"The Falcon 9's first and second stages separated about 2.5 minutes into today's launch. As the first stage flew back for its touchdown — a secondary mission objective — the second stage continued to power Dragon to orbit. The capsule got there safely and, about 11 minutes after liftoff, successfully deployed its solar arrays and began its two-day journey to the station.
When Dragon arrives at the orbiting lab on Tuesday morning (Feb. 21), French astronaut Thomas Pesquet will grapple the spacecraft using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, assisted by NASA astronaut (and station commander) Shane Kimbrough. Both spaceflyers will be looking out from the station's cupola as they do this work." Space.com
I am truly impressed. Maybe California should let Musk build their high speed San Francisco- LA rail? pl
" ... enemies are defined very precisely under American treason law. An enemy is a nation or an organization with which the United States is in a declared or open war . Nations with whom we are formally at peace, such as Russia, are not enemies. (Indeed, a treason prosecution naming Russia as an enemy would be tantamount to a declaration of war.) Russia is a strategic adversary whose interests are frequently at odds with those of the United States, but for purposes of treason law it is no different than Canada or France or even the American Red Cross. The details of the alleged connections between Russia and Trump officials are therefore irrelevant to treason law.
This was true even in the 1950s, at the height of the Cold War. When Julius and Ethel Rosenberg handed over nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, they were tried and executed for espionage, not treason. Indeed, Trump could give the U.S. nuclear codes to Vladimir Putin or bug the Oval Office with a direct line to the Kremlin and it would not be treason, as a legal matter. Of course, such conduct would violate various laws and would constitute grounds for impeachment as a “high crime and misdemeanor” — the framers fully understood that there could be cases of reprehensible disloyalty that might escape the narrow confines of the treason clause." Washpost
It seems to me that the Borgist Resistance is intent on removing President Trump from office and probably in this calendar year. One must ask how they think they can do that.
- They are flirting with the idea of a charge of treason or espionage based on Trump's supposed subservience and surreptitious loyalty to Russia. They face serious barriers to this ambition; 1. They control neither chamber of Congress. Controlling both is necessary to removing a president through impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate. 2. What would be the charge? IMO there is no plausible charge. Thus far there is no publicly known evidence of collusion with Russian government and even if there were such evidence this professor of law does not think that would qualify as treason. 3. Common sense dictates that such collusion even of proven would not qualify as "espionage" which as a crime against the US is always about collecting information rather than covert actions.
Since the impeachment/trial scenario is so implausible the Borgist Resistance is now contemplating the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution as a means of action against President Trump.
25th Amendment -
"Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."
What's the chance of this happening? IMO 0%
And ... the Borgist Resistance seems blind to the continued loyalty of those who agree with the 9,000 people who rallied for Trump in Melbourne, Florida this week. Does the Borgist Resistance really want to defy all those who would feel cheated by the removal of the president? pl
MUNICH (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Europe (all times local): 11:20 p.m.
“Vice President Mike Pence has met with the president of Ukraine and assured him of U.S. support. Pence’s office says he “underscored U.S. support” for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and underlined that the U.S. does not recognize “Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation” of Crimea.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's office says during Saturday's meeting in Munich his country "received a powerful signal that the U.S. stands with Ukraine, that Ukraine is among the top priorities for the new U.S. administration."
President Donald Trump's stated aim of improving relations with Russia had raised concerns in Ukraine and elsewhere that he would lift sanctions imposed on Moscow for its intervention in Ukraine.”
“Vice President Mike Pence is reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the security of the Baltic states in a meeting with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Pence met with the leaders on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Pence’s office says the vice president noted the Trump administration’s support for the collective defense of NATO allies and the need of NATO to counter terrorism. Pence’s office says the leaders expressed their concerns over the ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine and discussed the need to make progress toward the full implementation of the Minsk agreement to resolve the conflict between government forces and Russia-backed separatists.” (Associated Press)
“Pence's tough line on Russia, calling on Moscow to honour the international peace accords that seek to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, were welcomed by Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz. Lavrov said after a meeting with his French, German and Ukrainian counterparts that there would be a new ceasefire from Feb. 20. "Know this: the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, President Trump believes can be found," Pence said.” (Reuters)
A truly wise-assed thought came to me as I read about these three acting as near spitting images of the emissaries of the Borg Hegemony that preceded them. It was as if they were a trio of Hedley Lamarrs to Trump’s Governor Le Petomane, running the real foreign policy while the oblivious Governor signs what’s put in front of him. Work. Work. Work. Work.
Having gotten that snark out of my system, I'm hoping Pence and the others are just trying to calm the spooked herd of Europeans before Trump can put a new saddle on them. Maybe even Trump now realizes the depth of anti-Russian hysteria here and in Europe and has decided to proceed slowly and slyly in his shock therapy for Europe and his pragmatic outreach to Russia. I'm more concerned with the stepped up aggressive rhetoric towards Iran and the continuing coddling of the Saudis. Those policies seem to enjoy widespread, unapologetic support throughout this Administration, this Congress and the American public. That's going to throw a big wrench into developing a better relationship with Russia. Lavrov appears as exasperated as I am.
Well, it's only been one month and it's been a lot more noise than action in that month. We'll see.
|Friday, February 17|
|Race/Topic (Click to Sort)||Poll||Results||Spread|
|President Trump Job Approval||Rasmussen Reports||Approve 55, Disapprove 45||Approve +10|
|President Trump Job Approval||Gallup||Approve 38, Disapprove 56||Disapprove +18|
Is Real Clear Politics a reputable source for the Borgists? I thought it was. Foolish me. They run summaries of a number of daily tracking polls every day. the Borgists prefer the Gallup poll evidently because it consistently shows Trump with very low numbers (circa 38%) while the Rasmussen Poll has shown his approval number climbing from around 44% to 55% yesterday.
This old man watches a lot of TV news. I have yet to hear any of the TV news stations even mention the Rasmussen Poll. Not even Foxnews mentions it.
And today "Cracker Barrel Smerconish," a pseudo neutral politicallu, had the audacity to proclaim on his news program that what remains of Trump's support is in "Cracker Barrel Counties," i.e., among rural buffoons. One of his guests told him that such attitudes are why the Democrats so thoroughly lost the 2016 election. He shrugged that off citing the Gallup Poll as evidence that the deluded Cracker Barrel denizens are learning their error.
