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01 March 2017

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Stumpy

Reports re: Turkey hitting SDF near Manbij and SDF holding back -- discipline or conservation of resources?

different clue

On a nice day, I will risk offering a couple of purely nice things without political content or implication, to contribute to the niceness.

First, for pure fun, there is a You Tube channel called the Hydraulic Press Channel, where the tubecaster has fun crushing this and that to see what happens. This one is "Crushing the adamantium ball with the hydraulic press.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzq1IFUlV8s

And for pure humor, " Hummingbird Scratching its A$$". A real hummingbird really videoed at a real feeder really scratching its . . . self.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1EhMjCkVuI

Tyler

So there was a Law Enforcement Olympics held last year outside Colorado Springs, and the three finalists were the NYPD, FBI, and the Border Patrol.

The final event was to track down a rabbit that had been released in the woods. The NYPD goes first. They interview the rabbit's known associates, lay down a lot of tread around the forest, stake out the rabbit haunts, and they get their rabbit. Everyone is pretty impressed.

The FBI runs files through its database, uses satellite imagery, networks with other law enforcement, and announces in a press conference they have the rabbit. Everyone is still impressed.

Two salty Border Patrol agents walk into the woods, and the NYPD and FBI start bitching cause everyone knows BP agents are the best trackers around. A few hours go by, and now they're wondering if that's true. Well they hear a rustling, and get ready to give the two agents some hell for taking so long to find the rabbit.

Except what they see is an agent choke holding a huge grizzly bear with two black eyes, the other agent kicking the bear in the balls, and the bear screaming 'ALRIGHT DAMN IT, IM A RABBIT IM A RABBIT!"

William R. Cumming

Filed electronically my federal/state income tax returns today and ordered $10,000 in new windows to replace 45 year old ones in the cottage!

Did you realize that for the federal government the criminal law enforcement community is defined by 28 CFR Part 65! And only the AG can declare a federal law enforcement emergency. And the AG has NEVER DECLARED ONE SINCE THE LAW CHANGED IN 1994. NOR IS THERE FUNDING FOR ANY FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT EMERGENCY IN ANY FEDERAL BUDGET.

William R. Cumming

JOHN WOO IN DESCRIBING THE SO-CALLED UNITARY PRESIDENCY FAILED TO UNDERSTAND THE PRESIDENT OF THE United States is Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces only but is the Chief Executive otherwise. The CIA is nowhere in the chain of command as is the military.

Fred

For the geek kid at heart Lego has yet another way to separate you from your money:
https://ideas.lego.com/projects/165437

Thirdeye

Erdogan is making an unbelievably bonehead move, attacking YPG towards Manbij (and American SOF).

It is apparently a beautiful day in Palmyra as well.

mike

The attackers are mainly Erdo's Syrian Turkmen proxies, many of who are former al Qaeda or Daesh. Although they are reportedly supported by Turkish Army shelling.

Pundita

Re question of emerging Russia-China-Pakistan "axis" and Russia playing footsie with Taliban in A'stan:

Years ago, as Russia expert Stephen F. Cohen watched the ratcheting up of anti-Russia moves in Washington, he warned that the U.S. would push Russia into the arms of China. His prediction was correct. One way the consequences are playing out is in Russia's moves in South Asia -- in the wooing of the Afghan Taliban, and its drift from India and increasing closeness with Pakistan.

Those in Washington who think it's a good idea to drive a wedge between Russia and India don't know, and wouldn't care if they did know, what a Chinese wedge looks like and how it operates. They are hyperfocused on bringing down Russia.

One result is that people in Washington who spent years studiously ignoring Pakistan's machinations against Afghanistan (and India) have suddenly decided Pakistan is the devil's handmaiden; this even to the point of talking about designating Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

They've even gone so far as to issue a "three month" warning that if Pakistan doesn't stop "financing terrorists" with the threat that they'll throw the country out of the international banking system.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/anderscorr/2017/02/26/g7-plus-india-and-afghanistan-lead-economic-sanctions-against-pakistan/#7677b5f674e7

I believe this newfound moral spine on the part of the G7 has less to do with the increasing US closeness with India and more to do with Russia's increasing closeness with Pakistan.

Granted, Russia's moves toward the Taliban and Pakistan got seriously underway at a time when Moscow assumed Hillary Clinton would be US President. But I think any hope on their part that President Trump would signal a real change in US policy toward Russia has been dashed by reality.

