Ana Vidoc performing Isaac Albeniz’s Asturias at the New York Guitar Festival’s third biennial Guitar Marathon at the 92nd Street Y’s Kaufman Auditorium.
Ana Vidoc performing Isaac Albeniz’s Asturias at the New York Guitar Festival’s third biennial Guitar Marathon at the 92nd Street Y’s Kaufman Auditorium.
Iran said it successfully completed two days of missile tests that including launching its longest-range missiles on Monday, weapons capable of carrying a warhead and striking Israel, U.S. military bases in the Middle East, and parts of Europe.
Lot of Iranian missiles and their ranges mentioned in that AP story. None of which are the missile in the photo that came with the story (above). That missile appears to be an elderly Soviet model SAM-2 (AKA the flying telegraph pole) or Chinese HQ-2J (the Iranian’s also make their own version known as the Sayyad-1.) I have no idea if the photo itself is faked or photoshopped, I’ll leave that to the photo experts to figure out.
The SAM-2 was first deployed in 1957.
The two-stage SAM-2 uses both a solid fuel booster and a liquid fueled second stage. Range depends on the model, who made it, and the condition of the missile and launcher, but generally in the area of 25 to 50 miles.
Does anybody really need to “test” a 52 year old missile design?
Taliban in Pakistani Punjab. (courtesy of LWJ)
Broadway Joe as CC Rider.
This is a combined response from another blog adapted to fit here. I should start this by repeating the fact that I am not in the US or any other military and have never served in any military, nor do I work for the US or any other government. I am a simple tax payer with a lot of books. I’ve already seen more then a couple of mil-bloggers throw out the “well what would you do?” question, so here it is…
What I would do or want to see done if somebody screwed up and gave me the Easy Button and the Magic Switch.
(To cut down on keystrokes, the “enemy” refered to is al-Qaeda and the Taliban combined. I do not accept that there are different factions within this combined grouping inside the combined AFPAK theater, nor will I until evidence of such fractures in the enemy’s military command structure begin to appear. They have not as of yet, if anything the bonds of that command structure, hindered only by the occasional Predator strike or Potemkin military operation by the Pakistani government, have grown at a tremendous rate inside the FATA since 2006.)
The enemy uses civilians as living body armor, regardless of the civilians’ feelings on the matter. In spite of the propaganda to the contrary (helpfully spoon fed by our own western media), the enemy is utterly unconcerned by civilian casualties. In fact in many cases the enemy intentionally targets civilians, in large numbers, and freely admits it. The Coalition is, for all too obvious reasons, highly averse to causing civilian casualties.
By moving outposts into the hamlets and villages, (in effect repeating the failed Strategic Hamlets and early 1950′s French Indochina programes), the Coalition is meeting the enemy on ground of their own choosing, amongst the people, Mao’s ocean as it were. The numerous ground supply columns going to and from those numerous far flung outposts must share the same roads with civilians, in many cases the truck drivers themselves are civilians, local contractors with their own rigs hired by the Coalition (the Kunur fuel trucks are an example). Coalition leadership and military metrics pundits from all sides of the discussion seem to be in general agreement that there simply are not enough allied troops to protect every single village and valley in Afghanistan, (there may not be enough in the entire active US military according to some of those pundits), and I don’t disagree with either premise. Nor is it possible no matter how many troops are available and/or in country to close the entire 1800+ mile border with Pakistan (see US-Mexican border for reference).
My idea is to refuse to meet the enemy on their own ground amongst the population. Without reducing the amount of manpower, reduce the Coalition footprint to a dozen or so large temporary and entirely mobile bases operating within the relatively unpopulated regions of the Afgan-Pak border provinces, each with a 6000+ foot runway and a ten mile wide free-fire perimeter. From those bases re-run the Vietnam era Phoenix Program on steroids, (modified to suit the local environment, and within modern “lawfare”), combined with brigade and multi-brigade size raids deep into the FATA. Quetta is about 60 miles from the Chamen Crossing. Miram Shah, North Waziristan and Wana, South Waziristan are much closer to the AFPAK border.
