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Mark Pyruz
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Colonel, a person cannot "decide" their heritage. I admit its a rare multiethnic background but there are examples appearing in professional sports such as: T. J. Houshmandzadeh, NFL wide receiver, Iranian father , African American mother. Yu Darvish, MLB pitcher, Iranian father, Japanese mother. Perhaps it would help to know I am not a naturalized American but a native son. Also, I'm not an Iranian but an American of partial Iranian heritage. Does this clear things up? But none of this is relevant to your "redskins" remark. While I appreciate the email notification to comment, I'm withdrawing my attention from SST. I've a zero tolerance policy towards racism, and the remark has crossed the line. That said I wish you and your committee continued success at SST. It's a unique and outstanding effort, all the way around. -Mark
Hurtful, Colonel, hurtful...
There is bound to be differences between the Iranians and Russians. A big difference is the fact that Iran is currently involved in operations f a war with two theaters, Syria and Iraq. The Russians are only involved in Syria. In Syria, he Iranians have boots on the ground and an array of allied Arab and Afghan popular mobilization forces, deployed and active in operations. The Russians mostly provide CAS. The Iranians regard the Russians as an extrar-regional ally. These are just the most obvious differences. Below, evidence posted 24MAY16 depicting Iranian logistical support for current Iraqi operation to retake Fallujah: FVI Safir ("Ambassador") 4x4 multipurpose military vehicle as equipped by Iran with M40 recoilless rifle (designated 106 mm). Operators appear to be Iran-supported Badr military force supporting Iraqi Federal Police motorized unit securing area NE of Fallujah.
Toggle Commented May 24, 2016 on Is R+6 collapsing? at Sic Semper Tyrannis
With respect as always, Colonel, highly unlikely by means of American support that SRV military forces can and somehow would be turned into a "super-ARVN" against PRC. PRC defense ties to SRV remain in place. Have to grudgingly admit, SRV is pretty damn clever at playing off world powers. During the Vietnam War, they played off USSR and PRC for competing assistance, and now during South China Sea dispute they appear set to play off USA and PRC for competing assistance.
GEN Votel on 21MAY16 spent 11 hrs. in Syria meeting with SDF.
Quite a contrast, the current results of Russian and Iranian-led intervention in Syria supporting Syrian, Iraqi and forces in Syria... to that of the US intervention in Afghanistan in support of Northern Alliance during OEF-A. The American intervention during that part of the Afghan conflict was much more effective, due to a variety of factors. One factor that shouldn't be dismissed during this part of OEF-A was Iranian assistance. R+6 effecting current US-directed outcome in Afghanistan (which is deemed here in US as less than successful) would for the R+6 in Syria be deemed as victory.
I've a feeling this is going to rub the wrong way our local Archbishop in San Francisco. He's a hardliner (with a recent arrest for drunk driving). Not long ago a group of prominent Catholics in our city took the extraordinary step of taking out a full page newspaper ad against him, hoping to be effectively be heard by Francis. Back to the topic at hand: rendering women deacons almost falls in the category of reform.
The decision to nuke two cities in Japan is complicated. There exists evidence that suggests the Japanese decision to quit the war was based more on the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and the extraordinary effectiveness of Soviet land forces against the Japanese Army on the Asian continent. Additionally, after the nuking, the Japanese an extent, the United States more or less acquiesced to terms the Japanese were more readily willing to accept before the nuking. If the above evidence is correct, then the motive for the nukings suggests an attempt at impressing Stalin and USSR. If so, it calls into question the morality of the nuclear attacks. However, from the perspective of ordinary Marines like my nephew's grandfather--the ones that were expected to hit the beaches on the Japanese mainland during Operation Olympic, the nukings appeared to save many of their lives. This all said, I expect Obama to focus not specifically on the morality of these two attacks but on the larger issue of WMD usage in the current and future contexts.
If Clinton (and Guccifer) related servers are intact, this claim should be verifiable. Any competent investigative law enforcement agency can likely identify such a breach made in the past, and potentially corroborate the claim. Furthermore, I expect the Clinton-related servers have already been thoroughly examined with the intent of detecting any possible breaches.
