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14 July 2014


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"the Iranian-made Ababil-1 is nine and a half feet long, with a range of about 150 miles, and is able to carry up to 88 pounds of payload, such as explosives or camera equipment."

A warhead? Who is that NYT writer kidding? To put an explosive warhead on that drone is a waste of capability.

IMO the risk to Israel, rather obviously, is from it taking pictures. Drones would give Hamas or Hezbollah to do - in their terms strategic - reconaissance in Israels rear area, do battle damage assessment, observe fires, perhaps direct counter battery fire - any single one of these functions outweighing the usefulness of a 88 pound warhead.

Drones could make the difference between a nuisance of rocket fire and turn Hamas and Hezbollah rocket artillery into a real threat.

It shouldn't surprise anybody that the technology has been around for a while it has become available to the world beyond the West, Israel and Russia and their customers.

I never read it confirmed, perhaps due to Israreli censorship, but apparently in 2006 Hezbollah had conducted reconaissance flights over Israel. When they shelled nothern Israel the Izzies were shocked to see them shelling, effectively, Israeli military installations, and not civilian areas. Anyone heere who knows more about it?

The beaver


The propaganda machines are going full blast in Israel:



"And why are we not cordinating any missions?"

Well, that is comprehensively answered with a few brief lines:

* We don't negotiate with evil, we defeat it.


* Never change course. Ever. That would mean to admit error and to appease reality.


Though, to his credit, as an exemplar of his profession, Admiral Horatio D'Ascoyne did take personal responsibility for his principled stand.

I always felt that Obama in foreign policy represented first of all continuity. Case in point.

Ex-PFC Chuck

A truly disturbing official Ukraine government letter, if it's authentic, posted at the Saker's place today re the handling of refugees.


nick b

Regarding Iranian air power in Iraq: Below is the link for an article about the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' use of the Su-25s in Iraq, and some history around Iran and the Su-25s. Here's a small quote from the article that I found interesting:

"Ground crews welcomed the heavily-armored, straight-wing jets and their pilots with a Shia ritual. The Iraqis sacrificed three sheep, washed their hands in the animals’ blood and stamped bloody hand-prints on the jets’ noses.

The bloody hand is the mark of one of the most eminent Shia heroes—Abul Fadhl Al Abbas. He lost his hands at the Battle of Karbala in the year 680. His shrine is in Karbala, a few hundred meters from Imam Hussein Shrine. Shias believe in heaven he has wings instead of hands."
(There is an accompanying picture of the jet and the hand prints).


David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

It may be that Bibi -- who is patently very stupid -- has screwed them both ways. If they don't go in, they look weak, if they do, they may either get a bloodier nose than they anticipate, or look even more mindlessly brutal than they do already, or both.

When will people like 'highlander' realise that Bibi and his ilk are seriously thick?

Peter C

About the drones. A very quick internet look at who is building, designing, supporting, and selling drones does confirm these types of very affordable and obtainable weapons/observation aircraft systems will become a major component of doctrine.

I don't know what to compare this new type of weapon to. Are drones equal to gun powder in terms technological advances in warfare doctrine?

On the surface these planes and helicopters pose from my point of view an equalizer obtainable by all. I know U.S. and allied nations have very advanced capabilities due to Satellite command and control. It's the smaller simpler type units that frighten me. How do you neutralize a fly speck zipping about?



There is a desperate need for a quick test for dementia.

I am bewildered. It does not make any sense for American troops to be in Baghdad, dependent on the kindness of strangers, and not aid in its defense. It is like being at the Alamo and not shooting at the Mexicans. The only question is can the Shiite militias keep the supply lines south or west to Iran open? Apparently American troops are waiting in Baghdad to find out. If encircled, good luck getting out.

Although omitted in the media, the USA is making no attempt to rein in the neo-Nazis in Ukraine nor negotiate a settlement. The US actions in Iraq have all the indications that it supporting the founding of Kurdistan and the rise of the Islamic State. If not, Iraq is the greatest screw up of all time.

