israeli soldier held hostage in Gaza with imprisoned Palestinians, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted on Tuesday as saying..

I\’ll try not to hold a grudge when the next American is taken hostage.

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Posted in Middle East Mayhem, Terrorism | Comments Off on Sarcasm : Thanks Alot Israel

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