Brigitte Gabriel represents one of the largest independent Counterjihad organizations in America – ACT for America. Brigitte gives a very impassioned tribute to American veterans and the active military.
Brigitte Gabriel is one of the leading terrorism experts in the world providing information and analysis on the rise of global Islamic terrorism. She lectures nationally and internationally about terrorism and current affairs. Her expertise is sought after by world and business leaders.
She has addressed the United Nations, Australian Prime Minister, members of The British Parliament/House of Commons, members of the United States Congress, The Pentagon, The Joint Forces Staff College, The US Special Operations Command, The US Asymmetric Warfare group, the FBI, and many others.
In addition, Gabriel is a regular guest analyst on Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, and various radio stations daily across America. She serves on the board of advisors of the Intelligence Summit.
Ms. Gabriel was knighted in Europe in 2016 for her international work on fighting terrorism and standing up for Western Values. She joins a long list of knights including former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Nelson Mandela, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, and others.
Ms. Gabriel is named one of the top 50 most prominent speakers in America. She speaks Arabic, French, English, and Hebrew.
Eligah Barrett (not sure if a pseudonym or actual) uses sources to put together a profile of Iran’s agenda. As the title suggests, Iran is seeking to be a military power at least regionally. I suspect an even greater agenda with Iran’s pursuit of nukes.
This yet another reason to NOT TRUST Iran about any nuclear deal WHATSOEVER! Especially as negotiated by former President Barack Hussein Obama, the most corrupt President in American history.
Back in 1992, the New York Timeswrote, “Becoming second to Saudi Arabia as a world oil power, IRAN EXPECTS TO FURTHER ITS GREATER AMBITION OF BEING THE MOST IMPORTANT REGIONAL POWER IN THE PERSIAN GULF, A LONG-HELD FOREIGN-POLICY OBJECTIVE” (NOV. 7, 1992).
The article examined how Iran planned to achieve this objective: More troubling to other countries in the area and to the west is the other side of Iran's plan to achieve this objective: A HUGE REARMAMENT PROGRAM, financed largely by the New oil money.
“The Islamic Affairs Analyst of Gloucester, England, printed an article in August 1994 that said, ‘Iran is pursuing a parallel policy of surrounding Israel with implacable enemies. Turkey is moving closer to Iran. To Israel's North, IRAN has deluged Hezbollah in Lebanon with money and weapons. With Hamas in control of Gaza, Tehran could ignite another conflict on Israel's western and northern borders at any moment. Iran is also' opening another front in the West Bank, which crawls with zealots sympathetic to if not in the pay of Iran. And Egypt, since the ouster of President Mubarak, is moving rapidly toward discarding its peace treaty with Israel as it moves into Iran's camp.’” [Found at the Trumpet]
Of course, the Shiites controls Iran and are a majority 60 percent in Iraq. The U.S.'s removal of Saddam Hussein in 2003 opened the way for Iran to heavily infiltrate Iraq, providing armaments, financing and training to Shiites militias, sending thousands of operatives into the country and establishing economic ties with it. Moreover, the most powerful political party in Iraq is allied with Tehran. This could be a decisive factor causing Iraq to fall under Iran's control.
“That 1994 Islamic Affairs Analyst article said further, starting at the foot of the Red Sea, ‘IRAN is set to increase its influence considerably in both Somalia and Yemen. ... Further up the Red Sea coast, Sudan is already firmly in pro-Iranian hands with [Omar Hassan] al-Bashir's military regime no more than a front for Hassan al-Bashir's Islamists. And it is from bases in Sudan that Islamist fundamentalists are beginning to undermine the stability of the newly independent Eritrea, which, it should be noted, now controls all of what was formerly Ethiopia's Red Sea coastline.’” [ibid.]
These trends continue today. Iran has continued to send arms shipments to Islamists in Somalia. In March 2008, Iran signed a military agreement with Sudan. In May 2008, it further boosted its ties with Eritrea, signing trade and investment agreements. Again, the following year, in April 2009, IRAN and Eritrea, together with Algeria, agreed to expand their bilateral cooperation. Iran has a frightening influence and control in North Africa, which greatly intensified with the unrest that began erupting in Arab states in early 2011. The Tunisian government fell in January into the hands of the radical Muslims. The Ennahda party, the Islamist party banned under the dictatorship of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, quickly emerged as probably the most powerful political force in the country. In October 2011, the Islamists party won the nation's first free elections since independence in 1956. That is almost exactly what happened in Egypt when its first-ever free elections ushered in the Muslim Brotherhood in 2012. However, it didn't take long before discontent surged against the hard-liner Ennahda. Assassinations of two prominent opposition figures in 2013 threatened another revolution in Tunisia. It was only averted when rival factions negotiated a peaceful abdication of the elected Islamist government. Tunisia then elected the secular-nationalist Nidaa Tounes Party. Its candidate, Beji Caid Essebsi, became president. Essebsi, however, is a former official of the ousted Ben Ali regime. He has come under fire for Tunisia's failing economy and for terrorist attacks that have crippled Tunisia's tourism industry. Again, it is a scenario not much different from Egypt's.
Iran has also heavily infiltrated Yemen and Bahrain, and it is deeply entrenched in Afghanistan. Many moderate Arab nations fear, and are afraid to offend, IRAN.
Here is what the Islamic Affairs Analyst of May 13, 1992, said: “The main strategic aim of Iran is to dominate the Persian Gulf and environs. An important step in achieving this goal is to GAIN UNDISPUTED LEADERSHIP OF THE RADICAL ISLAMIC CAMP.” Many of the good intelligence reports about Iran have proven true. Do we see just how powerful Iran is becoming militarily? Prof. Barry Rubin wrote in 2007, “IRAN tries to extend its influence in THREE ways: propaganda and incitement; the promotion of client groups, and projecting the state's own power. Today, IRAN sponsors radical Islamist groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and among in Palestinians as well as in other countries. Its two most important clients are Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Hamas group (Global Politician, July 25, 2007).” [the Trumpet]
Edited by John R. Houk
All source links and any text embraced by brackets are by the Editor.
Iran is a rogue nation on a global basis. The Shi’ite Islamic regime hates all things American and constantly pushes the envelope on what it can get away with in engaging the American military.
America is considering placing Iran’s Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on a terrorist watch list. Consequently, Iran has made all kinds of military threats against American military assets a la North Korea-style. I don’t know about you; such threats make me want to knock the proverbial chip off Iran’s shoulder and see what happens next – to Iran’s boastful detriment!
Last July, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) military commander and chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, warned that "putting the Revolutionary Guard in the terrorist lists with terrorist groups can be very costly to the United States and its military bases and forces in the region." IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said on October 8th that "if the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world." The next day the Iranian regime warned of a "crushing" response if the United States were to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. President Trump has called the Iranian regime's bluff with his announcement last week that he would do just that.
Designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization and imposing new sanctions for its aggressive actions in the region is not a restoration of the sanctions lifted by the Obama administration as part of its disastrous nuclear deal with Iran. If Iran insists it can do what it wants militarily in terms of missile launches, support of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and arms transfers without violating the nuclear deal, then the United States can certainly act to curb such activities through financial pressure. The U.S. can impose sanctions against the Iranian regime's principal instrument for projecting aggressive, destabilizing force outside of its borders without violating the nuclear deal. The Iranian regime does not see it that way, however.
With the lifting of the nuclear-related sanctions making available billions of dollars to Iran's leaders to further finance the IRGC's exploits in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere, the regime is furious that the Trump administration is tightening the financial screws again, even if for reasons not directly related to Iran's compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal. Thus, it is threatening U.S. forces and bases in the region. A couple of seemingly unrelated events this past week point to Iran's positioning itself for more aggressive military actions that could place U.S. forces in harm's way.
On Tuesday, Major General Bagheri landed in Damascus for talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad and senior Syrian officials, including the defense minister and the chief of staff of the Syrian armed forces. Bagheri is quoted as saying that his visit's purpose was to "put a joint strategy on continuing co-ordination and co-operation at the military level." Some experts on Iran believe that Bagheri's visit to Damascus at this time is intended to reinforce a message that Iran will continue to supply weaponry to Syria and to reinforce the presence of its terrorist proxy Hezbollah in Syria. This will not only serve to bolster the Assad regime, but it also will strengthen Iran's ability to follow through on its threats to the U.S. and its allies, principally Israel.
Meanwhile, following the departure of the Kurds from Kirkuk, Iraq earlier this week, the IRGC's operational Al Qods arm reportedly established a command center and five bases there. According to Debkafile, this constitutes "the first military facility Iran has ever established openly in Iraq." The Kirkuk region holds 45 percent of Iraqi's oil. The Iraqi branch of Iran's terrorist proxy Hezbollah has vowed that once ISIS is defeated it will start killing Americans, as it has done before.
It is against this backdrop that U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley used her entire speech to the UN Security Council on Wednesday to denounce the Iranian regime on multiple grounds. The session was supposed to be devoted to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Ambassador Haley departed from the monthly ritual during which Israel is normally singled out for criticism by other Council members. She went after Iran instead. She explained why the Trump administration decided to take "a comprehensive approach to confronting the Iranian regime," which does not give the regime a get out of jail free card even if it is in technical compliance with the loophole-ridden nuclear deal agreed to by the Obama administration.
"We can't talk about stability in the Middle East without talking about Iran," Ambassador Haley said. "That's because nearly every threat to peace and security in the Middle East is connected to Iran's outlaw behavior. The United States has now embarked on a course that attempts to address all aspects of Iran's destructive conduct, not just one aspect. It's critical that the international community do the same. Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat. Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive, destabilizing, and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise would be foolish."
Ambassador Haley accused the Iranian regime of continuing to "play" the Security Council. "Iran hides behind its assertion of technical compliance with the nuclear deal while it brazenly violates the other limits on its behavior. And we have allowed them to get away with it. This must stop."
Ambassador Haley proceeded to list various violations by the Iranian regime of Security Council resolutions pertaining to the transfer of conventional weapons from Iran and the arming of terrorist groups, including the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah. She also pointed to what she called the Iranian regime's "most threatening act" – its launch of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. "When a rogue regime starts down the path of ballistic missiles, it tells us that we will soon have another North Korea on our hands," Ambassador Haley said. "If it is wrong for North Korea to do this, why doesn't that same mentality apply to Iran? "
As for the Iran's supposed technical compliance with its commitments under the nuclear deal itself, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the UN's international inspectors are not able to visit Iran's military sites. Past work on nuclear explosive trigger devices appears to have taken place at one or more such sites in the past. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano admitted last month that when it comes to the IAEA's capacity to check whether Iran was conducting work on a nuclear explosive device, his agency's "tools are limited." The Iranian regime has also attempted to skirt the restrictions in the JCPOA on its procurement of materials, equipment, goods and technology related to Iran's nuclear activities. The Heritage Foundation noted in its recent report on the JCPOA, for example, that Iran was "caught red-handed trying to purchase nuclear technology and restricted ballistic missile technology from German companies."
U.S. intelligence had discovered North Korea's transfer of missile parts to Iran at the very same time that Iran was negotiating the nuclear deal, in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions then in effect. The Obama administration chose to look the other way. Does anybody with a modicum of sense really believe that such collaboration between the two rogue nations is not going on today? Iran is flush with cash, thanks to the JCPOA. It wants to build out its missile and nuclear enrichment capabilities. In addition to covert transfers of materials and technology to Iran in violation of the nuclear deal, the JCPOA may provide a loophole for Iran to exploit in outsourcing some of the development work to North Korea for hard currency, which North Korea desperately needs. They are a perfect match for each other.
Proponents of the JCPOA argue that exiting the nuclear deal unless it is changed to the Trump administration's satisfaction would undermine U.S. credibility with North Korea and thereby kill any chance of negotiations to resolve the crisis caused by North Korea's continued testing of sophisticated nuclear arms and ballistic missiles. "If we want to talk to North Korea now, the possible end for the nuclear deal with Iran would jeopardize the credibility of such treaties," Reuters quoted German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel as saying. Germany is one of the parties to the JCPOA. Other European allies have voiced similar concerns. So have Obama's former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.
This argument is absurd on its face. The whole point is to prevent Iran from becoming the next North Korea, not to kick the can down the road as usual. North Korea's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and of intercontinental ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads proves that weak agreements full of front-loaded goodies rewarding rogue regimes for elusive promises are worthless
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has put together a map showing how the Russian military is targeting civilians in Putin’s effort to support Iranian client dictator Bashar al-Assad to remain in power in Syria.
Take notice of the regimes in full military cooperation to keep al-Assad in power: Russia, Iran and incredulously NATO-member Turkey.
Russia officially may not be a Communist nation, but an old Communist former-Soviet Union KGB officer runs Russia in Vladimir Putin. Ever since the October 1917 Lenin led Communist revolution overthrew and assassinated the Russian Czar and the entire royal family, Russia has been no friend of the USA.
Turkey became an essential Cold War ally of the U.S. because the Communist Soviet Union was an actual threat to the Turkish Republic. Hence, Turkey became a member of NATO in Europe’s goal to be protected from Russian Communist imperialism which at the time made Eastern Europe Communist vassals. What changed with Turkey?