We already know there are several al-Q bigwigs living a comfortable lifestyle in those towns. And not just those three either, all up and down the AFPAK border, wherever in the FATA they’ve made their presence known, anywhere within the range that a Stryker Brigade can drive within 48 hours and return within 48 hours under 24/7 air cover, with prisoners. It’s time to make the enemy uncomfortable.
If the Pakistani Army won’t go up into the hills and get them, then we’ll have to drive them out of the hills to meet the Pakistani Army. And winter is a good time to start.
I don’t think there is a lot the Pakistani government can do to hurt us worse at this point. They could close the ground MSR for good, kick out the “secret” Predator teams, and they could stop “secretly” feeding us selective intelligence for those Predator strikes. Quite frankly I’m not certain just how much the Paki government is complicit in the attacks on the MSR’s, either through just plain corruption, simple incompetence, or worst of all coordination with the enemy. Ultimately losing the Pakistani based MSR’s and the massive funding we provide the Pakistani government might do more damage to the Pakistani economy then to the Coalition’s logistics and intelligence efforts. We can replace the strike Predators quickly with other assets. And if our dizzying myriad of intelligence agencies cannot get us quality targeting intelligence from a region as small as the FATA after eight years, then we all deserve a much larger tax refund this year. The logistics issues are already well past the point of no return.
One of the crucial factors in the birth of the Sons of Iraq was the length of time that the al-Q had control over an Iraqi area or region. The longer al-Q was in control the more barbaric they reveled themselves to be. I have no doubt that, if left to their own devices amongst the Afghan population for any length of time, al-Q’s minions will again resort to their usual ruthless behaviors in enforcing Sharia Law. There are also still a number of Afghan regions and tribes that never really were Taliban controlled, primarily the former Northern Alliance strongholds. I suspect from there is where we’ll find our “Sons of Afghanistan.” With careful mentoring and limited support the local security issues can be left to the fledgling ANA/ANP.
Instead of swimming in Mao’s ocean with nets and hook lines, I’m proposing that we selectively fish for the predators in it with harpoons and shark sticks from jet skies.
And that was a campaign promise, wasn’t it?
I do underestimate Pakistan’s current and future role. The Predators can be replaced by B-1’s and/or B-52’s armed with precision weapons and tanker aircraft orbiting in the Arabian Sea. More time on station and bigger magazines. We’re already flying the B-1’s over Pakistan to get them into Afghan air space and I don’t think we’re landing them anywhere in Afghanistan – we have been since day one. The only strike capability that would be lost to the Coalition within the FATA would the Hellfire’s with their 20lb warhead. (I’m pretty sure the B-1 isn’t cleared to launch Hellfire’s although I suppose it could). It seems to me that those smaller warheads would be better used on the Afghan side of the border anyway.
If Pakistan closes the MSR’s for good then they can’t hold it over us anymore, and then we’ll know for certain what our logistical limitations are. I’ve got a real aversion to being blackmailed, especially when we’re already having economic issues at home. After all the AFPAK border closings in this year alone the percentage of logistics coming through Pakistan has got to be reduced to at least some extent. For example, I would think that much of the fuel load has already been shifted to the northern routes. Losing almost 300 tanker trucks in and around the Khyber Pass just in the last six months (and at least another 35 tanker trucks outside of the Chaman Crossing just last week) puts a serious dent in the local transportation capability. And fuel is on the Russian/’Stans accepted list of non-combat items. Again I point to those fuel tankers in Kunduz, which were reportedly traveling from the Tajik border to Kabul AB (about 175 miles).