As this is an open thread, will relate the following personal experience: I happen to reside a few minutes away by motorcycle from the site where Donald Trump gave a speech Friday in Burlingame California. While I'm used to such protest scenes taking place in San Francisco, I am not used to seeing such in Burlingame. There is much I disagree with concerning Trump the candidate. While I am not a muslim (mom raised us Catholic), I generally find myself defending Muslim-Americans based upon the Constitution, a document I have sworn allegiance to in the past, with conviction I might add. I've also until recently worked closely for eight years with a Muslim American working at the five-sided building. I know that the highest level staffs at the place have the highest regard for my former colleague. I think its grossly unfair to such people that Trump adopts such public positions against this group of peoples. However, that said, the use of Mexican national flags at the Burlingame protest, and the forced improvised ingress route for Trump into the hotel put me off. By unexpected chance I rode my motorcycle through the periphery of the northernmost law enforcement tactical deployment and was saddened that it has come to this, so close to home.
Saw a necon from Hoover Inst. respond to speech on PBS today. Neocons are in full tilt over the threat of an independent Trump positing conflict resolution with Putin and Russian Federation, as well as any hint of United States possibly relinquishing the outrageously expensive posture as leader of unipolar global security order.
Toggle Commented Apr 28, 2016 on Trump's FP speech? at Sic Semper Tyrannis
I usually agree with Col.Bacevich. However in the context of an aggressive--I might even characterize it as "bullying," it matters what type of application of hard power is applied. These days economic warfare as applied to countries adopting a foreign policy independent of the U.S.-led global security order--such as Iran and Russia--are subjected to economic warfare in the form of sanctions. And against non-state actors, there is the application of drones. Where Bacevich may be correct is if a major war were to occur where a significant segment of American society were required for formal conquest and, most importantly, sustained occupation. To a certain extent, this has been the lesson of OIF and even OEF-A. As a commenter above has pointed out, there are segments of American society that are not immersed in self-indulgence. Yes, less affluent--you might say poor-- elements of American society can be induced to fight foreign wars. In my own personal, multiethnic background, mom's side of the family is Native American. During the late 1960's, all of my cousins from this side of the family volunteered for U.S. military service when they turned 17. The eldest fought in Vietnam and returned with a brain injury; we lost him here stateside. Stretching back two generations, we lost a great uncle (USA) at Battle of Bitche and a great great uncle returned from WWI with a lung injury from a German chemical weapon attack. I should point out members of our current generation have also volunteered, per tradition to the Marines. As a side note, the Battle of Okinawa was mentioned in this post. My nephew's grandfather fought in the Battle of Sugar Loaf. He too returned with a brain injury and passed away stateside. I'll tell you what hurts: not long after my eldest cousin passed away (around 2000), I happened to notice the label on a t-shirt I'd purchased at a local department store. It read "Made in Vietnam."
Somewhat related: ISIL video uploaded 19APR16 depicting 9M133 “Kornet” ATGM hit on Turkish Land Forces M-60T (M60A1 modernized along Sabra Mk.II specs via Israel Military Industries). Location: west of Mosul.
Two OF-1 from elite NEZAJA 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade (non-IRGC), reported 20APR16 by Iranian media source as KIA while engaged in ops at southern Aleppo.
How would the Sunni ever be content with the rump of a landlocked, eastern Iraq lacking natural resources and relative economic development? I said this back in 2006 when partition was being floated as a possible Iraqi solution: who gets Baghdad? Well, since then it was decided by a short civil war that the Shia get Baghdad but this still does not sit well with the Sunni. Colonel, I spent a year living in the same or adjacent locales during the previous decade to when you were stationed in Iraq and Turkey as a USA intelligence officer. Yes, the Kurds were in states of episodic revolt in Iraq but also eastern Turkey. Bear in mind, prior to the European domination of this region, it was mostly the Turks (Ottoman) and Iranians that competed for and occupied these areas. That a resurgent and newly independent Iran since 1979-- that is to say fully sovereign Iran and not subordinated within a great power security order—- currently competes for influence in or over this region should therefore not be seen as strange but rather as a historical continuation of sorts. This even applies to Syria, for both the Turks and Iranians. A similar situation exists in Lebanon but in effect possessing a somewhat different dynamic. The current context (intensifying, post-1980) has seen a number of new actors competing for influence and occupation in this region, including Americans (global security order), Gulf Arabs (punching above their weight, so to speak, with oil exports derived wealth) and Ashkenazi Jews (politically dominant majority in Israel). Quite complicated. The upshot? Even if American policy switched to formally pursue a partitioned Iraq, it is very unlikely this could be achieved over the objections of the Iranian/Iraqi Shia. And it is for such determinations that Iraqi Shia paramilitary forces exist and remain supported by Iran.
