Thursday, August 29, 2019

Of Interest: The Daily Caller

Of Interest:  Check out the following website, The Daily Caller, that features breaking news, opinion and entertainment 24 hours a day. The link below will take you to the listing of articles on Females in Ranger School.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Even Some of Israel’s Greatest Supporters Don’t Get the Middle East Conflict

The president should be wary of a one-sided peace deal.

Macgregor states:

"There is no attainable compromise between Israelis and Palestinians in the Near East.  A Muslim Leader in the Near East who is powerful enough to lead the charge for peace and to survive the religious and political fallout of making a lasting peace with Israel does not currently exist.  Sadat died for it, Mubarrak spent much of his time in power atoning for it in mosques, and Jordan’s Hashemite Rulers survived thanks to massive Israeli, US and UK support. Today, the Hashemite grip on power in Jordan is extremely fragile. 

A “Palestinian” leader can “discuss” or “negotiate” peace, and even sign agreements because no Muslim is bound under the Qur’an and sharia to keep agreements with non-Muslims that are not beneficial to Muslims. At the same time, no “Palestinian” leader can deliver on a promise of peace as long as there is a Jewish state in the once Muslim-dominated Near East to attack. 

Thus, “Mideast peace” is a dangerous mirage; an illusion made to seem real by the exhaustion and thirst of those hunting for it. Muslim Arabs and Turks remain willing and able to continue sacrificing generations of Sunni Muslim lives to achieve eventual victory and drive the last vestiges of non-Muslim power out of the region.  They have largely expelled Christians from across the region, and reduced the once substantial [though dhimmified] Christian minorities of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq to brittle remnants of what they were just a generation ago."

David Isaac - AUGUST 26, 2019 10:45 AM

Never has a U.S. administration been so favorable to Israel. And Israeli Jews are full of gratitude—anything good earns a Trump comparison: "It’s No. 1, like Trump," an Israeli grocer told me the other day, pointing to an especially well-regarded mango.

Yet the Trump administration, like those before it, either doesn’t grasp, or won’t face, the truth about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Today, perhaps, the individual most voluble in telling the truth about the conflict is Prof. Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer on Arabic and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University.

His message is straightforward: Islam cannot accept a Jewish state in the Middle East, "not even a tiny one on the Tel Aviv coast." It’s a theological threat. Jews and Christians do have a protected status under Muslim rule "by becoming subservient to Islam in what is known as dhimmi status, which means they are legally deprived of many rights including the right to own land and bear arms," he writes.

Although this has been said many times, many ways, over the years, it fails to find an ear in America’s halls of power, partly because it’s foreign to modern Western ideas, partly because of well-oiled Arab propaganda and partly because it’s resisted by the conflict resolution industry (intractable religious problems leave it no part to play). And, partly, because Israel can’t face it either.

The iconoclastic Trump administration held out the greatest hope of seeing the conflict for what it was.  Instead, only a few days after his election, Trump called Mideast peace the "ultimate deal" in a Wall Street Journal interview. (Apparently, Trump never said "deal of the century." That came later, a likely mistranslation of comments made by Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during a meeting with Trump.)

The president put his son-in-law Jared Kushner in charge of the Mideast peace team, which began working in earnest in November 2017. The economic part of the deal, unveiled in Bahrain in June, shows that Trump is serious. The plan is highly detailed—two pamphlets of 40 and 96 pages each—offering a $50 billion investment fund for 179 business and infrastructure projects.

Kushner later held a conference call with Arab media, in which he said, "I have a lot of respect for President Abbas, he’s devoted his life to making peace, he’s suffered some setbacks along the way. I believe in his heart he wants to make peace, and that we can give him an opportunity to try to achieve that."

To say that the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas has been working for peace is a stunning upending of reality. It was only two months earlier, in April, that Abbas admitted the Palestinian Authority was behind all the terrorism coming out of its midst.

"Israel needs to understand this. It is impossible to send a soldier to war and then not take care of his family. We are talking about someone who acts on our behalf and receives orders from us," Abbas said, explaining why the PA must pay terrorists and their families.

These are terrorists who stab civilians and run teenagers down with cars. The terrorists who threw an explosive, killing a 17-year-old Jewish girl on Friday and badly injuring her father and brother, will be well remunerated. When faced with Israel’s withholding of a portion of its taxes as a result of its terror payments, the PA reacted by increasing such payments in the first five months of 2019. At the same time, it cut payments to civil servants. The PA had to cut somewhere, but funding terror comes first.