The Pakistani population can get as furious as it wants the only power that matters in Pakistan is the Pakistani military/intelligence conglomerate which has a long habit of taking over whenever things get weird or whenever it feels like it. The issue of which side they finally join is still an open question, but forcing the al-Q/Talib leadership down out of the hills and into the Pakistani population centers puts a new urgency on that decision making process. As long as the Indian giant is in their faces that also places a huge modifier into that decision making process as well. Is the Pak military willing to risk its air and naval assets in a war against the US that they are sure to lose (at least those assets) in the first couple of days? The Pakistani military hasn’t turned its back on India since 1948 and I doubt they will anytime soon either. But I am sure they will respond forcefully to a Talib threat to their power in the lowlands, broken tools tend to get fixed or discarded.
I don’t think the Pakistani government is as secular as it’s presented to be, at least not by the western definition of the term, but that’s really neither here nor there. In the meantime, we already have a three front war. In point of fact this war already has at least half a dozen theaters and fronts, some more major then others. From my POV, wherever the al-Q leadership currently resides is the most important front of all, everything else is just a franchise.
If the ultimate worst case scenario occurs and a Pakistani nuke ends up in the hands of terrorists who will use it, then the nation of Pakistan as we know it ceases to exist, the Indian-Afghan border meets at the Indus River and Afghanistan gets access to the sea via the newly absorbed Baluchistan region, including Karachi. That all may happen anyway…
Germanicus, Jan Hus, von Manstein, Chesty Puller, Walter E Kurtz.
Once again for the stupid people…
“The Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest − VB) succeeded the Vlaams Blok after the latter was forced to disband in 2004 following a Belgian court’s decision that it was racist and outside the bounds of legal public discourse see (ASW 2004). After toning down some of the Blok’s extremist anti-immigrant and Holocaust denial rhetoric, the VB won significant percentages of the vote in Flanders. Despite its demonstrations of solidarity with the Jewish community since the creation of the AEL and its more moderate tone in relation to the Holocaust and the Jews in general, the VB continues to retain ties with small neo-fascist and antisemitic groups, such as Voorpost, Were Di and the Vlaamse Militanten Orde (VMO). Besides being the leading political party in the city of Antwerp, having gained 35 percent of the overall vote in the 2004 elections, the VB is also the main Flemish political party in the Brussels regional parliament, with 6 out of the 11 seats held by Flemings. The VB is one of the founders of the Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty (ITS), a racist and antisemitic group formed in the European Parliament in January 2007. Other members include the French Front National and Romania’s Greater Romania Party, among others.
Filip Dewinter, one of the leaders of VB and a member of the Belgian parliament, and Frank Vanhecke, VB member of the European parliament, visited the US in February, where they reportedly met with representatives of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and spoke at a forum organized by the conservative Robert A Taft Club in Arlington, Virginia. Dewinter also spoke on the white supremacist “Political Cesspool” Internet radio program. The Virginia forum consisted of an amalgam of supporters of the former conservative Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, proponents of scientific racism, and white supremacists from the Council of Conservative Citizens. Dewinter and Vanhecke attacked multiculturalism (as the “new communism”), bemoaned the falling birth rate among white Europeans and declared their intention to save “the West” from the depredations of immigrants who followed the Islamic faith. Islam was like a cuckoo that laid its eggs in your nest; but the West was not yet dead, they argued, in a reference to Pat Buchanan’s book, The Death of the West (Searchlight Magazine, 2007). The two reportedly met privately with Buchanan, who gave them a copy of his anti-immigrant book, State of Emergency (ADL release, Feb. 26). In September, Dewinter and the man responsible for party security, Luc Vermeulen, participated in a Flemish neo-Nazi VMO meeting.”
Because VB are neo-nazi Jew haters and Brussells Journal is their on-line propaganda outlet. What part of that do you morons not understand?
Take another look at the name of this bloglet. If I was the last Jew left on the planet I still wouldn’t let those evil bastards into this bunker. If you link to them, if you quote from them, if they are on your blogroll, if you side with them in any way, you are my mortal enemy just as certainly as if you had joined al-Qaeda.
Now you’re finally part of the song Jimmy. Gonna miss you even more now.
