Showing posts with label War and Peace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label War and Peace. Show all posts

April 17, 2022

Is this what World War between nuclear powers looks like?

    Sunday, April 17, 2022   No comments

On this platform, the 2011 war in Syria was characterized as a proxy war before it became obvious that it was so. Here, too, the war in Ukraine was characterized as a war between nuclear powers who cannot have direct military confrontation because of the danger of nuclear weapons that can be deployed.

Now, with the British head of government visiting Kyiv and promising Ukraine more military aid, and with US and most NATO members supplying Ukraine with weapons that are beyond the defensive ones, it is clear that this war is the closest to a war between nuclear powered actors. It is another proxy war but one of a higher level with much more dangerous consequences. It is so because Russia is directly involved in a confrontation with a country that sees itself more like a member of the EU and NATO even if it is not so. Perhaps this is the calculus of Ukrainian leaders: if, with the help of NATA and the EU, Ukraine fights Russia to a standstill or even defeats Russian forces on the ground, Ukraine would have earned its place in the alliance and in the union at the same time. Perhaps this is the only option left for Ukraine now, short of agreeing to the terms of peace proposed by Russia.

The sinking of the Russian warship in the Black Sea, the Russian losses near Kiyv, and the flow of more weapons to Ukraine could force Russia to adopt a new strategy; one that is still in line with its strategic goals but less risky in terms of human and hardware losses. This means that Russia may opt to control the Donbas region and all of the southern border and sit back and use its air force and long-range missiles to strike in the rest of the country. Such strategy will render the defensive posture adopted by the Ukrainian forces useless because their will be no close contact combat to use such weapons.

Should Russia adopts this war from distance strategy, first, it will rely on the help of the Chechen Muslim fighters to hold new ground and support the armed forces of the autonomous republics in the Donbas region. Second, and most importantly, it will have to rely heavily on its military planes and long-distance missile systems for monitoring, locating, and striking targets in Ukraine using assets in Russian land or taking off from Russian territories. So how able and ready is the Russia military air force for carrying out such plan?

Russian military aircraft

According to what Russian President Vladimir Putin announced, controlling all of the Ukrainian geography is not one of the objectives of the operation, and that is why we see the greater emphasis on the use of the air force. Here are the highlights of the Russian Air Force:

The Russian army owns more than 4,000 warplanes, including fighters, bombers and helicopters, including 8 of the most dangerous fighters in the world.

The Tu-160: the queen of strategic bombers

This is the first aircraft in the world equipped with reversible launch missiles, which can intercept targets behind them, especially missiles launched to target them.

This aircraft has a tail-mounted radar, which makes it capable of rear sighting, which is the most appropriate because it is a low-maneuvering aircraft.

  • The Tu-160 can change its direction of flight by 180 degrees very quickly.
  • It can cover 14,000 km without refueling.
  • It can carry 12 missiles equipped with nuclear warheads and hypersonic missiles, with a payload of up to 40 tons of ammunition.
  • It is more than 54 meters long, equipped with 4 motors and a special coating against the heat generated by the explosions.
  • It is a supersonic missile launcher and is considered one of the most dangerous strategic bombers in the world and has been called the "Queen of Strategic Bombers".

In 2015, the Russian Defense Minister announced that Moscow was about to launch 50 new aircraft of the same type, and was working on completing the Tu-160M ​​series.

MiG-31 interceptor aircraft

It is an interceptor fighter dating back to the Cold War era, as it was designed to be in the category of heavy interceptor fighters that have a high speed that can intercept American supersonic bombers.

Its first test flight was in 1975, of which Moscow produced more than 500 aircraft.

At a low altitude, its speed reaches 1,500 km per hour, which is equivalent to Mach 1.23, while it reaches Mach 2.83 at an altitude of 17.5 km.

Its length is 21.5 meters, and the distance between the two wings is 14 meters.

It is 6.6 meters high and has a suite area of ​​61.41 square metres.