If not dementia, then this old fart is feeling ashamed for America and uncertain on how to return power to the people.


Patrick Cockburn explains how involved Saudi Arabia was/is with ISIS and how they might now be regretting it.



With friends like Israel and Saudi Arabia, who need enemies?

Israel's pogrom in Gaza, and ISIS' genocide in northern Iraq reveal the phony R2P facade of the liberal interventionists--"friends" get their war crimes covered up.

The beaver


Pres. Obama is hosting an Iftar dinner tonight and some are boycotting the event according to the press. Haven't been able to locate the list of guests to see how many non-Muslim Ambassadors are invited.

robt willmann

This article from the London Review of Books is also by Patrick Cockburn, entitled Battle for Baghdad, and appears to have been completed on 4 July 2014--




Being naturally slow-witted, I am only beginning to realize the obvious: The Iraqi mess is essentially a full-on proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The reason why Iran are still supporting Maliki is that they don't care about a unified, representative or even functional Iraqi government; they want a puppet, even even if that puppet only rules over a rump state.

The Saudis support the Sunni rebellion, despite their own misgivings with ISIS loons, for similar reasons - better have our loons rule (as much as possible of) the asylum than theirs.

Happy 14 Juillet to all.


CP, a surveillance package is use # 1. Speakers ala Kelly's Heroes works wonders too if all you want to sow is confusion and maldeployment of opposing forces. Don't forget jamming equipment too.


Here's an interesting article from Al Akhbar...

In war, those who fight are safe and civilians die but not because the Resistance is using them as human shields, like Israel claims as it lobs bombs directly at civilians. The real reason is that the Resistance is now fighting from underground and with a high level of coordination, out of sight of the Israelis, leading to a reduced number of martyrs from the armed factions. {...}

"There is a difference between a ground war and an aerial war. In case of heavy air raids, the Resistance will be limited to rockets, which perform in a certain manner and are turned in a previously agreed direction," Abu Mujahed explained. He added that "in a ground war, there is a direct confrontation of various fronts, which require high level coordination. This needs a joint operations room."

Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot published a report maintaining that Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and other factions have dug secret tunnels, "whose locations and targets are difficult to identify by military airplanes." It concluded that "the only option left for the army is to conduct a ground operation to achieve the goals of Benjamin Netanyahu's government." However, the newspaper explained that "a ground war requires several preparations, most notably, how to get out of the Strip after the incursion."



But you do realize, DH, that Bibi is quite certain he has "won".

Last time he was there the American Congress gave him 29 standing ovations; it supports unanimously the current bombing of Gaza; more money than ever flows from the US into the Israeli government coffers; the peace negotiations went nowhere and Bibi is... to put it bluntly, in a position to write his own ticket.

Arafat is dead, he has carte blanche to kill the leaders of Hamas however he can do it, and ISIS will do the work against Syria, Lebanon and the remnants of Iraq.

And won't Hillary be there soon, on side and ready to do whatever is bid?

I'm not saying anything he does is in any way moral; but to those to whom morality is only a technique of deception... what's not to like?


VV writes: "The US actions in Iraq have all the indications that it supporting the founding of Kurdistan and the rise of the Islamic State."

In the immortal intonation of the upper class Brit: "Yes. Quite."


It is IMO predictable that Bibi, when faced with a bloody nose in Gaza, would double down rather than edmitting error. He would order the IDF to increase the bombardment from a safe distance and from the air.

After all, that is something Israelis are good at and they know from experience that it can do with complete impunity (which probably explains the promiscuous use of these tools in Israel (and the US, for that matter)).

Probably the IDF has no stomach for serious close & personal urban combat in a city of 1.7 million people. The low mobilisation numbers suggest that they don't plan to do that.

By entering Gaza in a significant way, they'd lose many of the very advantanges that curently keep their casualties so conveniently low. When they enter, they'll, after that failed commando raid, enter with armour and shoot up everything in their way.