One – Russia became less a Communist global exporter and more a nationalist power broker. Two – Turkey under Erdogan’s leadership, has experienced a revival of Islamic originalism. Meaning Turkey is on a path to be a Sunni radical Islamic propagator as much as Iran is a radical Shia Islamic propagator. The only redeeming factor Turkey-Iran is eventually the age-old Sunni-Shia rivalry will eventually click in. Until Sunni-Shia mutual hatred diverts Turkey and Iran, Russia, Iran and Turkey have one mutual interest of taking down American power. Eventually all three will turn on each other, but until then American National Interests will face a tough road of uneasy speculative choices.
Russia renewed its violent, indiscriminate air campaign against civilians in Western Syria in order to coerce groups opposed to the Bashar al-Assad regime to accept a ceasefire or ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib Province. Russia shifted its air campaign to target rebel-held terrain in Idlib and Hama Provinces following an offensive launched by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – the successor of Syrian al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – in Northern Hama Province on September 19. The Russian Ministry of Defense launched an immediate disinformation operation to present this shift in its air campaign as a legitimate series of strikes against extremist groups attempting to disrupt a ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib Province brokered by Russia, Turkey, and Iran on September 15. Russia nonetheless mounted a systematic campaign of airstrikes against civilian infrastructure – including hospitals, schools, power stations, and mosques – as well as former U.S.-backed rebel groups unaffiliated with HTS or al Qaeda. The strikes marked a return to the widespread punitive air campaigns Russia previously directed against opposition-held terrain across Western Syria. Russia also employed advanced weapons systems to further inflict violence against Idlib Province under the guise of counter-terrorism operations. The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Permanent Mediterranean Task Force launched Kalibr cruise missiles targeting Ma’arat al-Numan in Southern Idlib Province on September 22. Russia Tu-95MS ‘Bear’ strategic bombers later launched Kh-101 cruise missiles targeting the outskirts of Idlib City on September 26. Russia’s deliberate use of violence against civilians precludes any legitimate, Russian-enforced ‘de-escalation’ zone in Idlib Province.
Russia also leveraged its ongoing air campaign to co-opt Turkey away from the U.S. and NATO in order to further set conditions for the planned ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib. Russia concentrated its airstrikes in areas of Western Idlib Province along the Syrian-Turkish Border from September 25 - 30. The Russian Air Force likely sought to interdict the movement of HTS and opposition forces ahead of a Turkish Armed Force (TSK) deployment into Idlib by targeting rebel-held areas connecting Western Aleppo Province to the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing on the Syrian-Turkish Border as well as key supply routes around Idlib City. Turkish President Recep Erdogan subsequently announced the start of cross-border operations to implement the Idlib ‘de-escalation zone’ on October 7. Erdogan stated that Russia would support his intervention. The TSK began deployments to observation positions in Northern Idlib Province near the majority-Kurdish Afrin Canton on October 12 following earlier reconnaissance missions. Russia likely perceives an opportunity to exploit widening diplomatic fissures between the U.S. and Turkey. Russia could thus attempt to use the ‘de-escalation zone’ to compel Turkey into deeper – albeit temporary – cooperation with Russia in Northwestern Syria at the expense of the United States.
The following graphic depicts ISW’s assessment of Russian airstrike locations based on reports from local Syrian activist networks, statements by Russian and Western officials, and documentation of Russian airstrikes through social media. This map represents locations targeted by Russia’s air campaign, rather than the number of individual strikes or sorties. The graphic likely under-represents the extent of the locations targeted in Eastern Syria, owing to a relative lack of activist reporting from that region.
High-Confidence Reporting.ISW places high confidence in reports corroborated by documentation from opposition factions and activist networks on the ground in Syria deemed to be credible that demonstrate a number of key indicators of Russian airstrikes.
Low-Confidence Reporting.ISW places low confidence in reports corroborated only by multiple secondary sources, including from local Syrian activist networks deemed credible or Syrian state-run media.
[Blog Editor: The following posted on email but not webpage]
The preceding graphic depicts ISW's assessment of Russian airstrike locations based on reports from local Syrian activist networks, statements by Russian and Western officials, and documentation of Russian airstrikes through social media. This map represents locations targeted by Russia's air campaign, rather than the number of individual strikes or sorties. The graphic likely under-represents the extent of the locations targeted in Eastern Syria, owing to a relative lack of activist reporting from that region.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization. ISW advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation's ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. Visit us at www.understandingwar.org.
The Institute for the Study of War, 1400 16th Street NW, Suite 515, Washington, DC 20036
The Institute for the Study of War advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. ISW is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.
We believe ground realities must drive the formulation of strategy and policy. In pursuit of this principle, ISW conducts detailed, open-source intelligence analysis to provide the most accurate information on current conflicts and security threats. ISW researchers spend time in conflict zones conducting independent assessments and enhancing their understanding of realities on the ground. Through reports and timely events, our research educates military and civilian leaders, reporters, and the public to enhance the quality of policy debates.
Sixteen years ago, on September 11, 2001 Americans awoke to the morning news reporting a hijacked airline was flown into one of the then existing towers of the World Trade Center. Then if you were watching your TV a certainty was realized it was no accident when another airline flew into another tower of the World Trade Center.
All of a sudden the news was reporting other airlines had been hijacked and we later learned that one flew into the Pentagon and another mysteriously crashed in Pennsylvania.
Then the news reported that Islamic terrorists belonging to a group of terrorists called al Qaeda perpetrated the attack. Then we were told the Muslim in charge of these terrorists was Usama (aka Osama) bin Ladin. Bin Ladin was holed-up in a nation most Americans barely knew about called Afghanistan. If you did know about Afghanistan it was because you were a news hound in the ‘80s aware that our Intelligence services were helping a group of Muslims rebel against their Soviet controlled Communist government. The irony of our aid to these Muslim rebels: Usama bin Ladin – a Saudi national – learned or earned his chops fighting the Soviets propping up the Afghan Communist government.
Justin Smith has submitted a bit of a memorial which will give the reason why we are at war with Muslim terrorists in Afghanistan who too often sneak across the border to Pakistan to regroup.
Sixteen long years have passed, since the clear blue sky above New York City exploded in a fiery inferno, toxic smoke and the stench of burning flesh and death on September 11, 2001, and for many, the memories of the murder of nearly three thousand Americans, friends and relatives and fellow countrymen, remains as fresh as this morning's dew. Those of us, who remember all too well, have the solemn obligation and duty to ensure America's future generations do not soon forget, that Islamic jihadists struck the single deadliest attack on U.S. soil by any foe since the War of 1812.
Two thousand nine-hundred and seventy-seven (CNN Library) Americans never could have imagined the horror they would soon face the morning of 9/11, as they headed to work at the Twin Towers. Their thoughts were filled with work, schedules, and perhaps returning home to play softball with their children or having dinner with a fiancée, or a husband or wife.