For decades the foreign/defense policy 'bench' in Washington has been taken up largely by the Get Russia crowd, which marches in lockstep with the Get Russia crowd on the other side of the Atlantic. If Trump wants a new bench he'll have to create one -- and I think this will take time, and requires that he first solidify his position by achieving major triumphs in American domestic policy.

I'd like to be proven wrong; I'd like to think Trump could initiate detente during his first year in office, but at the moment it seems unlikely.

Regarding Moscow and the Taliban -- either they're getting their intel about the Afghan Taliban from a box of Cheerios, or they know the truth but are doggedly determined to do China's bidding in Afghanistan. China's bidding is to have quiet in Afghanistan so they can expand their mining interests there, and hang what's good for Afghans and any hope of genuine peace in the region.

As Hashim Wahdatyar wrote for The Diplomat last month,

"Russia’s support to the Taliban will have numerous implications for the future of Afghanistan. It will weaken the central government in Kabul, which will result in the situation that now has befallen Syria coming to Afghanistan. In Syria, Russia is supporting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but in Afghanistan, by supporting the Taliban, Moscow will limit the success of the legitimate government in Kabul backed by the international community."

Hashim nailed it.

Moreover the Taliban and al Qaeda are joined at the hip. And AQ fights IS in Afghanistan only when they consider it expedient; otherwise the groups cooperate. In short Moscow is taking a self-defeating path by supporting the Taliban if they think this will help keep AQ out of Russia.

For more on this sticky wicket see Hashim's February 14 article:

"4 Reasons Russia Increasingly Favors the Taliban in Afghanistan"
http://thediplomat.com/2017/02/4-reasons-russia-increasingly-favors-the-taliban-in-afghanistan/

and Harsh V. Pant's February 1 analysis for India's Deccan Herald, "Shifting contours in region:
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/594157/shifting-contours-region.html

Here's a preview:

Beginning paragraphs:

Russia is warming up to Pakistan and it’s real. There seems to be a reversal in Russia’s South Asia policy with New Delhi and Moscow drifting apart. Russia is looking at the region through the prism of its larger geopolitical struggle with the West and seems ready to join the China-Pakistan axis.

China has found a new ally in Russia which is keen to tie up with Beijing, even as a junior partner, to scuttle western interests. Jettisoning its traditional antipathy to the Taliban, Russia is now indicating that it is ready to negotiate with the Taliban against the backdrop of the growing threat of the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has emerged as an important player in this context where China and Russia are now converging to challenge a number of western objectives. Moscow and Islamabad held their first ever joint military exercise in September 2016 and their first-ever bilateral consultation on regional issues in December. After officially lifting an arms embargo against Pakistan in 2014, Pakistan’s military will be receiving four Russia-made Mi-35M attack helicopters this year. It is also likely that China-backed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) might be merged with Russia-backed Eurasian Economic Union.
End quotes

Brief bio of Harsh:
https://theconversation.com/profiles/harsh-v-pant-301075

As to whether US-Russia detente would lessen Russia's push to join a China-Pakistan axis -- Moscow is under no illusions about Beijing, and certainly has no illusions about Pakistan, which played a big role in orchestrating the fighting against Russia in Afghanistan during the Soviet era. But Russia does have to live in that neighborhood.

Washington has yet to get past the Our Gang mentality, which should be outgrown once people leave high school. But Washington has not left high school. 15 minutes after relations between the US and India started to warm, Washington wanted New Delhi to take a blood oath not to be friends with anybody the US wasn't friends with.

Yes, detente could help a little, provided the same cool heads in Washington that would help usher in detente got a little sway over other areas of US foreign policy. Or took a course in Common Sense.

different clue

Pundita,

This seems like a real departure from the long range intelligent thinking we have come to expect from the Russian leader-thinkers. Has EUro-American policy pressure squeezed their brain to the point of producing reactive strategery on the Russians' parts? If so, that would be a victory for EUro-DC-BorgRegime psychological contamination warfare . . . if there is such a thing.

I mean . . . what is Pakistan even good for, compared to India? And if China wants to get the minerals out of Afghanistan, why not let China send in the Peoples Liberation Army with Tien An Men rules of engagement to keep the mines safe for China?

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Syria is in flux. Pentagon’s 30-day review is at the White House. Donald Trump promises to extinguish ISIS. This butts against Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s desire to keep the Shiite Crescent cut. If the Islamic State is snuffed out, there are only two options: 1) a Damascus federated government controlling all Syrian territory or 2) a carved out Sunniland and a separate leftist Kurdistan dotted with American FOBs. After years of fighting, the Sunni Islamists will rise once again unless occupied permanently by Turks or other foreign troops. The USA does not have the manpower, the will, or the money to invade, overthrow and install a functioning colonial government anywhere. All it can do is spread more chaos.

