Posts Tagged ‘Military’

LinkSwarm for February 16, 2018

Friday, February 16th, 2018

This has probably been my busiest February on record. Enjoy a complimentary Friday LinkSwarm, try the waitress and tip the veal:

  • “It’s doubtful you can find a more succinct example of TDS than a seemingly inebriated Democrat Senator asking the aggregate intelligence apparatus, during a public session of congress, to give specific details of U.S. covert intelligence efforts to thwart Russian, Chinese and North Korean cyber-warfare.” Democratic Senator Jack Reed continues to long, proud tradition of questionable Rhode Island political figures…
  • In January, the first month under the Trump tax cuts, the federal government pulls in record tax revenues and runs a surplus. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “The Genius Of Trump’s Food Stamp Proposal: You’re Not Supposed To Like Being On Welfare.”
  • Michael Leeden thinks the Islamic Republic of Iran is doomed. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Reminder: Everytown’s “school shooting statistics” are pure fabrication.
  • Democrats Fleeing Blue States, Infecting Red States With Failed Liberal Disease.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Not only are a new German frigate’s computer systems FUBARed, but the ship can’t even float right.
  • Wired writer doesn’t understand the difference between “Islamist” and “Muslim.”
  • “In Wake Of Corruption Trials, Maryland Ponders Disbanding Baltimore Police Department.”
  • For Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, illegal aliens are more important than bullet-proof vests for officers.
  • Asian student at Harvard discovers that identity politics is a dead end.
  • Stop Trying To Shove Women Into STEM.” “There’s this big push to get girls into STEM — while there’s no commensurate push to get women into oil rig work, no complaints that there aren’t enough women hanging off the back of garbage trucks.” Also:

    We’ve recently found that countries renowned for gender equality show some of the largest sex differences in interest in and pursuit of STEM degrees, which is not only inconsistent with an oppression narrative, it is positive evidence against it. Consider that Finland excels in gender equality, its adolescent girls outperform boys in science, and it ranks near the top in European educational performance. With these high levels of educational performance and overall gender equality, Finland is poised to close the sex differences gap in STEM. Yet, Finland has one of the world’s largest sex differences in college degrees in STEM fields. Norway and Sweden, also leading in gender equality rankings, are not far behind. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as this general pattern of increasing sex differences with national increases in gender equality is found throughout the world.

  • Moron thinks poor people are too stupid to cook food.
  • Do you need carbs for Thyroid health? Science says no.
  • Cool. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Texas Democratic state Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ campaign is more than $700,000 in debt due to legal fees from the (now dropped) felony charges against her. And she’s running for reelection.
  • Bill Crider, RIP.
  • Setting ablaze a giant matchsphere.
  • Every book I bought in the last half of last year.
  • U.S. Blows Up Russian Tank in Syria

    Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

    Now the question is whether it was a Russian tank or a Russian tank:

    An American drone destroyed a Russian-made T-72 battle tank operating in eastern Syria on Saturday, according to the U.S. military’s command unit responsible for forces in the Middle East — which added the strike was in “self defense.”

    No U.S or allied troops were hurt in the incident, but three people inside the tank were killed by a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone, a defense official told Fox News on Tuesday.

    The strike was the second by the U.S. against “pro-regime” forces since Wednesday, according to the U.S. military’s Central Command.

    The U.S. airstrike took place the same day an Iranian drone was shot down over Israel on Saturday, prompting a counter-attack by the Israeli Air Force into Syria against Iranian and regime targets. An Israeli F-16 was shot down during that mission, and it crash landed inside Israeli territory.

    The T-72 tank came from the “same hostile forces” which attacked U.S. special operations troops and allied Syrian fighters last Wednesday in eastern Syria, officials said.

    “The tank had been maneuvering with coordinated indirect fire on a defensive position occupied by Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisers,” U.S. Central Command said in the statement. “The defensive position was within effective range of the tank’s weapon system. Coalition officials maintained regular contact with Russian counterparts via established de-confliction lines to avoid misperceptions and miscalculations that could endanger each other’s forces.”

    The latest U.S. airstrike came less than a week after a massive strike killed 100 “pro-regime” forces, including what defense officials told Fox News were Russian contractors.

