Closing Thought–28Oct20

Today in history….the natives around New Orleans in 1768 revolt against the Spanish governor of the territory……

The Insurrection of 1768 constituted a rebellion against colonial Louisiana’s first Spanish governor, Antonio de Ulloa, and a temporary victory for New Orleans’s elite French Creoles. The revolt occurred after the 1763 Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War (1754–1763) and divided the territories of French colonial Louisiana between Spain and England. Events surrounding the insurrection revealed long-standing problems with the colonial government of French Louisiana and the initial weaknesses of Spain’s occupation policy. Spanish forces would ultimately resolve the conflict in 1769 and control Louisiana west of the Mississippi River for the remainder of the century.

Insurrection of 1768

Now with the history lesson complete…..I shall move on to the meat of this post…..

While the US remains tied down by its many many endless wars….other nations are trying to extricate themselves from the scenario that the US keeps living with…..

I read an article recently that Britain is confirming that it will withdraw from the military missions of the EU…..as reported by Reuters…..

Britain has formally notified the European Union of its intention to withdraw from the bloc’s military missions by the end of this year, EU officials told envoys on Wednesday, diplomats said.

As one of Europe’s biggest military powers, Britain is central to European security efforts but EU and British negotiators agreed in March 2018 that Britain could not continue to lead or take part in EU missions when London leaves the EU.

Spain and Italy have agreed to take a larger role in many of the EU’s 17 peacekeeping and training operations around the world.

Who will step up to fill the void left by Great Britain when they finally depart from the EU?

Any Thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

P.S.  We will be boarding up and getting everything ready for the storm name Zeta to arrive.  Hopefully I will be back tomorrow but Zeta may have a different idea.  Scary that Zeta looks like it will become a Cat 2 storm…now that is some dangerous stuff.

I will try to post from my cel phone…..as much as I can.

But we will persevere!

See you soon.

News From Libya

It all began in 2011 when NATO decided to intervene in the civil unrest in Libya…..and ever since the death of Gaddafi the nation has been torn by civil war and destruction.

There have been many attempts to bring all sides together and all have failed miserably….even when one of the war lords is an CIA asset.

All this is looking like another war with no end and Europe is considering an intervention (again)…..

Wherever Europe’s attention turns in northern Africa, that region is the worse for it. In recent years, this has meant Libya, where the destruction of the Libyan government during the 2011 NATO intervention there is now set to give way to direct European Union intervention.

NATO was quite pleased with its 2011 handiwork, which saw Moammar Gaddafi removed from power and quickly killed. The assumption was that this would lead to an orderly transition of power. Instead it led to a civil war that’s continued to tear the country apart ever since.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the European Union is in the process of developing multiple potential military options for intervening in Libya, all intended to stabilize the situation. This is being done with an eye toward getting Libya’s oil industry back to exporting.

Since 2011, Libya has had as many as three, and at times zero, self-proclaimed governments operating out of different areas of the country. At times, the UN has endorsed a government, or created a government to endorse, and other nations in the region have backed either those governments or other rival governments, though none has ever controlled more than a fraction of Libya in any real way.

Europe Gears Up for Another Military Intervention in Libya

Just what the world needs…yet another war to finance.

With all the death and destruction the question needs to be asked….

Being one of the most prosperous countries in the African continent, thanks to its vast oil fields, after the fall of Gaddafi, the North African country was divided between rival governments in the east and west, and among multiple armed groups competing for quotas of power, control of the country and its wealth.

Gaddafi ruled for 42 years, leading Libya to a significant advance in social, political and economic matters that were recognized and admired by many African and Arab nations at the time. Despite his controversial government, Gaddafi came to represent an important figure for anti-imperialist struggles for his position mainly against the U.S. and the policies carried out from Washington on the Middle East.

It is for this reason, his life and death became pivotal events in Libya and key to understand the current situation.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/analysis/Libya-Before-and-After-Muammar-Gaddafi-20200115-0011.html

What part of 2011 was good for the Libyan people?

