Closing Thought–18Aug17

After 50 years of conflict!

If anyone can recall our fearless leader said that a Middle East peace deal would be offered in his first days……that did not work out as planned……

By now it is obvious that the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians, which President Donald Trump promised in his first days in office, was little more than an optical illusion. A series of conversations with Israeli, Palestinian and diplomatic sources depicts a very different picture. The diplomatic process is bogged down. President Trump is not involved in any way, nor does he have any interest in getting involved. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is severely disappointed with the United States, and the US “peace team” has lost what limited credibility it had on the Palestinian side. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government is rubbing its hands eagerly beneath the table and dismissing all the serious concerns that sullied the mood of the past few months. Nothing will happen, because there is nothing there, ministers from the Likud and HaBayit HaYehudi whisper with smug satisfaction. We can all calm down.

I thought then that it was his normal idle promise…..

I have been saying for years that since the US will not step up and help find a peaceful conclusion to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that the Pals should expand their reach and ask other powerful countries for help….

Maybe someone was listening…..for the Chinese have stepped into the process in the region…..

China’s UN ambassador urged the international community on Monday to support President Xi Jinping’s new four-point proposal to end the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establish an independent Palestinian state.

Liu Jieyi said at a news conference that China’s future diplomatic efforts will focus on trying to move toward a negotiated solution based on the four proposals.

Xi signaled China’s stepped-up engagement in the Middle East when he met about two weeks ago in Beijing with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and outlined the plan.

The four points are:

– Advancing the two-state solution based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of a new Palestinian state.

Upholding “the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security,” immediately ending Israeli settlement building, taking immediate measures to prevent violence against civilians, and calling for an early resumption of peace talks.

– Coordinating international efforts to put forward “peace-promoting measures that entail joint participation at an early date.”

– Promoting peace through development and cooperation between the Palestinians and Israel.

Sounds like every other plan these days…..couldn’t hurt having another player in this game…….

A small step for a large problem…..I wish them luck and success.  chuq

Closing Thought–17Aug17

Another US Soldier Dies!

I hate that I must write these types of posts!

More sad news….I reported on Monday about 2 troops that were killed in Iraq.

Now news comes out that a US soldier was killed in Eastern Afghanistan….name is withheld until the family is notified….

One U.S. service member from the Utah National Guard was killed Wednesday during an operation against Islamic State forces in eastern Afghanistan, according to a statement from the Utah National Guard.

Approximately seven U.S. and Afghan forces were also injured in the operation, and were medically evacuated, according to a statement from Operation Resolute Support.

Identification of the service member was pending notification of next of kin, the military said.

“My heart aches for the loss and sacrifice of our members and their families,” Maj. Gen. Jefferson Burton, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, said in a statement. “I know that what we do is dangerous and important work for our country’s defense, but this realization does little to console me during times of loss such as this.”

Wednesday’s incident brings the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan this year to 11, the same number as were killed in all of 2016 in Afghanistan.
IST offers the family our deepest sympathies for their loss….may he Rest in Peace.

A Better Plan

Yes I am talking about Afghanistan….again.

I have been bitch for over 10 years about how we got into yet another horrible war with NO plan to whether win or to go home.  Sounds all so familiar.

You know it is really not that hard for fight a war using the enemies game plan.

Say what?

That’s right….use their game plan against them.

When I was sent to Vietnam I was assigned to the LRRPs for the 9th Infantry Division….we spent a lot of our time in enemy territory and we needed to know what to expect….we all wer4e given a copy of North Vietnamese general’s book of guerilla warfare….People’s War, People’s Army by Gen. Giap.  It outlined the proper way to fight a guerilla war…tactics, logistics, everything they a soldier would need to know.

I bring this up because the same thing could have been done for our fight in Afghanistan.

Again…..say what?

That is right there is a game plan for Taleban fighters…..it is a book written 1995 by the fighters themselves entitled “Afghan Guerilla Warfare” by Ali Ahmad Jalali.  The book gives details on ambushes, logistics, weapons, bombs making, etc, etc….

Now would it nor have been  good idea to familiarize the troops with what to expect when fighting the Taleban?

Arrogance has doomed a many army in the past….and it is pulling the US military in too many directions to ever come out of the country with a win.

Closing Thought–14Aug17

More US Deaths!

With all the news about Virginia and North Korea and the White House drama there is always some news that will fall between the cracks….but the death of American soldiers should NEVER fall through….

Over the week more US troops met their death while fighting in Iraq….

The Pentagon has confirmed two US soldiers were killed and five others wounded today in “combat operations” in Iraq. Details of exactly what happened remain unclear, with the Pentagon not offering any formal details beyond “combat.”