    That suggests it was a Russian-made tank, rather than a Russian army tank. The T-72 was (and probably still is) used extensively by both the Iraqi and Syrian army, and the Islamic State captured some.

    There were reports of Russian ground troops in Syria back in 2015, but I don’t see many reference to Russian regulars (as opposed to special forces) in combat in Syria.

    The strike appears to have occurred near Khusham, east of Deir ez-Zor, indicated by the blue circles.

    It seems unlikely that Russian army troops attacked American troops and got their asses kicked. But if that did happen, they’ll think twice before trying it again…

    Israel Hits Multiple Targets in Syria

    Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

    Here’s a story you may have missed (I certainly did) over the weekend.

    In summary:

  • Iran sends drone from base in Syria through Jordan and into Israeli airspace.
  • Israeli Apache helicopter shoots down drone.
  • Israel launches surgical strike against drone base of origin near Homs, Syria.
  • Syrians manage to shoot down Israeli F-16 (pilots successfully eject and land in Israel), evidently the first successful enemy downing of an Israeli aircraft since 2006.
  • “Israel carried out a large-scale attack against 12 targets in Syria, including three Syrian SA-5 and SA-17 air defense batteries and four other Iranian military targets.”
  • The New York Times has a piece up discussing the situation that runs the gamut from “commonplace” to “tendentious” to “wrong.” In particular, the assertion that Israel can’t prevent Iran from establishing a conventional force presence in Syria is probably wrong; I suspect Israel can more easily pay for and replace expended material than Iran can, especially with the latter beset by extended domestic unrest. Even more unsupported is the assertion that Russia must “pick a side” in the conflict. I’m pretty sure the Russians have no desire to tangle militarily with another highly-trained nuclear power in a peripheral theater of conflict in a move that would doubtlessly provoke an American response, and Assad has no leverage by which to compel Russia to do any more for him than they’re already doing against the remnants of the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic State. “Shoot down some Israeli planes, or I won’t let you fight for me anymore!”

    Iran is establishing bases in Syria for essentially irrational dick-measuring reasons, i.e. to be able to say it’s doing more to oppose “the Zionist Entity” than any other country in the Muslim ummah, as well as support Hezbollah and Assad’s Syria, two of it’s most important clients/allies in the Shia/Sunni civil war.

    Iran would not be so bold had it’s sugar daddy Obama not lifted sanctions and showered it with cash for a meaningless agreement. The world will be living with the baleful consequences of the Obama administration’s feckless policies for a long time to come.

    Turkey Invades Syria To Crush Kurdish Forces

    Saturday, January 20th, 2018

    Turkey just launched a major military operation in the Afrin region of northern Syria in order to crush U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in the region:

    Turkish war planes have launched air strikes on Kurdish militants in northern Syria, in a move likely to cause tensions with the US.

    It’s not just warplanes. There are reports of Turkish Leopard tanks crossing the border.

    Turkey wants to oust the Kurds, which it calls terrorists, from Afrin region which lies across its southern border.

    Some Kurdish groups are allies of the US against the Islamic State group.

    Russia has moved its troops away from Afrin, saying it is concerned but will not interfere. Syria denounced Turkey’s “aggression” and “brutal attack”.

    Turkey had been shelling the area for two days, ahead of its declaration of a military operation on Saturday.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey has notified all actors involved – including the Syrian government – about the offensive. Syria denied this was the case.

    According to Livemap, Afrin is a very active theater right now:

    The yellow area is Kurd-held territory in Syria, while the blue dots are Turkish military activity.

    How much, if any, of the area is held by the directly U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces is unclear. (“Unclear” being the watchword for much of the Syrian civil war.)

    I can’t imagine that this will improve already-bad relations between the United States and Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s scumbag Islamist government in Ankara. Maybe, as with our erstwhile “ally” Pakistan, it’s time to cut ties with Turkey (and start moving to get them expelled from NATO), as they’ve been more of a hindrance than help ever since Erdogan took power.

    LinkSwarm for December 29, 2017

    Friday, December 29th, 2017

    Welcome to the last LinkSwarm of one wild year!