A decade later and the death and destruction just keeps flowing…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Post Script:  While I was writing this draft news has come out that the two factions in Libya that have been fighting for a decade have come to an agreement for a ceasefire…..

Warring factions in Libya have agreed to a “permanent” ceasefire following talks, the United Nations said on Friday.

The agreement came after five days of discussions in Geneva between representatives of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).

“The Libyan parties have reached a permanent ceasefire agreement throughout Libya,” said Stephanie Williams, head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

“This achievement represents an important turning point towards peace and stability in Libya.”

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/libya-ceasefire-sign-permanent-following-talks

All military units and armed groups must pull back from the front lines and return to their camps. All foreign fighters and mercenaries must leave Libya within three months – by January 23.

Williams said there were mercenaries from up to nine countries fighting in Libya. Both the GNA, backed by Turkey, and the LNA, backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, have fielded foreign combatants.

Any military agreements either side has struck with their foreign backers must also be suspended until a new unified government is in place, the deal said, with all foreign military trainers to depart.

This is good for the Libyan people but not so much for the arms industry…..will this play into the equation?

Watch This Blog!

That Tank!

I recently read an article about the massive and impressive tank……but before I go into the article let us look at the tank….which is a little over 100 years old and has been a supporting player in every war since World War One.

Let us now turn to a little history of the tank.

The weapon known as the tank was invented by the British in 1916…..

The first official photograph taken of a Tank going into action, at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, 15th September 1916. The man shown is wearing a leather tank helmet.

The concept of a vehicle to provide troops with both mobile protection and firepower was not a new one. But in the First World War, the increasing availability of the internal combustion engine, armour plate and the continuous track, as well as the problem of trench warfare, combined to facilitate the production of the tank.

The name ‘tank’ came from British attempts to ensure the secrecy of the new weapons under the guise of water tanks. During the First World War, Britain began the serious development of the tank. Ironically, the Royal Navy led the way with the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, establishing the Landships Committee in early 1915.

The military combined with engineers and industrialists and by early 1916 a prototype was adopted as the design of future tanks. Britain used tanks in combat for the first time in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on 15 September 1916.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/how-britain-invented-the-tank-in-the-first-world-war

Then when the US entered WW1 and the US became a major proponent to tank used in warfare…..

Most American military observers were unimpressed but some officers felt differently. Even before the American Expeditionary Force arrived in France, General Pershing took a liking to the tank. Seeing the metal monster in action, Pershing ordered the formation of an American tank corps before the end of 1917.

Two men, who would go on to become major figures during the next world war, began fitting this new battlefield beast into the U.S. army’s ranks. In France Captain George Patton worked hard to assemble the U.S. Tank Corps, while in the U.S., Captain Dwight Eisenhower helped create the U.S. Tank Service.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a17015005/history-american-tank/

We all remember seeing the impressive sight of the American tanks screaming across Iraq in the 1990s and again in 2003….and of course the tank was credited with our quick successes in both those invasions.

Recently there has been less and less dependence on tanks in our many asymmetric conflicts….and some are proposing a radical idea.

From the day that the concept of a tank was introduced there has been debate about the utility of these vehicles. Hard to build, difficult to man and drive, and ultimately vulnerable once deployed, tanks have never been the perfect package that they externally represent. The late Professor Ogorkiewicz wrote in his 2016 book Tanks, of how Lieutenant Colonel J. F. C. Fuller came to realise the limits of tanks during the 1917 Ypres offensive.  And, following that war, only Britain and France continued to see utility in the tank for close to a decade, before the Soviet Union began to enter the field.

The contemporary discussion around the abiding value of the tank is not therefore new, however the context and the nature of the modern battlefield has changed considerably since 1916, and this in turn warrants a different discussion around the value of the tank. To be clear, this article is intended to initiate discussion, it is a reflection of those issues that must be considered when balancing forces. There is value to any asset deployed to the battlefield, from an entrenching shovel to aircraft carriers, providing that they are used properly and adequately supported.

