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North Korea: Probing for weaknesses?

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It is likely that the US military and our allies are taking the necessary steps to be prepared on the intelligence front should military action in North Korea become unavoidable.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about what a renewed, more modern, conflict with North Korea might look like. It now seems that what I wrote about might actually be coming into play. Our military has conducted a quiet buildup of air and naval assets in the region and conducts daily sorties near DPRK territory.

I pointed out that the best defense the North has is its extensive surface-to-air defenses. It’s possible that our sorties are designed to make the DPRK air defenses light off their radars, thereby giving our forces the ability to locate the fixed positions. Now, this will not allow them to know where all the mobile SAM sites will be if and when an attack comes, but it might let them know the favorite set up sites.

Accurate intelligence is one of the most vital aspects of modern warfare, and gathering it can’t always be done just with satellites in orbit. Sometimes it has to be done over the course of weeks or even months of carefully planned missions that gather data, followed by meticulous analysis.

Even then, there is an element of uncertainty know colloquially as the “fog of war.” I can tell you from personal experience that the fog of war permeates every aspect of warfare, from the large to the small. Good intelligence can negate much of the fog of war, but it will still be present.

It is likely that the US military and our allies are taking the necessary steps to be prepared on the intelligence front should military action in North Korea become unavoidable. This is especially prudent in light of tough talk at the UN by both President Trump and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Both of them have recently delivered excellent and stern admonitions that may need to be backed up with actions.

The other possibility is that the Trump Administration is saber rattling in the hopes that China will finally take bold action. The best scenario for everyone would be for Beijing to put a leash on their puppet in Pyongyang, but so far China has seemed reluctant to do so for whatever reason.

If the latter possibility is true, it would show the kind of subtle action the Trump faithful believe him to always be in the middle of, but for which he so far has shown no real aptitude. Time will tell how all of this will play out, but it’s my guess we won’t have to wait too much longer.

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Foreign Affairs

Is Israel on the brink of war?

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Is Israel on the brink of war

Israel and Iran continue to trade threats and missile attacks over Syria as the latest round targeted Iranian Quds forces near Damascus. The IDF, which has confirmed attacks recently, went so far as to announce the attacks on Twitter.

This attack was in response to a missile launched from Syria by Iranian Quds Forces into the Golan Heights. The missile was intercepted by the Iron Dome, which was captured on camera by skiers on Mt. Hermon.

The overnight attacks on Syria resulted in many missiles and guided bombs being shot down, but enough made it through to damage Quds training grounds, weapons depots, and kill at least 11 people. There are no reports of how many of Iran’s elite forces were killed, though British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said only two of the dead were Syrians.

Israel, in rare move, announces attacks on Iranian targets in Syria, delivers warning

https://www.foxnews.com/world/israel-attacks-iran-forces-in-syria-military-confirmsIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently confirmed that Israel had struck hundreds of targets in Syria linked to Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group, including a weapons facility two weeks ago.

Iran and Hezbollah are allied with the Syrian government in the civil war.

Iran has begun its loudest saber-rattling in some time as they send clear threats of war and the destruction of Israel through state television.

“The young people in the air force are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth,” IRIAF Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh said following the strike.

Iran says ready for war with Israel that will ‘lead to its destruction’

https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Iran-We-are-ready-for-a-war-that-will-lead-to-the-destruction-of-Israel-578108The commander of the Iranian Air Force warned on Monday that Iran was prepared for a decisive war with Israel, “which will bring an end to the IDF’s attacks on Syria.” “Our armed forces are prepared for a war that will bring the crushing destruction of Israel,” he said, according to media reports.

“We are ready for the day when we will see the end of Israel.”

My Take

Americans are often unaware of the importance of Syria to Iran. For years, it’s been assumed the only reason Iran hasn’t attacked Israel, especially when they were at the height of their power during the latter years of President Obama’s administration, is they have no clear path to reach Israel. Iraq, Syria, and Jordan are between Iran and the tiny Jewish state, making it nearly impossible for them to have any real reach into the heart of Israel.

This is why they are so intent on having an embedded military presence in Syria. It’s why Israel is doing everything in its power to prevent them from getting a serious foothold there.

Iran’s military is strong and somewhat sophisticated, but it’s still no match for Israel. However, Iran could take advantage of Israel’s small size if they can get enough missiles and launchers into Syria. Doing so would allow them to use Syrians as cover, a strategy currently in use by anti-Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

As long as Iran continues to pursue entrenchment in Syria, war is on the near horizon. Israeli strikes may be a catalyst for war, but they’re necessary if they have any hopes of preventing Iran from taking over their Syrian neighbors wholesale.


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Military

ISIS bombing in Syria makes no sense

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ISIS bombing in Syria makes no sense

A terrorist bombing in Manbij, Syria, caused many casualties, including U.S. troops. ISIS-affiliated al-Amaq Agency has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Manbij, which is 20 miles from the Turkish border in northern Syria, has troops from multiple nations and groups regularly on the streets. The restaurant where the bombing took place was reported the venue for a meeting between U.S., French, and Kurdish troops at the time of the attack.

Here is a video of the attack. Warning: Graphic.

My Take

Terrorism in general doesn’t make sense, but this attack seems especially strange. Why would ISIS plan an attack now when the United States is close to leaving the region?

National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have indicated the troop withdrawal will happen more slowly and methodically than President Trump initially indicated when he announced the move. But this attack is not going to prompt our exit to speed up. If anything, it gives the President justification to keep troops in Syria against the wishes of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Not that he needs it, but apparently he thinks he does.

It’s futile to try to make sense of any acts of terrorism, or more specifically, the inhumane motivations for committing them. But they usually serve a purpose, at least in the eyes of the terrorists. This one seems out of place.

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Media

Iran’s first satellite launch goes up in flames

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Irans first satellite launch goes up in flames

Iran’s space program is all about national pride and has absolutely nothing to do with the weapons program they may or may not be engaging in that runs contrary to the agreement they made with the United Nations in 2015. That’s their story, at least.

The reality, according to United States officials, is that both the technology they’re using to attempt to put satellites in orbit and possible the satellites themselves are easily weaponized. Their contention is Iran can continue their nuclear weapons ambitions unabated by hiding behind the guise of “national pride” to fuel weapons research and testing.

Their first attempt went spectacularly wrong.

Iran Satellite Launch, Which US Warned Against, Fails

https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/01/15/iran-satellite-launch-which-us-warned-against-fails/“I would have liked to make everybody happy with good news but sometimes life doesn’t go forward the way we anticipate,” he said on Twitter.

Another satellite, named Doosti, was waiting to be launched.

“We should not come up short or stop,” Azari-Jahromi wrote. “It’s exactly in these circumstances that we Iranians are different than other people in spirit and bravery.”

There is no date set yet for the second or third attempts.

My Take

There is absolutely no reason for Iran to spend the money on their own satellites if not for weapons research and/or implementation. Space has been considered the next great battleground as the United States, China, Russia, and others continue exploring ways to rain down terror from orbit. Considering how badly Iran’s economy is doing lately, they should spend more money on keeping their nation functioning and their people fed instead of wasting it on national pride.

Between the money President Obama gave them and the growth of their oil markets, it’s unlikely Iran will stop until they’ve achieved their goal of having nuclear weapons capable of striking anywhere in the world. They can already reach a large chunk.


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