  • Five Great Ways Trump Shook Up Washington in 2017.” (Hat tip: Mark Tapscott at Instapundit.)
  • “The RNC closed November 2017 with $39.9 million cash on hand, while the DNC closed November 2017 with $2.6 million in debt.”
  • Democratic Party voter registration is down in a number of states. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Panic at the Washington Post as even they start to realize that the Russia-Trump fantasy is bunk. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Trouble in Texas: “Public Schools Using Taxpayer Resources to Defeat Republicans, Elect Democrats.”
  • Islamic State bombing in Kabul kills 40.
  • Why #NeverTrump should get with the program.
  • This weeks example of liberals bigwigs acting like sexual creeps comes from: Vice. Gee, with a name like that, what are the odds?
  • “Stephen Henderson, the managing director of opinion and commentary at The Detroit Free Press and a Pulitzer Prize Winner, was fired for alleged sexual misconduct.”
  • The link between polygamy and war.
  • Australia ends airstrikes against the Islamic State. That happens when you run out of targets. Thanks for the help, Australia!
  • “Democrat run Baltimore had 343 homicides in 2017, sets record for killings per capita.” A singular achievement for a city that already gave us Homicide: A Year in the Killing Streets, The Corner, and The Wire… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Here’s a real sweetheart: An Egyptian lawyer who says its a duty for Muslim men to rape women who wear revealing clothing.
  • How the beloved Charlie Brown Christmas Special almost never happened. Network executives hated the jazzy score and all that Christ stuff in Linus’ speech…
  • John Nolte on how hard Hollywood sucked this year. Though #6 should probably be #1…
  • Happy 2018, everyone!

    North Korea Mini News Roundup

    Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

    Several North Korea news items worth noting:

  • The UN Security Council voted unanimously Friday to imposed new sanctions on North Korea over its missile program.

    The draft, seen by Reuters on Thursday, seeks to ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum product exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and demand the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 12 months.

    It would also cap crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year. The United States has been calling on China to limit its oil supply to its neighbor and ally.

  • But right after that passed came word that China was already selling oil to North Korea illegally:

    According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U.S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea on the West Sea in October. The images allegedly showed large Chinese and North Korean ships transacting in oil in a part of the West Sea closer to China than South Korea. The satellite pictures even showed the names of the ships.

    A government source said, “We need to focus on the fact that the illicit trade started after a UN Security Council resolution in September drastically capped North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products.” Meanwhile, on paper, China’s trade with North has recently collapsed after U.S. President Donald Trump unleashed a barrage of sanctions in September targeting North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products.

    Back in November, the US. Treasury Department sanctioned an additional six North Korean shipping and trading companies and 20 of their ships after the satellite pictures surfaced. In the above picture, the North Korean ship named Ryesonggang 1, was easily identified and connected to the illegal sale of oil from China.

    According to Chosun Media, “the department noted that the two ships appeared to be illegally trading in oil from ship to ship to bypass sanctions.”

  • North Korea soldier who defected had immunity to anthrax.
  • Fostering rebellion using using balloons and flash drives? This strikes me as more naive wishful thinking the useful. For starters, I doubt whether anyone knows that “The majority of North Koreans have devices that can read the flash drives” is actually true…
  • Ditto Christmas-themed radio broadcasts.
  • Kasich gonna Kasich.
  • The Middle East in 2017: Sucking Slightly Less

    Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

    For all the talk of Donald Trump being unworthy of the Presidency and inadequate for the job, there have been a number of positive developments in a surprising number of places this year, not least of which is the Middle East.

    That mostly wretched hive of scum and villainy haven’t turned into stable democratic states (nor is that likely to happen in my lifetime), but there has been modest-to-radical improvement on a number of fronts:

  • At the beginning of the year, the nightmarish Islamic State was a going concern that held vast swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, including the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa. As 2017 closes, both those cities have been liberated and the would-be caliphate has lost some 90% of it’s territory, the overwhelming majority of its soldiers, and has been dismembered into a few sparsely inhabited desert enclaves. This is a big win for the entire civilized world.