It was 8:46 a.m. (EST), when nineteen Muslim terrorists, following the edicts of the evil ideology of Islam and their false "prophet" Mohammed, flew American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Seventeen minutes later, 9:03 a.m., Muslim terrorists hit the South Tower with United Airlines Flight 175, and 34 minutes later American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
People jumped and fell from all four sides of both towers. There's no way of accurately telling how many people died this way, but the horror they experienced just before their deaths is unimaginable, as they plummeted towards the earth at 150 miles per hour.
The end to this heinous attack and the final blow arrived, with the horrifying news that United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, while its passengers bravely fought the terrorists. From start to finish, nearly an hour and a half had elapsed. By 10:03 a.m. nearly 3000 innocent Americans -- loved ones, friends and neighbors -- were dead.
Set aside any emotional impulse to block 9/11 from one's mind and embrace the gut-wrenching memory. Remember that America was attacked because of Her freedom and liberty and Her stand against oppression and tyranny worldwide. And there are many other things America should never forget, while we lower the flag, lay wreaths and ring bells in memory of the dead this September 11th.
Never forget, America received many warnings that a clash between Islam and the West, a clash of civilizations, was on the way, with tragedies like the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon and the U.S. Embassy in Kenya and the suicide bombing attack on the USS Cole. We were even informed ahead of 9/11 that it was coming soon.
The first real warning occurred on February 26, 1993, when Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, master bomb-designer, detonated a bomb under the World Trade Center, on orders from Al Qaeda's Blind Sheikh, that carved out a stories deep crater, injured a thousand people and killed six. The bomb was supposed to kill thousands by releasing a cyanide cloud, however, the explosion incinerated the gas.
Omar Abdel Rahman, the ‘Blind Sheikh'
Never forget, since 9/11, at least thirteen Islamic inspired terrorist attacks have been carried out across America, by Muslims following Mohammed's "perfect" example, such as we witnessed in the Boston Bombing, the D.C. sniper murders, the shootings at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, San Bernardino, Chattanooga and several others. There have been numerous attacks by Muslims that the press refuses to call "terrorism", and there have been scores of terror plots and attempted terrorist acts foiled by the authorities.
Never Forget, the nineteen Muslim terrorists were able to attack America on September 11, 2001, because they were trained and funded by Wahhabist imams and members of the Saudi Royal Family, as revealed by the 9/11 Commission Report. And recall, that they also had some large degree of help from Shiite Muslims in the Islamic Republic of Iran, having spent significant time in Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.
The fires of that September morning burned for 100 days and moved America to seek an accounting from these Sons of Allah in wars we are still fighting. Islam is at war with Western civilization, Europe and America, just as Islam fought us (infidels and Westerners) under the Ottoman Empire, or a thousand years ago, now that Islam is in a new ascendancy.
America is still in an ongoing war against us, being waged by Islam, its imams and jihadi terrorists, who want to do the very same thing today that they did sixteen years ago, except on a grander scale.
The United States intelligence community acknowledges that all Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have had some recent, if limited, success in acquiring chemical weapons, like anthrax, VX nerve agents and ricin. More troubling and dangerous, they seek nuclear weapons, as Graham Allison notes in a policy brief for Harvard's Belfer Center; and though many may see any success towards this as unlikely, it is certainly not implausible, given Iran's, Pakistan's and Saudi Arabia's duplicitous, self-serving roles in the "war on terror".
No one ever envisioned jet airliners would be used as Muslim terrorist's instruments of death against us, however, September 11th brought a new visual reality, as officials sworn to protect America were forced to stare into a vast, smoking pit scooped out of lower Manhattan. As then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice repeatedly stated: "If you were in the White House that day ... every day since has been September twelfth. And your great fear is that it may be September tenth."
In his book 'The Field of Fight', former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael Flynn wrote: "We're in a world war, but very few Americans recognize it, and fewer still have any idea how to win it."
Americans have the agonizing images of the horrible and unimaginable calamity of September 11th seared into their minds and hearts. We never forgot the lives so brutally and callously cut short, the children who lost mothers and fathers, and the sorrow that followed; and, we clearly remember the depths of inhumanity to which these Islamic terrorists are willing to sink, as we ring the bells, read the names and honor our dead: September 11, 2001 forced many Americans to the understanding, that America must gather the strength and courage to stop Islam's violent ascendancy and expansion, at home and abroad, by driving their "holy warriors" into the ground, killing them, and even killing their families, until they grow weary of death and make war no more, if that is the only way to end their insanity.
By Justin O. Smith
Edited by John R. Houk
Most source links are by Justin Smith, a few are by the Editor.
Justin Smith writes about the nuclear tensions between North Korea and the United States. The Leftist MSM is quick to blame President Trump for escalating the tensions EVEN THOUGH the entire escalation threat is from Communist dictator Kim Jong Un.
America is left only the hardest of choices to deal with a nuclear armed and belligerent North Korea, that recently fired another intercontinental ballistic missile on July 28th (10:45 pm EST) from Jagang province, the latest in a score of tests over the past year, with an approximate range of 6000 miles. America cannot tolerate an ever expanding and improving nuclear arsenal, under Kim Jong Un, an irrational and unstable dictator, who murdered his uncle in December 2013 and his half-brother in February of this year: and, while a bloody conventional war isn't sought by America and South Korea, America cannot afford to do nothing and risk a massive loss of life in a future nuclear conflagration.
On August 7th, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a new poll, that revealed 90 percent of Americans "reject the idea that North Korea should be allowed to produce nuclear weapons", 75 percent view North Korea's nuclear weapons systems as a "critical threat facing the United States", and 62 percent would support the use of U.S. troops to defend South Korea from North Korea. They are right to be concerned.
North Korea has a long history of brash, reckless chutzpah and violent aggression towards the United States and South Korea, long after the Armistice was signed on July 27th, 1953. In some of the more recent cases, the world saw the North Korean navy fire on the South Korean navy in South Korea's own territorial waters on November 10th, 2009; North Korea fired over 170 artillery shells and rockets at Yeonpyeong Island that injured 19 and killed four South Koreans, on November 23rd, 2010, and they even sneaked across the border in 2015 and planted land-mines that maimed two South Korean soldiers.
Ryan Mauro's August 9th article for the Clarion Project revisits reports that detail North Korea's alliance with Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamofascists in general. In 2009, two thousand detonators and 35 tons of rockets, shoulder-fired missiles and equipment for surface-to-air-missiles were intercepted on two separate occasions. They were coming from North Korea to Iran for distribution to Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups in Thailand. North Korea states that it "fully supports" the Palestinian jihad, and North Korea has also regularly armed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines for many decades.
It is also worth noting that the USS Pueblo, a Banner-class environmental ship attached to Navy Intelligence, was attacked and captured by the North Korean navy on January 23rd, 1968. The USS Pueblo still sits on the Taedong River near Pyongyang, North Korea, as a tool for anti-American propaganda and a monument to North Korea's " courage and bravery".