The Neo-Cons plotted and schemed. Their wet dreams came true of a Russia stuck in quagmires in Syria and Ukraine. Except, it is the Turks who are sinking into the quicksand. And, it is the American Alliance that is crumpling apart due to the influx of a million Muslim refugees plus austerity imposed on its citizens by the technocrat Euro Zone rule.

BraveNewWorld

The UN at the behest of the west has been going hard for the last week trying to do any thing possible to bring down Assad government. Any one that reads here often or you know, just reads, will know what a load of ____ these accusation are.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/01/syrian-regime-aleppo-airstrike-aid-convoy-united-nations-report

Pundita

James,

The Chinese rulers are very skilled at playing the keeper of the magic lamp. They've only been practicing this skill for thousands of years. 'You have a problem? We are here to help. Just rub this lamp.'

But beware of a Chinese bearing a brass lamp. Whatever you do, don't rub the lamp. Yet human nature being what it is, people just can't resist, and this is why every clan, every tribe, every nation that ever got involved with China came to rue the day -- except the Mongols, who conquered China. But that was because they refused to rub the lamp.

Regarding the "neocons" -- yes, I've heard statements to the effect from Washington politicians that of course we can be friends with Russia if they do exactly what we tell them.

Granted, there is a certain inevitability about Moscow cultivating friendlier relations with China given China's economic power and the proximity of the two nations. But there is also an inevitability about eventual trouble between Russia and China.

I think Russia's best bet in its strategic relations is turning not so much to China but more to Central Asia. Yet while there are Russians who urge this course, a large number in the Russian political class want to orient Russia more toward Europe including Western Europe.

However, for a number of reasons there is implacable dislike of Russia in the American political class and military, and this extends to much of Europe. One can try to work through the reasons and 'resolve' them, but Russia's been trying this approach to no avail. If a government keeps being rebuffed when it reaches out to certain governments, wisdom is to take this as a message from the universe and reconsider the strategic orientation.

The advice is easy to give from a distance; not so easy to take while NATO troops are at Russia's door and ceaselessly provoking Moscow, and while Europeans see Moscow as using their energy dependence against them. From that view Russia has no choice but to keep trying to work things out with the Europeans, and from that view too Russia turns toward an alliance with China.

Americans who blame Washington for the poor US-Russia relationship have to keep in mind that even without the US in the picture, there would be big problems between Russia and Europe. What Washington could do is not add to these problems, as it did with the Ukraine situation. It can relearn to cooperate with Russia on very specific situations, as it eventually did during the Cold War, and forget trying to make Russia an ally or underling.

Cee

All,

Christiaan James, who is the Arabic-language spokesperson for State’s bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/03/state-department-trump/517965/

English Outsider


VietnamVet - you mention the Ukrainian quagmire. Unless the Ukrainians can get the People's Republics to come out and fight is it the West that's going to be stuck in the Ukrainian quagmire or is it the Russians? And if the Republics, or the Russians, can't be persuaded to come out and fight, how long will it be before Russia and the NATO powers are saying to each other of the Ukraine "You broke it, you mend it"?

Could you perhaps set out the position in the Ukraine as you see it from a military perspective? It doesn't seem to be getting as much attention as it did.

Pundita

Different Clue,

That was also my thought when I learned about the situation!

This doesn't mean they've become enemies with India, and not all of this is from the Russian side. As India has drawn closer to the USA they've felt the pressure to put a little distance between their defense views and Russia's. And as Russia has drawn closer to China, they have felt pressure to distance themselves a little from India's defense objectives. And I think the Russians have seen India's moves in Afghanistan as inadequate.

But Russia getting cozy with Pakistan is a bridge too far for me.

As to reactivity -- the Russians have felt forced by the NATO situation in Europe to be reactive. However, as shock about the Crimean and Syrian interventions indicates, NATO was unable to predict how Russia would react to all the pressure.

The upshot has been hysteria about Russian aggression and unpredictability! Yet they chose to ignore that Russians aren't potted plants.

As to the Chinese looking after their own security in Afghanistan -- I have a vague recollection that years ago U.S. forces were handling security for them, then more recently Taliban guards. But I'd have to check to refresh my memory.