When You Don’t See Me
The Afghan Talib, the Pakistani Talib, and al-Q are so closely and incestuously linked to each other they should be considered units within the same army. Which in fact, they are. We call it the Shadow Army, but they call themselves the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP). As near as we (from open source) can tell the TTP alone currently has at least six brigades and numerous independent units operational in this year’s annual summer fighting season on both sides of the border.
We’d have better luck attempting to separate the USMC from the USN.
As long as the enemy has a “safe” haven across the Durand Line with which to rest, recruit, rearm, and train against weak and poorly led Pakistani forces in the winter, they will return every spring. Each spring that they return will bring a worse summer then the preceding ones for the Coalition in Afghanistan.
Until we find Marine officers like Chesty Puller, Littleton Waller, Smedley Butler, and John Lejeune, and Army officers like BlackJack Pershing, George Patton, and William T. Sherman and turn them loose with orders to pursue and kill the enemy wherever and whenever they can be found, season, Geneva, borders, and civil rights be damned, this war will continue in the same escalating cycle.
A cycle our Russian “friends” are all too familiar with and that is well documented within dust covered British institutional military history. The battlefields are exactly the same, the ground hasn’t changed all that much, the enemy strategy hasn’t changed all that much either. The Khyber Pass and the Khojak Pass are still soaked in blood from one end to the other. Coalition bases are built on the very same ground where British and Soviet bases once stood. Only the enemies weapons and some of the local roads have changed, and that not by much. AK’s and RPG’s have replaced the Lee-Enfield and the muzzle-loader, some of the roads are now paved and all weather but the known ambush points are for all intents and purposes genetically encoded in the local inhabitants.
No amount of civil management, nation-building, OODA looping, or COIN Jointness will ever overcome this enemy or that cycle. Only the death or capture of the enemy’s charismatic leaders and the abject destruction of their field units and their safe havens will defeat them.
They feared our airpower, for a few years. They still respect it more then they feared the Soviet air power, ours is far more accurate, far more deadly when used, and occasionally reaches into their safe havens in Pakistan (sometimes the Soviets did that too). But they have learned that our airpower has serious limitations. Not just limitations in ROE targeting, but more importantly to the enemy, limitations in persistence and range, we can’t seem to keep the Bones and Strike Eagles overhead on a 24/7/365 basis. There are not enough strike aircraft, attack helicopters and armed UAV’s in country (possibly in the entire inventory) to support every single FOB, AB, CP, LP, far-flung outpost and supply column at the same time, and there sure isn’t enough fuel in country to do so even if there were enough air power available. The enemy fear our APC’s and our handful of tanks a lot more then they feared the armored might of the Soviet 40th Army; ours are faster, see better, shoot more accurately and are better armored. But our armor also suffers from the same ROE restrictions and persistent fuel shortage as our air power. (Never mind that expending $70,000 anti-tank missiles to kill two guys digging a hole in the ground is a rather inefficient and counter-productive waste of resources.)
Worse, like the Soviet armor, ours too can be defeated by mines and IED’s, the enemy just learned that they need bigger IED’s and/or better warheads. Worse still, given that our primary supply routes run either directly through the enemy’s safe havens, and/or come from over 3,000 miles away with heavy financial and political cost, the logistics situation isn’t going to get any better any time soon. There is a reason why there are ammo shortages showing up over and over again. There is no question that the Coalitions troops are far better on average then those of the Soviet 40th Army; there’s a reason why it was called the Commando Olympics until 2007 and even our regulars are all volunteer with a large percentage of combat veterans. Unlike the Soviet 40th Army, there are no conscripts in the Coalition.
It’s not an insurgency; they’ve been doing this for thousands of years. It’s not a civil war; there’s nothing civil about it. It’s not a revolution; more like an annual devolution. It’s a war. And it’s well past time to start acting like it both at the “front” such as it is and at home…
…or start planning for the largest aerial evacuation in military history.
