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You call that an army?

I was in disbelieve yesterday, I saw information and memo after memo and I was lost, I really was. The media to a larger extent reported on it, the Times had impressive graphics, the BBC used something similar (or a cut version of it) and others followed on these starts (as far as I could tell), yet the larger stage was left behind the writing and that is not an accusation. They reported on a lot. I liked Forbes most, the cold numbers appealed to me. The article (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/08/23/staggering-costs–us-military-equipment-left-behind-in-afghanistan) called ‘Staggering Costs – U.S. Military Equipment Left Behind In Afghanistan’ gives us a lot. The stage is that the Afghan army was better equiped that several NATO nations, the total cost as some sources gave me EXCEEDS $84,000,000,000. This path implies that a small group of people received OVER $4,000,000,000 in bonuses and commissions. Afghanistan was big business and several made a bundle. Now consider that the Afghan army was 5 times the size of the Taliban, with all this hardware and the Taliban ran them over in a week. As I personally see it, a core in the Afghan forces and politicians (with optional exclusion of the former and running like a jackrabbit president of that place) wanted the Taliban back. Consider that me, my lonesome self could do well over twice the damage any Afghan pilot did. 

source: Forbes

I would opt for the Huey (with Gatlings), I know the Blackhawk is better but it is less manoeuvrable than a Huey and it has about 200 more options on the instrument panel and with my limited flying skills, less is definitely a lot more. And it gets to be a more questionable setting when you see 

source: Forbes

And you consider how many Taliban would not make it with up to 300,000 rifles and 25,000 grenade launchers as well as 2,000 mortars. And the dent in the Taliban was close to non existent and all these weapons are now in Taliban hands, they can now put a serious dent in their opponents. They are now armed to the teeth and no one is asking the harder questions, where the  Eff You See Kay was the CIA? The Taliban ‘inherited’ over 700,000 pieces of equipment and the Afghan army did close to nothing, even as they outnumbered their ‘enemy’ five to one. 

Forbes also gives us “The U.S. provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment to Afghan security forces since 2001. This year, alone, the U.S. military aid to Afghan forces was $3 billion” and in all this there is a stage for much harder questions and that falls on the politicians, not the military, they were handed a set of orders that should never have been allowed and the media is not asking those questions, are they? Yet Forbes also gives us “Not helping transparency, the Biden Administration is now hiding key audits on Afghan military equipment. This week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reposted two key reports on the U.S. war chest of military gear in Afghanistan that had disappeared from federal websites”, I am not willing to push the blame on the Biden administration without knowing all the players. A small group made billions, they have access to lobbyists and there is an unnamed DoD link in all this, hiding information in plain sight is what they are good at and hiding a link (at https://www.gao.gov/) can be done by any number of people, evidence is key and there is none, as such (even as I am Republican in mind) blaming an administration with that lack this early in their administration seems pointless. The GAO-17-667R Afghanistan Security report that Forbes also had gives light to a few items, but there is a lot that is missing and I wonder if the CIA will hide behind national security for handing over 700,000 pieces of military hardware to the Taliban. And make sure that you take notice of a small footnote. We are given “All equipment described in encs. I-VI is fully U.S. funded, with the exception of communications equipment in fiscal years 2003 and 2004”, so I reckon that the Taliban will not be merely killing US forces, it will killing them using US funded hardware. Are you awake now?

It is also worth noting that there is a chart in the report that shows that the Afghan police got well over 50% of most hardware that the Afghan army received. A stage we need to be aware of. A stage where the army was not alone in this failure and it is a massive failure when you have all this hardware and well over 500% the personnel that you get taken over by a group of insurrectionists. The media (not placing blame here) is not asking the right questions, they aren’t asking that much. The few that did (BBC, the Guardian, the Times, Forbes) are not asking on who got commissions and that is the $4 billion question, I also reckon that the CIA in that area, who got a huge increase in funds and budget dropped the ball, I am actually wondering if they know what a ball looks like, so I am including it at the bottom.

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Mapping insanity

OK, this is a weird one, and it could even apply to me. I was day dreaming a moment ago, and it is not one I had ever before. First let set the situation, in this setting I was acting, my co-players were Matt Damon and Arnold Vosloo, the director was Ridley Scott. I was given very direct orders, I had to yank Matt’s chains as much as possible. In one setting I was teaching  Matt’s character South African, I told him to replace ‘th’ with double f, and asked him to speak ‘When I was at school I thought a lot’, we get ‘When I was at school I fought a lot’ and heaven behold Arnold Vosloo loses his cool and laughs out loud, Matt’s character has a fit, a loud one, then it was Arnold’s turn. He makes mention on the daily events and I hear that Elon Must will be visiting the Prime Minister of New Zealand. I say “that makes no sense, oh, perhaps he is trying to buy the competitor, there are rumours that the New Zealand party has come up with a cheaper electrical car, $NZ 20,000, which is about $15,000. This might be making Elon Musk Nervous”, ‘really?’ Matt’s Character says. My response is “Yep, it amounts to $10,000 for the car and $5,000 for the extension cord”, more laughter except from Matt. 