Anyhow, the Chinese don't want to show muscle in the poorer countries where they do business. They don't want to be perceived as colonizers.

bks

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Thursday said Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation of Russian involvement in the Trump campaign.

“AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself,” Chaffetz tweeted early Thursday.
http://thehill.com/homenews/house/321951-house-oversight-chairman-sessions-should-recuse-himself

Morongobill

It seems obvious, by his actions, that Russia is saying exactly that.

Fred

bks,

Yes there is PANIC in the establishment, especially after Trump's very presidential speech last night. The obvious question is why no one in the press of the Congress is pointing out the failure of the Democrats under Barack failing to defend America from the Russians. Then there is the complicity of the Democratic senators aiding and abetting the installation of Putin's proxy in the oval office by refusing to sign the protests of the findings of the Electoral College by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Jamie Raskin (Md.), Pramila Jayapal (WA.), Barbara Lee (D-CA.), Maxine Waters (D-CA.), Sheila Jackson Lee(D-TX) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ.). This complicity in the Senate was aided and abetted by my Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters (MI). They had lots of company in failing to defend the Republic. This is serious, this could not possibly be political theater to damage the President and the agenda he was elected on or to forestall an investigation into the conduct of members of the Establishment.

William R. Cumming

In a recent speech the President trumpeted his lifetime ban of federal officials from representing any foreign country! Any details? How will that ban be enforced?

I mention again the close linkage between U.S., Russian, and Israeli organized crime!

Timbre Sick o' More

If that beady-eyed little reactionary gets sent back to Alabama, it will probably be the only positive result to emerge from this bout of 'the Russians are coming' hysteria. Let's face the fact that Trump has already been effectively prevented from accomplishing the kind of bold and intelligent change in US Middle East policy that is so desperately needed. The field of bold and stupid action is still wide open, though. I hope that Jefferson Beauregard will soon find himself holding the position for which he's best suited; Grand Dragon of the Keebler Klux Klan...assuming that there is a non pot-smoking faction.

Jefferson

The Beaver

Colonel

More raids in Yemen:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/world/middleeast/airstrikes-are-said-to-target-al-qaeda-in-yemen.html

https://twitter.com/BaFana3/status/837286629345742848

The Navy Seals were seen in Oman last week (for training)

BabelFish

The latest on the F-35 Saga: The C (Navy) model will have to have its outer wings redesigned (and replaced on current craft) in order for it to carry Sidewinder missiles on the outermost weapons hardpoint.

The catchall to dump blame in for the F-35 is the dreaded word 'concurrency'. Trying to build a weapon system so that it is current to the threat environment, or ahead of it, when it is put into service. The poster boy for the need to do this is reported to be the Tornado ADF variant (Air Defense Variant) which used off the shelf sensors and weapons to minimize risk. It was then reviled as being obsolete the day it entered squadron service as the systems had become passe.

Totally IMHO but I believe that, like the F-111, the F-35 will become an awesome, fearful weapon system. But it has been referred to as 'procurement malpractice' more than once. And it will probably be used on many missions where a turboprop Super Tucano or one of the Archangel turboprops that Tyler mentioned would be completely adequate for the job.


http://aviationweek.com/defense/f-35c-needs-new-outer-wings-carry-aim-9x

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/12/concurrencys-costs-an-f-35-example/

http://www.iomax.net/archangel/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embraer_EMB_314_Super_Tucano

Larry Kart

Last night ran across this possible vision of the near future from Lucan's (39. C.E.-65 C.E.) vast, acid, semi-epic poem, about the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, "Pharsalia":

My chief care is to show what caused these momentous events;
a measureless task unfolds — what drove our frenzied nation
to take up arms, what made the world shake off Peace;
the hateful chain of the Fates; standing for long on the heights
of success forbidden; the massive collapse of too much weight;
Rome grown top-heavy — just the way, once the world’s framework
loosens and its final hour, drawing all time to a close,
seeks out ancient chaos once more, fiery stars will
hurtle seaward and Earth, refusing to flatten her shores,
will shake off the waves; running head-on at her brother,
Phoebe will sneer at steering her team along her slanted
track and will claim the day for her own; the whole discordant
cosmic machine will fly apart, its laws confounded.
Great things fall in on themselves; this limit Divinity sets
on the growth of prosperous states.

Tyler

Bks,

If you believe this is anything but grasping by globalist pedophiles terrified of AG Sessions ripping them out of their holes:

L

O

L

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