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Showing posts from February 14, 2017

The New Battle for Afghanistan

With Trump's attention elsewhere, the defense establishment seems set on sending more troops there.

U.S. Army

WASHINGTON—Despite questions about the ongoing war in Afghanistan, President Trump has so far chosen silence over substance. But perhaps it doesn’t matter, as an illuminating exchange that took place before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week all but guaranteed what his policy will be.

Trump’s approach to Afghanistan will no doubt involve more American troops, more aggressive activity on the ground, and a less definite schedule for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces. In other words, don’t expect a big shakeup of the status quo. Perhaps the most notable change is that the military won’t try to have it both ways, keeping soldiers in the country while telegraphing meaningless “timetables” for an exit.

This appears to be the result of letting those in uniform—or in the case of new Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the recently retired—make…

The Trump Administration’s Iran Obsession and Yemen

Ibrahem Qasim/Flickr: air strike in Sana’a, May 2015

Philip Giraldi does an excellent job of summarizingFlynn’swarpedworldview and its role in encouraging the Trump administration’s Iran obsession:

But the situation is actually much more dangerous than the usual Washington groupthink: Flynn and Ledeen have constructed a narrative in which the world is at war with a great evil and Iran is the central player on the enemy side. It is a viewpoint that is, unfortunately, shared at least in part by the new secretaries of defense and state and endorsed by many in Congress. This has consequently developed into a new sensibility about U.S. national security that is apparently driving the Trump administration’s responses to Iranian behavior.

As we have seen over the last few weeks, this Iran obsession leads Trump and his officials to exaggerate threats from Iran, accuse Iran of doing things they aren’t doing, and blame them for the actions of groups they don’t control. Inflating the threat from Ir…


Intense clashes have been ongoing in the provincial capital of the Syrian province of Daraa since last weekend when the joint forces of the Free Syrian Army’s Southern Front and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) attacked government troops in the neighborhood of Manshiyah.

Since then, militants have made some gains in the area, but suffered notable casualties.

So far, the joint militant forces reached the Bilal Mosque Roundabout where they faced a stiff resistance from government troops.

If militants seize the Manshiyah Great Mosque, they will be in control of about a half of the neighborhood.
Click to see the full-size map



Moscow has deployed an additional military police battalion to Syria.

The battalion was send from the Russian republic of Ingushetia in order to boost security of military personnel during operations in the war-torn country, according to Ingushetia leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov said on Monday.

According to Yevkurov, servicemen will focus on protecting personnel of the Russian air group and the Center for Syrian reconciliation.

It is the second battalion of the Russian Military Police deployed to Syria.

In December 2016, Russian military police servicemen were sent to the city of Aleppo to maintain order on the territories liberated from militant groups.

More info about the Russian Military Police can be found here.


The formation of Tank Armies, which were eventually raised to Guards ranks once they demonstrated their ability to defeat Wehrmacht forces, was a major step in the Red Army’s operational evolution during the Great Patriotic War. Even though the Soviets were temporarily surpassed by the Panzerwaffe which gained experience from operations in Poland and Western Europe, once the Tank Armies were formed, German forces could no longer claim to be the most skilled or effective practitioners of armored warfare. The 1st Guards Tank Army was one of six such armies formed during the Great Patriotic War. After the war it became part of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, where it remained until it was withdrawn to Russia in the 1990s.

The changes in the international environment, the desire to cash in on the “peace dividend”, the need to fight the Chechen insurgency, and Russia’s economic crisis all led to the disbandment of tank armies. In the absence of significant external military threat to…