Once North Korea's nuclear weapons systems are fully capable, what happens when North Korea threatens to nuke a U.S. city or one of our allies, unless some unreasonable demand is met, like reunifying Korea under their control? If they threaten us with nuclear destruction, unless we stay out of the South China Sea, an international trade route, what are we to do? Prepare for nuclear war?
Reports from Japan's annual defense review and the U.S. DefenseIntelligence Agency's analysis last month indicate that North Korea has succeeded in miniaturizing nuclear warheads enough to mount them on their missiles, including its long-range missiles that are now able to hit America's mainland. This has been North Korea's goal from day one of the Armistice, and the pace of their breakthroughs hold far reaching consequences and threatens to bring war.
To date, North Korea has not perfected reentry of its missiles, and its latest missile launch caught fire and disintegrated, as it plummeted to earth. Most U.S. analysts and experts believe they will have this problem solved by next year.
After the July 28th ICBM test, President Donald Trump presented a case for sanctions to the United Nations, because he has warned North Korea numerous times, and he is unwilling to tolerate this situation. China, Russia and the entire United Nations Security Council voted unanimously, 15-0, to place strong economic and trade sanctions on this rogue nation, but North Korea has remained ever defiant and threatened to take revenge on the United States, illustrating sanctions won't work.
In one of their first statements, the North Korean Army described Andersen Air Force Base on Guam as a "beachhead" for a potential U.S. invasion of North Korea, that would be one of their targets. While this sounds like a defensive tact, it also suggests that they have obviously considered a first strike on America, her allies and her territories. They proclaimed that they will create an "enveloping fire" in areas around Guam.
Sitting next to Melania, his wife, at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J. on August 8th, President Trump stated (reported by Associated Press): "North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
This warning is not worrying the upper echelons of North Korea's military, who seem to be fully on board with Kim Jong Un's malevolent and maniacal vision, as General Kim Rak Gyom suggested that President Trump was "getting on (their) nerves". They are unwilling or unable to accurately assess the risks of their actions. It's as if they have no sense of America's alarm over their actions or any belief that America will retaliate with force.
North Korea has even threatened to sell nuclear weapons to America's enemies and international terrorist groups. They could easily sell off a few, since they will have nearly 100 by 2020.And it is not out of the realm of possibility that they could facilitate a nuclear attack on America, by an Islamic terrorist group, and claim it wasn't them.
Will our government still be trying to negotiate on the day that one or more nuclear devices, stamped "Made in North Korea", make America's horizon a glowing inferno?
The time for talking and negotiating has long passed, and the hardest of choices lies ahead, while an irrational Kim Jong Un becomes increasingly bellicose with each significant nuclear armament success. Seventeen years of talk from feckless American leaders has placed this choice before us. Rather than accept nuclear weapons capable of striking the heart of America, in the hands of an American-hating rogue nation with a history of arming terrorists, President Donald Trump must resort to a lightening swift preemptive strike at the heart of North Korea, utilizing the Mother of All Bombs and tactical nuclear weapons on every military position, nuclear facility and Pyongyang too…
America can no longer afford to hurl ineffective economic sanctions at North Korea, that are too often violated by nations like China, while North Korea and its malevolent dictator, Kim Jong Un, prepare to let nuclear armed missiles fly at their leisure. The United States government and President Donald Trump must give some hard, serious and real consideration on striking at the heart of Pyongyang North Korea, Kim Jong Un's regime and all North Korean missile launch sites and nuclear facilities, since placing our country's fate in the hands of a murderous and unstable dictator, who has murdered senior officials and family members on a whim, and a regime capable of reckless behavior would be beyond egregious and a monumental mistake.
On July 4th 2017, North Korea conducted a missile test of the Hwasong-14 that was a success in many ways. There is little reason to question North Korea's claim that the missile reached an altitude of over 1700 miles and hit a target 580 miles away, in light of the fact that North Korea placed two satellites in space in 2012. This demonstrated that, at a lower altitude and straighter trajectory, Anchorage Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Japan and even Queensland Australia are within range of Pyongyang's nuclear missiles, once it perfects the process of miniaturizing the nuclear warheads. Washington was also served a warning.
An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched from North Korea would hit Los Angeles within thirty minutes. Riki Ellison, chairman of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, asserts that North Korea already has miniaturized warheads capable of delivering 20 kilotons of destruction, similar to the bomb detonated over Nagasaki during WWII, and many other experts predict that Kim Jong Un will have the capability to hit America's West Coast before President Trump completes his first term.
A nuclear armed and unpredictable rogue state, North Korea will not be deterred along similar lines as the former Soviet Union and China have been. They have less to lose than any previous nuclear power, and Pyongyang will most certainly attempt nuclear blackmail at best. In the worst case scenario, Pyongyang will give nukes to our Islamic enemies and third party terrorists, to insert in our harbors and cities.
North Korea has pursued nuclear weapons, since the day it acquired nuclear technology from the Soviet Union in the 1950s. It is too close to success to stop. And besides, Kim Jong Un's survival depends on a viable nuclear weapons system.
North Korea was already blatantly defiant and violently aggressive without nukes and a missile delivery system. Just imagine how far Kim Jong Un will go, once he has a fully operational nuclear arsenal at his fingertips.
Does anyone really believe a nuclear armed North Korea won't exact a heavy price from the free world?
An April 15th 2017 editorial in the Chinese Communist newspaper, the 'Global Times', essentially stated that Beijing would not militarily intervene, if Washington conducts a preemptive strike against North Korean nuclear facilities. However, China won't accept a non-communist regime in North Korea or U.S. troops crossing the 38th Parallel. If the U.S. strikes the Kim regime, China would likely focus on instituting a pro-China regime and possibly seizing North Korea's missile and nuclear sites, rather than a war with U.S.-South Korea joint military forces.
The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is less than forty miles from Seoul's 25 million inhabitants and lined with 8,000 pieces of North Korean artillery and rocket launchers. Within the first hour of any renewed conventional war between the two Koreas, North Korea has the ability to unleash the equivalent of 300,000 tons of TNT on Seoul, possibly killing as many as 100,000 people. For this reason, during a May 2017 press conference, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated, "If this goes to a military solution, it's going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale".
Seoul has much to lose, however, any military move against North Korea doesn't necessarily have to be the tragedy some U.S. officials have suggested it would be. And while America may be bound by treaty to defend South Korea, our leaders and President Trump cannot allow South Korean President Moon Jae-in's conciliatory policy towards North Korea to place the U.S. in the untenable position of accepting a capable nuclear armed North Korea and any consequences that follow.
On Wednesday, the Fifth of July, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council that our "considerable military forces" were an option. Continuing, Nikki Haley stated, "We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to go in that direction".