We have chosen three select areas, which all influence the utility of tanks; the Totality of the Battlefield (TotB), the totality of technology, and the totality of society. Much of this discussion should be regarded as a “Red Team Exercise”, a deliberate attempt to pull apart entrenched thinking. And, while it is framed against the current climate that prevails within the British Army, it should be understood that these considerations will apply in some measure to every single force in the world.

The tank is dead. Long live the tank.

Could this be the beginning of the end for our beloved tanks?

Well let’s look….an Abrams cost about $4.3 million and cost annually about $250,000……that does not include fuel for the many trips to the battlefield.

With Napoleonic battles a thing of the past it would make sense to rid the burden to tanks and their upkeep from the military budget.

Any Thoughts?

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“lego ergo scribo”

That Bullet Had His Name On It

The weekend and I am being lazy…..I have 30 drafts and I will attempt to clean the folder out….a little history and a little FYI….

How many times have you heard that statement in TV and the movies?

Well DARPA may have just made that prediction a possibility.

One of the most challenging roles in ground units is that of a military sniper. Military snipers must take long distance shots with precision rifles, often doing a fair amount of math in their heads to make a bullet reach its target. A new guided-bullet technology, however, promises to make longer distance shots a little easier by installing guidance systems in bullets.

The mission of the sniper is to take out targets at ranges farther than your typical rifleman, from five hundred yards out to two thousand yards. Snipers rely on specialized training, accurized, high power rifles and quality optics to reliably hit targets that are often mere specks on the horizon. These targets typically include anything from specialized enemy troops (engineers, heavy weapon operators) to command, control, and communications targets (radio operators, officers.) Snipers may also engage material targets, such as antennas, aircraft and light vehicles.

In addition to mere distance, snipers must contend with the technical limitations of their weapons and physics to make long range shots. Once they exit the barrel, bullets immediately start slowing down as gravity begins to exert an influence. This causes bullets to travel in a gradual downward arc. Bullets are also vulnerable to weather conditions, particularly wind, and are increasingly vulnerable to environmental conditions as they lose velocity.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/military-snipers-could-soon-be-using-guided-bullets-169616

I believe back years ago Tom Sellack did a movie where the bad guy had a DNA bullet…..program it to kill only the person intended to die.

But this is not new…DARPA had a bullet in 2015……

You know the phrase “dodging a bullet”? Forget about it. Probably not going to happen anymore.

The U.S. military said this week it has made great progress in its effort to develop a self-steering bullet.
In February, the “smart bullets” — .50-caliber projectiles equipped with optical sensors — passed their most successful round of live-fire tests to date, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.
 
 
In the tests, an experienced marksman “repeatedly hit moving and evading targets,” a DARPA statement said.
“Additionally,” the statement said, “a novice shooter using the system for the first time hit a moving target.” In other words, now you don’t even have to be a good shot to hit the mark.
 
Making killing easier……better death through science.
 
I Read, I Write, You Know
 
“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–22Oct20

I have had many conversations about our many many endless wars….and I am asked that if I think they are so bad how can they still be fighting wars?

I have a very clear and succinct answer…..Think Tanks.

I am not a fan of most think tanks for they paid to make manure look like sirloin…..and our wars are no different.  I gave my thoughts here on IST…..https://lobotero.com/2017/09/20/closing-thought-20sep17/

The American Conservative (yes I read a conserv publication has looked into this…..as well……

The top 50 think tanks in America, as ranked by the University of Pennsylvania’s Go To Think Tank Index, received over $1 billion from U.S. government and defense contractors. The top recipients of this funding were the RAND Corporation, the Center for a New American Security, and the New America Foundation, according to analysis by the Center for International Policy.

Donations to these think tanks came from 68 different U.S. government and defense contractor sources, under at least 600 separate donations. The top five defense contractor donors to U.S. think tanks were Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martina and Air Bus.

Top think tank funders from within the U.S. government include the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Air Force, the Army, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department. The defense contractors that forked over the most to think tanks were Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Airbus.

The RAND Corporation alone received over $1 billion between 2014-2019, accounting for approximately 95 percent of its funding that the report tracked. Nearly all the money came from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ($110 million,) the U.S. Army (over $245 million,) and the U.S. Air Force (over ($281 million.)