Well, pilgrims, I think the Democrats deserve to retain such attitudes and their selective delusion concerning polling and data.
Smerconish claimed in his own defense to like Cracker Barrel food. I do not. I think their dining rooms are over sized McDonald's seeking to imitate rural cooking in America. pl
"The Victor Leonov, armed with an array of intelligence gathering equipment used to intercept communications and analyze U.S. Navy sonar capability, later traveled within 30 miles off the Connecticut coast near a submarine base earlier this week.
“It’s lawful [and] similar to operations we do around the world,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Friday.
The Russian spy ship left her homeport in the Barents Sea near Norway, part of Russia’s northern fleet, around New Year’s Day, according to American defense officials. Following a port call in Jamaica, the Russian ship then began its voyage north along the east coast of the United States.
The deployment of the Russian intelligence-gathering ship was likely planned for months before it set sail in early January, according to U.S. defense officials. They said it apparently was not tied to the Obama administration’s Dec. 29 order that Moscow shut down two of its “vacation” properties, which the U.S. government said were used to intercept American communications. One was on New York's Long Island and the other was at Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
It’s the first time the Viktor Leonov has appeared off the east coast of the United States since April 2015. The ship was spotted in Havana Harbor in January 2015 as the Obama administration eased relations with Cuba. U.S." Foxnews
This is fun for the feebleminded warmongers of the world . All major powers, ALL MAJOR POWERS operate big, roomy cargo type ships as SIGINT collect platforms around the world. WE DO IT as Captain, USN Jeff Davis told the world from the Pentagon. Do the names USS Liberty and USS Pueblo mean anything to you? Do they strike a bell?
This ship, the Russian Navy vessel Viktor Leonov is engaged in lawful and non-threatening routine SIGINT collection operations. If we had any sense we would invite them into Norfolk for a liberty port call. The restaurants, bars and whores down there could used the business.
The Viktor Leonov is "armed?" with a couple of anti-aircraft machine guns. I, personally, feel menaced. pl
BTW, the little guy in this picture is a sister ship of Viktor Leonov. The big guy is USS Texas.
"Reaction to the joint press conference came swift and strong from other American Jewish organizational leaders, and far less positive than the ZOA’s Klein. “I’m not sure Trump understands the implications” of a one state solution, said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. “It is a very dangerous suggestion.”for Peace Now spokesman Ori Nir called the press conference “terrifying” and “a squandered opportunity” to “signal to Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and the world a clear commitment to peace.”It was a chance to “chart a constructive way forward for U.S.-Israel relations and for Israel’s future, for its security and its wellbeing as a democracy and a Jewish state,” Nir said. Instead, “the two leaders are not only depriving Israel of the very possibility of reaching peace but also undermining Israel's own future as a democracy and a Jewish state” when they discuss a one-state possibility. He added, “they are delivering a huge victory to extremists on both sides.” The Reform Movement’s Rabbi Rick Jacobs said he views Trump’s statements as “an abdication of the longtime, bipartisan support for a two-state solution.” Haaretz
Well, pilgrims, I said a few days ago that it would be well to see the result of Natanyahu's visit before coming to a conclusion about what the Trump/Kushner approach to Israel/Palestine might be.
IMO Trump is going to challenge the long treasured shibboleths of the Zionist/AIPAC community in search of a creative path to peace.
The hard core Zionists know that a one state solution would be the end of the Zionist dream of a Jewish State in historic Palestine. If given actual equal rights of citizenship in such a country the Palestinians would fairly soon become a majority and the stronger power in a one state government. That is simply unacceptable to the Zionists. It would be the end of all their dreams.
Trump knows that and is evidently willing to "up the ante" to that level of leverage if Israel wants his support to get the best deal available to them, rather than the deal they wanted in which they would have completely dominate the situation.
Bibi is much threatened at home by corruption charges (evidently the Maureen McDonnell syndrome) and challenges from his Right. It seems that Trump went straight to his weaknesses.
It will be interesting to learn if Bibi survives his acquiescence and how much Zionist support Trump loses. pl
I thought it was a masterful performance. He dealt with people like Jim Acosta as though they were children. As he said, "so full of hatred..." I expect a variety of opinions, none of them full of hatred. pl
The forced resignation of President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn has grabbed headlines, continuing the mainstream media barrage of hyped claims that the November elections were hijacked by sophisticated Russian intelligence agents, working under the personal direction of President Vladimir Putin. Today, the very people who leaked classified National Security Agency intercepts to MSM figures like David Ignatius are admitting that the actual transcripts of the talks between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador in Washington contained nothing indicating criminal misconduct.
John Schindler, a former NSA analyst, posted a widely publicized message this week, boasting that "he'll die in jail"--referring to President Trump--because elements in the US intelligence community have declared war on the White House.
Are we witnessing a criminal assault against our Constitutional system by a bunch of Obama/Clinton linked "sore losers" who find themselves on the sidelines as the result of the November elections? Has the MSM gone totally over to the dark side? Is the plot against our Constitutional system coming from Moscow schemers or perhaps a network much closer to home, involving former President Barack Obama, George Soros and others who simply cannot believe that they have been cast out by American voters?
The rantings of the left that "Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and should have been president" betrays a total lack of understanding of our Constitutional Republic and the history of how we devised the Electoral College. What is more, if you look at a county-by-county map of the country, you see that, outside of California, which Clinton won by 4 million votes, the majority of voters went with Trump. This was a repudiation of both the Bush and Obama presidencies, and the very people who dragged the country into permanent wars and Wall Street bailouts are now looking to bring down a duly elected President. Does this smack of treason?
I do not know whether President Trump will actually change the course of the US economy or end our string of permanent wars. I do know that what is being done by this media-led, Obama-inspired, Soros-funded mob is nothing short of an attempted coup d'etat. For once, this morning, I have taken some of President Trump's overnight tweets seriously.
"To save America, Anton proposes a blitz of desperate actions. The point, he argues, is to take exceptional and potentially suicidal steps (the rushing-the-cockpit scenario) because the America that conservatives aspire to preserve faces total elimination. He reveals this in a section of his essay that looks at the intentions of “the Left.” Some of the Left regard conservatives as Nazis, he writes: “How does one deal with a Nazi – that is, with an enemy one is convinced intends your destruction? You don’t compromise with him or leave him alone. You crush him.”