A preemptive strike is not a good option, and nobody assumes it would be easy. People will die on both sides, but North Korea's nuclear threat is one that must be destroyed, before it grows too much stronger, or exponentially more lives will be lost in its wake years hence. America can do it without near the tragic results for Seoul that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis states, if the U.S. will resolve to drop tactical nukes and MOABs on the nuclear facilities, the launch sites at Sohae and Tonghae [aka Donghae] and the eight thousand pieces of artillery and military units along the Demilitarized Zone simultaneously.
One should note that prior to the signing of the Armistice in 1953 and the cease-fire that followed, President Dwight D. Eisenhower considered using nukes against North Korea to end the war. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles agreed that the United States should not shrink from using nuclear weapons, especially if their use prevented a greater loss of life over time, but he did favor limited use.
Kim Jong Un arrogantly fired Hwasong-14 on America's Independence Day, in utter contempt of any objections from either China or the Free World. America answered with U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers and South Korean and Japanese jet fighters joint flights over the Korean Peninsula on July 7th 2017, the sixty-fourth anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice.
Is it not apparent to the world that America is one of the last nations standing between tyrants and freedom?
War should never be a first, second or even third choice. The Land of the Free, America cannot and must not tolerate a nation that enslaves and murders its own people and citizens from other nations. The Home of the Brave, America cannot and must not lapse into a fool-hardy and cowardly repose in the face of a fat boy tyrant, who called the Hwasong-14 test a "gift to the American bastards". America must not find Herself firing off more sanctions on the day Kim Jong Un detonates a bright glowing nuke over one of our cities. Stopping North Korea requires war.
By Justin O. Smith
Edited by John R. Houk
Text within brackets and all source links by the Editor.
Justin Smith sent a submission that he termed his rant against Antifa. The Antifa groups are Leftist anarchists that use violence and intimidation to make the rule of law ungovernable. I am absolutely on board with Justin’s very justifiable venting against the American Leftist to transform America by any means necessary.
The "Antifa" FASCIST protestors who took to the streets of America during the past few weeks and in Nashville, TN on May 1st -- part of a movement that's growing in the U.S. -- are the same people who are constantly demanding that government give them more entitlements and less work. These aren't rebels; they're willing participants in a perpetual government charade. These days, real rebels fight for the freedom to be left alone.
The reason why these so-called "anti-fascists" aren't willing to fight for true independence is that they want to cherry-pick the nature of government intervention in their lives. They want the nanny-state to take care of them, but they also want to dictate its red lines. It's like raising a great white shark and then trying to teach it how to swim with you. And with the Progressive Communists of the Democratic Party facilitating and tacitly approving these anti-American bastard's violence and treason, we're at the "this thing had better not chew through its' harness" phase of the swimming lesson.
We all have the Right to go about our daily lives and work for the things we want. With 100 million on welfare, most who are able-bodied and gaming the welfare system, no one is truly "poor" in any real sense of the word --- not when they all have cellphones and half of them are hittin' 200lbs from too many potato chips and donuts.
You want to see really poor and starving people? Just look at Venezuela where the Socialist system has run out of OTHER PEOPLE's money and the people are STARVING TO DEATH IN THE STREETS OR BEING SLAUGHTERED BY THOSE IMMORAL ENOUGH TO SIMPLY MURDER AND ROB FOR WHAT THEY WANT.
Whether You comprehend it or not, Our Constitutional Republic has created more economic prosperity and individual liberty for MORE AMERICANS AND PEOPLE WORLDWIDE THAN ANY OTHER SYSTEM IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF MANKIND. AND THAT IS A PROVEN, VERIFIABLE HISTORICAL FACT.
Your group is seeking change simply for the sake of change, while being manipulated by the CommunistInternationale. If You truly stand for Freedom and Liberty You will leave Antifa and set Your sights on stopping the Progressive Communist Statists in BOTH THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES, who seek to control over every aspect of All Our lives, and circumvent and subvert the U.S. Constitution through legislative tyranny and rules within bureaucracies.
Eradicate the Federal Reserve Bank, back Our currency with Gold or Silver again, Kill the Income Tax and the IRS, and withdraw from the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund and great economic strides will readily occur for all Americans as Our economy once again could thrive as intended.
But if Antifa seeks war with honest God-fearing American citizens, who love this country and their Families and have a strong understanding of the reasons Our constitutional republic is still the BEST Thing going, then I aim to stack Antifa bodies ten feet high to the Left and Right of me and ALL Around for as FAR as the Eye Can See.
God Bless All Who Fight for Freedom and Individual Liberty and God Bless Our Beloved America.
de Oppresso Liber** --- Deus Vult***
On My Honor and On My Life
Justin O. Smith
**de Oppresso Liber: In the United States Army Special Forces, the motto is traditionally believed to mean "to free from oppression" or "to liberate the oppressed" in English. (Wikipedia)
For those of you buying the Sarin attack is a false flag hoax, the Trump Administration is declassifying the evidence from whence sarin was loaded at Shayrat Airfield on Su-22 fixed-wing aircraft. Flown over Khan Shaykhun and released on the civilian residents.
There is even the appearance that – SURPRISE – Russia and Iran has spreading disinformation about the sarin attack. This would be where conspiracy theorists have picked up false flag data and then proceeded to spread the Russian/Iranian propaganda.
“The U.S. has confirmed the agent used in the attack was sarin, from testing on the victims and from symptom reports as well as "leakage around the actual weapon that we think the sarin came from." Emergency personnel suffered exposure symptoms from coming into contact with contaminated victims.”
The above quote is from PJ Media article that I am cross posting below.
WASHINGTON -- White House officials said today that the U.S. has amassed a mountain of evidence confirming that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin against the town of Khan Shaykhun last week, and indicated they're still trying to determine if Russia knew about the attack beforehand.
A declassified summary of the intelligence report on the attack that killed dozens and injured hundreds one week ago today found that the Syrian and Russian assertion that the nerve agent must have come from terrorist or rebel forces also has no basis in fact.
New information coming in "continues to be clear and consistent with our understanding of the attack," a senior White House official told reporters on background today.
The declassified information was compiled from open-source materials ranging from videos to on-the-ground accounts, geospatial intelligence, U.S. signals intelligence, and physiological samples from attack victims.
The attack came from Su-22 fixed-wing aircraft out of the Shayrat airfield hit in subsequent U.S. strikes, the report says; the planes were in the Khan Shaykhun area for 20 minutes before the first report of a chemical attack came in, and left soon after. The administration also has "information that suggest that personnel historically associated with the chemical weapons program were at Shayrat airfield in late March preparing for this attack," and these people were there again on the day of the attack.
The U.S. has confirmed the agent used in the attack was sarin, from testing on the victims and from symptom reports as well as "leakage around the actual weapon that we think the sarin came from." Emergency personnel suffered exposure symptoms from coming into contact with contaminated victims.
A hospital treating attack victims was struck by conventional weapons about six hours after the chemical attack.