Top 50 U.S. Think Tanks Receive Over $1B from Gov, Defense Contractors

Then there is the MSM….they hire “experts” to make these wars acceptable…..both print and broadcast….for most are now owned by the very M-IC corporations that are funding the “whitewash” of our worthless endless wars.

If instance the NYTimes has had a section called “At War”….well it has decided to drop the section altogether

Following the announcement Tuesday that the New York Times “At War” section—which has explored the “experiences and costs of war” for the past two and a half years—is ending this week, peace advocates were quick to note that the United States’ actual “forever war” outlasting a forum dedicated to covering it should be a sobering reminder of the nation’s destructive and bloody foreign policy nearly two decades after the invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq. 

The news came just one week after Stars and Stripes provided an account of U.S. military veterans who fought in Afghanistan watching their children deploy to the same ongoing war.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/14/imperial-irony-new-york-times-announces-halt-war-section-even-endless-us-war

The whitewash and the justification for war and the deaths of Americans proceeds…….with very little notice.

Final Thought:  Tonight is the final debate and I will offer analysis in tomorrow’s posts.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Those Asymmetric Wars

The battlefield no longer looks like it did in the 18th century or even the mid-20th century….the wars today are fought in irregular units….or as it is now called “asymmetric” warfare.

My day it was called guerilla warfare….but times change and terms get moved around to suit those with letters after their name.

To start let us define “asymmetric warfare”……

Asymmetrical warfare, unconventional strategies and tactics adopted by a force when the military capabilities of belligerent powers are not simply unequal but are so significantly different that they cannot make the same sorts of attacks on each other.

Guerrilla warfare, occurring between lightly armed partisans and a conventional army, is an example of asymmetrical warfare. Terrorist tactics, such as hijackings and suicide bombings, are also considered to be asymmetrical, both because they tend to involve a smaller, weaker group attacking a stronger one and also because attacks on civilians are by definition one-way warfare. War between a country that is both able and willing to use nuclear weapons and a country that is not would be another example of asymmetrical warfare.

(Britannica)

If this is the true future of warfare then high is the Army shutting down its Asymmetrical Warfare Group?

For nearly 15 years a little known but highly influential Army group has been in the middle of how the Army learns immediate lessons from combat, adapts to the evolving battlefield and saves soldiers’ lives.

It’s called Asymmetric Warfare Group, and the Army is shutting it down next year.

The Army made its official announcement today that by mid-2021, AWG will be discontinued.

An Army statement to Army Times:

“The functions of AWG, including the solutions to current and emerging threats, will transition to other Army organizations. Also, to ensure the utility of the organization’s work over the past 14 years is not lost, all lessons learned will be maintained by the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC), via the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL), Centers of Excellence (COEs), and other TRADOC enterprise stakeholders.”

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2020/10/02/the-army-is-shutting-down-its-much-lauded-asymmetric-warfare-group/

The Defense News has reported that the military is moving past special forces in dealing with irregular conflicts…..

The Pentagon has begun to shift the focus on irregular warfare away from the specific counterterrorism missions of the last two decades and toward a broader effort that includes information warfare and gray zone operations, a top special operations official said Friday.

Joe Francescon, deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism, told reporters that the shift is needed to counter China, Russia and Iran.

Francescon was speaking as part of a rollout of an unclassified version of the Irregular Warfare annex of the National Defense Strategy. The strategy was rolled out Jan. 19, 2018, under then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, but the annex was not completed until early 2019 and took “a long time” to declassify to the point where even the 12-page summary could be shared with the public, Francescon said.

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2020/10/02/irregular-warfare-strategies-must-move-beyond-special-forces-pentagon-says/

If the US will be fighting small groups in the future…why close down the “Group” that will perfect the tactics?

Or is the fear of China in the future driving all this re-organizations?

Just Asking.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Inkwell Institute Study Of War Update

I have studied war in all its forms for 40+ years…..nothing about it makes much sense these days…..but I try to keep my readers informed.

