The Global Salafists now have the initiative

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Former British Special Air Service operator and now best-selling author, Andy McNab, writes in one of his great novels, I can’t remember which one, that in a fight, you never let your opponent move forward first.  When you sense an impending fight, attack, or go on a defensive campaign from which you may never recover (dodging a punch never ended a boxing match–landing a punch has done so many times).

America had global salafists, such as al-Qaeda, on the ropes, but failed to finish them. And when the next round of the fight began, we weaved and bobbed to just survive until the bell rang, hoping the judges would give us the split decision.

But there is no bell and there are no judges.

In almost every country in which Islamic fundamentalists operate extensively, they have taken an offensive stance. In Yemen, Afghanistan  Pakistan, Somalia, Lebanon, Sudan, Nigeria, Libya, and Egypt, it is not government power that brings fear, it is Islamist militias. The situation is far worse than it was prior to 9-11-2001 and worse than it was before 2008.   The terrorists got the message: Americans want peace and aren’t willing to fight as hard as we are. America’s line in the sand was obliterated by mushy generalities and emphasis on American short comings. But fighting the global jihad with self-flagellating words is like fighting a termite infestation with peace offerings of cracker crumbs: The gesture makes the problem worse.

We can expect things to get worse.  When America withdraws from its foolish foray into nation building in Afghanistan, it is unlikely that Afghan military forces will be able to hold back the tide of terrorists, criminals, and warlords that await.  The Mother of all Mission Creep (MOAB-C) went from punitive raid to national level welfare.  The saddest thought is that we had the war won already and let politicians use Afghanistan for campaign slogans.

Whomever holds the seat of President of the United States after the coming election with be faced with some very tough choices. The withdrawal from Afghanistan and resultant violence will inevitably draw criticism from political opposition.  It may also boost morale for jihadists throughout the world. And yet, there seems no other option.

And yet this may not be the worst of it.  The world is running out of time to deal with Iranian nuclear ambitions, and Uber-Militia, Hezbollah–better armed than 90% of the world’s nations–appears to be readying itself for war.

Hezbollah sleeper cells and imminent war in the Middle East

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The Israeli Minister of Defense recently stated that Israel is prepared for 30 days of war with Iran. In fact, a shadow war, but a very real war never the less, has been ongoing between the two countries for months, with real people being killed by very real government-backed means.

Within the last year, at least 3 Iranian scientists who were working on Iran’s nuclear power program were assassinated.  Bombs exploded in their cars, killing them.  And there was the massively powerful cyberweapon, known as STUXNET, deployed against Iranian nuclear research facilities.  In what appears to be reprisals, terrorists targeted Israelis around the world in places like India, Georgia, and most recently in Bulgaria.  In this case, a suicide bomber walked onto a bus full of Israeli tourists and parked near an airport terminal , then detonated, killing 5 Israelis.  The bombing occurred in a popular Israeli vacation resort near the Black Sea.   Bulgarian domestic security released a video which shows the suspected suicide bomber walking inside the airport.  He is dressed in very casual western style clothing and has a light complexion.  I posted a video of the suspected bomber, below.

As a former law enforcement officer and current intelligence analyst I find the video and the overall bombing very disturbing for several reasons.  First, the bomber’s body language is staggeringly deceptive, offering no clues as to his true intent.  The man obviously received professional training, most probably from Iranian Quds Force and/or Hezbollah.  The man’s gait, posture and clothing are carefully crafted so as to defeat most attempts at profiling.  Secondly, the complexity of this operation was quite extensive.  The bomber had to penetrate an Eastern European country’s domestic security, most likely constructing the bomb there.  The bomber also looks very Western in complexion and mannerism.  Thirdly, a group of Israeli tourists had to be targeted and stalked.  This is different from an operation in which a high profile individual is targeted for assassination.  In that case it is quite simple to know where the high profile person will be, since he or she will be preceded by media reports, has a well known face, and may have an attached security detail.  This operation required extensive surveillance and testing of the existing security systems.  Also, the bomber possessed a fake Michigan driver’s license. 

Fake Michigan driver’s license found at bomb scene
Sketch of suspected suicide bomber in Bulgaria

All of this raises the question as to what Hezbollah has in store for Israel and America should Israel preemptively strike.  Readers should have no doubt that Hezbollah, sponsored by Iran, has placed sleeper cells around the world that are ready to “wake up” should they be called to action.  Though some of them already struck in response to the deaths of Iranian scientists and the STUXNET cyberweapon, it is logical to assume that Iran is holding back a considerable number of suicide bombers and saboteurs so as to control the political aspects of a future war.  It is an established fact that Hezbollah operates an organised crime ring in America, with million of dollars having been funneled to groups in Lebanon.[1]  Iran is the world’s foremost practitioner of 4th Generation Warfare.  Anyone who believes that this type of warfare is ineffective should consider the fact that Iran remained the number one state supporter of terrorism for decades without, until recently, sanctions leveled against it.  Iran has continued on the path of nuclear weapons without a single shot fired against it by the United States.  Iran has held hostage British sailors while parading them on camera against international law.  The Iranian government plotted the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to the US, without any repercussions, not even a strongly worded letter.  Iran provided fighters, bomb makers and Explosively Formed Projectiles  (EFPs) capable of slicing through the toughest of American armor, to insurgents in the Iraq war.  The American government willfully took no action against Iran despite knowing its government was killing American Soldiers. In some cases, American intelligence networks were told to avoid collecting information that proved Iranian complicity in American deaths.[2]  Iran also continues to sow chaos and discord in Iraq, forcing Iraqi prime minister Maliki to form an alliance with the Iranian regime.