The flip side of believing your enemies want to crush you because you are a Nazi is the belief that you must crush them first. “So what do we have to lose by fighting back?” Anton asks. “The Left, the Democrats, and the bipartisan junta (categories distinct but very much overlapping) think they are on the cusp of permanent victory that will forever obviate the need to pretend to respect democratic and constitutional niceties.” Anton’s ideology has a temporal as well as political edge: it is now-or-neverism." The Intercept
Michael Anton and Stephen Miller are big this weekend, Miller is everywhere as a voluble surrogate for the surrogate Kelly Ann Conway.
Miller may be young but he ain't afraid of the Borgists. My SWAG is that if Bannon has his way Jake Tapper will have to find someone other than Conway to use as a partisan punching bag. Anton is the author of a now famous article that denounces what he sees as the degeneracy of the United States and which calls for a top to bottom "revolution" in thinking in the USA. Understandable.
The Left does not like such thinking since they believed before HC's catastrophic loss that there was a revolution but it was their revolution and it had triumphed. Their discovery that not only had she lost but that Obama's neglect of the Democratic Party for two terms had devastated the party at the state and local levels is something they still have not absorbed or accepted as a new reality. IMO the Democratic Party left is still trying to undermine Trump's public positions in the hope that convincing evidence of an impeachable charge can be created before the Trump Administration solidifies its institutional position.
IMO this badly misunderstands Trump himself as opposed to his entourage. I think the error is in thinking that Trump has an ideology other than a crude sort of nationalism based on a lot of movies and marching around at NYMA.
For Trump IMO "the Art of the Deal" remains all. Whatever he says or does in making phone calls, running his hand up President Ji's leg, etc, is just stage management in a long (or short) process of negotiation.
The revolutionary right wing "geniuses" (Bannon, Miller, Anton, etc., ) are just there to take the heat off him on the right. They, like the NSC crew, should be careful that they do not cause him discomfort or are a distraction from the deals. pl
The most visible candidate was House Speaker Henry Clay. A leading War Hawk during the War of 1812, Clay had a power base in Kentucky, was a gifted public speaker, and had support for his so-called American System of protective tariffs and federally sponsored internal improvements. His high-profile advocacy of these issues made him a familiar name in much of the country. Although he was well known, his clear identification with the war and nationalism weakened his roots in the South, which was beginning to fear supporting anyone for President who was not a slave owner or a supporter of states' rights.
Then there was General Andrew Jackson from Tennessee, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson's reputation as an Indian fighter and western expansionist, owing to his military escapades in Spanish Florida (see Jackson biography, Life Before the Presidency section), gave him national standing above all other candidates. It also helped that Jackson could enter the race as an outsider, a defender of the Republic who had risked his life in service of his nation. In fact, his supporters talked about him as another George Washington. Few experienced politicians, however, expected Jackson to win if any of the opposing candidates could broker a cross-regional coalition that would unite either the West or the South with New England or the mid-Atlantic States.
Such a coalition was no easy task to achieve. After all, the 1824 election occurred in a day and age when a new political electorate composed of regionally focused voters had only recently been empowered with the franchise. Since 1820, the old political caucus method by which the congressional leaders nominated presidential candidates had fallen into disrepute. This was principally because the old caucus system failed to connect with the wishes of the new voters, the tens of thousands of males who had been enfranchised by the removal of property ownership as a criterion for white male suffrage. This new climate looked to regional endorsements of candidates by state conventions or state assemblies, which meant that regional popularity, rather than congressional intrigue, would drive the nomination process.
Although Adams was a centrist politician of sorts-a Jeffersonian-Federalist, to coin a new term-many Americans still identified him as a New Englander and as the son of the old Federalist leader John Adams. Additionally, many staunch Democratic-Republicans blamed Adams and his supporters for having transformed the party of Jefferson into a disguised form of Federalism under the rubric of "National Republicans." Southerners, moreover, objected to Adams because of his moral opposition to slavery. They remembered his criticism of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 as a proslavery conspiracy, and they suspiciously recalled Adams's efforts to include language opposed to the international slave trade in the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812.
Four Democratic-Republican Candidates
In the summer of 1824, an unofficial caucus of less than a third of the congressmen eligible to attend nominated Crawford for President. Supporters for Adams denounced the caucus bid, and the Massachusetts legislature nominated Adams as their favorite-son candidate. The Kentucky legislature did the same for Clay. Both nominations followed the pattern set by the Tennessee legislature, which had nominated Andrew Jackson in 1822. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina dropped out of the presidential race by announcing his bid for the vice presidency, a move that both Adams and Crawford endorsed. Because all four candidates were nominal Democratic-Republicans-the Federalist Party had disintegrated by this point-the election would be decided without reference to party affiliation.
As the campaign progressed, Jackson emerged as the man to beat. The size of his rallies in key swing states-Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, New York, and New Jersey-far surpassed or rivaled those for Clay and Adams. In this first election in American history in which the popular vote mattered-because eighteen states chose presidential electors by popular vote in 1824 (six states still left the choice up to their state legislatures) -Jackson's popularity foretold a new era in the making. When the final votes were tallied in those eighteen states, Jackson polled 152,901 popular votes to Adams's 114,023; Clay won 47,217, and Crawford won 46,979. The electoral college returns, however, gave Jackson only 99 votes, 32 fewer than he needed for a majority of the total votes cast. Adams won 84 electoral votes followed by 41 for Crawford and 37 for Clay.
By Patrick Bahzad
"Morality is the weakness of the brain. It can be dangerous
when it is not alleviated by thought and reason"
(from A Season in Hell, by Arthur Rimbaud)
As explained in part (1) of this piece, President Trump is facing some tough challenges if he intends to unsettle the "empire by proxies" that Tehran has established in the Middle-East. By chosing Yemen as the starting point for his roll back policy of Iranian influence, his team has picked a country that is going down the road other failed States have taken before in the region. But even though Yemen might be the weak link in the Iranian chain of "choke points" spread all around the Arabian peninsula, there is no guarantee of success for the new US administration.