It has an empty weight of 22 tons, and after arming it reaches 36.7 tons.

The MiG-31 operates with two engines, has the ability to refuel in the air and can change its altitude at a rate of 208 meters per second.

This aircraft can carry 4 long-range R33E air-to-air missiles, in addition to 2 medium-range and 4 short-range missiles.

This plane is equipped with a radar that enables it to follow more than one target at high altitudes and can track winged missiles.

Several versions of this aircraft were developed, including the MiG-31BM fighter, which can destroy 24 air targets simultaneously. It is also an ideal alternative to ground air defense means, as its radar can detect any target from a distance of 1,000 km.

This aircraft has the ability to destroy a number of American bombers and aircraft, including the SR-71 Blackbird.

It also put into service the Air Force: 806 fighter planes, 1124 military transport planes, 1438 attack planes, 387 training planes, and the number of military helicopters is 1389.


May 7, 2017

Why is Trump making his first trip abroad, as president, to Saudi Arabia?

    Sunday, May 07, 2017   No comments

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

According to the White House, Trump will travel to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican “in an effort to unite Islam, Judaism and Christianity in the common cause of fighting “intolerance” and radical extremism.” As reported by the Washington Post, Trump said that he “will begin with a truly historic gathering in Saudi Arabia with leaders from all across the Muslim world… We will begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our Muslim allies to combat extremism, terrorism and violence.”

Considering his insistence, as a candidate for the presidency, that terrorism is further qualified as “Islamic radical extremism”, and his two attempts, as president, to impose a Muslim Ban, one must ask the question, what gives? Has the White House actually changed the man as some claim?

If power that comes with the executive branch of government changes a man, it is unlikely that it changes him for the better. Power often corrupts. It hardly reforms or redeems. If it does anything, it teaches people about the tools that allow them to disguise their true motives: using coded language and diplomatic speak. But for one to truly change from a misogynist, xenophobic, overprivileged bigot to an interfaith messiah of tolerance, one must go through a crisis of the soul. There is no sign that Trump had gone through such an experience. In fact, the choice of Saudi Arabia, the least tolerant country in the world, as his first stop abroad as president, proves that he is the same man he told us he is throughout the campaign.

Saudi Arabia, too, is ruled by a clan of misogynist, overprivileged bigots with the ability to turn crude oil extracted from the depths of the desert into trillions of US dollars that’d allow them to write history as they see fit. These despotic rulers, disguising themselves as Custodians of the Two Sanctuaries, ban women from driving cars or traveling unaccompanied by a male relative, deprive Saudi religious minorities, like the Shias, their right to identify themselves as anything except as Saudis, treat foreign labors with forbidding cruelty and extreme prejudice, and mercilessly bomb children and mourners in schools and public halls in Yemen. They warmly welcome the rich and powerful and disdainfully abjure the poor and vulnerable. They befriend elitists and shirk commoners. Their behavior, policy, alliances, and temperament are those of a radical supremacist. Their only contributions to the modern world is a supremacist creed—Wahhabism—and a genocidal band of fanatics--al-Qaeda (and its derivatives such as ISIS and al-Nusra). While the rest of the world has been investing in innovations that save life and the environment, the rulers of Saudi Arabia have been investing in destructive ideologies and military hardware. Such rulers cannot and do not represent Muslims. They represent themselves and the sectarian creed they invented and imposed on any Muslims disguised as Sunni Islam, which is far from it.

The similarities between Trump and his entourage and Salman-and-Son  define the adage, birds of the same feather flock together. However, the similarities alone do not explain the reasons that make Trump and the Saudi rulers gravitate towards one another. There are important political and economic reasons that drive this affair between the filthy rich rulers of the world.