The Pentagon appeared to be vague on this, however, saying they don’t think the deaths were due to “enemy contact,” despite saying the deaths were in the course of combat operations. This brings the number of US soldiers confirmed killed in the ISIS combat operations to seven.

(antiwar.com)

Our sympathies go out to the families for their loss…..

My day is all but over…..I need to decompress a bit….been a helluva day.

Be well, be safe……..chuq

Don’t Privatize the Afghan War—Just End It!

Well said!

I have been a proponent of the US getting out of Afghanistan for several years…..that war is going nowhere fast.

It seems that the president is not happy with the situation in Afghanistan either….now someone in the admin has floated the idea of privatizing the war and letting a horde of mercenaries handle the situation.

Trump’s mercenary supporter Erik Prince has a self-serving proposal for Afghanistan. It must be condemned and rejected.

Erik Prince, the notorious founder of the military contracting company formerly known as Blackwater, has been making the rounds of media outlets to promote his idea for privatizing the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Prince, whose company was renamed Academi, and who now chairs a Chinese-owned company named Frontier Services Group, is unabashedly vying for a lucrative Pentagon contract that would turn over military operations in Afghanistan to a private corporation. He has gone as far as calling for an “American viceroy” in Afghanistan to fix the United States’ failing war.

Source: Don’t Privatize the Afghan War—Just End It – Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists – Truthdig: Expert Reporting, Current News, Provocative Columnists

The Navy Times notes that the proposal would likely run into legal trouble. Current defense law stipulates that “the use of combat power against enemy forces or hostile actors is inherently in the purview of the U.S. government.” Contractors can provide assistance, but Prince’s plan goes way beyond that. The former Navy SEAL says it would cost about $10 billion year, far less than the Pentagon’s current annual outlay of $40 billion.

I agree with the author….enough time and resources have been spent on the country…..declare a success and bring the troops home and let the country rise or fall on its own.

Oh Yeah–Afghanistan!

Then there is America’s longest running war…..Afghanistan.

These days we do not hear much about this conflict…..most Americans take it for granted and move on to whatever shiny bobble the media dangles out there for them to chase.

But there are people like me that will not turn away from this war and persist in reporting the news as it comes available……

Most people know next to nothing about the country other than bang bang shoot’em up!

Many foreigners and even Afghans are now convinced that the “true” Afghanistan is only what is being shown on the television screens, depicted in magazines, or what is buried deep in the archives and libraries somewhere in London, New York or Paris.

It is tempting to think that the country could be only understood from a comfortable distance, from the safety of one’s living room or from those books and publications decorating dusty bookshelves and coffee tables all over the world.

“Afghanistan is dangerous,” they say. “It is too risky to travel there. One needs to be protected, escorted, equipped and insured in order to function in that wild and lawless country even for one single day, or just a few hours.”

Source: AFGHANISTAN: Examining the Myths, the Lies and the Legends ~ Andre Vltchek

I have often bitched about our strategy in Afghanistan….basically the lack of a strategy….there are many armchair generals out there that give advice…..

Pakistan’s sponsorship of the Taliban is the main reason for the continued stalemate in Afghanistan after almost 16 years. To be sure, there are other ancillary factors that help explain the instability, but Pakistan is the key reason.

The war in Afghanistan will not end, or it will end badly unless the U.S.-led Coalition and its Afghan partners compel Pakistan to cease its malign conduct.

What a win looks like.

A ‘win’ in Afghanistan would not resemble the win in World War II where the Allies thoroughly defeated and then received the unconditional surrenders of Germany and Japan.  The end will be negotiated and conditional.

Source: To ‘Win’ in Afghanistan, Devise a Strategy and Do Not Quit | RealClearDefense

Rah Rah!

Then some see this conflict as a loss and no matter the plan will remain so……

There is a case for a deliberate U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Afghan government remains divided and weak, its security forces will take years of expensive U.S. and allied support to become fully effective, and they may still lose even with such support. Afghanistan is no more likely to become a future center of terrorist attacks outside its borders than many other weak and unstable countries.

Both Afghanistan and a troublesome Pakistan have only marginal strategic interest to the U.S. relative to many other areas where the U.S. can use its resources. Moreover, leaving the region places the security and aid burden on Russia, China, and local states—forcing the countries that do have major strategic interests in the region to take on the burden or live with the consequences.

Source: How the Trump Administration Is Losing Afghanistan | RealClearWorld

And then there is those that feel a new way forward would be a better strategy…..what that is is anybody’s guess.

Even the president is extremely unhappy with the situation ion Afghanistan…..to the point of shouting…..