Since the 2020 election is sucking all the energy out of the foreign policy of the US…I thought I would let my readers know what was happening around the world while they were distracted by the antics of Donald the Orange.

The Chinese are testing a horrible weapon along the same vain as a cluster bomb but this is a swarm of deadly drones….

The China Academy of Electronics and Information Technology (CAEIT) has released a video of a test involving an array of 48 weaponized drones launching from the back of a truck, The South China Morning Post reports.

The drones can be seen launching from tubes, with a set of pop-out wings deploying from each right after. Troops on the ground then identify the drones’ targets on a tablet device. Each one is packed with explosives, according to The Times.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/chinese-weapon-launches-swarm-explosive-suicide-drones

Does anyone remember MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction)?

Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) is the deterrence concept developed in the 1960s by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in response to the Soviet nuclear threat. For the 2020s and beyond, America should not acquiesce to entering this mutual suicide pact with Iran or North Korea.

Various formulations of MAD were based on having enough surviving weapons after a Soviet first strike to kill 1/5 to 1/3 of the Soviet population and destroy half its industry. Henry Kissinger’s response to MAD was prescient: “The doctrine of ‘assured destruction’ led to the extraordinary conclusion that the vulnerability of our civilian population was an asset reassuring the Soviet Union and guaranteeing its restraint in a crisis. For the first time, a major country saw an advantage in enhancing its own vulnerability.

MAD proponents still believe the U.S. population should remain vulnerable against large Russian and Chinese nuclear missile attacks. The proponents argue that defending against such attacks would be destabilizing, even as both adversaries continue to deploy more deadly nuclear armaments in the absence of significant U.S. defenses, and the U.S. contemplates spending hundreds of billions to modernize its own nuclear arsenal.

MAD also appears to be the only U.S. deterrent to even very small nuclear attacks from space by emerging nuclear powers Iran and North Korea. With one or at most a few space-based nuclear explosions, both adversaries could mount electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) attacks that could disable America’s electricity supply for very long times, possibly resulting in the deaths of 2/3 or more, up to 90%, of the U.S. population (well over 200 million fatalities) after a year and collapse of American society

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/10/15/mad_is_bad_us_policy_for_iran_and_north_korea_580803.html

Recently Turkey and Greece  once again went at each other…..this time it was over gas reserves and not Cyprus….https://lobotero.com/2020/09/18/greco-turkish-tensions/

The tension calmed a bit and now it is about to flare once again…..

In a move certain to widen the rift between Turkey and its NATO allies, Turkey tested its Russian-made S-400 air defense system Friday in the latest affirmation that Ankara intends to operationalize the system.

Turkish and Russian media reports said the launch took place at a military base near the Black Sea. The test marked the first time the Turkish military fired the system it bought in 2017, ignoring years of warnings from NATO not to buy the Russian system. It comes just weeks after the system’s radar tracked a Greek F-16, earning Turkey a sharp rebuke from NATO.

https://breakingdefense.com/2020/10/turkey-tests-russian-s-400-as-tensions-with-greece-nato-spike/

Turkey has accused Greece of violations….

Those tensions had flared up over the summer, prompting a military buildup, bellicose rhetoric and fears of a confrontation between the two NATO members and historic regional rivals.

“Our Oruc Reis has returned to its duty in the Mediterranean,” Erdogan told legislators of his ruling party in a speech in parliament. “We will continue to give the response they deserve on the field, to Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration who have not kept their promises during talks within the EU and NATO platforms.”

He didn’t spell out what the promises were but Turkish officials have been accusing Greek officials of engaging in a series of “provocations” despite efforts to revive the so-called exploratory talks between the neighbors that were aimed at resolving disputes and were last held in 2016.

https://apnews.com/article/turkey-europe-recep-tayyip-erdogan-ankara-greece-9118400193af9a0048397be12830a439

Armenia and Azerbaijan are at each others throats once again…..

September 27th 2020, two countries have been battling it out for supremacy over a disputed site. The countries in question include Armenia and Azerbaijan and the dispute is related to that of region called as Nagorno-Karabakh. So, what exactly is the conflict and why exactly has an old dispute resurfaced all over again? How are the world super powers react to this?

