22 June 1941

First I would like to apologize this post is a day late because of TS Cindy….it made my internet a bit spotty at times and I missed posting this on the anniversary day.

As most readers know I like history and I try to impart as much as I can when I can…….

This is the 76th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa….where Germany attacks the Soviet Union

On June 22, 1941, Adolf Hitler launched his armies eastward in a massive invasion of the Soviet Union: three great army groups with over three million German soldiers, 150 divisions, and three thousand tanks smashed across the frontier into Soviet territory. The invasion covered a front from the North Cape to the Black Sea, a distance of two thousand miles. By this point German combat effectiveness had reached its apogee; in training, doctrine, and fighting ability, the forces invading Russia represented the finest army to fight in the twentieth century. Barbarossa was the crucial turning point in World War II, for its failure forced Nazi Germany to fight a two-front war against a coalition possessing immensely superior resources.

Source: Operation Barbarossa – World War II – HISTORY.com

The USSR was caught flat footed which allow the Nazis a upper hand for awhile….

Russia has declassified some documents about that invasion…..(I must insert here that this could be a whitewash since they date back to 1952)

In 1952, the Soviet General Staff gathered a task force in its military science and history directorate, headed by Colonel-General Aleksandr Pokrovsky. Their task was to collect data, including eyewitness accounts, on the state of the Red Army shortly before and in the first part of the war with the Nazis.

As part of the study, Pokrovsky gathered accounts from surviving officers, who were in charge of the three western military districts and responsible for protecting the border. Among the five questions he asked for were details of how the Soviet armed forces prepared for a looming Nazi attack, how they responded to it, and whether or not the staff maintained control over the troops during the first frantic days of fighting.

Source: Russian MoD declassifies docs on Soviet Union’s preparedness for 1941 Nazi invasion — RT News

The documents are interesting but you will need a translation widget.

There is more this from a US site……

The German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 was one of the pivotal events of the 20th century. It transformed the Second World War and led, perhaps inevitably, to the Cold War and the half-century domination of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union. It was, furthermore, one of the most brutal campaigns of modern times, bringing unspeakable atrocities and the near-annihilation of whole nationalities. The Nazis probably bear the principal responsibility for the character of the campaign, but the Soviet regime must shoulder some of the blame.

Source: What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa — Central Intelligence Agency

Source: 8 Things You Should Know About WWII’s Eastern Front – History Lists

A fascinating slice of 20th century history……enjoy

Wait For a Coup?

Recently there was a shake-up in the line of ascension to the throne in Saudi Arabia….came as a surprise to many…especially the ousted uncle in favor of a prince….

Source: A Royal Shake-Up – In Saner Thought

Maybe the Saudi  monarchy has more problems than Qatar……

And since no one is really watching this I feel I need to keep my readers up to date…..

The is report is not one that I have confirmed but it is a turn that needs attention…..there seems to be some concern that there could be a coup aimed at the existing king because of this shake-up….and an unlikely ally has stepped forward……

While according to the official narrative, the Saudi power transition on Wednesday, when King Salman bin Abdulaziz announced his decision to replace Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz with his own son, Mohammed bin Salman, went smooth and by the numbers, what took place behind the scenes is more interesting.

Here, events were decidedly more interesting, because as Fars News reports (so take it with a grain of salt), after the decision was announced, the Israeli air force sent 18 of its fighter jets, including F16-I, F15-CD and F16-CD, along with two Gulfstream aircraft, two tanker airplanes and two C130 planes, special for electronic warfare, to Saudi Arabia at the demand of the new crown prince bin Salman to block his cousin (bin Nayef)’s possible measures.

On the surface, such close ties between the existing Saudi regime and Israel would appear a stretch, although it is far more plausible after this week’s WSJ report that when it comes to the Saudi proxy war, Israel and Saudi Arabia had been alligned from the onset of the Syrian conflict, with Israel secretly supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel and medical supplies for years, “a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.”

Source: Israel Deployed 18 Fighter Jets To Saudi Arabia To “Prevent A Coup”: Fars

As I said earlier…I have no confirmation of this turn…but I will continue to watch for more info to pass on as it becomes available.

Can Qatar Situation Be Solved?

As the situation with Qatar and the Saudis continues there seems to be No break in the events that are spiraling….someone has got to step up and take a hold on this situation…it could become ugly at any moment…..

Is there a resolution or is there not?