President Trump isn’t happy about the situation in Afghanistan and his proposed solution is one that will be familiar to Celebrity Apprentice viewers, insiders say. Sources tell Reuters that during a July 19 meeting in the White House Situation Room, an angry Trump said military leaders should consider firing Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, over his performance. “We aren’t winning,” Trump said, per the sources, described as senior administration officials. “We are losing.” Trump also complained about NATO allies and said the US should demand some of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion mineral wealth, the officials say.

Trump complained that China was profiting from Afghanistan’s mineral wealth under a deal set up a decade ago. According to NBC‘s sources, Trump “startled” military advisers including Defense Secretary James Mattis with an anecdote comparing their advice to that of a New York restaurant consultant who cost a business profits with lousy advice about renovating a kitchen. He suggested the owner should have talked to the waiters instead. Trump ended the two-hour meeting without a decision on a new US strategy for South Asia. Pentagon sources say Mattis returned from the meeting “visibly upset” and went for a long walk to clear his head.

As my reader can see….Afghanistan is a real mess and NO one seems to have the answer to the situation.

But yet there is a proposal headed to the Pentagon…..a private army to Afghanistan to takeover the fight….for profit…..

President Trump is said to be frustrated with progress in the 16-year-old Afghanistan war, and a familiar name in US military circles is offering an unprecedented solution. Blackwater founder Erik Prince has floated a plan to the White House that it turn over most of its military duties in the country to private contractors, reports USA Today. The US currently has 8,400 troops there, though their mission is to train and advise, not engage in combat. Prince would replace them with 5,500 contractors, most of them former Special Ops troops. They would be supported by a private air force of about 90 planes. One key point: They would wear Afghan uniforms and operate under Afghan command.

“At what point do you say a conventional military approach in Afghanistan is not working,” says Prince. “Maybe we say that at 16 years.” The newspaper says defense chief Jim Mattis and national security adviser HR McMaster are leery, while adviser Steve Bannon is more open to the idea. The Navy Times notes that the proposal would likely run into legal trouble. Current defense law stipulates that “the use of combat power against enemy forces or hostile actors is inherently in the purview of the U.S. government.” Contractors can provide assistance, but Prince’s plan goes way beyond that. The former Navy SEAL says it would cost about $10 billion year, far less than the Pentagon’s current annual outlay of $40 billion.

An army of mercenaries to do the fighting….sounds a lot like Italy in the 15th century.

I will continue to keep my readers up on the developments in Afghanistan as confusing as they are….maybe my attempt will help those readers understand just how hopeless Afghanistan can be.

The Mysterious Sub-Continent

India got its freedom from the UK in 1947 and almost from day one they have been in conflict with their neighbors.

First it was their problems with their neighbor Pakistan…the first India-Pakistan War was in 1947….then came the wars of 1965, 1971 and 1999….and to this day there are regular incidents between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir District in Northern India-Pakistan border region.

But those are not the conflicts that I want to go into….these were given only to show the amount of conflict that India is always finding itself immersed in……the conflict that is most pressing these days…..China-India situation…..

There head butting began in 1959 and has carried forward to this day….and it has become more fierce than in the past…..

In mid-June, a remote area called the Dolam plateau in the Himalayas where the boundaries of China, India and Bhutan meet made headlines when Indian and Chinese troops began a standoff over a road construction project. China conducted a live-fire exercise in the area, and there have been false reports of deaths. Diplomatic efforts are underway to de-escalate the situation, but still the risk of war has been on everyone’s mind.

The terrain and weather in the area, located in a region called Doklam, are anathema to war. And yet, almost exactly 55 years ago, China and India fought briefly over this and other contested border areas. So what is the strategic value of this seemingly obscure plateau? And would India and China really go to war again over it?

Source: Are China and India on the Road to War? – Geopolitics | Geopolitical Futures

What has the players up in arms this time?

Chinese forces are holding an increasingly large series of live-fire training drills in Tibet, reflecting soaring tensions with neighboring India, while Chinese state media outlets suggest the nation is gearing up for a possible “long-term confrontation” with India over the border region.

The tensions center on the border region of China, India, and Bhutan. China was trying to build a road in remote Dokola, when Indian ground troops streamed across the border to stop them. The construction has stopped but it has left scores of troops from both China and India in the remote area in a standoff, with the risk of the world’s two most populace nations warring over it.

(antiwar.com)

This may ultimately all be bluster, as a war between the two large nuclear powers ought to be unthinkable, particularly over this largely worthless chunk of mountainous terrain. Yet mutual unwillingness to be seen as backing down could quickly lead both sides toward further escalations, with a major regional conflict resulting.