A close advisor to President Trump recently said the President would take on Islamic radicals, whether they are "Jihadists or Khomeinists", meaning whether they are ISIS/AQ or the IRGC and its surrogates. Taking the morale high ground and wanting to confront Evil is nothing new in American politics. From that point of view, the administration's statements do not exactly come as a surprise. There has been the "Empire of Evil" and the "Axis of Evil" before. In both these cases though, there was a strategy - however flawed and misguided - underpinning the moral claim, which seems to be totally lacking today.
Revenge is a dish best served cold
It is hard to imagine an administration that has already shown its lack of preparation on such basic issues as immigration law having a well thought through strategy for any kind of US intervention or operation. If the recent SEAL Team 6 raid is any indication to go by, we are in for a rough ride.
Taking risks is in the nature of military arts, but when giving the green light for anything like this, you need to carefully weigh the prospective gains against the risks incurred. Getting the scalp of a senior AQAP may certainly justify putting US operators at risk. Does it necessarily mean you try and have a go at the next best occasion, getting into something that has potentially serious implications in case anything goes wrong ?
I surely can't make that call, but it seems the first raid authorized by the President has already lost the US some good will among the Saudi backed "legitimate" government of Yemen, as well as among Central Yemeni tribes that were not overly hostile to US interests. This is a game where patience trumps bravado, and you'll have to bite your lip more often than not, missing out on a good chance to get a bad guy out of the way.
Does Donald Trump understand this ? Do his closest advisors ? Only time will tell. But if they think "intelligence fusion cells", "combined joint task forces" and "kill lists" alone are going to get us anywhere near the goal the President is contemplating, they are deeply mistaken. Kinetic actions have their place in any overall strategy mixing military assets and foreign policy efforts. However, they are only means to an end. They are not a self serving purpose as such, even less so in Yemen.
By Patrick Bahzad
"I need not tell you, Sir, that the
Red Sea is as much closed as the Gulf"
(from 20 000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne)
So this is where President Trump apparently decided to make his first significant foreign policy move. Not in Iraq or Syria, as part of the fight against ISIS and other Jihadi groups, not in Ukraine, which has seen a recent flare-up in combat. But in Yemen, at the Strait of Mandeb, the "Gate of Tears". Push back against Iran is the scent of the day in D.C. and the new administration has picked the most unseemingly place for it. American concern for what is going on in Yemen is understandable and may call for closer monitoring. Aggressive moves in the Red Sea however, or in Yemen itself, bear tremendous risks. The Bab-el-Mandeb, as its name indicates, has always been treacherous waters.
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump had already hinted at his determination to take on Iran. He had stressed the need for a more confrontational approach and condemned the nuclear deal that the Obama administration had signed with Tehran, literally threatening to tear it up. As President, he has now backed away from such drastic measures, but heightened tensions with Iran became apparent as soon as he took over at the White House.
Twitter warnings by "The Real Donald Trump" were followed by Iran test firing a ballistic as well as a cruise missile, which may or may not constitute violations of the Nuclear Deal and UNSC resolution 2231. Additionally, in what might be considered an unrelated incident, Houthi forces in Yemen launched an attack against a Saudi frigate, killing two sailors and seriously damaging the ship.
This combination of events triggered National Security Advisor Mike Flynn into putting Iran "on notice", an expression devoid of any meaning in international diplomacy and therefore probably all the more dangerous. The escalation is pretty obvious and additional US sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities only added to it.
But it is not just White House executives like "National Security Advisor" Mike Flynn and "Chief Strategist" Steve Bannon who seem on board with the tough talk about Iran. James Mattis, the newly appointed Secretary of Defence and presumably a voice of reason within the new administration, recently dubbed Iran "the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world". With statements by senior members of the White House and the Cabinet being that unanimous, a feature not necessarily obvious when you look at the short track record of the new Presidency, it is pretty clear that there is now a very deliberate policy shift towards Iran.
"In American political discourse, states' rights refers to political powers reserved for the state governments rather than the federal government according to the United States Constitution, reflecting especially the enumerated powers of Congress and the Tenth Amendment. The enumerated powers that are listed in the Constitution include exclusive federal powers, as well as concurrent powers that are shared with the states, and all of those powers are contrasted with the reserved powers—also called states' rights—that only the states possess" wiki on states' rights
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. " 10th Amendment to the US Constitution
The states of the South have always been devoted to the notion of federalism and the rights of the states. The rest of the country? not so much ... IMO the South has favored federalism because it has always been weaker party in a division of the country into cultural zones,
Now we have an emerging situation in which anti-Trump and liberal states in the Deep North and West are using the mantle of states rights to oppose the power of the federal government.
The governor of Washington looked mighty funny gloating on TV over Washington State's victory over the federal government, mighty funny. pl
In October 2015 I put up a post largely about the Richag-AV and Krasukha-4 jamming systems then appearing with the Russian forces moving into Syria. It sparked a good discussion that cut through a lot of the techno-hype. One thing that became clear was that Russia developed and employed a broad family of radio-electronic combat (REC) technologies. Another point made was that these jamming technologies do not form an impenetrable force field. They work together as a “system of systems” to create an extremely hostile electro-magnetic environment for enemy weapons and surveillance systems. It’s not voodoo magic.
As a review of this subject, South Front put out an excellent summary of Russian REC capabilities. Although the article has a sensational title, “Ultra-Secret Weapon that Allows Russia to Assume His Supremacy in Electronic War in Syria” and it has been translated from Romanian to French and then to English, it is both readable and informative.
To continue the review, I took a look at some of the stories out there about the Cook/Su-24 incident. They run the gamut. A lot of the stories seem to conflate two different ECM systems. The Su-24 accounts from the Cook describe a single, basket-like pod under the belly of the fighter-bomber. Other stories describe the Khibiny as torpedo-like pods attached to the wing tips of many of the newer generation Russian aircraft, but not the Su-24. The Su-24 mounted system supposedly shut down, degraded or jammed the Aegis radars and/or fire control systems, but not the engines of the Cook. The wing tip mounted Khibiny system mounted on newer Russian aircraft is said to jam the ability of missiles to lock on and hit the aircraft. Sounds like two different ECM systems to me.