Saudi Arabia needs America’s military protection and diplomatic support. Some American politicians need a special kind of Islam and special types of Muslims who serve two purposes: punching bag when on the campaign trail and a cash machine when in the White House. Trump played the first card on the campaign trail when he made the phrase “radical Islamic extremism” a mandatory refrain of every speech and every interview. He even used that phrase to beat down his political rivals to submission if they refused to include the word “Islamic” in conjunction with any reference to terrorism. Now he needs the cash from the Saudi rulers for protection and for paying for his ambitions. In return he dropped the word “Islamic” from “radical Islamic extremism” and honored them by visiting their country on his first scheduled presidential trip abroad. The cycle will continue nonetheless. In four years, he will resurrect the word “Islamic” to brag about degrading “radical Islamic extremism” in Syria and Iraq and about the hundreds of billions of dollars American companies had made selling weapons to Saudi Arabia to fight its phantom mortal enemies.

Four years from now, however, al-Qaeda or some new version of it will be alive still terrorizing and murdering apostate Muslims and deviant Shias in some other Muslim land. Trump and other politicians will continue to preach doom and destruction from this apocalyptic danger called “radical Islamic extremism” and the Muslim countries who did nothing about it. These politicians will continue to use this self-perpetuating myth for as long as people continue to rely on their short memory to construct narratives for themselves and for the “other”. The reason politicians are able to use fear of “radical Islamic extremism” now is because most Americans forgot that it was US administrations—aided by the Saudi rulers—that produced “radical Islamic extremism” in Afghanistan in the 1980’s.

The existence of a perverted interpretation of Islam like Wahhabism, which is followed in Saudi Arabia and espoused by al-Qaeda and its derivatives allows many Western politicians, especially the ultra-conservatives among them, to scare the public and then use that fear to get votes to win elections. Trump masterfully played the threat of “radical Islamic extremism” and he rode that wave of hateful enthusiasm to the White House. He promised that he will defeat this threat. But to defeat such a threat, he must know that he needs to crush it militarily and uproot it ideologically. The latter part would require him to confront the Saudi rulers, not elevate them politically. We are, then, left with only one conclusion: The presence of Saudi “Islam” and al-Qaeda is a political and economic profitable convenience. The two must be contained and controlled, but never fully eradicated because they play a critical geopolitical purpose. With this being the case, Trump’s first visit abroad, as president, makes complete sense.
___________________________
* Prof. SOUAIAIA teaches at the University of Iowa. His most recent book, Anatomy of Dissent in Islamic Societies, provides a historical and theoretical treatment of rebellious movements and ideas since the rise of Islam. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest; not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he is affiliated.

April 27, 2017

Government of at least one of Gulf Cooperation Council nations continues to supply Nusra with weapons

    Thursday, April 27, 2017   No comments
Recent investigative reporting has revealed that weapons continue to reach al-Qaeda affiliate groups in Syria. Weapons shipments reached the group formerly known as al-Nusra as recent as April 6, 2017. The report did not name the government that is paying for these weapons. However, the government of...

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January 28, 2017

Was Astana Meeting on Syria a Success? Consider the reaction on the ground in Syria

    Saturday, January 28, 2017   No comments
Analysis: Was Astana Meeting on Syria a Success? 

Leader of the new faction created by Nusra: Abu Jabir al-Sheikh
In past, when the U.S. administration and the Russian government attempted to solve the Syrian crisis, their efforts collapsed because they failed to reach an agreement on identifying and separating terrorist groups from non-terrorist groups, or groups that are willing to negotiate a political settlement from those who don't. Then, after a single meeting held in Astana, which was convened by Russia, Turkey, and Iran, armed groups in northern Syria appear to be separating themselves along those lines. If that process continues, the Astana meeting would have achieved what many meetings have failed to do.

Even before the end of the Astana meeting, which was attended by representatives of about ten armed groups in Syria, the powerful group formerly known as al-Nusra, launched a preemptive war against the groups that took part in the meeting. Nusra accused them of signing on a deal that will isolate Nusra and label it as a terrorist organization, which will allow forces of the various coalitions operating in Syria to attack it. 

