Tag Archives: Burkan-2

Is it mere wording?

That is where I am at. The issues are still escalating in Yemen, the issues are a given escalation and no one is proclaiming that either side, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are both innocent. Both made choices, both decided on choices that also clearly indicate that errors were made. Some will call them judgment errors, some will call for perspectives. I tend to call for facts and evidence. Yet we can all agree that no matter how right and just your setting is, in any war, in any act of war, things go pear shaped. Errors will be part of that and the instigator of that error will have to live with that.

It all started Friday morning, when ABC (one amongst many) gives us (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-10/yemen-air-strike-dozens-killed-including-children-on-a-bus/10104136) the simple setting: ‘Yemen: Children on a bus among dozens killed in Saudi-led air strikes, Red Cross says‘. We might get angry on this; we might get the feeling that children should always be avoided at all cost. Yet the ABC does not give the people the issue that is at the centre of it, besides the mention of: “It accused the Houthis of using children as human shields and said the strikes were carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law“, and let’s forget the setting of ‘strikes’ and ‘in accordance with international humanitarian law‘ for a moment, I just can’t laugh at his now (mainly because I was at the dentist this morning). You see, Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/didnt-find-remains-yemens-survivors-deadly-bus-attack-180812062952530.html) gives us the additional part. The missing part is “a Saudi-Emirati coalition air strike has killed dozens of children in a Houthi stronghold.” Now the fact that Al Jazeera had the news 18 hours ago and ABC gave it on Friday morning, I partially pass for ABC, because information might have been missing, which tends to be the case in the first hours. Yet the setting: ‘dozens of children in a Houthi stronghold‘, so what the EFF were children doing in a Houthi stronghold? If that can be confirmed, it does not merely give rise to the human shield part, it might be evidence and that makes the setting a very different one.

In addition, the Canberra Times gives us 11 hours ago the setting (at https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/saudi-bus-bombing-marks-a-new-low-in-yemen-20180810-p4zwsm.html) “The bus, which is reported to have been taking a group of children to summer camp, was travelling through the crowded Dahyan market in Sa’ada, the capital of Sada province. The region is the traditional homeland of the Houthi rebels who rose up against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in 2014“, it sounds innocent enough. Yet in a war, taking a bus full of children THROUGH a Houthi Stronghold shows a massive lack of insight, does it not? The fact that several newspapers lack that information seems more deceptive conduct than journalism, which is merely my view point on all this. In addition, the Canberra Times, makes light of this with “bombing of a school bus in Yemen probably doesn’t qualify as a war crime because the Royal Saudi Air Force is so incompetent the odds are it just made a mistake“, so the Canberra Times hides behind ‘Credible commentators, including a leading German analyst‘ (no names though, odd is it not?) No, it becomes some ‘silly Arab not knowing how to use a bomber or fighter jet’ anecdote. Yet when we dig deeper, we see all kinds of information that require scrutiny, on both sides, mind you. Another comment here is “the Saudis, even with the active assistance of the Americans and the British, can’t differentiate between hospitals, schools, orphanages and school buses on one hand, and missile launching sites on the other“, this sloppy comment is all absent from a few facts, how were the missiles fired? In addition, the fact that the missiles were fired towards Riyadh and civilian targets is also brushed aside. In addition, the entire setting of how the missiles are fired into Saudi Arabia as well as the fact that both Iran and Hezbollah are part of those firing teams are just as easily brushed aside. So a terrorist organisation is firing missiles at Riyadh and we seem to focus on the most emotional part in the aftermath. I personally call that really bad journalism, I call that emotion creation on a false premise, and now that Fairfax is part of Channel Nine, not that big a surprise, is it?

The fact that this article does not have a name and is merely from ‘the Canberra Times‘ is equally a worry, is it not? The end of the article giving us “are some innocents more equal than others?” is an interesting side, especially in the trivialisation of Iran as well as the absence of Hezbollah, the utter absence of missiles being launched towards the Saudi Capital is also worth noting. In all this, what has the Canberra Times shown other than its sliding regard for journalism?