Nagorno-Karabakh comes under the geographical jurisdiction of Azerbaijan but is administrated by groups from Armenia. A closer look on the map shows Nagorno-Karabakh is an enclave inside Azerbaijan

The current conflict began after Azerbaijan reportedly initiated an attack on civilians areas in Nagorno-Karabakh including the capital city of Stepanakert. Armenia claims it was forced to retaliate in order to protect civilians living in the area. In the following days, both sides claim to have made significant damage to the order side, with multiple narratives presenting a polarising picture of the ground reality.

Understanding the Armenia, Azerbaijan conflict

But if you are a reader of exquisite taste then you will want to read what I have to say about this conflict…..https://lobotero.com/2020/10/12/meanwhile-back-at-the-south-caucasus-conflict/

 

Let The Kids Do It

Some of those apocalyptic films have wars being fought for generations and generations….well fact is not so far off…..

Just last week our war inn Afghanistan entered into its 20th year……and soon the children of the original warriors will be fighting this conflict…..

The longest war in US history now spans generations. Service members who were deployed to Afghanistan, starting 19 years ago last week, are turning the mission over to their children. Since 2002, Master Sgt. Trevor deBoer has served three tours in what the government called the war against terrorism, Stars and Stripes reports. Spc. Payton Sluss has been deployed there as well, stationed at a base where his father served. “My feet were walking the same land you were,” Sluss told deBoer. His father said he often wondered during his tours if the US effort was making any progress. “When we started this, people asked why I was going, and my response was, ‘So my sons don’t have to fight this war,'” deBoer said. His son sees progress, however incremental, citing changes in women’s rights, free speech and education. “An inch is an inch, progress is progress no matter what,” he said. The US still suffers casualties in Afghanistan.

The job is different for this generation. Operation Enduring Freedom ended in 2014, per the New York Post. With the Taliban protecting al-Qaeda, Americans now concentrate on training local forces and rebuilding the country. “Afghanistan didn’t have a functioning toilet when I showed up,” said Capt. Bajun Mavalwalla, who arrived in 2002. When he returned as an adviser in 2012, he was amazed by the improvements. His son, also Bajun Mavalwalla, who was deployed in 2012, is more discouraged. “I wanted to go out and help people, serve my country. … I just sort of contributed to this deepening mire,” he said. The elder Mavalwalla’s view is across generations. “You have to have seen what it was 20 years ago, and then see it again 10 years later, to appreciate the improvement,” the father said. Another veteran whose son has served in Afghanistan said he just hopes his grandson won’t someday have to go fight the same battles “for the same reason.”

And yet Americans do not see the problem they are allowing to develop…..the media is to blame for making war seem somehow patriotic and romantic…..and try to ignore the conflict as often as they can.

Be Smart!

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Should US Troops Remain In The Middle East?

My first reaction to that question is…Hell NO!  Their families have suffered many years and it is time for them to be reunited with their soldiers.

Bring our troops home…..and the reasons are clear.

  1. The Middle East is a small, poor, weak region beset by an array of problems that mostly do not affect Americans—and that U.S. forces cannot fix. The best thing the United States can do is leave.
  2. The immense cost and evident fruitlessness of U.S. wars in the Middle East are widely lamented in American politics, but not enough to extricate U.S. troops. And even beyond the wars, U.S. policy in the region is an expensive and unnecessary disaster.
  3. The cost of maintaining forces to protect the Middle East from itself is extraordinary, even in peacetime. Conservatively, attempting to control the Middle East costs Americans on the order of $65–70 billion dollars each year, apart from the trillions spent on wars there. The number should be closer to zero.
  4. Nothing about the Middle East warrants the U.S. investment there over the past 30 years. The few important interests there—preventing major terrorist attacks, stopping the emergence of a market-making oil hegemon, curbing nuclear proliferation, and ensuring no regional actor destroys Israel—do not require American troops.
  5. The roughly 60,000 U.S. troops in the region should leave. American efforts to manage the Middle East make nothing about oil, Israel, or terrorism better. The United States would be better off withdrawing all forward-deployed troops from the region, while maintaining access agreements for naval ports with the consent of host countries.
  6. Withdrawing ground forces from the Middle East will make it harder for the United States to start or join any wars there. Shrinking the U.S. armed forces to reflect the lack of threat from the Middle East will free up resources for any number of higher priorities at home or abroad.

