American soldiers kill ISIS commander, rescue slave. Yeah, we’re still the Good Guys.

May 16, 2015
"X"

“Nice work.”

John Wayne would be proud: Kick in the door, kill the bad guy, and free his captive.

Boom.

U.S. commandos mounted a rare raid into eastern Syria overnight, killing a senior Islamic State commander in a firefight, capturing his wife and rescuing a Yazidi woman held as a slave, the Pentagon said Saturday.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the raid, identifying the militant as Abu Sayyaf. He said no U.S. forces were killed or injured in the operation.

(…)

A U.S. defense official said the raid was conducted overnight Friday (Friday evening Washington time) by a team of Army Delta commandos who flew from Iraq into eastern Syria aboard V-22 Osprey aircraft and Blackhawk helicopters.

Upon arrival at the target, which was a multi-story building, the Americans met stiff resistance. A “fairly intense firefight” ensued, including hand-to-hand combat, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the raid by name.

The U.S. estimates that about a dozen IS fighters were killed but no civilians were wounded, even though women and children were present. The Americans returned to their base unharmed by about midnight Washington time.

The IS leader who was killed was a Tunisian national designated by IS as the organization’s “emir of oil and gas,” according to the U.S. official.

(…)

The statement said the commandos rescued a young Yazidi woman “who appears to have been held as a slave” by the slain militant and his wife. IS militants captured hundreds of members of the Yazidi religious minority in northern Iraq during their rampage across the country last summer.

The target was apparently at an oil and gas facility that some elements of Syrian state media also claim was attacked by Syrian forces, though not all government organs broadcast the news. It’s possible this raid was carried out in conjunction with the Syrians: it wouldn’t be the first time enemies have cooperated to take out a mutual foe. The subsequent silence and denials might have been to keep this occasional cooperation clandestine, as certain other parties might not be happy to learn that Washington and Damascus were talking. In that case, the single mention was an accidental “blabbing.”

Or, the Assad team was simply trying to grab some credit. It will probably be a long time before we know, if ever.

Regardless, a rare “well done” to President Obama for ordering this operation, to our commandos for their valor (never rare), and good wishes for the former slave as she recovers from her ordeal.


Awww…. Poor little Vlad’s shiny new tank wouldn’t go.

May 7, 2015

“Comrades! A little help here?”

Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, when after the fall of Berlin the Germans finally surrendered. Soviet Thug in Chief President Vladimir Putin wanted to celebrate in a big  way, befitting his new neo-Stalinist regime: a giant military parade honoring the Soviet effort (1) and coincidentally showing off Vlad’s neat new toys.

Oops:

A state-of-the-art Russian tank, which was shown to the public for the first time earlier this month, on Thursday ground to a halt during the final Victory Day rehearsal.

The tank, T-14 Armata, is said to surpass all Western versions because of its remotely controlled cannon and the protection it offers to its crew. The T-14, which replaces the T-72 and T-90, is set to undergo trials next year.

Weaponry was rolling across central Moscow Thursday morning in the dress rehearsal of the military parade on Red Square on May 9 as Russia commemorates the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

One of the eight T-14s suddenly stopped while others drove on. The engine was still rumbling but it wouldn’t move. After an attempt to tow it failed, the T-14 rolled away under its own steam about 15 minutes later.

Not a good image to project when you’re trying to intimidate NATO. Someone got yelled at. Loudly.

*snicker*

UPDATE: The original AP article quoted above seems to be a non-working link, now. Here’s a link to a similar story from International Business Times. Thanks to Jack Tinker for the heads-up.

Footnote:
(1) Seriously, while I despise the USSR and everything Bolshevik, their contribution to destroying Nazi Germany should never be slighted. If not for the Soviets being willing to feed endless number of troops into jaws of the German war machine, killing millions of Nazi soldiers while losing millions of their own, we would likely have had to face Germany’s best troops in France, and the result might well have been far different. One cannot deny the Russians the right to remember it with pride. (2)
(2) What they did to the peoples they supposedly “liberated,” on the other hand…


Marines: No weapons surrendered to Houthis during #Yemen evacuation UPDATE: Retired Marines angry

February 12, 2015

Marine Corp emblem

“News” was flashing around the Internet yesterday that the Marines had surrendered their weapons to the Iranian-allied Houthis rebels who have seized control of Yemen, some saying it was on the orders of President Obama and Secretary Kerry, which would have been a humiliation for them and the United States.