Yet, we are to believe that Abbas is a man who’s "devoted his life to making peace."

Magnifying the problem is Trump’s apparent faith in his own personal diplomacy. It manifests itself in his dealings with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Trump probably hoped to work his charms on Putin, as well, and he’s certainly trying with Abbas, of whom, according to Kushner, he is "very fond."

As Clifford May wrote in the Washington Times in March, "The comforting notion that skilled diplomats bearing gifts and not baring their teeth can seduce and reform those who threaten us may be the most important thing we know that simply isn’t so."

The Trump administration has even less excuse than prior administrations for its Mideast peace pursuits as it has the benefit of their experience. Peace efforts by Presidents Clinton, Bush I and II, and Obama all ended in failure. The Trump team can also look on the fate of several generous Israeli offers, which ended in disaster, including under Prime Ministers Ehud Barak (92 percent of West Bank) and Ehud Olmert (93 percent of West Bank).

The Trump administration argues that the United States should at least try to make peace. "We'll see what happens," Trump said of the process. "We're doing our best to help the Middle East."

The trouble is that in this case helping hurts. The deal’s political aspects haven’t been revealed, but Israel is rightly nervous. With the plan expected to be dropped shortly after Israel’s elections, the Netanyahu government released its "red lines" last week—no more uprooted settlements and an undivided Jerusalem among them.

In July, Israeli media reported that the Trump plan calls for a land corridor linking the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian Authority. It would be better called a terror corridor. Israel’s internal security services revealed recently that Hamas, more or less confined to the Gaza Strip, is pushing to create terror cells in the West Bank. An unrestricted land corridor, effectively cutting Israel in two, would make the job that much easier.

If Israel is nervous, Jordan is even more so. King Abdullah fears that the peace deal will make changes to Jordan’s status on the Temple Mount. Its control of the Muslim holy sites there is what gives the kingdom its religious legitimacy. Abdullah also fears the deal will propose some sort of confederation between the kingdom and the West Bank, which would undermine Hashemite rule and turn Jordan into a "de facto" Palestinian state.

In fact, when it comes to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the only thing worse than trying for an agreement is succeeding in making one. The Oslo Accords were a catastrophe for Israel. Land was handed over to a terrorist entity that proceeded to kill nearly 2,000 Jews in attacks the likes of which Israel had never seen. The Oslo process eventually led to Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which has exposed the country’s south to incessant rocket attack and the torching of thousands of acres of fields. With one such "peace agreement," can Israel survive two?

Trump could end this madness with a tweet. He isn’t overly invested.

Confronted with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks that a deal may be "unexecutable," Trump responded quite simply that he "may be right." Just last week, on August 18, Trump said, "It is tough to make a deal when there is that much hate."

Such comments could swiftly lead to the exits. "Hey folks, we got it wrong. One side isn’t interested in peace." It would mean an end to the painful tradition of one administration after another jousting at the same peace windmills.

Lies can sow enormous suffering. But they’re also like balloons. Sometimes it just takes a pinprick.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Peace Plan for Washington

Join RPI August 24th in Washington! Tickets here.

Breaking Washington's Addiction to War

by The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

War and Threats of War: How to Detox Washington

You know you're in trouble when even the stated opponents of Washington's imperial foreign policy cannot put together an intellectually satisfying, philosophically coherent argument against the warfare state. Too often ostensible opponents of Washington's impossibly aggressive foreign policy believe they are being "reasonable" by couching their criticisms in banal technicalities or obscuring them in a cost/benefit argument that ignores what should be the threshold for initiating foreign policy action: "Why act?"

A recent piece of analysis from a not necessarily unfriendly Beltway organization argued that we should end the war in Afghanistan because, "the United States can’t win against the Taliban at a remotely acceptable cost." Again, this is not a terrible paper from our perspective, but, turning the argument around, on what planet is an aggressive war fought against those who have not attacked us justified if it has an "acceptable cost"? If we only could kill more with less, it would be OK?

The Taliban should be decimated because they have "weird" religious views and allowed al-Qaeda to train for 9/11 on their soil? The same could be said for Florida.