Six excellent reasons for pulling US troops out of the Middle East…..[

Why are we still there?

Is it to protect Israel?  If so I say fuck them let them do their own security.

Is it to protect oil?  Again I say screw it…we do not need their oil any longer.

Is it to keep the M-IC in defense contracts and their profits rolling in?  I think I have hit on the the true reason we are still there.  The industry spends billions on Congress they want their money to be well spent….if not they move on to the next corrupt politician that will do their bidding.

Why are we still in the Middle East?

(Insert your thoughts here)

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“lego ergo scribo”

Meanwhile Back At The South Caucasus Conflict

I have been watching and writing about the armed conflict that has erupted once again between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Eastern Europe…..

My posts that can explain my thinking….

https://lobotero.com/2020/09/29/conflict-in-the-caucasus/

https://lobotero.com/2020/10/05/nagorno-karabakh/

I know a lot of information to take in….so for those that have an allergic reaction to reading…..

Now that I have filled in the gaps……let’s look at the situation more in-depth…….

Now to look at the players…the Azeris supported by Turkey and the Armenians supported by the West….let’s not forget that the nations involved were once satellites of the USSR…..will this lead to a confrontation between Russia and Turkey?

The “frozen conflict” between Armenia and Azerbaijan has turned very hot. What may seem to many Westerners a minor clash in a remote corner of the world actually has significant implications for regional security, energy markets and the ambitions of two problematic strongmen: Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

The fighting, which goes back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, centers on a small enclave of ethnic Armenians inside Azerbaijan called Nagorno-Karabakh. The mountainous self-declared republic (which is not even formally recognized by its patron, Armenia) has a population of 150,000 but is highly militarized. The Azeris lost control of the area in a conflict in the 1990s that cost 30,000 lives, and despite much saber-rattling have been unable to get it back though diplomatic or military means.

In my time at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, I visited both countries several times. Dislike and distrust permeated the environment. The two defense chiefs at the time hated each other, and although both nations were nonmember partners with NATO (and had small troop contingents in Afghanistan), all that either man wanted to talk about was the duplicity and venality of the other. Unfortunately, each was accurately channeling the national view toward their neighbor in the Caucasus. Neither side seemed willing to give an inch, either literally and figuratively.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2020/10/04/commentary/world-commentary/war-caucasus-russia-turkey/

Armenia is now blaming Turkey (an old conflict that has no end)..

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said the support of Turkey motivated Azerbaijan to reignite fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. The fighting continues in the disputed region, with around 300 people reported killed, including civilians on both sides.

“While it is true that the leadership of Azerbaijan has been actively promoting bellicose rhetoric for the last 15 years, now the decision to unleash a war was motivated by Turkey’s full support,” Pashinyan told AFP. “Without Turkey’s active engagement this war would have not begun.”

Pashinyan also said on Tuesday that Armenia was willing to make concessions with Azerbaijan to end the fighting if Baku was willing to do the same. “Conflicts need to be resolved on the basis of mutual concessions,” he said. “Nagorno-Karabakh is ready, and Armenia is ready, to mirror the concessions that Azerbaijan is ready to make.”

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev has previously stated that the fighting will continue until Armenian forces completely withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh. “Nagorno-Karabakh is our land. We have to go back there, and we are doing it now,” Aliyev said on Sunday.

Other heads of state have accused Turkey of driving the conflict, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In an interview on Tuesday, Assad accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being the “main instigator and the initiator” of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

(antiwar.com)

This situation has the possibility of becoming a wider conflict that could suck in many Western countries as well as Russia…..but just what is Azeris fighting for?