If we dig, we see that Gulf News gave last Thursday: “165 rebel missiles launched since 2015, according to the coalition“, that is a lot of damage fired, whether they made it or not does not matter, they were fired. The Deutsche Welle gave us last December (at https://www.dw.com/en/how-did-yemens-houthis-obtain-ballistic-missiles/a-41873594), a few niceties. With “The missiles which have been used appear to be a type that was not previously known to be in the arsenals of Yemen before the current conflict broke out. It is known that the previous Yemeni government had invested in different types of ballistic missiles. For example, some were delivered from North Korea, some 15 years ago or so. But it’s not those missiles that appear to have been used right now. The images and information we have shows that this is a different type of missile“, so the Houthis are clearly supplied in some way. A few sources state the ‘evidence’ from the US that the missiles are from Iran. It is indeed most likely, yet not unlike the Deutsche Welle, there is no clear independent confirmation and that is equally important. We can accept that we know (from several sources) that Iran and Hezbollah joined the Houthi ranks, but that does not give rise to the evidence regarding the missile, until an actual missile is independently tested. Several sources show that the Houthis are firing the Burkan 2-H, it is shown to be Iranian (or Yemeni), but no evidence can be shown ruling out (or in) the direct involvement of Iran shipping the missiles in all this. It is more likely than not, yet still unproven.

Now we get to the good part. You see, to fire one of them bad boys, you need a decent launch pad. the more stable the setting, the better the result. We need to realise that a static launch setting is not possible for the firing party, so they need to have something really sturdy, something decently large and metallic. I have not specific details, and as it is based on the Qiam-1, an 11 meter long missile, the setting of a bus being used as a launch platform is not the silliest idea. In addition, there are some issues with the entire smuggling setting, in this Jane’s Intelligence review stated: “it would be difficult to ship entire ballistic missiles to Yemen, suggesting the Burkan-2 is a Scud modified in Yemen for longer range“, that is certainly one setting. The other version (my version) is that it was shipped in 2-3 parts and assembled in Yemen by parties unknown. There is some intelligence that this is why Iran is there, equally reasonable is that engineers are there to teach both Houthi and Hezbollah troops to do these actions, giving them a better bang for the buck (as well as the fact that Houthi forces need to shell out a hell of a lot more towards Iran in the end), all optional settings that have evidentiary support, but not enough to state it as a fact or as a given truth.

All issues linked in all this and all missed by the former Fairfax outlet. In addition, several other sources, merely skated over the facts and the stopped the icing at ‘children dead’. We all agree that this is not a good thing, but the answer on what those kids were doing in a Houthi stronghold is equally important and avoided. That all reeks like Hezbollah and what they have been doing for the longest time (as well as Hamas), Israel has plenty of evidence on that matter.

In this, we also need to set the stage against Al Jazeera in all this. Especially when we see: “Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow reports from neighbouring Djibouti on what has been described as the worst attack on Yemen’s children“. In this I question the voice of Mohammed Adow in this. I do not doubt his view, but when he stated ‘the worst attack on Yemen’s children‘. Were children the target? That part lacks evidence as they were, by his own admission ‘in a Houthi stronghold’; one does not mix with the other, does it? When I see: “It targeted a bus carrying children“, was that the case? I am assuming that optionally the bus was the target, yet the wreck shown is that it was right next to a building, it was in a setting where (a little unlikely) missiles were fired from, it was a Houthi stronghold, all parts shown from more than one source. I did state ‘a little unlikely’, for the mere reasons that all missile launches, the ones that made it to YouTube and likewise sources were fired from the open area setting. That does not mean that they all were, but until evidence is given, I am not merely accepting that the bus was a launch platform, merely that a bus could optionally be one, which is not the same. And I am making that distinction, as it matters as a distinction.