Bibi wants to beat up and screw the Palestinians, but at as low a price as possible.


"How do you neutralize a fly speck zipping about?"

Shoot at it? The Serbs used helicopters and had door gunners, not very respectfully, blast NATO recce drones with machine gun fire.

The VC used, if they didn't have anything heavier, plain old fashioned heavy machine guns to shoot up US helicopters in Vietnam. The US used .50 cal machine guns as an air defence weapon on WW-II.

Over time air defence has gotten longe range and heavier to deal with fast jets. But for a drone, or the average helicopter helicopter, a well placed good old twin 20mm gun is usually just deadly enough. Such targets were more normal a few decades ago.

Countering drones poses a new challenge for air defence only in the sense that they are a type of slow moving, soft target that has ben ignored as irrelevant for NATO for the last few decades.

Though drones are optimised for lower signatures (visual and in terms of IR/radar/noise signatures), they probably can be fought with good success with conventional air defence means.

The revolutionary aspect about drones IMO lies in their ability to loiter and surveil an area for an extendet period from the air wih advanced sensors. That, and the fact that this doesn't imperil pilots, is IMO the major advancement over old style batlefield reconaissance aircraft and helicopters.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

It takes a big man to admit mistake and change course; I do not expect that from leaders of US & EU.

One cannot expect them to now change course and admit 10-years plus of miscalculation.

Yes, ISIS is a threat to the oil fields.

Babak Makkinejad

Lem allused to swarm tactics in the sci-fi novel "The Invincible".


Price is another big aspect. Those commercial quadcopters drones are tiny and very cheap and if you add a laser designator to it would make dumb artillery very smart.

Those quadcopters are so cheap tat you can use them to "shoot down" enemy hellfire rockets

David Habakkuk


A powerful objection. And you may well be right.

However. There was a time in Britain when the trades unions appeared to be masters of all they surveyed – in 1974 the National Union of Mineworkers broke the Heath Government. Even in 1979, after the unions destroyed the Callaghan government and precipitated Mrs Thatcher’s election victory, one could not persuade people like Tony Blair to say anything negative about them (on this, I speak from experience.)

Behind the scenes, however, a revolution had been brewing. When Thatcher challenged the unions, she was to a large extent pushing against an open door. People were fed up.

At heart, I am a British Dreyfusard. Partly no doubt as the result of being the son of an Anglicised Welshman, I think that identity is partly a matter of inheritance, partly a matter of choice. It is also, commonly, somewhat ambiguous.

What Michael Oren said to Rothkopf illustrates once again that this is not what many Zionists believe. To be a Jew is, for them, as Oren made plain, to be an inextricable part of a Jewish ‘people’ of whom the essence is Israeli, to consider you life ‘inextricably linked’ to a ‘Jewish story’ which is, fundamentally, that of Israeli Jews, and to ‘share a destiny’ with them.

This seems to me palpably a farrago of nonsense. Moreover, the clear implication is that the anti-Semites were right all along: no Jew can be unequivocally loyal to any non-Jewish people he or she lives among.

From where I stand 1. Oren is palpably an anti-Semite, 2. if Rothkopf wants to buy into this version of Jewish identity, he should have the decency not to try to influence the making of American foreign policy.

It is, moreover, not simply a question of decency. It seems to me that if Jews like Rothkopf are fools enough to listen to Jews like Oren, they may sooner or later discover that more and more people start questioning their power position – and find themselves pushing against an open door.

But then, I may be excessively influenced by seeing these matters from a British point of view. Perhaps the American 'goyim' are quite happy to be treated as 'mug punters', as we say over here.


Does the menu include a helping of crow?

The beaver


"You can't kill Hamas, you can only make it stronger'
"Israel has not only failed to eliminate Hamas, but its approach to the Palestinians has antagonized its most important ally, the United States. Following the collapse of Secretary of State John Kerry's attempt to negotiate a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. officials have shown signs of both conflict fatigue and frustration with the Israeli government"


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