There is simply no other way to interpret the lack of assertive action against Iran by the United States other than that the US government  is afraid of Iran.  The fact that the most powerful nation in history is scared of a country like Iran shows the effectiveness of 4G Warfare.  Iran knows it cannot win in a stand up fight against America.  It doesn’t need to, because the American government has little real idea of how to deal with 4th Generation fighters.  American politicians are far more concerned with polls and elections than the lives of American servicemen, otherwise the Iranians would have been taken care of years ago.  Terrorism targets public opinion and every terrorist loves a polling booth.  The proliferation of useful idiots who think that America can negotiate its way out of every bad situation has done nothing but empower Iran’s 4G warriors.

The Middle East is teetering on the edge of war.  The new Egyptian government openly states it is considering violating its peace treaty with Israel, Lebanon and Syria are in chaos, and Iran rushes toward obtaining the ultimate weapon while promising the destruction of Israel.  But perhaps most troubling is the lack of commitment from America as to which side it is on.  Our collapsing culture and post-modern morals  blind our government at a time when moral clarity is imperative

[1] Emerson, Steven, Jihad Incorporated”, pages 219-227, Prometheus Books, 2006

[2] O’hern, Steven, K. “The Intelligence Wars”, Chapter 4: Iran’s Shadow Falls Over Iraq, Prometheus Books, 2008

Armored Warfare–Is it dead?

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bolo3_1 Post-Modern warfare has lessened the dominance of the main Battle Tank.

The US’s dominance of Phase III battle has forced our enemies to resort to guerilla warfare. Any confrontation by battalions and brigades on the field of battle will and has resulted in the utter defeat of our enemies.

WW I established the armored fighting vehicle as the determining factor in linear warfare. No longer could a single man, armed with his rifle, stop the advance of platoons and companies. And those companies could advance faster than ever, riding in the holds of Infantry Fighting Vehicles. Today’s IFV’s are armed with auto-cannons capable of laying down withering fire from, spraying 25mm HE rounds at enemy positions. The US’s Bradley IFV is armed with TOW missiles capable of destroying any foreign armored vehicle.

The Israelis, in their recent war with Hezbollah, discovered that modern armaments have outstripped the defensive capabilities of armored vehicles. Hezbollah troops, reportedly armed with advanced Russian HEAT missiles such as the Kornet, were able to score numerous mobility kills. A significant amount of Israeli injuries occured in tank crews, Remember, the Israeli Merkava MBT represents the cutting edge of armor and weaponry, and yet individuals, armed with man-portable anti-tank missiles wreaked havok on them. We have come full circle, finding ourselves in the same position as armored knights, ponderous and outdated, feeling safe behind walls of boron/ carbide matrix, but then scorched by third-world soldiers carrying not blunderbusses but tandem RPG-29 rounds. We have been forced to meet them on their terms, in the dirty streets. Door to door, house to house–hand to hand.

The elephantine and half-blind tanks are now at a severe disadvantage in todays small-wars. IEDs, RPGs and conventional mines are the substitute for super-advanced tanks capable of defeating our M1A2s. We have countered with the advanced Warlock System; electronic countermeasures capable of disabling command-detonated IEDs.

The late Keith Laumer, author and creator of the awesome BOLO series of military science fiction, envision a future battlefield dominated by huge and computer controlled tanks called BOLOs. The picture at the start of this blog entry shows one artist’s interpretation of a BOLO unit. BOLOs with their artificial intelligence flintsteel armor were capable of defeating any enemy on Laumer’s battlefield. Even nuclear missiles were no threat thanks to heavy armor and nuclear dampers. The BOLOs sported Hellbore cannons, huge weapons refitted from spacecraft, plus the BOLO had flechette rounds for dealing with infantry. The BOLO’s ability to monitor the battlefield would have put any Ticonderoga Class cruiser to shame.

Alas, current technology prohibits us from deploying any BOLOs. From an engineering perspective, the sheer weight of the BOLO would make it incapable of crossing bridges and moving through extremely muddy terrain. Its size would prevent a BOLO from moving into cities–where todays forces are needed most. An d without the imaginary nuclear dampers or flintsteel armor, a BOLOs size would be a huge detriment: it could be seen for miles away. Also, Laumer’s BOLO could move far faster than what would be capable by tracked armor.

Maybe we’ll achieve some of the near-magic technology used by the BOLO–someday. For now though, we have taken some small steps in minimizing the ability of non-linear fighters to effectively engage our troops. The Stryker Infantry Fighting Vehicle displays the attributes of an excellent counter-insurgency system: It’s fast and mobile, modular, and can be armed with the Boomerang anti-sniper system, which can triangulate incoming sniper fire and the Raytheon Quick Kill anti-rpg system. The Quick Kill detects the launch of RPGs and fires its own micro-missile in order to intercept the incoming round. The Stryker can carry a 9- man squad too. Oh yeah–it can carry all sorts of remote weapons systems too-so no more cheap kill son our soldiers who are sitting in turrets.