Even as several sources are stating that the missiles have too many Iranian ‘Characteristics’, we need to realise that Industrial espionage is not a non-option. (it is extremely unlikely), the fact that none of the parties involved has been able to give enough evidence (real physical one) that these are Iranian missiles, and in this regard I mean independent evidence, the setting is a twofold one and even as we say that when it walks, quacks and swims like a duck, there is still some regard whether it could optionally be a small goose. I know, it is far-fetched in a few ways, but evidence of this nature needs to be beyond all reasonable doubt, making it a lot harder, yet equally more essential. A setting that the press has been skating around for the longest of times and with certain ownership of certain papers changing, that setting will not change any day soon.

From my point of view the setting has changed where we need to distill the truths form several sources, not from one source, it seems that there is enough evidence that one source will in the end intentional or not, not inform you at all. Not even ABC, for whom I have had a much higher regard then most other news media providers. Yemen shows that there is a larger issue in all this and the media seems to cater to the need of emotional imprinting at the cost of the quality of journalism, but that too is merely my own personal view on the matter and I personally do not believe that I am the most impartial source in all this, I will admit to that too.

 

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Into the fire we walk ourselves

Are we in a state where we cannot tell what actually matters? That is the question that I wonder upon. Now, we all have different states of focus, that has always been a given. Some are linked to what we desire, some to what we fear. The issue goes beyond that as the media fuels one or the other, yet they seem to do so for the direct intent of making us look where they want us to look. In Australia there are the morning shows with Channel 7 and 9. In the UK there is the breakfast show and other nations have similar views. It is when we see BBC News, the Dutch NOS, Swedish RTL as well as ABC in Australia. They tend to focus on actual news, yet often very national as one could accept. On a larger scale there is BBC World News, Al Jazeera (to some extent), whilst Fox News and CNN are no longer quality players. So where are we getting the news from, the news that matters? It seems that either we start looking for it or we lose out.

Should I care?

It is the question many might ask themselves, which is fair enough. For many we all have national needs, we have national questions and as those are satisfied we do not look further than that. Many have this setting. Some don’t even have the national curiosity and that is fine, it is whatever you choose. Yet, I have travelled for too long, to too many places. So I tend to look further. I still miss the life I had in Sweden, which like Australia is an amazing place to be in (the weather is less warm though). So when I got confronted with some news, I wondered how others saw it. What is interesting is that none of them gave any clear levels of attention to it.

The news, (at http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/01/11/Saudi-Arabia-intercepts-a-ballistic-missile-launched-by-Houthis-at-Najran.html) gives part of what does require attention. Al Jazeera covered it, so did Reuters and BBC as well as Australia’s ABC looked at it, yet the rest? You see, the issue is larger than you think. In Yemen, in the Najran area a ballistic missile was intercepted. Now this is not that big a story, but the missile might have been ready to be fired on Riyadh, like the missile fired a month ago. Is this coming into focus? Missiles that are fired on the civilian population of the capital of Saudi Arabia! This is a threshold that should have been regarded as unacceptable; it is globally ignored by others. In that same setting we see the mention from Al Arabia that Houthi leader Saleh al-Samad is also threatening to threaten international navigation in the Red Sea, which will impact the Suez Canal, which in turn changes the profit margins for all cargo bound to Europe for the most from Asia. So is it now more important? That is the dangerous question but not the most important one. You see, as the Houthi militias have gained access to the Qaher M2 missile, the game is no longer the same. These cuddly little toys pack a punch and have the ability to reap plenty of souls in Riyadh if it hits the right structure. A tactic that has been old and condemned for the longest of times, yet for the most, the west tends to focus on Yemen and cholera (which is really bad too). Over the last year 50,000 children died of disease and starvation, which is of course its own atrocity, no one denies that, yet what was the foundation? President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was trying to get some level of union in Yemen between factions (which is an achievement) in a landscape that was under threat by Houthi militias and AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). Things went from bad to worse and soon thereafter the deposed Yemen leader started to undo what happened from Saudi Arabia.