On hoax theories, the White House official said the "absolute massive data we have in all the different vehicles -- we've gotten it from open-source videos, to victim accounts, to imagery, to signals intelligence, is just too massive for really any -- any intelligence organization to fabricate in that short a period of time; we just think that's not a feasible explanation." Intel agencies have confirmed that videos distributed of the attack were filmed at the time and in the locations claimed.
"Across the board starting in 2013 [with the Ghouta sarin attack] and then since, we've seen both the Russians and the Syrians have a very clear campaign to try to obfuscate the nature of attacks, the attackers, and what has happened at any particular incident," the official said.
"They've thrown out a bunch of potential agents, a bunch of potential responsible or accountable parties. And often their own information is inconsistent with their own narrative. They certainly have dismissed the allegations of a chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun. They called it a 'prank of a provocative nature.' But again, we don't think it's remotely possible for the Syrians or the Russians to have fabricated this much information so fast and so consistently on this attack."
The official added that the Russian theory that a conventional regime strike hit a chemical weapons depot is "inconsistent" with the facts, stressing terrorist groups or rebels are not known to have sarin and "we don't see a building, again, with that chemical residue we would expect if the Russian narrative was true." The chemical weapon landed in the middle of a street.
It's "quite clear to us, that in this case, this is not a terrorist holding of sarin, or a terrorist use of sarin, but we do know that the Syrian regime has sarin," the official said.
Another official said the White House is "still looking into what we think the intelligence-community assessment or other is about Russian knowledge of, involvement, etc."
The official said there's "not a consensus on our side" yet "about the extent or how to interpret the information that we have and continue to get," adding that historically and especially in the past two years of conflict Russia and Syria are two militaries that "operate very closely, even down to an operational and a tactical level."
"And so considering the fact that there were Russian forces co-located with Syrian forces at the Shayrat airfield in addition to many other installations -- many other Syrian regime installations around the country," the official added. "We do think that it is a question worth asking the Russians about how is it possible that their forces were co-located with the Syrian forces that planned, prepared, and carried out chemical weapons attack at the same installation and did not have foreknowledge."
"...We don't know the tactical intentions of the Russians on that day, on any operations that they may have been involved in."
The officials would not comment on the existence of any U.S. signals intelligence that would indicate collusion between the Russians and Syrians or a direct order from Assad to attack the town.
The first White House official said they "take very seriously the possibility that Syria may have additional agents elsewhere" and are "working with our intelligence community to understand every piece of information they have about where such munitions might be located, who might be a hold of them."
"And I can tell you that that's going to be part of what we try to figure out, where we go from here."
Officials theorized that the chemical weapons strike was conducted because, even though a civilian neighborhood was the target, Khan Shaykhun was one of the support areas in the rear of the opposition front lines advancing on Hama since March. The city includes a key airbase for Assad's forces.
"At that point, the regime, we think, calculated that with its manpower spread quite think trying to support both defensive operations and consolidation operations in Aleppo and along that north-south spine of western Syria, and also trying to support operations which required it to send manpower and resources east toward Palmyra, we believe that the regime probably calculated at that point that chemical weapons were necessary in order to try to make up for the manpower deficiency," an official said.
"...We believe certainly that there were -- there was an operational calculus that the regime and perhaps its Russian advisers went through in terms of the decision-making."
Since its inception in 2005, PJ Media has been focused on the news that matters -- from the insightful commentary provided by our all-star lineup of columnists to our writers' quick takes on breaking news and trending stories. The media company's founders -- Academy Award Nominee Roger L. Simon, Charles Johnson (Little Green Footballs) and Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) -- brought together a tightly knit band of bloggers into an integrated website that has evolved into a reliable source for original, unique, and cutting-edge political news and analysis.
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While Dems are crying about the unproven collusion between President Trump and the Russians to win Election-2016 AND ignoring Dem collusion with the Russians (which is better documented), Russia is quietly changing the balance of power in the Middle East by colluding with Iran for geopolitical regional power.
The Dems are either saps or more than willing to stealthily cooperate with the former Soviet Union whose President is a former uber-spy Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s primary objective in Syria is to constrain U.S. freedom of action – not fight ISIS and al Qaeda. Russia’s military deployments at current levels will not enable the Iranian-penetrated Assad regime to secure Syria. Moscow’s deepening footprint in Syria threatens America’s ability to defend its interests across the Middle East and in the Mediterranean Sea. The next U.S. step in Syria must help regain leverage over Russia rather than further encourage Putin’s expansionism.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) produced this report with the Critical Threats Project (CTP). The insights are part of an intensive multi-month exercise to frame, design, and evaluate potential courses of action that the United States could pursue to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) and al Qaeda in Syria. The ISW-CTP team recently released “America’s Way Ahead in Syria,” which details the flaws in the current U.S. approach in Iraq and Syria and proposes the first phase of a strategic reset in the Middle East.
Russia’s intervention in Syria in September 2015 fundamentally altered the balance of the Syrian Civil War.1 Russia re-established momentum behind Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his Iranian allies at a moment when major victories by ISIS and Syrian rebels threatened to force the regime to contract into Syria’s central corridor.2 The capabilities Russia deployed were not limited to the airframes, artillery, and personnel needed to conduct a counter-terrorism or counterinsurgency mission, however. Russia deployed advanced air defense and ballistic missile systems, naval units, air superiority aircraft, and other capabilities in a display of major Russian force projection in the region. Russian President Vladimir Putin is altering the balance of power in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean through sustained Russian military operations and additional deployments of high-end capabilities.
Russian Force Projection
Russia ultimately seeks to expand its permanent naval and air bases on the Syrian coast in order to further project force into the Mediterranean and Middle East. Russia’s establishment of an anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) exclusion zone from its bases at Latakia and Tartous allows Russia to create de-facto no fly zones in the Eastern Mediterranean as well as over most of Syria. These A2/AD zones constrain U.S. freedom of movement and ultimately raise the cost of U.S. involvement in Syria.3 Russia deployed the naval version of the S-300 to protect the airspace over Latakia airbase in Syria in November 2015.4 Russia also deployed the S-400 in late November 2015 shortly after the Turkish downing of a Russian jet.5 Russia has since deployed an additional seven S-300 systems in an effort to build in redundancies, advance the integration of its air defenses, and provide more comprehensive coverage.6 The S-300 and S-400 systems are road mobile and interoperable, increasing the difficulty of neutralizing the systems. [See Appendix I]
Putin wants to challenge the U.S. and its allies by increasing Russian military and political influence in the Middle East. Russia has rotated a wide range of naval vessels to participate in the conflict in order to demonstrate the capabilities of these units and Russia’s willingness to deploy them in the Mediterranean. Russia has deployed some of its most advanced non-nuclear naval capabilities to the Eastern Mediterranean.7 Russian subsurface and surface vessels successfully engaged ground targets in Syria after launching Kalibr cruise missiles from the Mediterranean and Caspian Seas.8 Russia has shown it can undertake precision strikes with the nuclear-capable Kalibr cruise missile at significant distance.