On Monday 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt cut ties with the Gulf state of Qatar, claiming Doha’s regional policies were fueling extremism and terrorism. Within days, other states severed or downgraded ties and the rift appeared to be widening.

A week earlier, Gulf media—including social media—had erupted amid reports that Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, made critical remarks against America in a speech, as well as offered support for Iran and backing to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatari officials denied the reports and countered that state media had been hacked. As that crisis quickly turned into a rift with Qatar’s Gulf and Arab neighbors, the need for serious mediation to head off further trouble became obvious.

Source: GCC crisis: How to resolve the diplomatic rift | Brookings Institution

I think all avenues should be explored before this situation turns ugly.

I recently asked the question…..did this have anything to do with the Trump visit?  I think so…..especially the events in Saudi Arabia recently……

Quick, name a candidate favored by President Trump who scored a victory this week. Sure, Karen Handel in Georgia and Ralph Norman in South Carolina come to mind, but the New York Times points out another: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. It wasn’t an election, of course, but he was named the new successor to the throne in his country, and the Times explains how Mohammed has emerged as an important ally of the Trump administration. One sign: The 31-year-old dined at the home of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump on a visit to DC, then returned the favor by hosting them on their visit to Saudi Arabia. Among other things, he favors a hard line against Iran and is leading the Saudi move to punish Qatar for its purported support of terrorism. Other coverage of the prince:

  • Fast rise: Mohammed effectively assumed control of the nation’s economic and defense policies in 2015, the same year his father took the throne, reports MarketWatch. Given that his father is 81, his ascension to crown prince raises the prospect that Saudi Arabia might have a king in the not-too-distant future who would rule for decades.
  • Nickname: He goes by MBS (or MbS), notes the AP in a profile of the “bold and ambitious risk taker.” The Washington Post has different adjectives used by detractors: “reckless and impulsive.”
  • Changing country: The Wall Street Journal assesses, noting the shakeup comes at a crucial point in modern Saudi history. “Low oil prices and mounting demographic pressures are tearing at the kingdom’s fragile social contract, making change even more urgent and political unity at the top a greater priority.” The king’s decision to replace his 57-year-old nephew with his son as successor was seen by close observers as inevitable.
  • Risk for US: That he shares Trump’s hawkish views on Iran might carry a risk for the US, analysts tell Reuters. Expect the Iran-Saudi Arabia hostility to intensify, which could make it more likely for the US to be “dragged deeper into the Sunni-Shi’ite conflict playing out across the Middle East.”
  • Worried: There may be some “quiet muttering” in Saudi Arabia about the the move, but don’t expect a challenge because the king’s decision is absolute, writes the Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel at Al-Monitor’s Gulf Pulse. “The longer-term costs of upsetting the legitimacy of the line of succession in the midst of low oil prices and regional tensions are much more worrisome,” he adds. “The young prince is poised to inherit a kingdom under stress at home and abroad.”
  • Oil markets: Traders are taking a leery, wait-and-see approach in regard to the world’s biggest oil-producing nation, reports CNBC. Older generations of rulers have let “seasoned technocrats” run the nation’s oil industry, notes the New York Times, but Mohammed is expected to exert more control.
  • Unique system: Need a primer on Saudi Arabia’s monarchial system? Slate provided one in 2015 when current King Salman took over. Any king must be a male descendant of the first king, Abdulaziz, who died in 1953. That has made for a line of relatively old successors up until now.

Qatar is just an extension of the new US policy for the Middle East…..administered by the Saudis.

A recent article in a pro-Russian site throws water on this blockade….

Speaking to the media in his latest tour to the US, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister insisted that there was no blockade of Qatar, yet he insisted that the latter was not allowed to use their, as also of their allies’, air space and territorial waters. Standing next to the rather reticent US secretary of the state, Rex Tillerson, he said that “Qatar was free to go” and yet the Qatar airways was not allowed to use Saudi air space. Whereas the delicate difference the Saudis seem to be making between their policy and those of other countries, who the former would have wanted to impose identical restrictions on Qatar, is a reflection of Saudia’s limits, it also shows that the House of Saud has rather shot itself in the foot by opening a solo-front against Qatar, a country that nevertheless has a big American military base and has on its side a powerful Arab ally, Turkey. What the whole episode has brought unmistakably to the forefront is that there exist a number of countries within the “Sunni coalition” who do not see eye to eye with Saudi policies and are more comfortable in following rather independent course of action.