Another ECM incident involved a drone flown out of Syria towards Israel. The drone "deflected" two Iron Dome missiles and one missile fired by an Israeli F-16. This last incident is from a blog by Brad Cabana, a Canadian who posted reliable info during the louder parts of the war in Ukraine along with a thought provoking story of an incident surrounding the coup attempt in Turkey.
“In fact, Erdogan was scheduled to meet in Moscow with Russian President Putin just two days before the coup. However, all that came to a sudden end when Erdogan was spirited out of his vacation home just prior to an attempt on his life by a platoon of Turkish special forces. Somehow he had gotten wind of it, boarded his jet, and jettisoned off toward Turkey's capital. While enroute to the capital his plane was "locked onto" by two Turkish F-16's. Despite locking onto Erdogan's jet the Turkish fighter pilots could not fire and bring it down - for whatever reason. The bottom line is that al the evidence points toward a very important Russian intervention in the coup - to stop it that is. It appears that Russian intelligence intercepted the coup plotter's communications and plans, alerted Erdogan in advance, and saving his life in the process. It likely also proved very clearly to Erdogan who his friends were, and who they were not. In any case, the mysterious escape from the lethal missiles of those two Turkish F-16s is really what this article is about.
Funny enough, Erdogan's saving grace seems to be a part of another trend that has raised its head for at least the last few years. Simply put, the Russians have developed technology that renders all missile systems, nuclear or conventional, useless. In November, 2014 the first high profile incident occurred when a Russian SU-24 fighter bomber shut down all systems on the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea. The only armament the plane carried was a small basket - an important little basket known as "Khibiny" - perhaps named after the Russian mountain of the same name. In any case, the entire state-of-the-art destroyer was rendered unable to defend itself while the SU-24 flew eleven simulated bombing runs over it before flying off. The Cook's Aegis system (most modern US defence system) was shut down completely.
Then, just three weeks ago a military drone entered Israeli airspace from Syria. The Israeli military fired two Patriot missiles at the drone, but the deadly accurate missiles could not hit the slow and plodding drone. Then an Israeli fighter pilot fired an air-to-air missile at the drone, but the missile would not strike it. It appears quite obvious that the Russian drone had on board a system similar to the Khibiny electronic warfare device that shut down the Cook. However, this system appears to not jam the firing systems, but just the missiles themselves. That would be a variant of the system and essentially render anti-aircraft systems and fighter jets obsolete. It seems clear the Russians used the air-tight "Iron Dome" Israeli anti-missile system as a test for this technology. Not a bad choice considering Israel's small land mass and therefore concentrated air defence systems. Or, in other words, no better place to test it in the world.” (Rock Solid Politics)
Cabana’s account of Erdogan owing his life to Russian ECM is interesting, but I haven’t found any other accounts of the incident. It might be true. It might be myth. Perhaps some of our august fellow correspondents can shed some light on this story.
I did find several other references to this last incident that corroborate Brad Cabana’s account. This sounds like a well planned field test of a Russian ECM system. I’m sure there were some Russian REC technicians shouting “Eureka” at the results of this experiment. I’m also pretty damned sure there were a lot of Israeli military officers and politicians crying “Ooooh Shiiit! We’re scrooowed!” It doesn’t take much imagination to understand the ramifications of just the possibility of such a lightweight, low power ECM becoming available to Hezbollah missile forces.
Well, pilgrims, the man from the ivory judicial tower has stepped on his crank. He allowed a member of the Connecticut congressional delegation to inveigle him into denouncing the president who nominated him to the Supreme Court. Then, to make the situation even more delicious from the Democratic Party point of view, Gorsuch freely told Blumenthal that he should tell anyone he liked of Gorsuch's statements.
Gorsuch has been on the appellate bench for 18 years. It would seem that this is long enough to become fully insulated from reality.
Given President Trump's pugnacious personality it is hard to believe that he would see Gorsuch's statements to Blumenthal as other than disloyal and a betrayal. I would not be surprised to see Gorsuch's nomination end in a withdrawal.
The next nominee will probably have little to say to the Democrats. pl
By Jay Solomon, Feb. 5, 2017 7:47 p.m. ET
“WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is exploring ways to break Russia’s military and diplomatic alliance with Iran in a bid to both end the Syrian conflict and bolster the fight against Islamic State, said senior administration, European and Arab officials involved in the policy discussions.
The emerging strategy seeks to reconcile President Donald Trump’s seemingly contradictory vows to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and to aggressively challenge the military presence of Iran - one of Moscow’s most critical allies—in the Middle East, these officials say.
A senior administration official said the White House doesn’t have any illusions about Russia or see Mr. Putin as a “choir boy,” despite further conciliatory statements from Mr. Trump about the Russian leader over the weekend. But the official said that the administration doesn’t view Russia as the same existential threat that the Soviet Union posed to the U.S. during the Cold War and that Mr. Trump was committed to constraining Iran.
“If there’s a wedge to be driven between Russia and Iran, we’re willing to explore that,” the official said.” (WSJ)
What is the goal here, besides continuing to uphold the notion that America is the indispensable nation destined to shape the world to its messianic vision? The only discontinuity from the previous Borg hegemonic policy is the laudable desire for a peaceful and cooperative relationship with Russia. Other than that, there's still a slavish obedience to Likudnik demands. Does the Trump Administration want this better relationship with Russia more than it wants to destroy the Shia Crescent and please Israel?
Trump has much to bargain with. He can end the sanctions targeting Russia and acknowledge a Russian sphere of influence in its near abroad. Would this be enough to entice Putin into abandoning Iran and dismantling the R+6 coalition in Syria? It might be tempting, but I doubt Putin will bite. I think the long game here is the Russian desire to establish a bulwark against the Wahabbi jihadist threat on its southern flank. That bulwark would dissolve with a weakened Iran and Syria and a U.S. backed Saudi Arabia.
I guess we’ll find out soon enough who’s the real champion of the art of the deal.
"“An address by a foreign leader to both houses of Parliament is not an automatic right. It is an earned honor, Bercow told MPs on Monday.
“Before the imposition of the migrant ban, I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall. After the imposition of the migrant ban, I am even more strongly opposed…
“I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons,” he added." usatoday
Smug. Pretentious. Self-congratulatory, Vertically challenged = John Simon Bercow
In 1775 the colonists in North America did not wish to reject their king, however repellent George III may have been. No, what they objected to was the smug assertion of authority over the colonies by the Westminster Parliament and resulting taxation without representation as well as most of the other grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence. Some attitudes never seem to change.