The Corps is denying that happened:

“The Marine Security Force left the American embassy in Yemen for the movement to the airfield as part of the “ordered departure” with only personal weapons. All crew served weapons were destroyed at the embassy prior to movement. None of them were ‘handed over’ in any way to anyone. The destruction of weapons at the embassy and the airport was carried out in accordance with an approved destruction plan.

“Upon arrival at the airfield, all personal weapons were rendered inoperable in accordance with advance planning. Specifically, each bolt was removed from its weapons body and rendered inoperable by smashing with sledgehammers. The weapons bodies, minus the bolts, were then separately smashed with sledgehammers. All of these destroyed components were left at the airport — and components were scattered; no usable weapon was taken from any Marine at Sana’a airport.”

The weapons were destroyed because the Marines were leaving on a commercial flight.

UPDATE: Similar to what a commenter said below, retired Marines are finding it unbelievable, maddening even, that the Marines in Yemen were forced to destroy their personal weapons:

Some retired Marines took to social media and websites to express frustration with what they described as a “blatant blunder” of evacuation procedures.

“Whether a commercial flight or military flight, either way it does not add up,” said Yinon Weiss, a former U.S. Marine and the CEO of RallyPoint, a military community website. “I cannot think of any other time in recent U.S. history that any service member had to destroy their own personal weapons.”

To Mr. Weiss, the peculiar act indicates that the Marines were unwitting participants in “a hasty evacuation” and “under duress.”

“The fact that this happened indicates to me that something went terribly wrong,” he said.

Other former Marines took to his web site to complain.

“I guarantee every single one of those Marines was pissed off and swearing with every swing of those hammers,” one commenter said. “Chartered civilian airline or not, we traveled with weapons without issue.”


And…. North Korea shoots another general

February 5, 2015
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“Who said I was wrong?”

“Pour encourager les autres,” (1) I’m sure:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un executed an army general last month in his latest purge of senior officials.

General Pyon In Son, one-time head of operations in the Korean People’s Army, was killed for expressing an opinion that differed to that of to MrKim’s, a South Korean official told reporters in Seoul on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official didn’t say what they disagreed on.

Mr Kim still mistrusts the military, the official said, adding that senior officers are growing increasingly uneasy. The “Supreme Leader” also removed Ma Won Chun, a National Defence Commission official overseeing construction design, from office in November for alleged corruption and a failure to follow orders.

Mr Kim has relied on purges to consolidate his grip on power since he took over North Korea, a country with a nuclear arms program and 1.2 million troops in 2011. After killing his uncle and one-time deputy Jang Song-thaek in 2013, he executed about 50 officials last year on charges ranging from graft to watching South Korean soap operas.

“The purge of Pyon sends a message that helps to discipline the military,” said Kim Yong Hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul. “The execution is a symbol that will help tighten loyalty.”

Well, that’s one way to put it, I suppose, though I’m not sure it’s their loyalty that “tightens” at the possible consequences of saying something Psycho III Kim Jong Un doesn’t like.

This kind of capricious tyranny often contains the seeds of the tyrant’s downfall: not only might his subordinates get rid of him to save themselves (as the Romans did with Caligula and Domitian, among others), but no is going to give this guy the bad-but-necessary information every ruler needs in order to make good decisions. Instead it’s “Yes, Dear Leader” and taking notes on his every word, while hoping he doesn’t decide you annoy him. In a regime dependent on one (pudgy, alcoholic) man, that’s a recipe for disaster. And that includes his neighbors, should a nuclear-armed Lil Kim decide that now is a good time to settle the Korean War.

Meanwhile, one has to wonder how many high-ranking generals Kim can kill before one of them decides to shoot first.

Footnote:
(1) Admiral Byng could not be reached for comment.


Confirmed: former French soldiers defecting to ISIS

January 23, 2015

France flag

From Canada’s National Post:

Several French former soldiers have joined the ranks of jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq, the country’s government confirmed on Wednesday, as it outlined a series of new anti-terrorism measures following the Islamist attacks in Paris.

Most of the ex-soldiers, reportedly numbering around 10 and including former paratroopers and French foreign legionnaires, are said to be fighting on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Most worrying is the reported presence of an ex-member of France’s elite First Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, considered one of Europe’s most experienced special forces units and which shares the “Who Dares Wins” motto of the SAS.

The unnamed individual, of North African origin, had received commando training in combat, shooting and survival techniques. He served for five years before joining a private security company for which he worked in the Arabian peninsula, where he was radicalised before heading for Syria, according to L’Opinion, a news website.