What Is North Korea’s Real Strategy?

NK has been in the news a lot lately…..from its rhetoric to the launching of multiple missiles to its continuing nuke research….and there have been many opinions and analyses on why this small Asian country is doing what it is doing.

I am not an expert on East Asian relations so I have to depend on others for their opinions and analyses…..I read a paper written by a person that is just such an expert…..do not know if I agree with him completely but I bow to his expertise….

North Korea’s quest for nuclear weapons is often depicted as a “rational” response to its strategic imperatives of national security and regime survival. In fact, North Korea seeks to decouple the US and its South Korean partner – a split that would enable the reunification of the Korean Peninsula on Kim’s terms.

In fact, North Korea’s appetite for nuclear weapons is rooted more in aggression than pragmatism. North Korea seeks nothing less than to decouple the United States from its South Korean partner – a split that would enable the reunification of the Korean Peninsula on Kim’s terms. In other words, North Korea does not want only to defend itself; it wants to set the stage for an invasion of its own.

Source: North Korea’s Real Strategy by Christopher R. Hill – Project Syndicate

A situation that could boil over at any time…..it all depends on the whim of a leader that is not wrapped real tight (in my opinion)…..

Thirty minutes. That’s about how long it would take a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launched from North Korea to reach Los Angeles. With the powers in Pyongyang working doggedly toward making this possible—building an ICBM and shrinking a nuke to fit on it—analysts now predict that Kim Jong Un will have the capability before Donald Trump completes one four-year term.

About which the president has tweeted, simply, “It won’t happen!”

Source: How to Deal With North Korea – The Atlantic

After writing this post news broke that I feel needs to be included here…..

NEW DELHI, June 21 (Yonhap) — North Korea’s top envoy to India on Wednesday offered a conditional moratorium on his country’s nuclear and missile tests in an apparent bid to hold talks with the United States.

North Korea Ambassador to India Kye Chun-yong said Pyongyang is willing to talk in terms of freezing its nuclear and missile tests under certain circumstances.

Source: North Korea is Open to Moratorium on Nuclear, Missile Tests | World Affairs Journal

This is an interesting turn…too bad that the US has so little diplomats on payroll to take advantage of this situation.

Side note:  I have been asked why I do this….this blogging thing.

I am an analyst of international conflict and this is my way to keep doing what I love and to inform anyone that wants to know about the future.

Closing Thought–22Jun17

The Killing Of A Princess!

Remember the years after the death of Princess Di?  There was conspiracy after conspiracy about the cause of her death…everything from she was pregnant with another man’s baby to revenge for the divorce to a simple hit by Brit intel…..

Well if you thought those days were gone…..think again…..

An 80-year-old retired MI5 agent, John Hopkins, has made a series of astonishing confessions since he was released from hospital in London on Wednesday and told he has weeks to live. Hopkins claims to have been involved in 23 assassinations for the British intelligence agency between 1973 and 1999, including Princess Diana. 

Source: Retired MI5 Agent Confesses On Deathbed: ‘I Killed Princess Diana’

Is this just another of those looking for a few  moments of fame?

Will we ever know the truth?

Not in this lifetime…..but then all this speculation only one thing is constant….SHE IS STILL DEAD!

Whatchaya think?

Time to say adieu until the morrow…..have a day and get some smiles in….chuq

Qatar Could Be The Trigger

Not many people here in the US care much what is happening in Qatar….right now they are worried about the special election in the 6th District of Georgia or some other major deal that the media is fixated on at this time…..

But if you are a military family you might want to keep an eye on the situation on the Persian Gulf region….what happens there could effect your family in a numerous of ways.

The Persian Gulf is a vital importance to the US and the West…..keeping the Persian Gulf a calm and safe waterway is essential.  But the situation between the Saudis and their allies and Qatar and their allies could change that dynamic at any time.

It began as a squabble between Arab allies, but the standoff between Qatar and its neighbours is threatening to engulf the Horn of Africa. When Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives declared at the beginning of June that they were severing diplomatic relations with Qatar it appeared to be of interest mainly to the Arabian Peninsula – and the Gulf in particular.

The Saudis and their allies accused Qatar of backing international terrorism. The US, which has the Al Udeid air base in Qatar, looked askance, but did little more than use its good offices to try to ensure that the war of words did not flare into an open conflict.

