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

Will Iraq Have A Silver Lining?

Many seem to think that the defeat of ISIS in Iraq will bring to an end to this barbaric chapter of the country. (I am not one of them)……

So the question is….with the defeat of ISIS will there be a silver lining?  Will Trump beat his chest with the defeat of ISIS?  What will be the outcome of said defeat?  Who will win and who will lose?

Below is a commentary I read in Reuters…..

Will the defeat of Islamic State in Iraq be a foreign policy victory for Donald Trump? With the fall of Mosul imminent, what happens next?

There will be winners, like the Kurds. There will be losers, like Iraq’s Sunni minority. There will be gains for Iran, which backs the Shi’ite militias drafted to fight Sunni-dominated IS. And there may be a silver lining for the Trump administration – specifically in the form of Kurdish independence and permanent American bases in a Shi’ite-ruled Iraq. But any declaration of “victory” on the part of the United States depends on how the measure of those results is taken.

Start with the Kurds. Their military forces currently control a swath of northern territory, including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. The area has been a functional confederacy since soon after the American invasion of 2003 and in spite of likely opposition from Baghdad, a fully-realized nation-state of Kurdistan seems inevitable. The Kurds certainly think so; they’ll hold an independence referendum on September 25.

Source: Commentary: Trump’s silver lining in Iraq | Reuters

One More Time

On numerous occasions I have written that I do not like the foreign policy that Trump has set out for this country…..I think it is dangerous and ill-conceived…..his dependency on military force over diplomacy is not making the world a safer place…..

A loyal reader and friend of IST posted this the other day on his blog…

In 2016, Spiegel wrote that Donald Trump could be the leader of a new, hate-filled authoritarian movement as a president during which George W. Bush’s America would seem like a place of logic and reason in comparison. Bush, to his credit, never compared migrants to poisonous snakes — something Trump does. And Spiegel was not wrong about the Trump gloal threat. All what he said about Middle East  before his election were just communication tactics. And the US becomes more and more dangerous country under Trump’s hegemony.

Source: Donald Trump Is the World’s Most Dangerous Warmonger | Eyes on Europe & Middle East

Within the ranks of foreign policy wonks there is a growing concern about his, Trump’s, foreign policy…..

Against the backdrop of the counter-Islamic State campaign, the civil wars in Syria and Yemen and efforts to forge strong ties with Israel, recent reports suggest that the Trump administration is placing a renewed focus on combating Iran’s network of sectarian-based militant groups and terrorist organizations, even as inter-Arab tensions are on the rise.

The Trump administration has also, reportedly, engaged in direct military action against Iranian-backed elements, threatening U.S. and U.S.-backed personnel in Syria.  The administration will have to determine how best to manage a more direct and aggressive approach to Iran’s proxy network in the midst of inter-Arab disputes.

Source: Is Trump’s foreign policy more ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ or ‘Press Your Luck’? | TheHill

The world has changed and our State Department needs to keep up with the rest of the world…..as it is today there is NO direction other than a military one.

For as long as they have existed, nations have clung to the illusion that their military strength guarantees their security.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that the military power that one nation considers vital to its security fosters other nations’ sense of insecurity. In this climate of suspicion, an arms race ensues, often culminating in military conflict. Also, sometimes the very military strength that a nation intended for protection ends up emboldening it to engage in reckless, aggressive behavior, leading to war.

By the twentieth century, the devastation caused by wars among nations had grown so great that the general public and even many government officials began to recognize that a world left to the mercies of national military power was a dangerous world, indeed. As a result, after the mass slaughter of World War I, they organized the League of Nations to foster international security. When this proved insufficient to stop the march of nations toward World War II and its even greater devastation, they organized a new and stronger global entity: the United Nations.

Source: National Illusions and Global Realities – Antiwar.com Original

The US needs to work with other countries to solve problems instead of resorting to force at every turn…..mutual agreement is far superior to brute force.

War and violence decoupled from strategy and policy—or worse yet, mistaken for strategy and policy—have contributed to perpetual war, or what has seemed like 15 years of “Groundhog War.” In its wars since 11 September 2001, the United States has arguably cultivated the best-equipped, most capable, and fully seasoned combat forces in remembered history. They attack, kill, capture, and win battles with great nimbleness and strength. But absent strategy, these victories are fleeting. Divorced from political objectives, successful tactics are without meaning.

In theory, we fight wars to fulfill a political purpose and to achieve objectives by aligning the means and methods of war toward that purpose. In theory, the purpose of war is a better peace. In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but as history has shown repeatedly, in practice there is.