At this point Afghanistan is just a testing ground for US mega-weapons and a jobs program for well-connected weapons manufacturers. That's why up to late last year, the sine qua non of a peace agreement with the Taliban was that a US force must remain behind. To fight al-Qaeda and ISIS. That the Taliban was already fighting. It's like our idiotic illegal outpost on Syrian soil: we must remain in Syria to fight al-Qaeda and ISIS...but when the Syrian government actually attacks the last al-Qaeda stronghold in Syria, the State Department demands they stop fighting al-Qaeda. And Americans can't understand why the rest of the world is scratching its collective head at the schizophrenic irrationality of US foreign policy.

No, here's our view: A lower cost would not justify the US war on Afghanistan. If we could get Saudi Arabia and Israel to write the check, an attack on Iran would still be an abomination. And here's the bitter pill: Even if Congress authorized a US war on Iran, China, Venezuela, fill-in-the-blank, it would still be an illegal and immoral war unless they attacked the US. If we don't want the rest of the world with its boot on the neck of our sovereignty, we must accept the sovereignty of others. Even if they choose leaders Washington does not like or endorse economic systems we believe are goofy.

It's all common sense, but the mainstream media propaganda has Americans believing they are Popeye and there is a never-ending supply of spinach. We can "free the oppressed people" worldwide with enough sanctions, State Department regime change training, and a few bombs if needed.

It does not work. Even if "this time it's different," as we are hearing about the US-sponsored cook-up in Hong Kong. Lucy, hold that football.

This is the last RPI update before our Washington conference on Saturday. If you have not gotten your tickets I would urge you to do so immediately. We have less than two tables left before the venue will force us to stop selling seats. We have a great program of people you need to hear from and perspectives you will rarely hear.

I was sitting here starting this letter to you when my phone rang and it was Rep. John Duncan on the line, really excited about his scheduled speech at the conference on being an antiwar conservative. How often do you hear about that on Fox or MSNBC? But we all need to hear it, to take this message and churn it into our broader movement. We will win because we have the best ideas, and as Dr. Paul always says we do not need 50% plus one. We just need to understand the freedom philosophy and transmit it to the millions of receptive Americans, just waiting to hear something - finally - that makes sense!

Join us!

Get your tickets TODAY! This is an event like none other inside the Beltway. We are coming not to compromise or to make a deal. We are coming to Washington to demand a change in US foreign policy! Reserve your place at this critically important gathering of forces opposed to the neocon plan for endless war and destruction!

Breaking Washington's Addiction to War
August 24th, 2019

Dulles Airport Marriott, Dulles, VA

Program: RPI Washington Conference
8:30: Registration, store opens, coffee and tea

9:30 – 9:50: Daniel McAdams Welcome and Introduction, “Real Anti-Interventionism.”

10:00 – 10:20: Rep. John Duncan, “An Antiwar Conservative.”

10:30 – 11:00: David Stockman, “NATO’s Destructive Tentacles.”

11:00 – 11:20: Coffee break

11:20 – 11:40: Nathan Goodman, "The Economic Costs of US Empire."

11:45 – 12:05: Rick Sanchez, “US Media in Crisis.”

12:10 – 12:30: Larry Johnson, “Understanding the Intel and Law Enforcement Plot to Destroy the Trump Presidency.”

12:30 – 1:30: Lunch

1:40 – 2:00: Doug Macgregor, “National Security Without Constant Conflict.”

2:05 – 2:25: Lew Rockwell, “Rothbard and War.”

2:30: Ron Paul


The Dulles Airport Marriott hotel is booked solid for Friday night, August 23rd. Our overflow hotel is:

45500 Majestic Drive
Sterling, VA 20166

To receive the discounted rate, attendees must request the Ron Paul Institute Conference room block at the Courtyard Dulles Town Center. Guests may also reserve online using the link provided below:

Book your group rate for Ron Paul Institute Conference

Guests may now begin to make their reservations, by calling central reservations at 800-369-3902.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Can swarming drones map battles in real time?


1) Quadcopters generally only have a range of up to 300 meters from the operator well within small arms range. 

2) Quadcopters with longer ranges of between 2 km to 7 km must emit a considerable EM signal. Thus with decent EW detection can easily find the operator.

3) Their endurance is typically between 8-10 minutes.

4) The longer range quadcopters can have up to 25 minutes endurance. 