Seeking protections from Nusra, smaller armed groups quickly moved to join stronger Islamist groups. According to Ahrar al-Sham, on Thursday alone, six rebel factions, including Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups, joined its ranks.

Ahrar al-Sham, which presents itself as a mainstream Sunni Islamist group, sided with the FSA groups and said Nusra had rejected mediation attempts. It said that any attack on its new members will be tantamount to a “declaration of war.”

The groups that joined Ahrar al-Sham are: Alwiyat Suqur al-Sham, Fastaqim kama unmirt, Jaysh al-Islam--Idlib branch, Jaysh al-Mujahidin, and al-Jabha al-Shamiya--west Aleppo branch.

Ahrar al-Sham is considered a terrorist group by Moscow and did not attend the Russian-backed Astana meeting. But it said it would support FSA factions that took part if they secured a favorable outcome for the opposition.
    

These steps taken by Ahrar al-Sham created an internal crisis for the group. A number of its leading figures resigned and there were reports that some factions within the group left and joined Nusra. 

On Friday, and underscoring the titanic shift that took place after the Astana meeting and other developments around the world, Nusra, which had changed its name to Jabhat Fath al-Sham, announced that it is dissolving itself and merging with four other armed groups to form a new faction calling itself Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham. This new coalition consists of Nour Eddine Zenki Movement, Liwa al-Haq, Jabhat Ansar al-Din, and Jaysh al-Sunna. They called on other armed groups to join them.

These events are extraordinary. Some have criticized the Syrian government for accepting settlements with armed groups and allowing their fighters to move to Idlib. It seems that Assad's government has had a long term strategy after all. With the infighting that is going to start soon that now new alliances are formed among the rebels, his forces may not have to fight these armed groups. They will battle each other to near extinction, given their propensity to see an enemy in every one who disagrees with them. The Syrian government will then move in and retake the province form the exhausted survivors without major losses.


December 20, 2016

absent: Western journalists second hand reporting on the Syrian war and the propaganda against the Syrian government

    Tuesday, December 20, 2016   No comments
Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. From June-August 2016, she visited Syria for her fifth time. On her sixth visit, in October and November, she returned independently again to Syria, for one month, during which time she visited Aleppo twice. 
She shares her findings and thoughts about Western media coverage of the war on Syria in this event.

December 8, 2016

UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson comments anger the rulers of Saudi Arabia, forcing Downing Street to distance itself from his views

    Thursday, December 08, 2016   No comments


When the British government is forced to choose between factual truth and political imperatives, it chose politics


The UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson stated a fact almost universally known by now. He pointed out that Saudi Arabia is fomenting sectarian war in the region. Saudi officials were angered by the comments and Saudi media accused British media of having an Iranian bias when reporting his comments.
Saudi rulers’ unhappiness with UK media is not specific to this particular instance. They are threatened by the rise in news stories portraying the Saudi military campaign in Yemen in a negative light. BBC had several programs that put the blame for the horrific conditions of children in Yemen on Saudi Arabia. Moreover, UK media in general is highlighting the hypocrisy of UK government, which criticizes Saudi War in Yemen, but keeps selling weapons that enable the rulers of the kingdom to conduct its destructive war in Yemen.
In its attempt to manage this crisis, especially that UK premiere was a guest during the GCC summit in Bahrain, Downing Street was forced to release a statement distancing itself from Johnson’s views.
Johnson’s comment is just one in many negative statements made by Western leaders, in the last two years, accusing Saudi Arabia of spreading an extremist interpretation of Islam

and supporting terrorist groups around the world. Outgoing U.S. president, Barack Obama made the case against Saudi Arabia in a 90-page long article summarizing his views in The Atlantic. Last summer, German intelligence officials also accused Saudi Arabia of building Islamic centers in the West that promote Wahhabism. The incoming U.S. administration will likely take a harsh stance against Saudi Arabian leaders as well.
In short the Saudi rulers must reform their political and religious institutions to be able to live in peace with their neighbors or risk crippling isolation.



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