Yet the reality is different. The story is about a shuttle that is set on a long trajectory because of a defect, it will take the shuttle another 5 months to get back to earth orbit, 3 months have already passed, and as we see into the shuttle, that has no flickering lights, but part of the shuttle is damaged we see Matt Damon in his chair, and when the camera turns to us, we see to dead bodies, Vosloo’s and my character are dead and Matt is dealing with isolation and a lack of resources, we see that this is a movie about insanity through isolation, we were the window dressing, Matt is there to show just how insane a man can come through isolation in a place where you cannot move to conserve oxygen, left with two dead co workers for month and the setting of a malfunctioning shuttle. All whilst the oxygen supply is not completely kosher. 

It is a psychological movie and I saw part of what could be an interesting journey into the mind of an Astronaut who lost it completely all whilst he is yet to learn that the DOD did this to test the Astronaut because of what is about to come and as we see the end titles, we see a much larger shuttle, with the cockpit looking just like the delusions that Matt’s character faced.

Well, that is it for now, anyway it is less upsetting than the actions of a US President who shall presently not be named (to make the accusation deniable).

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Iranian puppets

Saudi Arabia has been under attack for a while, yet the latest one has been the hardest hit for now. 26 people were injured in a drone attack on Abha Airport. The fact that it is 107 Km away from the border gives rise that this is not the end. Even as we see: “a late-night cruise missile attack by Houthi rebel fighters”, I wonder if they were really Houthi or members of Hezbollah calling themselves Houthi. In addition, when we see: “the missile directed at the airport had been supplied by Iran, even claiming Iranian experts were present at the missile’s launch” as the Saudi government stated this, I am not 100% convinced. The supply yes, the presence is another matter. There is pretty hard evidence that Iran has been supplying drone technology to Lebanon and they have been training Hezbollah forces. I think this is a first of several operations where we see Hezbollah paying the invoice from Iran by being operationally active as a proxy for Iran. It does not make Iran innocence, it does change the picture. the claim by Washington “Iran is directing the increasingly sophisticated Houthi attacks deep into Saudi territory” is more accurate as I see it. It changes the premise as well as the actions required. From my point of view, we merely need to be able to strike at one team, if anyone is found to be Lebanese, Saudi Arabia can change the premise by using Hezbollah goods and strike Beirut – Rafic Hariri International Airport with alternative hardware. Lebanon stops being the least volatile country in the Middle East and it would stop commerce and a few other options at the same time. I wonder how much support they get from Iran at that point. I believe in the old operational premise to victory

Segregation, isolation, and assassination, the tactical premise in three parts that is nice and all solving; It can be directed at a person, a location, or even an infrastructure, the premise matters. It is time to stop Hezbollah, that part is essential as it does more than merely slow down Houthi rebels, it pushes for Iran to go all in whilst being the visible transgressor, or it forces them to back off completely; that is how I personally see it.

So as we see the Pentagon rally behind diplomatic forces, I cannot help but wonder how it is possible for 15 dicks to be pussies? For the non-insiders, it is comprised of the 7 joint chiefs of staff, the septet of intelligence (Army, Navy, Air force, Marine, FBI, CIA and NSA) and of course the National Security Advisor. It is time to change the premise, it really is. It is also a must to proclaim ourselves to either the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or Iran and I will never proclaim myself towards Iran (a man must keep some principles).

We can be all angry find a solution to erase them. As I see it, my version is more productive in the end. They are targeting close to the border as much as possible, this implies that their hardware has limitations. Even so to merely rely on anti-drone and some version of an Aveillant system is economically not too viable, it will merely make some places (like airports more secure). When we look around we see that there are 6 ways to take care of drones.

  1. Guns, which requires precision and manpower
  2. Nets, same as the first, yet a net covers an area better chance of results and a chance to get the drone decently unharmed, or retrieve enough evidence to consider a counter offensive
  3. Jammer, a two pronged option, as the connection fails most drones go back to their point of origin giving the option of finding out who was behind it.
  4. Hacking, a drone can be used for hacking, but the other way is also an option if the drone lacks certain security measures, optionally getting access to logs and other information
  5. Birds of Prey (Eagle, Falcon), A Dutch solution to use a bird of prey to hunt a drone, an Eagle will be 10 times more deadly than a drone, Eagles are a lot more agile and remaining as fast all the time.
  6. Drones, Fighting drones with drones is not the most viable one, however these drones have paint guns which would hinder rotor function and speed, forcing gravity and drag to be the main issues for the drone.

The issue is not merely how to do it, but the specifics of the drone become a larger issue. An Eagle and most solutions will not work against the MQ-9 Reaper drone (to name but an example), yet Hezbollah and Iran rely on the Qods Mohajer (optionally the Raad 85), which when considering the range is the more likely suspect. What is important to know is that these devices requires a certain skill level, hence there is no way that a Houthi forces could have done this by themselves. It required Hezbollah/Iranian supervision. There the option of jamming and drones with a paint gun would work, if a jammer gets shot onto the drone, it will give them a way to follow, paint can have the same effect whilst at the same time limit its capabilities. If the drone is loaded with explosives and set for a one way trip there is a lot less to do, yet the paint could still impact its ability if there is enough space left, if the paint is loaded with metal it could light it up making it a much better target. All options that have been considered in the last few years in anti-drone activities, the question is how to proceed now.