Now, I have skipped a few iterations, mainly because it is not part of the issue. The issue is the missiles. Now I am not stating that the Saudi’s are beyond some blame. Civilians have been hit in Yemen; yet is that from intentional events? Are they (as stated by the Saudi government) ‘technical mistakes‘? The fact is that there is a civil war going on and EVERY civil war in history came with civilian casualties, more often than not from human or technical error. The Houthi events are different as they are intentionally targeting a civilian population in Riyadh and are also intentionally targeting all commercial options that use the Red Sea as a route to get to where they have always been travelling. The Houthi’s are in a desperate setting, one that they themselves created and in this regard, we see very little coverage, too little in fact, mainly because this is a powder keg waiting to go wrong. If even one missile hits Saudi Arabia, the lives of every Yemeni could be regarded as forfeit. The Saudi population would demand reprisals unlike any we have seen for decades and in this the Saudi pride will not be content with mere diplomatic discussions, at that point serious skin is in the game and if the world is lucky only 100,000 will die of starvation and disease in 2018. The Syrian war has led to 400,000 casualties in 2012-2016, this Houthi insurrection could spell a lot more and the dangers are that the extremists tend to get profit out of such situations. In fact here is no evidence that they are not already dipping their toes in the Yemeni armouries and as such there would be a dangerous escalation if some of these weapons get transported to other extremist zones. Now, I am trying to steer clear of the Iranian-Houthi rebel links. The issue is that I did not read or inspect the evidence. Also, we should consider that the US has had tainted glasses for the longest of times regarding Iran and they have lost massive credibility ever since the Saddam Hussein WMD presentation. In this U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell with his silver briefcase destroyed credibility for decades to come. In this Colonel Turki al-Maliki has a much easier job. The evidence that the Houthi rebels are firing missiles on the Saudi civilian population has been clearly established on an international level.

So into the fire we might go!

You see, this keg needs one missile to hit target and the flames start. If any other nation can verify that Iran was involved, Iran will have no options left because at that point it is not impossible that Israel will get the keys to the German and French Squadrons to use those planes for bombing Iran as well, at that point WW3 will be a factual situation. The Saudi air force will not only get the blessing of the Arabian league nations to stop Iran, it will get its ammunition at cost price from several sides. At that point, Hamas and Hezbollah will go into hiding so deep that we will forget that they exist, but Israel will not. Perhaps it might be a good thing, as the extremist groups are dealt with, those who think that extremism is a good thing will decide to hide and wait for the fires to stop. Only at that point will they realise that as Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and AQAP are gone that all eyes will move on them. You see these people feel good as extremists because no one is taking notice, when they become the limelight, they will ‘suddenly’ prefer a diplomatic path, one where they have no valid claims and no standing whatsoever.

It is an optional resolution to a bad situation for all other players.

And there is a second side to all this that I have not seen any publications on. The Burkan-2 which was fired at Riyadh airport is also an issue in another direction. It is related to the Scud, it comes from Yemen. So when we consider that the first recorded launch was on 22nd July 2017, how did the Houthi’s get this knowledge? This is not something you put in a clip. You need a mobile launch platform, aiming skills, ballistic knowledge that does not come with a bottle of mineral water. These skills are taught and trained. Someone gave them access and I feel strongly that these skills were not all in Yemen. There is a taskmaster, a coach in that equation and it seems to me that this is also the Houthi militants Achilles heel, because if these skilled are dealt with (the people who have them), that this weapon gets to be diminished to an ugly truck with a couple of steel cigars on top.

 

 

 

 

So when we see militia rebels, we do not think ‘academics’, we tend to think that they are more likely to be members of the ‘dyslexic-R-us‘ foundation (عسر القراءة، هي، لنا), not the qualified electronic user experts that they need to be, so someone is getting them trained. The fact that these missiles were completed after the insurrection began is equally a worry. With the economy in the basement as the one in Yemen is supposed to be, someone is fuelling funds and knowledge to these militants and when did you see any reliable news on that level?

So we are thrust into the fire in some method where we are left unaware on how large some issues have become and for anyone thinking it is not on their turf.

 

 

Think again!