5) Any payload will cut into the range and endurance. This is why deliveries via drone simply doesn’t make economic sense. 

6) A swarm of these demand computer control and significance EM emissions that would make it easily detectable allowing for easy destruction within the 7 km max range.

7) Quadcopters are all easily jammed. The Russians with their brute force approach to EW can drop entire swarms from the sky.

Can swarming drones map battles in real time?
By: Kelsey D. Atherton

With air and ground robots, DARPA tested autonomous systems built to scout and map an urban environment. (Kelsey D. Atherton / YouTube Screenshot)

Against the gray sky, the black robots hum. The swarm moves without words, mapping the neighborhood below, a flurry of buzzing and plotting, sharp angles and short orbits, creating in real time a blanket of surveillance over the selected objective. Part of DARPA’s OFFSET (OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics) program, the quadcopters are pieces in a greater whole, an incremental step to providing an expansive robot’s-eye view to humans fighting on the ground.

The neighborhood in question for this exercise was an urban warfare training complex at Fort Benning, Georgia, in June 2019. Flying through and over the “Selby Combined Arms Collective Training Facility,” the quadcopters worked with ground robots to identify locations of interest and then create a perimeter around that objective, in a process DARPA likens to “the way a firefighting crew establishes a boundary around a burning building.”

Firefighting looms large in the modern conception of swarm tasks. In January 2019, the Air Force Research Laboratory, together with the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, launched a project for drone swarms to model wildfires, with lessons applicable to military and battlefield uses. Finding danger and plotting a path for humans through it is an ideal task for robots.

In DARPA’s OFFSET exercise, the swarm had to find a mock city hall, an objective inside that building, and then provide situational awareness over the area in runs that lasted 30 minutes. Using commercial off-the-shelf machines and custom software, the program wants to create in real life as close to the kind of real-time tactical information a person might find in a strategy video game.

OFFSET is scheduled to have new exercises and new updates roughly every six months for the next two years, with the June sprint the second in the series. The end goal is for swarms of up to 250 drones to operate autonomously, providing real-time information to humans who can then move through the battlefield confident that the area has at least been robotically scouted and monitored.

As the Pentagon’s blue-sky projects wing, DARPA is focused on advancing the technology to the point where it can be picked up and refined by other labs or industry. Building tactics from the new capabilities, and machines specific to swarm-human teaming, will have to come later. It’s worth looking at the swarms as a possible component of future battlefields, and when designing technologies to meet the needs of the now, keeping an open mind to how swarms might change or hinder those same functions.

Watch below:

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Turkey to annex northern Syria with US blessing

The Turks, or at least Erdogan and the AKP and probably the MHP nationalists and populists who are the vital junior partners in the ruling gov’t, strongly support a conflict in northern Syria.

Ankara wants to take over and “finish the job” that the Turks believe the US and reactionary regimes like Jordan and KSA screwed up—destroying the “Shi’a Crescent.” Turkish action involves crushing the Syrian Arab Army, putting the alQaeda wing of SDF in charge of Damascus, and wiping out the Kurds… and then, eventually, repeating a similar process in Iraq.

These actions will also enable the Turks and Qataris to mount a serious challenge to Iranian dominance in the Persian Gulf. Ankara has Qatari money and connections behind them, and the Turks think they can count on the US/NATO to protect them if things go badly because the Russians and/or Iranians oppose them. However, Ankara will get no support from NATO and Washington would be foolish to back Turkish aspirations.

The Israelis will welcome this development as a guarantee that Iran will be isolated from Its ally in Lebanon. In addition, Turkish intervention promises an enduring struggle for control of Mesopotamia between Sunni Islamist Turkey and Shiite Iran. The outcome suits Tel Aviv. Of course, Tel Aviv puts its own security at risk with alQaeda friendly forces in Damascus and Turkish Forces Near it’s Northern Border, but that appears to be their plan.

Clearly, we should withdraw from Syria ASAP and disengage from Iraq as well. Keeping US troops in the region risks involvement in a regional conflict that we don’t need to fight. This will also further weaken, if not, destroy what’s left of NATO. Christians in the region will be driven out or killed.