  • Before President Trump took office, Saudi Arabia was the same oppressive Wahhabist-backed monarchy it had always been. But in 2017, for the first time since the founding of the Kingdom in 1930, something resembling real reform finally seems to be afoot under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Remember Trump’s much-derided visit to Saudi Arabia? Trump not only repaired the rift between the United States and Saudi Arabia created by the Obama Administration’s inexplicable Iran deal, he apparently gave bin Salman the greenlight for radical change, both domestic and foreign, including stripping the religious police of their arrest powers and detaining many hardline clerics in the course of consolidating his own power.
  • Israel already found Trump a vast improvement over the Obama administration’s open hostility, but President Trump implementing the long-delayed move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem has further solidified ties and brought additional dividends, with other countries in talks to follow suite. And despite predictions to the contrary, widespread Palestinian violence in reaction to the move has not materialized.
  • Relations with Eqypt have improved since Obama’s ill-advised snit over the overthrow of the brutal Morsi Muslim Brotherhood government.
  • To be sure, myriad problems continue to plague the Middle East: The Syrian civil war, the Saudi-Iran proxy war, Turkey’s oppressive Islamist government, instability in Lebanon, and Qatar’s friction with other gulf nations (and possibly continued support for terrorism). It is, after all, still the Middle East. But there has still been remarkable (and frequently unexpected) improvement in a number of areas in the Middle East during Donald Trump’s first year as President of the United States of America.

    Islamic State All But Destroyed

    Sunday, December 10th, 2017

    After having secured the Syrian border, Iraq has declared the war against the Islamic State over. Syria strongman Bashar Assad’s patrons the Russians have likewise declared Syria liberated from the Islamic State as well. Both of these statements are slightly premature, but not by much.

    Right now isis.livemap shows the Islamic State disjointed into five enclaves, two in sparsely populated desert areas in Syria, one similar area in Iraq, and two small enclaves along the Euphrates in Syria southeast of Deir ez-Zor, both of which are being systematically crushed by the forces of Assad’s Syrian government of the Kurdish-led and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

    Once those small pockets are crushed, the military war against the Islamic State is effectively won, though expect it to linger on as yet another international jihadist terrorist organization, a tiny shadow of its former self, until the last of it’s many affiliates are either crushed or pledge allegiance to another leader.

    More Islamic State news:

  • Is would-be Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi still alive?
  • Deradicalization efforts begin.
  • BBC roundup of all the territory the Islamic State has lost.
  • This Los Angeles Times editorial by Max Abrahms and John Glaser points out that many critics (from John Bolton to John McCain and Lindsey Graham) were wrong when they stated that Assad’s ouster was a precondition for the defeat of the Islamic State.
  • “Meet Mosul Eye, the secret chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine.'” Omar Mohammed spent years under Islamic State occupation documenting their brutality. Including this nugget of atrocity: “IS is forcing abortions and tubal ligation surgeries on Yazidi women,” he wrote in unpublished notes from January 2015. A doctor told him there had been between 50 and 60 forced abortions and a dozen Yazidi girls younger than 15 died of injuries from repeated rapes.”
  • “Why Did Islamic State Kill So Many Sufis in Sinai?” “Since declaring itself a caliphate in June 2014, the self-proclaimed ‘State’ has conducted or inspired over 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries in addition to Iraq and Syria, where its carnage has taken a much deadlier toll. Those attacks have killed and wounded thousands of people.” Also how Sufism was the predominant mode of Islamic thought in Egypt before the rise of Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Israel Hits Iranian Base in Syria, World Shrugs

    Monday, December 4th, 2017

    Remember how every time Israel committed an act of self-defense, a chattering array of The Usual Suspects would freakout and accuse Israel of “risking war,” “escalating tensions,” “derailing the peace process,” or whatever standard platitudes the global political establishment use to make anytime Israel did something other than pretend to make nice with those Arabs trying to kill them?

    Those days appear to be over.

    In a follow-up to last week’s story about Israel threatening to hit Iranian bases in Syria, guess what happened? Israel hit an Iranian base in Syria.

    Israeli warplanes attacked an Iranian military base near the Syrian city of ​​Al-Kiswah early Saturday morning, according to Sky News Arabia and other Arab media outlets. The construction of the base, which was the target of the airstrike, began last year and had accelerated in recent months.