I believe that inaction will no longer get us anywhere, especially when Hezbollah is involved. That is the one speculative part. There is no way that Houthi rebel forces have the skills; I believe that Iran is too focussed on having some level of deniability, hence the Hezbollah part. It is entirely probable that Iranian forces are involved, yet that would be the pilot and with the range, that pilot would have been really close to the Yemeni border making Abha airport a target, yet unlikely that more inland another target would be available to them.

Knowing that gives more options, but also makes it harder to proceed, the earlier five methods mentioned are direct, there is one other option, but I am not discussing it here at present as it optionally involves DoD classified materials (and involves DARPA’s project on Machine learning applied intelligence to the radio spectrum) and lets not put that part out in the open. It is actually a clever program conceived by Paul Tilghman, a graduate from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), an excellent school that is slightly below MIT and on par with UTS (my creative stomping grounds).

It is a roadmap that needs to be followed, I am all for bombing Hezbollah sites, unlike the earlier mentioned group of 15, I prefer my level of evidence to be a little higher as such the Tilghman solution is called for, after that, when we get that we can address the viability of Beirut and Tripoli with 2500 lbs hardware donations, depending on the evidence found mind you, we can make adjustments, as some materials would have needed to be shipped to Yemen either directly or via Lebanon and in all honesty, I am of the mind that Iran would not have done this directly. Proxy wars require a higher level of deniability to remain proxy wars; as such we need the hardware as evidence.

And even as we see: “Mohamed Abdel Salam, said the attack was in response to Saudi Arabia’s “continued aggression and blockade on Yemen”. Earlier in the week, he said attacks on Saudi airports were “the best way to break the blockade”” (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/12/yemen-houthi-rebel-missile-attack-injures-26-saudi-airport) we need to realise that this is growing and potentially a lot larger than before. Even as we acknowledge that the forces have withdrawn from the harbour, we have no insight on where they went, there is no indication that they have stopped fighting, merely that they are at the moment inactive, a status that can change at any given moment.

Add to that the threat (or is that the promise) by Tehran who decided to “threaten to resume enriching uranium towards weapons-grade level on 7 July if US sanctions are not lifted or its European allies fail to offer new terms for the nuclear deal“, here my answer is ‘What deal?‘, there is enough indication that enriching never stopped, but was merely scaled down to 95% of previous effort, as such there is no need to offer more incentives that will only be broken. As such my strategy to seek out Houthi (and optionally Hezbollah forces) to take away the proxy options of Iran, they must either commit 100% or back down, at present their fear is having to commit fully to this and change the stage of proxy war to actual war, and as such my strategy makes sense. They have no hope of winning as too many government would be willing to align with Saudi Arabia (that might make them surprised and happy as well), and a united front against Iran is what Iran fears, because Turkey would have no option but to cut ties out of fear what happens when we are done with the other Iranian puppets.

It is perhaps the only side where I disagree with James Jeffrey (US special representative for Syria engagement), I do not believe that it is a “hegemonic quest to dominate the Middle East“, I believe that Iran knows that this is no longer an option, yet bolstering foundations of a growing alliance is the best that they hope for and here Iran merely facilitates in the urge to state to Syria (the government and its current president) in the voice of ‘You owe us, we helped you‘, it is slightly pathetic and merely the voice of a used car salesman at present. As more of the proxy war becomes open and proven Iran is backed into a corner, it makes Iran more dangerous, but it also forces them to act, not through proxy and I am decently certain that Iran has too much to lose as present, especially as Russia denied them the S-400 solution.

Even as Gevorg Mirzayan (an expert in Middle East and a leading analyst at the agency Foreign Policy) is getting headlines with ‘‘Dumping’ Iran Would Be Mistaken, Since Russia Doesn’t Know What The US Will Offer In Return‘, we see that the stage is a valid question, but there we also see the answer. the direct (and somewhat less diplomatic) answer is “Never set a stage where a rabid dog can call the shots“, the more diplomatic answer (by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov) was “Russia has not received any requests from Iran for delivering its S-400 air defense systems” is nice, and it puts Iran in a space where they need to admit to needing this kind of hardware, yet on the other side, Russia realises that Iran is driven to flame the middle East and down the track if its alliance is too strong, takes Saudi Arabia out of consideration for several lucrative Russian ventures and they know it.

All these elements are in play and in place, so segregating and isolating Hezbollah limits the options of Iran, making it an essential step to pursue. Interesting is that these steps were firmly visible as early as last year August, and that group of 15 did little to bolster solutions towards truly isolating Iran, that Miaow division was optionally seeking milk and cream and finding not that much of either.

So the time is now essential moving to critical to take the options away from Iran, we let Lebanon decide whether they want to get caught in a room painted in a corner with no directions remaining, at that point they become a real easy target.

That was not hard was it?

Happy Friday and remember, it will be Monday morning in 60 hours, so make the most of it.

 

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