Terrorist chickens coming home to roost?

A few weeks ago, I noted that ISIS terrorists imprisoned in the Kurdish areas of Syria were caught between a rock and a hard place. Syrian security forces are also helping to round up or kill any ISIL prisoners who had recently escaped from Kurdish prisons. Everyone involved here, especially the Syrians, Iranians and Iraqis, have a compelling reason to prevent ISIL members or family members from getting free. The Kurds had asked, without much success, for more help, especially financial, to deal with all the ISIL personnel they had captured. Moslem and non-Moslem nations were not eager to take back their

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Remember those ISIL terrorists being held by the Kurds?

According to Strategy Page, they’re probably in a world of hurt right now.  Turkey may be, too, due to the hornet’s nest it’s disturbed by invading Syria.  Bold, underlined text in the excerpt below is my emphasis. The Kurds responded to the Turkish offensive by doing something the Americans told them they would eventually have to deal with. The Assad government has prevailed in the civil war and they are technically in charge of the entire country, including border areas occupied by the Turks. The Assads declared that the Americans and Turks were in Syria without permission while the Russians and

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Syria’s army: collapse and rebirth

Military buffs will find a report from the Middle East Institute very interesting.  It’s titled “The Lion and The Eagle: The Syrian Arab Army’s Destruction and Rebirth“.  Here’s the summary. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been decimated by eight years of civil war. Defections, deaths, and a lack of funding have gutted its ranks while heavy losses of armored vehicles have significantly reduced the mechanized capabilities of what was once the sixth-largest armor fleet in the world. The inability of Damascus to fully deploy its official army led to the rise of paramilitary militias and an influx of pro-regime

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The Saudi oil attacks – read the map

I note that Yemeni rebels have claimed responsibility for attacking Saudi Arabian oil refining facilities using (presumably) Iranian-manufactured and -supplied drones over the weekend.  I’m not so sure.  Consider this map of the region, with the area of the drone attacks highlighted by a red marker. That’s an awful long way from Yemen, where the Houthi rebels are fighting.  What’s more, the Yemeni border area is well covered by radar, with missiles and fighter aircraft on permanent standby to intercept ballistic missiles and other attacks launched from rebel territory.  To suggest that the drones flew all that way north, penetrating all those

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Refugees as an instrument of international blackmail

Having mismanaged its relationship with Turkey for decades, including paying a “subsidy” of billions of Euros to that country to persuade it to stop allowing Syrian and other “refugees” to flood into Europe, that continent is once again learning (the hard way) the lesson taught so well by Rudyard Kipling:  “If once you have paid him the Dane-geld, you never get rid of the Dane“. Reuters reports: Over a dozen migrant boats landed on Greece’s Lesbos island within minutes of each other on Thursday in the first such mass arrival from neighboring Turkey in three years, officials said, prompting Greece to summon Turkey’s ambassador.

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Corruption in Afghanistan costs US taxpayers – again

The Afghan Air Force has had to acquire be given (at US expense) four used Lockheed Hercules transports – because the planes it was originally given (also at US expense), while more suitable for its needs, were sidelined by rampant corruption within its ranks, and among Afghan politicians. In 2012 Afghanistan announced that it would cancel the contract to buy and use 20 C-27A transports. The official reason was the inability of the Italian maintenance firm to keep the aircraft operational. The unofficial reason was the unwillingness of the Italians to pay as much in bribes as the Afghan officials were demanding. Over half a billion

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Everything you ever wanted to know about car bombs, but were afraid to ask

Hugo Kamaan has produced an in-depth report for the Middle East Institute titled “Car Bombs As Weapons Of War – ISIS’s development of SVBIEDs, 2014-19“.  The link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format.  The executive summary reads: The suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) has been one of ISIS’s most powerful and versatile weapons. The group consistently adapted the SVBIED design based on operational environment and other factors, with modifications in armor, payload organization, color, and detonation technology. Advanced SVBIED designs have been distributed between many ISIS provinces, not only within Iraq and Syria, but also globally

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Perfectly legal technology, but it makes me nervous

I note the availability of a “TF-19 WASP Flamethrower Drone Attachment“, that is “highly compatible with most cinema/industrial drone platforms with a payload capacity of 5 lbs or more“.  Here’s a promotional video. This is, of course, entirely legitimate technology in a number of industries and activities.  The supplier lists: Clear debris from power lines Pest management and nest elimination Forest fire containment back-burns / pre-burns Remote agriculture burns Nothing wrong with any of those.  However, I can’t help thinking how much damage it could do in the wrong hands. What if a disaffected person got hold of one of

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It pays to be a Palestinian terrorist

When I worked as a prison chaplain, I came across more than one Palestinian terrorist behind bars.  They usually received a check each month, deposited into their prison commissary accounts, from “their family in Palestine”.  We all knew this was from the Palestinian government.  It was routine. Strategy Page discusses what it calls this “pay-for-slay” terrorism, and its consequences for Palestine. In the West bank the Palestinian Fatah government accuses Hamas of being unable to control all its Gaza factions and make it possible to form a unified Palestinian government. That is an accurate assessment but it ignores the fact the Fatah is

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