There were claims this week of participating elements of Iranian regular army (non-IRGC) elite forces engaged in the unsuccessful assault on Al-Eis at SW Aleppo. Appears they were successfully ambushed by JAN (Al-Qaeda). Noteworthy that NEZAJA appears to have identified this stage of the conflict as an opportunity for battlefield experience. Interesting that SyAA and allied forces staged a feint attack in the direction of Handarat, while main objective was Al-Mallah farms.
I can point to a brief discussion by by Dr. Richard Harrison titled "Architect of Soviet Victory in World War II" at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) YouTube channel: Harrison discusses Red Army's leading operational theorist in the 1930s, Georgii Samoilovich Isserson contributions to Red Army "Deep Operation" theory and touches on its implications for Soviet WWII offensives, and also touches on Soviet operations on defense. I personally believe Glantz's views on Operations Zitadelle, Kutuzov and Polkovodets Rumyantsev are persuasive. Also, what is generally overlooked is during Kursk campaign, air superiority transitioning to Soviet Air Force away from Luftwaffe. With respect as always, Colonel, I would not qualify the Kursk campaign as a Soviet tactical victory, as the result offered USSR with a strategic success that permanently passed the strategic initiative over to the Red Army. As Glantz states, after Kursk the ultimate war outcome for a Soviet total victory was determined. Something else, I agree with Glantz that in certain ways, Zhukov's handling of Red Army forces reminds one of Gen. Grant during the Civil War. Here are two more references for very brief materials offered by Col. Glantz: The Soviet-German War 1941-1945: Myths and Realities: A Survey Essay (PDF) The Soviet-German War 1941-1945: Myths and Realities: Discussion at US Army War College
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2016 on Battle of Kursk at Sic Semper Tyrannis
That is a Saudi-assembled Al Shibl 2 (“Cub 2”) armored vehicle. RSLF operates this vehicle type; here is a knocked-out and abandoned example at Jizan region, Saudi Arabia, from 24AUG15: SRBM types include Yemeni Army OTR-21 Tochka (NATO: SS-21 Scarab) mobile missile launch system, and R-17 Elbrus/Hwasŏng-5/6 (Scud-B) using MAZ-543 TEL.
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2016 on What is going on here? at Sic Semper Tyrannis
Colonel, another observer from Austria has been tracking SyAA for decades and is convinced the SyAA exists in name only. When you read in Al-Masdar News of this or that SyAA division, in reality these units are more correctly NDF using SyAA divisional HQs, and are being referred to by their HQ designations. That is to say, in actual unit composition, there is little actual relevance between units identified on the pre-conflict ORBAT and those by the same name currently engaged in the war. Of course, this is what one would expect from a fighting force laden with multiple cycles of replacements over the course of a lengthy, attritional conflict.
The Iranians' possess a participatory political system. It is more dynamic than Western MSM perspectives generally admit to on a consistent basis. Essentially, in parliamentary elections, the Iranian electorate has swung conservative when it appeared the country would be attacked by the U.S., and now in this latest election has voted more centrist with the lessening of tensions with the U.S. However this election result does not signal a decisive shift away from what Iran considers its strategic interests in the region. A strong popular majority inside the country continue to support the war against Jihadists, and also to support regional players they deemed victims of an unjust overarching security order, such as Houthis and Palestinians. Something to look for in the future: Polling places have been set up here in the U.S. for the past two Iranian presidential elections, for Iranians residing in the U.S. to vote for president of Iran. Were a Republican to win the White House this November, I think it very unlikely this will be allowed for the next Iranian presidential election that's be held in Spring 2017.
For reference purposes, the following URL and thread provides a number of street-level photo views of Syrian highways as they appeared shortly before initiation of hostilities:
The most detailed open-source maps are from "Archicivilians" and "Peto Lucem." The former, in particular, matches open-source imagery with points on a HD map.
Expanding on Crooke's attention on an "expected quagmire," the Western political and military preoccupation had been directed towards manpower depletion of SyAA, and later IRGC and LH. IMO this had always been a misdirection based on an expected-- or rather, hoped for-- outcome. IMO a focus on expanding tactical capabilities of IRGC, LH and Shia-Iraqi fighting forces in the Syrian theater is to be observed as a result of this conflict. Examples are numerous but to point out a few, imagery evidence exists of RuAF air mobile insertion of LH special forces, as well as the tactical deployment of Iraqi KH armor operated in the fire support role. There are even claims of IRGC operating T-90 MBTs during the drive towards the besieged Shia enclaves, that effectively severed the opposition GLOC north of Aleppo. Should the IRGC be successful in the Syrian theater (the Iranian view is a war in Syrian and Iraqi theaters), looking ahead this could impact the popular participatory component of Iran's political system.
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Feb 9, 2016