    According to the reports, the Israeli fighter jets fired from Lebanese airspace and the Syrian defense systems responded by firing anti-aircraft missiles. It was also reported that the Syrian missiles were fired from Damascus’ Mezzeh base and that the Israeli aircraft were flying at a low altitude above the Lebanese city of Baalbek. Media outlets affiliated with the Syrian regime confirmed that several missiles were fired at the Iranian base, which was apparently used for storing ammunition.

    Israel has an extraordinarily good air force, and they usually hit what they aim at. And like most Middle East operations since the U.S. withdraw from Iraq in 2011, reporting is so sparse that it’s hard to judge how successful the operation was.

    But Israel’s latest strike is most notable for all the dogs that didn’t bark after it occurred. This is the sort of story that used to dominate media cycles for a day or two, but this time around, if you blinked, or weren’t scanning Twitter shortly after it happened, you very likely missed it.

    So what’s changed? I can think of two possibilities:

    1. America’s liberal media is so consumed with Trump Derangement Syndrome that they can’t expend the usual time, space and energy on reflective anti-Israel/pro-Arab pieces anymore. Call it Freakout Fatigue.
    2. Maybe all Mohammed bin Salman’s actions in Saudi Arabia has sidelined various royal family factions that were actively bankrolling anti-Israeli agitation among the chattering classes.

    Mark this down as yet another thing that the Trump Administration has changed, though most likely indirectly. Less indirect is the fact that relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel are probably the warmest they’ve been since Israel’s founding (having common enemies will do that for you).

    There appears to be more real reform afoot in the Middle East right now than the “Arab Spring” ever unleashed…

    LinkSwarm for December 1, 2017

    Friday, December 1st, 2017

    Welcome to another LinkSwarm! December already! I didn’t do enough to get ahead in 2017, because I was working hard merely to survive 2017…

    Think I’m going to do a separate “Democrats Behaving Badly” roundup tomorrow, by which time there should be another half-dozen accusations…

  • Donald Trump, champion deregulator?
  • The Al Franken scandal is hitting Democrats right where it hurts most: in their pocketbooks.
  • Harry Reid kills the judicial filibuster. Result? “Trump will get to fill the most federal judiciary vacancies in 40 year.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “WaPo reporter to Project Veritas: There may be no evidence of Trump collusion with Russia.” Now you tell us… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The welfare state should be abolished.
  • “McDonald’s Bun-Supplier Loses 35% Of Staff To Immigration Raids.”
  • He was just a Dreamer, dreaming of coming to America and stabbing someone in their chest 100 times and ripping out their heart.
  • John Hindraker: “Roy Moore for Senate! Enthusiastically.”
  • Professor: the fewer competitive congressional districts, the better.
  • China To Deploy Elite Troops In Syria To Fight Alongside Assad’s Army.”
  • Once again, liberals are outraged at a compact to cut down on voter fraud.
  • Philadelphia city councilwoman wants to see more constituents murdered.
  • ESPN lays off 150 people. How is that “All Social Justice Warrior, All the Time” format working out for you?
  • 100 Buzzfeed employees laid off. What happened next will shock you! (Hat tip: NolteNC’s Twitter feed.)
  • And the hits keep coming! “Music Mogul Russell Simmons Accused of Rape by Model, Then 17 Years Old; Now Accused by Second Woman.”
  • Time Inc. will be sold to Meredith Corporation for $2.8 billion in deal partly funded by Koch brothers.” Can the Koch Brothers make it suck less? Probably not, since they evidently won’t have any influence. I think Meredith overpaid by about $2.8 billion…
  • Croatian war criminal R. Bud Dwyers himself in court, albeit less dramatically.
  • Let colleges die.
  • Imagine being so unhinged and so geeky that you issue death threats to congressmen and their families over the “net neutrality” debate. Hope the 10 years in prison and the $250,000 fine were worth it for knocking $5 off your Netflix bill…
  • Social Justice has now reached the point in Olympia, Washington that police won’t even evict trespassers from railroad tracks. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Philly officer sold drugs stolen by corrupt Baltimore police squad.” Remind me again which party has controlled those two cities the last half century…
  • Feminist satire website to shutdown because it can’t out-crazy actual feminists.
  • Dogs > Cats.
  • Germany’s top 10 most surreal sites to visit.” (Last photo is NSFW.)
  • How hippies put on the worst music festival in history.