Source: The Wages of War Without Strategy | RealClearDefense

There is only so much that can be accomplished without a strategy….a long war will ensue.

Are We Inching Toward All Out War?

When Russia sent in aircraft to help the Syrians fight against the rebels…..I wrote then that this was leading to a big mistake that could take the US and Russia into a confrontation……

Well the worse case scenario just happened…..

The US military shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet Sunday that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against ISIS militants, an action that appeared to mark a new escalation of the conflict. The US had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday’s confrontation, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. While the US has said since it began recruiting, training, and advising what it calls moderate Syrian opposition forces to fight ISIS that it would protect them from potential Syrian government retribution, this was the first time it resorted to engaging in air-to-air combat to make good on that promise, the AP reports.

The US-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a statement that a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the US partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. The shootdown was near Tabqa, a Syrian town in an area that has been a weekslong focus of fighting against ISIS militants by the SDF as they surround the city of Raqqa and attempt to retake it from ISIS. The US military statement said it acted in “collective self-defense” of its partner forces and that the US did not seek a fight with the Syrian government or its Russian supporters. “The coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” the Pentagon said.

The Russians have a retort……

Russia’s defense ministry says it will treat US-led coalition planes in Syria that venture west of the Euphrates River as targets after the US military shot down a Syrian Air Force jet on Sunday, reports the AP. Moscow also suspended a military hotline the two nations have used to coordinate air missions over Syria, reports the New York Times. Russia condemned the US downing of the Syrian government fighter jet as a “military aggression” and demanded a fuller explanation. The US has said the Syrian jet dropped bombs near its partner forces, but Syria said its jet was attacking ISIS militants.

“All flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected west of the Euphrates, will be followed by Russian air defense systems as targets,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. The downing of the warplane—the first time in the conflict that the US has shot down a Syrian jet—came as Iran fired several ballistic missiles at ISIS positions in eastern Syria in retaliation for two attacks by the extremists in Tehran earlier this month that killed 17 people. Areas of northern Syria west of the Euphrates were controlled by ISIS before Syrian government forces captured most of them in recent months

Where will this end?

We know how Trump feels about using force……will that be the answer?

I mentioned the illegality of U.S. actions in Syria in an earlier post, but I wanted to say a bit more on that point. There has never been a Congressional vote authorizing U.S. military operations in Syria against anyone, and there has been scant debate over any of the goals that the U.S. claims to be pursuing there. The U.S. launches attacks inside Syria with no legal authority from the U.N. or Congress, and it strains credulity that any of these operations have anything to do with individual or collective self-defense. The U.S. wages war in Syria simply because it can.

Source: Syria and Our Illegal Acts of War | The American Conservative

Americans need to pay attention before it is too late.

Death Of A Bad Man

Word is spreading through the news organization that ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi, has been killed in a Russian airstrike…..I believe this is the 5th time he has either been injured or killed…..what we need is verification…..not speculation…

Russia’s claim to have killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an airstrike in Raqqa on May 28 should be taken with a heavy grain of salt. At the time in question, the U.S.-led Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) were only days away from launching their final assault on the city and there’s no logical reason imaginable why Baghdadi would have risked staying in a surrounded, sitting target. Notwithstanding justified doubts surrounding Baghdadi’s then presence in Raqqa, Russia’s statement also says its strike killed another 330 ISIS fighters – which is almost certainly an absurd claim.

Russia has a long track record of issuing fake claims and deliberate misinformation during its campaign in Syria. This recent statement also contradicts a claim by its Syrian partner, the Assad regime, to have killed Baghdadi themselves on June 10. Either Baghdadi has dozens of lives, or nobody really knows where he is.

Source: Russia’s Baghdadi Claim Needs Verification | Middle East Institute

Let us say that their claim is genuine…..what will that mean for the region?

Does that mean we may be winning the War on Terror?  I think not…there will be someone to step into the void.

The news of the possible death of the leader of the so-called Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, no doubt filled most people with a certain sense of relief. It’s not often the death of a human being elicits such an emotion but Baghdadi, most sane people can agree, barely makes the homo sapiens cut.

Nonetheless, our collective exhale may be premature. According to the Russian defence ministry, Baghdadi may have been caught by a Russian airstrike targeting a meeting of senior ISIS commanders south of Raqqa, the capital of the group’s self-declared caliphate, at the end of May. He was reportedly killed along with 30 other mid-level ISIS commanders and 300 fighters.