Turkey to annex northern Syria with US blessing

Ankara outmaneuvers Washington, weeks after crisis in relations over purchase of Russian S-400 missile system

Kurdish fighters attend the funeral of a Syrian Democratic Forces fighter in the town of Tal Tamr in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on December 21. Observers say the planned withdrawal of American forces from Syria will put Kurdish fighters in Turkey's crosshairs. Photo: AFP

The United States military, desperate to avoid an open confrontation between its NATO ally and Kurdish clients, has capitulated in a game of chicken with Ankara, agreeing to an occupation zone across northern Syria.

The announced agreement comes just weeks after US lawmakers threatened Turkey with sanctions over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. By threatening an imminent attack on the Kurdish YPG militia – America’s ally against ISIS – Ankara appears to have obtained a green light for a US-shepherded seizure of Syrian territory.

The so-called “peace corridor” is expected to span the entire region east of the Euphrates River, stretching 460 kilometers, according to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu. It will also go 32 kilometers deep into Syrian territory, putting Kurdish-held towns like Kobane – seized from ISIS in 2015 – under Turkish authority.

A statement by the US Embassy in Turkey said the agreement included the establishment of a “joint operations center in Turkey” in order to set up the zone, though it did not offer details on the size of the area or how the Pentagon plans to deal with its Kurdish allies of the past six years.

“The safe zone shall become a peace corridor, and every effort shall be made so that displaced Syrians can return to their country,” the embassy said.

The statement suggests that the area will become a dumping ground for Syrian refugees, who are currently facing an unprecedented crackdown in Turkey, including forced deportations.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry called the US-Turkish accord “blatant aggression against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and the UN Charter.” There was no indication, however, that Damascus was prepared to send troops into the fray.
Doomed deal

The US blessing for a Turkish zone of influence across northern Syria came after Ankara threatened to invade unilaterally in order to rid the area of the YPG – the sister group of Turkey’s blacklisted Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK.

“We entered Afrin, Jarabulus, and Al-Bab [in northern Syria], and now we’re going to enter east of the Euphrates,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said August 4, alluding to the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations of the past three years, which resulted in de-facto annexation of those Syrian towns.

It is unclear how the new, purported agreement with Washington will avert open conflict.

“What I see is the United States making a last attempt to prevent Turkey from taking a unilateral step,” said Mutlu Civiroglu, an analyst focusing on Kurdish affairs. “It’s an effort to gain some time, like in a soccer game.”

Nicholas Heras, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, echoed those comments. “The entire plan now is to keep on giving the Turks some wins that can hold off an invasion,” he said.

The gap between the two governments remains vast.

While Ankara aims to seize full control of the YPG-held areas along its border, the Kurds are pressing for an international force to oversee any proposed safe zone, according to a July 31 International Crisis Group (ICG) report.

“Washington can protect the YPG or strengthen its ties with Turkey, but it cannot do both,” the ICG said.

Should the Kurds find themselves exposed to Turkish attack, they will likely redeploy forces from areas vulnerable to an ISIS resurgence, which in the US view risks wiping out gains of the years-long campaign.

Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Kurdish forces have worked to avert confrontation with Assad’s forces. They were equally skeptical of the opposition, which was quickly dominated by Islamist factions – some of whom now operate as mercenaries in the service of Turkey.

Over the course of the conflict, the Kurdish YPG repeatedly clashed with Islamist factions, most notably ISIS. That war effort gained them the air support of the United States, which continues to operate alongside the Kurds in northeastern Syria – much to its ally Turkey’s chagrin.

It is unlikely that Marxist Kurdish guerrillas will accept the deal without a fight and succumb to rule by Turkish troops and their Syrian allies.
Afrin model

The fate of the towns to be included in the Turkish “peace corridor” will likely mirror that of other regions annexed by Turkey and its allies in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

Those areas included the Kurdish-majority town of Afrin and its surrounding villages, seized more than a year ago. The takeover carved out a safe haven for tens of thousands of defeated rebels and their families, while displacing half the local population.

Afrin this season shipped its most famed product, olive oil, from its vast orchards to Turkey, whose authorities insist they must prevent the profits from falling into the hands of the ousted PKK.

Schools now enforce gender segregation, Turkish flags fly over public buildings and portraits of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hang in shops, according to residents interviewed by Asia Times.

The battle for Afrin was relatively quick, as it was isolated from other Kurdish-held areas. But the proposed “peace corridor” includes hundreds of kilometers of contiguous YPG-held territory. US troops are still deployed in the area, though their presence has been significantly reduced.