Is it not correct that the UK wants a special trade agreement with the United States? Both Teresa May and Bercow have now offended the head of state and head of government of the US.
Is this the way to obtain that agreement? pl
There once was a fly. It loved itself excessively. It flew in quick-changing jerks. Its flight was full of stops and starts, and it had eyes in the back of its head, and it thought, “I can do anything. I am the most smartest creature in the world and that makes me the most formidable.”
“Even more formidable than a lion?” asked a humble turtle one day, tired of hearing the fly brag about itself.
The fly liked to torment the turtle by landing on its face, making it pull its meek head in.
“Watch me,” said the fly.
It took the turtle a long time to accompany the fly to where the lion was lying sleeping in the grass, especially since the fly twice landed on the turtle’s face and he had to put his head in twice.
The lion, heaving eaten a heavy meal, was lying blinking in a daze when the fly landed on its nose.
With a great shake of his head, the lion dislodged the fly, but the fly landed right back again.
“So if he is stronger? Do you think he can hurt me?”
The turtle thought it better to leave the lion alone -- the great beast was starting to sit up and switch its tail.
So the fly buzzed and landed right on one of its eyes. With a great roar, the lion pawed at his face, and the fly nimbly flew away. It circled the lion's head, and the lion, in a rage, roared and tried to paw it but its claws were too clumsy and the fly escaped.
So all the poor turtle heard for the next few days was how great the fly thought it was finally. Trying timidly to assert itself, the turtle said, “Well, at least I can swim. You can't do that, you must admit.”
“Idiots. Why do I need to swim when I can fly?” asked the fly, zooming about and trying to land on the turtle's nose.
“Please don't,” said the turtle.
“Okay, this one time I won't,” said the fly. ““But you can't make me not do it. I like to do what I want, when I want, and no one can stop me.”
And the fly went buzzing about, annoying all the larger, slower beasts of the forests. The elephant tried to swat the fly with its trunk, but was too slow; the leopard tried to bat it with its paws, and did no better than the lion.
The fly was practically off its head with praise of itself.
He and the turtle were sitting on the grass, the fly on a blade, the turtle just sitting, quiet.
The fly was talking about itself, when the turtle spotted something that looked almost like a green twig. He thought he saw it move.
He tried to ask the fly what it was, but the fly interrupted, talking of all the new triumphs it planned to have over other animals in the forest.
“The horse is faster,” said the turtle.
“But I can fly and why should I race a horse?” the fly said.
“The mole can go underground,” the turtle said.
“And he's blind when he's not digging in a hole,” said fly.
“But the birds fly like you,” said the turtle.
“But they're not as nimble,” said the fly and landed on the turtle's nose.
As the turtle's head came out, he thought he saw that a green twig had moved. He tried to tell the fly, but the fly was too busy making mock.
“Do you know how stupid you look with your eyes all scrunched up, and your silly head being dragged backwards and your fat little …”
The fly never finished. A tongue flicked out and back and snatched the fly which disappeared into the lizard that looked like a twig.
“Very talkative,” the lizard said calmly. “Very good too,” it said, licking its lips.
And the moral is this: To be slow is not to be stupid. To be fast is not to be smart. To be nimble is not to be strong.
But to be conceited is to be blind.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 1st Amendment to the US constitution - 1791
Brian Stelter is 31? Who knew?
The section of the 1st Amendment quoted above speaks of actions prohibited to the Congress of the United States. It does not regulate press relations between the Executive Branch of the federal government and the developing media.
It should be intuitively obvious to the casual observer that CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other media outlets are deeply committed to hostility to the Trump Administration on each and every issue that may arise no matter how trivial and if there are no trivialities available, they seem quite willing to be creative.
If I were the Trump Administration I would reciprocate in terms of access to government officials now serving. Active Civil Servants and Soldiers in the US Service have no (zero) right of access to the press other than to read printed material or listen to broadcast media. They all take an oath to safeguard government information provided to them in the course of their work. There are criminal penalties involved for "unauthorized disclosure" if the government chooses to prosecute. At the same time the government may choose to release (openly or covertly) whatever information it pleases using these same employees or service members. The information belongs to the government.
So, while the federal government has no right or real ability to regulate or censor the media in the US, it has every right to selectively decline to cooperate with some media based on unrelenting prosecutorial attitudes and behavior. Under such "rules" there would be no on-screen interviews or behind the scenes "backgrounders" for the "hostiles."
Under such process the government would continue to refrain from attempting to prosecute people like James Risen, author of "State of War," while continuing to be free to prosecute people like Jeffrey sterling, the ex-CIA man who was Risen's supposed source for Chapter 9 of the book. I was a defense consultant in the case. pl
"The U.S. Army has been plagued with costly acquisition failures in recent decades, chief amongst them the Future Combat System (FCS) program. This $200 billion program initiated in 2000, the largest U.S. military acquisition program ever attempted, failed to produce results on a multitude of levels and was abandoned by 2009. The Armored Ground Vehicle (AGV) and Armored Gun System (AGS) programs also wasted tens of billions of dollars before being cancelled without achieving their intended goals. These programs were chiefly defeated by an overly bureaucratic Army acquisition system, and the fact that the Army had asked for far too much from the defense industry, demanding many new and unproven technological advancements.
The FCS was the most expensive, most ambitious, and most transformative modernization program ever undertaken by the U.S. Army. It is often hypothesized that the U.S. experience in the first Gulf War of 1991 and in the NATO Kosovo intervention of 1999, led to the desire for a more rapidly deployable U.S. Army expeditionary force. FCS envisioned a highly mobile new Army, light enough to be air-deployable, yet lethal enough to survive on the modern battlefield. This survivability would be provided through the leveraging of new technologies, as well as superior command and control capabilities that would tie together all the various armed forces in a seamless information sharing and communications network.
The Army set very high deployment goals as part of FCS, which would prove to be unattainable." South Front
The US Army is still in the midst of a long term transition to an expeditionary force capable of brigade sized interventions on short notice with a high degree of lethality and sustainability in its systems. The attainment of that goal is still long way off.