Because those elements with those level of skills will go where ever the money is taking them. In WW2 Russia and the US saw that and took the scientists as quickly as possible. Now we seem to skip that part and as we see extremist move from theatre to theatre there will be a shift of activity as the skill levels are placed in other places where the going was slow, they become catalysts of additional escalations. We can argue whether Iran is playing that card or not, but there is a longer term danger and the people are left unaware of those events. I think that this is the second danger that both Saudi Arabia and Israel face. Not on who is attacking them, but on the realisation that it is happening whilst these extremists have been given additional skill levels, some they would never have had. That evidence can be seen when we consider the Hamas rockets, or as it goes the ISIS players who replaced Hamas in Gaza. When the missile hit rate goes from 0.2% to 2%, there will be a much larger escalation, as well as the additional danger that the people in the state of Israel will face. As the knowledge gets deeper into Syria, what will happen after that? Will Iran be shown to be the player behind the screen or will Saudi Arabia merely face 3-4 additional factions, who when much better trained become a much larger issue for Saudi Arabia. There is a much larger game in play and the fact that the people are left in the dark to a much larger degree is a much bigger issue than you (and I) think it is. It is still the beginning of 2018 and already we see: “Thirteen attack drones were launched against the Khmeimim air base and a naval facility in the city of Tartus on Syria’s western coast, the Russian defence ministry said“, so who was behind that? “the ballistic missile attack by Houthi militia on the city of Najran” is one we looked at as well as “The Syrian Arab Army has discovered another massive Islamic State weapons stockpile that was abandoned by the terrorist group“, the last mention was merely shoulder based rocket launchers (M72 LAW, RPG). Now the learning curve of that one is low. The instructions are on the launcher and as it is used by the US infantry, it should be regarded as close to idiot proof, yet we also see the alleged M72 Dragon in Syria as well as the FGM-148 Javelin, which was in ISIS hands in late 2017. Now we do not know how those were acquired, but the M47 Dragon and the Javelin are a lot more sophisticated and not for anyone to easily wield. The Javelin requires a launch unit and training. This is not something you get included in a ten step leaflet with a package of butter.

So we step into the fire unknowing that someone is fuelling the fire by keeping too many of us uninformed. Now from an intelligence point of view I have no issues with that part. It happens, but the fact that the media is not asking certain questions is a much bigger issue. The fact that most nations are loudly condemning the missile attack on Riyadh makes sense, yet the fact on how the skill levels were handed to the Houthi’s remains unanswered.

I wonder if the most interested party in this (Al Arabiya) will soon be asking this question out loud, more important. If the Saudi Defence Forces are successful in taking out the coaching element, would that suddenly largely cripple Houthi elements and if they were supported by Iran, would that push them into the limelight?

All questions, all speculation!

The question that becomes evident is how within these extremist elements their balance of power is maintained? You see, extremists have logistical needs that part is clearly seen in Yemen. Yet, who provides their needs and what is in it for them? The usual culprit is money, lots and lots of money. Yet it also gives power to the one providing the victor. That part is not seen too often. Most often we think of those are mere weapon merchants, dealers of the tools of death, but the fact that the cost of billions in 2 years, that is without the UN relief needs close to a billion is not taken into consideration. If we have learned anything than it is that plenty will forsake loads for a few million, so what are they willing to do for a few billion? Can you even imagine that, or the fact that the pool of those who gets access to that pool of funds is actually quite small and the media remains in the mindset of not informing any of us!

Should they?

That is a good question, because if the media is about the news, should we limit to the amount of news that we should be exposed to? For the most people in Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia might not be too eager to learn about it, but the impact that we are currently facing hits these places too, was not informing us the right thing to do?

Consider that we are impacted by the red sea and that the cost of living would increase by 20% if the Suez Canal becomes unavailable, does it matter then? Suddenly the preface changes and suddenly the Houthi actions are more important than we considered. At this point the media might change its position on the air time and what to focus on, perhaps not.

Time will tell!

Yet I feel that there are other sides and we are all kept in the dark, so where are these journalists? Well, if we can believe the Sun, they were all mesmerised by the tits of Kim Kardashian, the same day Houthi Missiles were fired. Which of the two ‘news’ articles do you remember of that day?

 

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