Russia also maintains anti-ship capabilities in the Mediterranean, including the Bastion-P coastal defense system. Russia demonstrated the land attack capabilities of the Bastion in November 2016.9 Russia has also deployed battle cruisers that bring advanced anti-ship and air defense capabilities off the Syrian coast. Russia’s deployment of its much-ridiculed aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov nevertheless showcased its force projection capabilities and intent to exhibit its naval presence in the Mediterranean.10 [See Appendix II]
Putin has deployed air defense and anti-ship systems to Syria in order to threaten the United States. Russia does not need these systems to support the counter-terrorism campaign it claims it is waging against anti-Assad opposition groups in Syria. Those groups do not operate aircraft or naval vessels. Russia also deployed the nuclear capable SS-26 ‘Iskander’ ballistic missiles to Syria and used the systems to attack opposition held terrain.11 The Iskander missiles provide no meaningful additional advantage against the opposition. The only conceivable target for these advanced systems is the U.S. and its allies. [See Appendix III]
Constrain U.S. Freedom of Action
Russia has used its deployment to constrain U.S. freedom of action and limit American policy options in Syria. Russia deployed the S-300 and S-400 air defense systems to deter the U.S. from direct military action against the Assad regime through the unilateral establishment of a no-fly zone. Russia has also forward deployed assets beyond its air and naval bases on the coast in order to further complicate the personnel are primarily concentrated in Latakia, Aleppo, and Tartous Provinces, but are also active in Hama, Homs, Damascus, and Hasakah and include a wide range of units including air assault, tank, medical, naval infantry, and special operations forces. [See Appendix IV]
Russia has intentionally removed potential U.S. partners within the armed opposition from the battlefield in Syria. Russian airstrikes from October 2015 to March 2017 have primarily targeted the mainstream Syrian opposition – not ISIS – in order to ensure the opposition’s defeat through its submission, destruction, or transformation. The Russian air campaign has driven what remains of the mainstream opposition closer to Salafi-jihadi groups, which are stronger and better able to defend against intensified pro-regime military operations. Russia is also exacerbating radicalization through its deliberate, illegal targeting of civilians. Russia has consistently targeted hospitals, schools, and other critical civilian infrastructure throughout the sixteen months of its air campaign.
Russian Testing Grounds
Russia has also used sustained use of transport aircraft in Syria to exercise the Russian military’s overall combat readiness and force projection capabilities. Expeditionary logistics and force projection is difficult for militaries to exercise, in general. Russia is exercising expeditionary logistics by air and sea in Syria.13 Russia is refining its ability to deploy its military personnel and equipment rapidly at a large scale in order to message its ability to threaten the U.S. and its NATO and European allies. Russia announced its intent to prioritize the development of naval equipment for troop transport on March 8 in order to increase the Russian Navy’s ability to provide logistical support in Syria and in other coastal zones.14 Russia also re-supplies and provides combat support for prospect of direct U.S. strikes against the Syrian regime for fear of inadvertently hitting Russian troops. Sources estimated that Russia maintains between 1,500 and 4,000 military personnel in Syria.12 These forces in Syria through frequent deliveries from Russian Il-76 and An-124 transport aircraft. As of October 2016, these transport aircraft were making multiple trips to Syria each month and it is likely that these aircraft continue to make regular trips to Syria. [See Appendix V]
Limitations of Russian Capabilities
Putin faces a number of economic and military constraints that limit the resources Russia can bring to bear in Syria. Russia’s economic crisis has forced Russia to balance limited resources across key theaters like Ukraine, the Baltics, the Middle East, and domestically in Russia. Putin has opted to pursue multiple, mutually reinforcing lines of effort using a diverse set of naval, air, missile, and ground capabilities in Syria. The overlap allows Russia to extract significant benefits with minimal cost. The Russian military has demonstrated its many shortcomings during its deployment to Syria, including frequent friendly fire incidents, losses of Russian aircraft, a poor performance by Russia’s aging aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov, and reports of mechanical failure of Russian equipment.15
The Russian deployment, at current levels, will be insufficient to grant Assad victory over the opposition, al Qaeda, or ISIS. Russia, Iran, and the regime have been unable to sustain significant simultaneous operations against ISIS and the Syrian opposition, despite Russia’s considerable airframe deployments. Russian airframes were unable to prevent ISIS’s recapture of Palmyra in December 2016 alongside a final pro-regime push to defeat the opposition in Aleppo, for example.16 Russia has instead used ‘cessation of hostilities’ agreements to drawdown its airstrikes against the opposition and surge its air campaign against ISIS for limited periods of time.17 Salafi-Jihadi groups have meanwhile begun to consolidate the opposition under more effective command-and-control structures, increasing rebels’ capabilities and resiliency.18 This dynamic will not only lead to a protracted and bloody civil war for the foreseeable future, but it ultimately raises the requirements for the U.S. to deal with the conflict.
Russia is both an unacceptable and ineffective partner against jihadists in Syria. The Russian deployment is inconsistent with Putin’s narrative that Russia intervened in Syria in order to combat terrorists. Many of its capabilities have no utility in the anti-ISIS fight. Putin instead seeks to use Russia’s deployment to subordinate U.S. military action and policies to Russian objectives in Syria. Russia’s aggressive deployment to Syria intends to deter the U.S. from intervening for fear of incurring significant costs. Russia has largely pursued its objectives in Syria with impunity. It has deprived the U.S. of freedom of maneuver, disrupted U.S. partnerships with key allies in the region, and facilitated Russia’s emergence as a geopolitical force in the region. Any potential partnership with Russia in Syria will further strengthen jihadists and force the U.S. to capitulate to a Russian vision for the broader Middle East that endangers America’s security interests.
Genevieve Casagrande is a Syria Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Kathleen Weinberger is a Russia and Ukraine Analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Institute for the Study of War Twitter: @TheStudyofWar Critical Threats Twitter: @criticalthreats
[Blog Editor: From this point forward the rest of the report are the Appendices (i.e. charts) and Notes. The last section is actually longer than the report itself. To view the Appendices and Notes go to the PDF.]
The Institute for the Study of War advances an informed understanding of military affairs through reliable research, trusted analysis, and innovative education. We are committed to improving the nation’s ability to execute military operations and respond to emerging threats in order to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. ISW is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.
Dr. Kimberly Kagan founded ISW in May 2007, as U.S. forces undertook a daring new counterinsurgency strategy to reverse the grim security situation on the ground in Iraq. Frustrated with the prevailing lack of accurate information documenting developments on the ground in Iraq and the detrimental effect of biased reporting on policymakers, Dr. Kagan established ISW to provide real-time, independent, and open-source analysis of ongoing military operations and …READ THE REST
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