But what, precisely, is the aim of the operation?

Azerbaijani officials haven’t said precisely what their strategic goal is in this round of fighting, but the scale of the offensive suggests that it is more ambitious than previous escalations.

Azerbaijani analysts say that the aim this time may be the recapture of one or two of the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh that Armenian forces took during the war three decades ago.

“I assume that Azerbaijan intends at least to retake control in Fuzuli and Jabrayil; [those are] the two main priorities for this campaign,” said Fuad Shahbaz, an Azerbaijani analyst, in an email interview with Eurasianet.

https://eurasianet.org/as-fighting-rages-what-is-azerbaijans-goal

The only good news is that the two warring sides have agreed to a ceasefire…

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday. The two sides agreed to pause fighting while they exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed in the conflict. More “substantive” talks over the disputed enclave are expected to start soon.

The announcement came after representatives from Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Moscow for talks mediated by Russia. According to Sputnik, the two sides agreed to a ceasefire after 10 hours of negotiations.

“A ceasefire has been announced, beginning 12:00 on 10 October, 2020, for humanitarian purposes for the exchange of prisoners of war and other detainees, and bodies of the dead, to be mediated in accordance with the criteria of the International Committee of the Red Cross,” Lavrov said in a statement.

The ceasefire announcement comes after the US, France, and Russia met in Geneva to discuss the conflict. The three countries co-chair the Minsk Group, which was set up in 1992 to foster negotiations over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

(antiwar.com)

A ceasefire sounds like a good start right?

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a Russia-brokered cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting Saturday, but immediately accused each other of derailing the deal intended to end the worst outbreak of hostilities in the separatist region in more than a quarter-century, the AP reports. The two sides traded blame for breaking the truce that took effect at noon with new attacks, and Azerbaijan’s top diplomat said the truce never entered force. The cease-fire announcement came overnight after 10 hours of talks in Moscow. The deal stipulated that the cease-fire should pave the way for talks on settling the conflict. If the truce holds, it would mark a major diplomatic coup for Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia but also cultivated warm ties with Azerbaijan.

But the agreement was immediately challenged by mutual claims of violations. Minutes after the truce took force, the Armenian military accused Azerbaijan of shelling the area near the town of Kapan in southeastern Armenia, killing one civilian. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry rejected the Armenian accusations as a “provocation.” The Azerbaijani military, in turn, accused Armenia of striking the Terter and Agdam regions of Azerbaijan with missiles and then attempting to launch offensives in the Agdere-Terter and the Fizuli-Jabrail areas.

This region is an opportunity for the US to show they can lead still……but the question will be will it?

Several Democratic Senators, in the wake of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, are proposing that the U.S. impose sanctions or terminate all military assistance to Azerbaijan.  Evidently, they blame Baku for the war.  But while such resolutions may gratify the ubiquitous and deep-rooted moralism and desire to punish malefactors that affects the entire U.S. political class as well as interested domestic constituencies; this intemperate and misconceived move actually runs counter to U.S. interests.  Indeed, it would only confirm Azeri and Turkish suspicions that there is no understanding in Washington concerning the Caucasus and thus no reason to pay attention to this gesture of frustration or to anything else coming out of Washington. Neither would it bring the parties to peace, quite the contrary.  That decision would only lead them to seek patrons elsewhere and further estrange them from Washington while depriving the U.S. of leverage in the region.

Since crisis denotes opportunity as well as threat, this war actually behooves Washington to ponder the reasons for this outbreak of fighting as well as the fact that this war offers the U.S. an opportunity to get back in the ring in the Caucasus, advance its own and the belligerents’ real interests, and help bring about peace and legitimate regional order.  First, we must dispute the widespread belief that we have no vital or important interests at stake here other than possibly the safety of energy shipments to Europe from the Caspian that traverse Azerbaijan and Georgia.  In 1993 when this conflict began, Turkey raised the possibility of attacking Armenia to relieve Azerbaijan.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/10/09/the_war_in_nagorno-karabakh_actually_represents_an_opportunity_for_washington_580211.html

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