It should be noted that the joint SOF forces involved in the GWOT are really a separate army fighting a different kind of war from that envisioned for US Army general purpose forces.
I suppose that someone will now argue for the irrelevance of such forces in the world of Bill Lind's 4th generational warfare, I agree with the US Army leadership that the US needs to possess highly capable ground forces that amount to more than a huge SWAT Team. The Russians seem to think that with regard to their own forces as well.
The history of the present wars in Syria and Iraq support my belief in the continuing need for general purpose forces. pl
1. The slide to war with Iran. IMO we should all be aware of the ongoing push in the present NSC towards ever increasing hostility toward Iran. the Iranians clearly have little common sense and are allowing a situation to develop in which people like Flynn and Derek Harvey are pushing the president toward actual red lines on the other side of which IMO is a shooting war with Iran involving the US Navy and USAF. This deadly duo seems to be motivated by a desire for revenge against Iran for its support of insurgents during the US occupation of Iraq. How mature! Israel's as yet untested influence on President Trump and its desired application of a version of Cheney's 1% solution adds to the momentum.
2. Natanyahu's trip to the kennel. He will be here on the 15th. The Israeli press is filled with pros and cons as to whether or not he will be able to bring Trump to heel. IMO an ego as large as Trump's will not react well to the sound of its master's voice.
3. Niki's visit with Churkin. She went to Vitali Churkin's home in NY City yesterday to talk things over. A desire for cooperation was expressed thereafter. IMO the message delivered by her was "Don't pay any attention to the hostile sounds we are making. They are for the benefit of people like McCain and Graham. All will be well."
4. President Trump wants to de-regulate banking? I watched the old documentary (2010) "Inside Job" today. It deals with the general criminality and neglect of duty of assorted banksters, government officials, regulators and presidents in creating the economic and financial meltdown of 2009. The major players in that fiasco are still active and on the scene in Trump's government. They are now older, richer and yet more cunning. And now Trump wants to do away with parts of Dodd-Frank? This will need watching pilgrims. pl
One of Ronald Reagan's great undoings as President was the fact that a gang of neocons managed to penetrate his Administration at the second and third tiers, particularly at the Defense and State Departments, and as "consultants" to the National Security Council. End result: Iran-Contra and other debacles that left a black scar on the Reagan legacy. Although an independent prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh, was appointed to fully investigate the illegal arming of the Nicaraguan Contras and the covert shipping of ballistic missiles to Iran, some via Israel, few of the culprits were actually indicted and fewer were convicted.
The reason for dredging up this bit of ancient history is the fact that one of the nastiest of the Iran-Contra criminals, Elliot Abrams, is under consideration for the powerful post of Deputy Secretary of State, according to a January 25, 2017 Washington Post column by Josh Rogin. I do not use the word "criminal" rhetorically. Abrams was one of the few Iran-Contra players to be convicted, albeit of a misdemeanor crime of misleading Congress. He actually lied to Congress, which was a felony, but he struck a plea agreement with Special Prosecutor Walsh and got the reduced penalty in return for a promise to cooperate. That October 1991 deal had been preceded in July 1991 by a similar plea deal by Alan Fiers, the CIA officer who was also a key player in the illegal arming of the Nicaraguan Contras. Abrams headed the Restricted Interagency Group, which coordinated the secret war in Central America between the White House, the CIA and the Pentagon. Other members of the RIG were Lt. Col. Oliver North and Fiers.
Abrams is neocon aristocracy. Before he joined the Reagan Administration, he worked for Senators Henry Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. His father-in-law was Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine and a co-founder of the American neo-conservative movement along with Irving Kristol.
Although his misdemeanor convictions deprived Abrams of a post in the George H.W. Bush Administration, he was a co-founder of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which produced the neocon blueprint for the George W. Bush Administration's endless regime change wars. He was appointed by Bush 43 to a top post at the National Security Council, where he was in the middle of the promotion of the disastrous Iraq invasion of March 2003.
Any appointment of Abrams to a top post in the Trump Administration, especially a post as powerful as Deputy Secretary of State, who effectively runs the day to day affairs of the U.S. diplomatic corps, would be a disaster. An even larger disaster, to be avoided, would be the flood of neocon ideologues into key State Department posts if Abrams were to get the job. Open the door a crack and the stink bugs swarm in. They never travel alone.
No doubt, Bibi Netanyahu, who is preparing his first visit to Washington since the Trump inauguration, is crossing his fingers, and perhaps even praying that Abrams gets the job.
Before the fall of Greek democracy, Athens began as a center of education and humanity. The best honey and the most deadly hemlock were produced there.
According to Jacob Burckhardt, the great 19th century historian, the Athenians loved progress; they were quick to make decisions and execute them; they never hesitated; they were keen for foreign adventures and forays, and pursued advantage for themselves as much as possible.
Plans not carried out were counted as failures. Every gain seemed to them trivial compared to what remained to be done, and after a failure, they set to work to obtain some new success. They never paused to enjoy what they had. They were also incessant meddlers who gave no peace to themselves or their neighbors.
The best of the Greeks pursued excellence (‘arte’’), an honorable existence, but the din of the mob drove the excellent underground. Homer said that the ambition of noble people was “to be first, and outshine the rest.” He called them “the Virtuous Few,” and they were to be a guiding, living force in the democracy.
But those who were outstanding in any way faced envy, an undermining hatred of anyone who was better than the rest, delighting in their misfortunes, making incessant efforts to thwart and humiliate them at every turn. Homer depicts the jeering of a victor and the pain it inflicts.
The problem was that as the polis expanded the more ruthless and unprincipled it became. Greek democracy laid claim to excellence in ethics and morals, but there was little concern about the happiness or suffering of others. Slaves had no rights, yet they were expected to have morals. Morals were mere tools for subjugation.
The polis claimed it was working for the common good, but it had developed in a way that embraced mutual aggression and nasty feuding. Its citizens were easily provoked and led astray by strong passions of the commonplace. Hesiod in his masterpiece “Works and Days” pronounced the Greek democracy “unrighteous.”
"JSOC appears to be running out of "high value targets," in the places where they have been used so successfully. They can continue in places like Yemen and Somalia but they should be given something really useful to fo.