It’s important to note that long established seasonal cycle as the snows begin to fill the mountain passes, operations by the enemy will (should) begin to decline somewhat as they have each year previously. For what must be obvious meteorological reasons this will take place along a north south axis running vaguely along the Durand Line.
This doesn’t mean a halt to enemy activity, far from it. Enemy units and “embedded” cells remaining inside Afghanistan from the previous season together with personal infiltrated through the all weather crossing points (Chaman Crossing is notorious for that) will continue to attack wherever and whenever they can with whatever they have available. And they will continue to prefer attacking the far weaker ANA/ANP units and the more ROE restricted of the various ISAF units for obvious reasons.
Due entirely to those Pakistani safe havens the enemy has been able to escalate its spring/summer operations each year since 2006 (The TTP and its Shadow Army were formed in December of 2007). They have also begun to maintain those summer operations deeper into the winter season each year since 2007. 2007 also marked the first large scale attacks on the Coalitions MSR’s through Pakistan, which have increased markedly since then. The question of how much more and how much deeper into the winter season the enemy can continue to escalate from its Pakistani safe havens has yet to be answered. The Coalitions limitations are all too painfully obvious, even to a layman.
I’ve seen this Trooferism “meme” repeated several times now on several mil-blogs whose names I’m not going to mention yet.
“The 9/11 attacks were planned and organized in Germany and the US.”
That is utterly untrue. Neither Khalid Sheikh Mohammed nor Osama bin Laden were in Germany or the US in 1996 when KSM presented his plan for OBL’s approval. They were in OBL’s base in Afghanistan. By the logic of this distorted meme Pearl Harbor was “planned and organized” from an empty spot in the Pacific Ocean and the D-Day invasion was “planned and organized” from the middle of the English Channel.
In late 1998 or early 1999, bin Laden gave approval for Mohammed to go forward with organizing the plot. A series of meetings occurred in spring of 1999, involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, and his military chief Mohammed Atef. Bin Laden provided leadership for the plot, along with financial support. Bin Laden was also involved in selecting people to participate in the plot, including choosing Mohamed Atta as the lead hijacker. Mohammed provided operational support, such as selecting targets and helping arrange travel for the hijackers.
After Atta was chosen as the leader of the mission, “he met with Bin Laden to discuss the targets: the World Trade Center, which represented the U.S. economy; the Pentagon, a symbol of the U.S. military; and the U.S. Capitol, the perceived source of U.S. policy in support of Israel. The White House was also on the list, as Bin Laden considered it a political symbol and wanted to attack it as well.”
“Bin Laden had been pressuring KSM (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) for months to advance the attack date. According to KSM, bin Laden had even asked that the attacks occur as early as mid-2000, after Israeli opposition party leader Ariel Sharon caused an outcry in the Middle East by visiting a sensitive and contested holy site in Jerusalem that is sacred to both Muslims and Jews. Although bin Laden recognized that Atta and the other pilots had only just arrived in the United States to begin their flight training, the al-Qaida leader wanted to punish the United States for supporting Israel. He allegedly told KSM it would be sufficient simply to down the planes and not hit specific targets. KSM withstood this pressure, arguing that the operation would not be successful unless the pilots were fully trained and the hijacking teams were larger.
Only the attack teams were assembled and trained in the US and Germany. The attack was planned, organized, and funded from Afghanistan (OBL) and Pakistan (KSM). OBL has already freely admitted his role, KSM admitted his role while in captivity.
It is quite frankly disgusting in the extreme to see 9/11 trooferism rear its abhorrent head on several respected US based mil-blogs and be accepted as if it were fact from the blog owners or other commenters. I expect that kind of deranged feces and open Jew hatred from lunatics like Charlie Sheen, Michael Moore, and Alex Jones. Any blog, Mil or otherwise, that accepts any version of 9/11 trooferism immediately loses all credibility and standing.
You’ll know who they are when I start pulling them off of my tiny little blogroll.