Source: Africa: Qatar’s Conflict With Its Neighbours Can Easily Set the Horn of Africa Alight – allAfrica.com

The Middle East is not a stable region no matter what the press wants you to believe….okay it has seldom been very stable but that is neither here nor there….the crisis with the Saudis and Qatar could prove to be a destabilizing force for the region…..

The Qatar-Gulf rift isn’t about fabricated statements or a hacked website, but a battle to control regional order after the Arab uprisings. But will the Gulf destroy itself in the process?

A heavy tension has prevailed over the Gulf since 23 May.

It all appeared to start with the publication of statements attributed to Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, which were quickly proven to be fabricated. The Qatari News Agency website, it turned out, had been hacked.

Although hacking any country’s official news agency is clearly problematic, the bigger issue is the way in which two Arab Gulf states handled the fabricated statements.

Source: The Qatari crisis may destroy what little order remains in the Middle East | Middle East Eye

Like I said…..the admin in power needs to keep this in their sights and work for a calm and equitable termination of the “hostilities”……

Military families should be the first and the loudest to demand such.

After this draft was written more news came to light……seems the State Department is NOT on board with this Qatar bashing anymore…..

The US stance on Saudi Arabia and its allies’ hostility toward Qatar, including an outright blockade, has not been particularly consistent in the last couple of weeks. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert took a more direct position against the blockade today, but that is just raising more questions.

Nauert very directly faulted the Saudis for their move against Qatar, noting neither they nor other nations involved have offered any details to back up their allegations, and suggesting that the blockade was not about Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism, but long-standing grievances among GCC countries.

This is largely in keeping with what you’d figure would be the US position on Qatar, a long-time ally, but runs contrary to President Trump, who personally took credit for the Saudi-led move and has repeatedly parroted Saudi allegations against the Qatari government since then.

(antiwar.com)

Why has this region gotten more unstable since the Trump visit?

Just asking.

No one seems to have a handle on why the Saudis pulled this end run…..in other words…what is the real cause of the situation….

Officially, the narrative on the split among Gulf Arab nations, between Saudi Arabia and the tiny nation of Qatar, has centered around support for terrorism. The reality of the situation is far more nuanced, but that hasn’t stopped President Trump from immediately embracing the Saudi position, attacking the Qatari government for supporting “extremism” in the region.

Yet when we dig deeper into the details underpinning the split between the Saudis and Qatar, we find that the actual rift stems heavily from the Arab Spring, and the Qatari government’s support, both official and unofficial, for groups advocating democratic reform in the Middle East. While the Saudis and the other nations involved in directly in this split are more than comfortable to be overtly hostile to democracy in the Middle East, it is wildly dangerous for the United States to position itself in such a manner.

Source: The Real Reason behind Qatar’s Gulf State Freeze Out | The American Conservative

This situation is fascinating……all the intrigue of a “Game of Thrones”…..how will it end?

Russia Assaults Democracy

For months now, ever since the 2016 election, we have been told daily about the historic Russian attack on American democracy….they allegedly hacked into the election process, the DNC and other entities.

The MSM makes it seem as if this is all new for Russia to try and influence our democratic process……wrong!

Moscow’s interference began 80 years ago……

Over the last nine months, headlines have reverberated with questions regarding the Russian role in “hacking” the American electoral process. On January 5, 2017, James Clapper, then Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that, “The Russians have a long history of interfering in elections. Theirs and other peoples…This goes back to the 60s, from the heyday of the Cold War.” He went on to call Russian interference in the 2016 election “unprecedented.” In some respects — the scale and impact of the accusations — they are. In other ways, however, they are a throwback to an 80-year-old saga.

The role of Russia’s intelligence services in the 2016 election represents the revival of Soviet efforts that predate even the Cold War. “Fake news” and financial assistance to opposition candidates, two measures that define Russian influence operations targeting the West, both date to the Stalinist period and the rise of the Soviet foreign intelligence apparatus. In the 1930s, when these methods were first unleashed, the United States had almost no counterintelligence capabilities. Until the early Cold War, the Soviets proved reasonably adept at influencing American politics towards Russia and acquiring information. Only with the expansion of the FBI and the reorganization of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) did Soviet efforts at directly influencing American elections dwindle.

Source: Moscow’s Assaults on American Democracy Began 80 Years Ago

It is a “New” occurrence only if you do not know history…and now you do.

Congrats!