The danger is not just the fighters being trained for combat in the Middle East, though that’s bad enough. But consider that these defecting soldiers were born and raised –or immigrated to and grew up– “being French.” They understand French culture: how to behave, how to fit in, the right lingo, the perfect accent. With their military training, they can move around France and Europe without standing out, which makes them perfect for terrorist operations there in ways no Egyptian-born jihadi could ever equal.

And as I asked before, how many sympathizers do they have who are still in French ranks? It’s no wonder Paris is planning to spend a lot more on counterintelligence to monitor… their own troops.

They’ve got a real problem on their hands.


Comforting: French soldiers joining ISIS

January 22, 2015

France flag

The link from Breitbart to the original article is broken at the moment, but the idea isn’t unimaginable, not in a world in which a US Army officer can describe himself as a “soldier of Allah” and then murder over a dozen of his fellow soldiers while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” And Major Hasan was a psychiatrist acting alone; these former French soldiers represent a whole new level of threat:

A dozen former French soldiers have joined up with jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria, a French official claimed this week, raising concerns about radicalisation of soldiers within the French Armed Forces.

A source within the country’s ministry of defence confirmed the news to AFP news agency after a French radio station, RFI, reported news of the soldiers-turned-jihadis, the Local reports.

“We estimate at around a dozen the number of former troops who have joined these networks,” said the source, who wished to remain anonymous, adding that their concern “is not former soldiers…It’s preventing the phenomenon of radicalization with our forces.”

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian refused to comment directly on the issue, instead telling reporters at a press conference that cases of former soldiers being tempted by jihadism are “extremely rare.”

Rare (we hope), but it only takes a few to cause a disaster. The article goes on to illustrate some of the risks of professionally trained Western soldiers “going jihadi:”

News which will concern French and other European country’s interior security forces is the news that some of the men, who are mostly in their twenties are “explosives experts” opening up the possibility of the front line being moved from Syria to Europe’s doorstep, with bombs being added to the arsenal of techniques used by Islamic radicals.

L’Opinion newspaper reports that one soldier had served in the French 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment whose speciality is going behind enemy lines for sabotage or intelligence gathering.

The paper reports that after five years as a paratrooper the soldier joined a private security firm protecting oil fields in the Arabian peninsular, a lucrative option for former soldiers with experience and training.

Emphases added. The jackals who attacked Charlie Hebdo had training in Yemen, but these guys bring specialist skills sure to be in high demand with ISIS or al Qaeda… or other groups.

I’m not sure what can be done about this — we can kill these guys, but what about the loyalty of other Muslim recruits or those who convert after enlisting? Are there “soldiers of Allah” currently within French ranks in sensitive posts?

Whatever the answer, this is a worrisome development.


When science fiction becomes reality: US Navy deploys laser weapon

December 10, 2014
"Boom"

“Boom”

Say it after me, kids: “We have all the best toys!

A new laser gun mounted on the USS Ponce has been operational for months in the Persian Gulf, and it has exceeded expectations as far as its range and durability, senior Navy officers said Wednesday.

The Navy calls it the LaWS, short for laser weapon system. It was installed on the Ponce over the summer, and deployed this fall. Video released by the service on Wednesday shows it taking out an incoming speedboat in a test at a long, undisclosed range with directed energy. No laser beam can be seen, but the boat bursts into flames.

“It’s almost like a Hubble telescope at sea,” said Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, the Navy’s chief of naval research. “Literally, we’re able to get that kind of power and magnification.”

Video is available at the WaPo article. There’s no special-effect colored beam flashing across the seas, but the real is very real — the target bursts into flames.

The model on the Ponce is “only” 30 kilowatts strong, but the Navy has plans for models of up to 150 kilowatts. And it saves money on ammunition, each “shot” being far cheaper than a shell for a main gun. With work also underway on a shipboard railgun, the US Navy might give even Cthulhu pause.

Nah.

The impetus for developing this weapon was the perceived threat to our ships, especially our carriers, from explosives-laden Iranian speedboats on suicide missions: imagine dozens of small craft, each intent on reenacting the attack on the USS Cole. In the eternal dance between offense and defense, the new threat, which illiterate commenters thought overwhelming, is now being thwarted with new technology and tactics.

As, eventually these early laser will be countered. Max Boot wrote a great book on this very process.

Still… Lasers on warships! How cool is that?

(And how soon before the Chinese steal it?)

via Gabriel Malor

 

 


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