Source: Why the death of ISIS’s leader could spell trouble – Macleans.ca

You see if he is dead then he is one terrorist dead…there are many others waiting their turn.

Do not rejoice…..be vigilante…..

Send In The Cavalry

Remember back in the days of the black and white Westerns when the homestead was being attacked and then the cavalry would ride in and save the day?

The USA has been fighting in Afghanistan for 16 years and things are not going well at all….so what do we do?  We send in the cavalry…….

The Pentagon will send almost 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, the largest deployment of US manpower under President Trump’s young presidency, reports the AP. The decision by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis could be announced as early as next week, said a White House official. It follows Trump’s move to give Mattis the authority to set troop levels and seeks to address assertions by the top US commander in Afghanistan that he doesn’t have enough forces to help Afghanistan’s army against a resurgent Taliban insurgency. The bulk of the additional troops will train and advise Afghan forces, according to the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A smaller number would be assigned to counterterror operations against the Taliban and the Islamic State, the official said. A spokesman for Afghanistan’s defense ministry was reluctant to comment on specifics Friday but said the Afghan government supports the US decision. “We want to finish this war in Afghanistan with the help of the NATO alliance.” Former President Obama set a cap a year ago of 8,400 troops in Afghanistan after slowing the pace of what he hoped would be a US withdrawal. Nevertheless, there are at least another 2,000 US troops in Afghanistan not included in the official count. These include forces that are technically considered temporary even if they’ve been in the war zone for months.

The sad part is that this will do nothing to change the direction of the war……

Usually when a president agrees to send more troops to a war zone, it’s part of a broader strategy. George W. Bush approved the surge of forces to Iraq as part of a population-centric counterinsurgency war plan. Barack Obama did the same in his first year when it came to Afghanistan, though he eventually regretted the decision, and spent most of his presidency trying to end that war.

For Donald Trump it’s different. On Tuesday, he agreed in principle to send more troops to Afghanistan, but he has yet to agree to the broader strategy for winning America’s longest war.

That strategy is still technically in development, but its broad outlines — an increase in special operations forces to train, advise and assist Afghan forces; a more robust plan to go after elements in Pakistan that aid the Taliban; the deployment of more air power and artillery; and a political commitment to the survival of the current government in Kabul — have been in place since April.

Source: Trump’s Afghan Push: More Troops, No Plan – Bloomberg

Of course people will ask if a mere 4,000 troops will make a difference…..not to worry…..

The US is definitely going to be sending more ground troops to Afghanistan soon, but the exact number is yet to be determined, with the Pentagon today backing away from media reports yesterday that they’d settled on a figure of 4,000 more troops, saying no final decisions have been made yet on numbers

That might suggest they’re leaning toward an even bigger number, with influential retired Gen. Jack Keane suggesting that the US needed to send up to 20,000 more ground troops if they wanted to win the war, saying he believed the 4,000 figure was not likely to change the direction of the war

More fodder for the fire……

Same game plan will have the same outcome.

I bet Einstein has something to say on this plan.

Why The World Still Fears The Scud Missile

SCUD!

Does anyone remember that word from the evening news of the 1990’s…most notably the First Gulf War.

Saddam fired many of these missiles some hit Saudi Arabia and one made it to Israel……the terror that must have been reminiscent of WW2 and the V1 and 2s….death from the sky.

Well they are not a thing from the past they are being used todat in different conflicts around the world…..

One of the most infamous missiles of the modern era, the Scud short-range ballistic missile was developed as a nuclear asset for Soviet commanders during the Cold War. Today, more than six decades later, the Scud’s DNA has been scattered worldwide, found in ballistic missiles from North Korea to Iran. The lumbering Scud is more visible than ever, with dozens fired in the ongoing Yemeni civil war.

The Scud missile is a direct product of captured wartime German missile technology. Soviet experiments with the Nazi-developed V-2 missile led to a ten-year development effort that culminated in the R-11M missile paraded through Red Square in November 1957. The R-11M was a liquid-fueled missile that rode on a tracked transporter erector launcher not dissimilar to North Korea’s Pukkuksong-2 tracked launcher. The R-11M could launch a conventional high-explosive warhead up to 167 miles and a heavier nuclear warhead up to ninety-three miles. The R-11M was eventually nicknamed “Scud” by NATO, and as subsequent versions emerged became known as Scud-A.

Source: Why the World Still Fears the Scud Missile | The National Interest Blog

That word from the past is not so much lost in the past……just another weapon to deal death on an unsuspected population from afar.