I suggest that they should be unleashed on the Mexican drug cartels. Kill or capture. Kill or capture. Those should be the instructions. The legal niceties could be "cleaned up" through arrest or execution warrants. On the other hand, maybe that is not necessary if recent history is a guide.
I suggest a special federal court for this purpose.
This is not irony. These druggies deserve that we should send them "the very best.""
I wrote this in 2009. If the Mexican government does not clean up their act ... The raid in Yemen might suggest an additional mission. Maybe not SEALS. pl
"At a church in Washington, D.C., last weekend, dozens of federal workers attended a support group for civil servants seeking a forum to discuss their opposition to the Trump administration. And 180 federal employees have signed up for a workshop next weekend, where experts will offer advice on workers’ rights and how they can express civil disobedience.
At the Justice Department, an employee in the division that administers grants to nonprofits fighting domestic violence and researching sex crimes said he and his colleagues have been planning to slow their work and to file complaints with the inspector general’s office if they are asked to shift grants away from their mission.
“You’re going to see the bureaucrats using time to their advantage,” said the employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Through leaks to news organizations and internal complaints, he said, “people here will resist and push back against orders they find unconscionable.”" post-gazette
As Malcom X once said "the chickens have come home to roost."
For decades now the various US administrations have made use of the facilities provided by USIA, CIA black ops, various party connected pro-democracy groups, NED, etc. to; interfere in other peoples' elections, political party structures and to tinker with history to give not so gentle shoves in the direction that Borgists have believed was in the interest of a utopian future for mankind and the creation of even more; massive egos, and wealth here in Washington and across Borgistan. It should be stressed that all administrations of both parties have done that. And guess what, pilgrims, I know this because like other fairly senior denizens of the intelligence world I was often used by the government of the day to "leak" information to the oh, so clever press. "Now you understand, this is on deep background just for you" because you are so special ... Who leaked the "news" about the Australian phone call yesterday? Is it not obvious that the WH "leaked" it to make the world and themselves think how bad-assed they are?
This kind of behavior has become reflexive and universal, but to carry out government by slight of hand and other skullduggery requires the active cooperation of the senior members of the federal civil service. Not the contractors, the contractor employees are seldom players, they are just money-makers for the contractor companies.
So, when I read of political operatives, for that is what they are, seeking to organize the federal civil service against the present administration of the United States it gives me pause. If they should succeed to some degree, the result would be paralysis for the government. If you think that is a good thing you should consider that the damage to the functioning of all parts of the Executive Branch would be deep and long lasting.
A small example of the chaos that would ensue from a failure of function was provided by the ineptitude of the Trump Administration in not staffing and coordinating the "immigration" EO across the interagency last week
The federal civil service was created because of the murder of a president. We live in parlous times. People should not play with fire lest they be burnt. pl
"ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The US-led international coalition against ISIS provided its allies in Syria with armored vehicles, a spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said and a US colonel confirmed. “The armored vehicles and troop carriers had arrived four or five days ago,” Talal Silo told Reuters on Tuesday. “Previously we didn't get support in this form, we would get light weapons and ammunition. There are signs of full support from the new American leadership, more than before, for our forces,” he added.
Silo said the vehicles would be used to support the SDF’s ongoing offensive on ISIS-held Raqqa, which the extremist group claimed as its capital. The SDF is a coalition of forces including the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian Arab Coalition, and Turkmen and Assyrian elements. During its campaign for Raqqa, the SDF has also added many local fighters to its ranks.
The US-led coalition has been backing the SDF as a key ally on the ground fighting ISIS in northern Syria, providing advice, air support, and some arms. American officials, however, have been very clear that the arms they supply are to the Syrian Arab Coalition and not Kurdish forces, who are dominant members of the SDF. The US is balancing its support of the YPG and SDF with its alliance with fellow NATO member Turkey who considers the YPG to be a terrorist group with ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Coalition spokesperson, Col. John Dorrian, confirmed that they have provided vehicles to the Syrian Arab Coalition. "We have provided armored Sport Utility Vehicles to the Syrian Arab Coalition using existing authorities, in the interest of helping protect our partnered force from the [ISIS] improvised-explosive device threat," Dorrian told AFP news agency on Tuesday. "The decision was made by military commanders, and has been in the works for some time.”
The process of delivering the supplies began under the administration of former US President Barack Obama. A US general commented to USA Today in mid-January that the US air force had been increasing airdrops of weapons, ammunition and other equipment to opposition forces who are closing in on Raqqa.
Antony J. Blinken, the former deputy secretary of state in Obama’s administration, wrote an opinion article in the New York Times on Tuesday in which he hinted that current US President Donald Trump would shift US policy towards further arming Kurds in Syria. “In the last days of the Obama administration, the Pentagon said it would immediately seek permission from President Trump to do just that,” Blinken wrote. “It rightly wants to take advantage of the SDF’s momentum in isolating Raqqa.”" (RUDAW)
There are several accounts, photos and videos of the delivery of 200 Guardian light armored personnel carriers to the YPG/SDF. These vehicles seem to be well suited to style of YPG/SDF fighters. My guess is that a lot of their current light trucks are reaching the end of their life cycle and need replacing. This is a suitable upgrade. I bet the embedded Special Forces advisors had a hand in picking these vehicles rather than anything heavier and more complicated.
These will be used in Phase III of Operation Wrath of Euphrates in what has become a classic YPG operation, a double envelopment of Raqqa. The Kurds and their allies are sitting at the north end of the dam at Tabqah. The plan is to take the dam along with Tabqah and then swing east along the southern bank of the Euphrates. A second attack will cross the river between Raqqa and Deir az-Zor and swing to the west. The two prongs of the attack will meet south of Raqqa and isolate the city from the rest of IS held territory. It’s an ambitious plan, but I’m confident the YPG/SDF forces can do this with the more robust support from the U.S. that is surely forthcoming.
In his inauguration address, Trump said he would wipe Islamic State “from the face of the earth.” He won’t do it alone, but I think this Administration, the confoundingly competent fighters of the YPG/SDF and the embedded Green Berets will play a significant part in their final destruction.
* This photo was captioned SDF and US Special Forces crossing the Euphrates River. I never get tired of saying it. "The shit's on, good buddy."