I don’t even know how many days we have been on lockdown now and all of the kids are going a bit stir crazy. I’m on my way to push number 1 off in the intercoastal for his sanity. The girls, well I think they have officially lost it. While I was doing dishes by hand, because what better time is it for a dishwasher to break, I see 3 trying to cut an empty Aunt Jemima bottle with a pocket knife. I ask her why isn’t she holding that knife properly and what exactly are you trying to do. Her answer, “we want to pee outside.” I think she was trying to invent her form of the Shewee. Anyway, on to the bullets….
- Joe Truzman over at the Long War Journal takes a look at Humat al Aqsa (HAA), a “Gaza-based group that has long been suspected of being founded, directed and funded by senior Hamas political leader Fathi Hamad, recently promoted joint military operations with militant groups in the Gaza Strip on its social networking platforms.”
- Also at the Long War Journal Thomas Joscelyn & Bill Roggio, discuss their latest Podcast Generation Jihad: Ep. 5 – Banned in Pakistan. I fully intend for this to be its own post because it deserves to be. It’s really good. The podcast drops every Tuesday morning, its about an hour, but it is well worth the listen. They describe the concept of the podcast as such:
“Take a look around the globe today and you’ll see jihadists fighting everywhere from West Africa to Southeast Asia. They aren’t the dominant force in all of those areas, or even most of them. But jihadism has mushroomed into a worldwide movement, with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS and other groups waging guerrilla warfare and launching terrorist attacks on a regular basis.
Each week Generation Jihad brings you a new story focusing on jihadism around the globe. These stories will focus not only on Sunni jihadism, but also Shiite extremist groups. We will also host guests who can provide their own unique perspectives on current events.”
- Over at the Center for a New American Security, Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras, Kaleigh Thomas and Jennie Matuschak discuss Countering Iran in the Gray Zone. The article discusses the use of proxies and surrogates to counter Iran in the greater Middle East and how we have had limited success. They recommend: “Israel’s “campaign between the wars” (the Hebrew acronym is mabam) against Iran and Iranian-backed groups in Syria has been one of the most successful military efforts to push back against Iran in the “gray zone.”
It’s a very interesting paper (30 pages) but by examining the Israels approach, here are some of the lessons they include:
- Instead of broad-based strategic objectives, focus on clearly defined and limited operational objectives that can be achieved through limited military force.
- Only pursue this type of campaign in theaters where it is possible to maintain intelligence superiority that enables in-depth analysis of the reactions of various actors, and to maintain the military superiority that will reduce the likelihood of effective retaliation.
- Be willing to take calculated risks, including recognizing the large space between taking no kinetic action and ending up in a full-scale war.
- Develop a subtle messaging campaign that can be deniable but still sends a clear deterrent signal to the target.
- Purposefully and carefully limit adversary and civilian casualties.
- Take a gradualist forward planning approach that permits iteration step-by-step, instead of the more traditional military planning that starts with identifying end-states and working backwards from there.
- Pursue complementary diplomacy with other actors in the theater to create space for military action.
- Be realistic about what a limited tactical campaign can achieve—and curtail it when it is no longer generating outcomes.
To really take this one apart, it will require its own post.
- Over at foreignpolicy.com there are three articles worth checking out. First, Jack Detsch, Robbie Gramer, Dan Haverty discuss how the “The Pentagon is concerned that Moscow is seeking to militarize space with a significant anti-satellite test” in Russia Fires Shot in Space Arms Race.
“Russia tested a missile on Wednesday that is capable of destroying satellites in low-earth orbit, U.S. Space Command said in a statement, as the Pentagon faced military challenges from Russia, China, and Iran over the course of a busy day. The move could be a significant challenge to U.S. efforts to invest in communications satellites and sensor layers to track missiles in-flight—as the Space Force did during Iran’s ballistic missile attack on Iraq’s Al Asad air base in January, which left more than 100 U.S. troops with traumatic brain injuries.”
Interestingly, Robert Zimmerman over at Behind The Black has a completely different take on the “Russian Test Fire” insisting that the report issued by the Space Force is hype. The most important quote he takes from C4ISRNET:
“Brian Weeden, director of program planning for the Secure World Foundation, said the test is likely of the Nudol, a ballistic-missile system capable of taking out satellites in low earth orbit. He warned not to overreact, as the system has been tested several times in recent years. According to the CSIS Aerospace Security Project’s Space Threat Assessment 2020, Russia conducted its seventh test of Nudol in December 2018.”
Then Joe Gould writes how Congress Seeks to Confront China With $6 Billion in New Defense Spending quoting one republican as saying, “If Beijing is the problem, let’s “put our money where our mouth is.”
And Mieczyslaw P. Boduszynski, Victor Peskin describe, “A political crisis encouraged by the United States threatens to worsen the coronavirus outbreak” in their article Trump Is Stirring Chaos in Kosovo at the Worst Possible Time
This is all premium content so I can only copy and discuss so much but you should check them out.
- The Small Wars Journal’s Scott Crino, and Andy Dreby write and excellent article about Turkey’s drone war in Syria.
“Turkey’s armed forces gained worldwide attention when its air force launched a remarkable and innovative airpower show-of-force against Bashir al-Assad’s Syrian Army. As part of a combined air and ground operation, the Turkish air force used its Anka-S and Bayraktar TB2 drones to conduct hundreds of strikes against Syrian Arab Army units to halt a Syrian advance that threatened the assorted security forces, irregular militias and terrorist groups that form the Turkish-backed coalition which has been trying to hang onto Syria’s Idlib governorate. The Turkish air campaign was brief, beginning on 1 March and ending just 5 days later, when Ankara and Moscow hammered out a regional cease-fire.”
They discuss the impact of Turkey’s home grown drone force and the impact that it will have on the U.S. policy toward them. In addition, they go into great detail about the limitations of the Turkish drones and the other players in the drone war that include Israel, Russia and others.
This is truly a great article on the potential threats that we face and some thoughts on the future ramifications of widespread drone use.
- Hope Hodge Seck at Military.com about terrorist propaganda in Reports of Civilian Killed in US Airstrike Are al-Shabaab Propaganda, DoD Says. She noted that two news outlets reported the numerous civilians were killed in an April 10 airstrike, however, “according to a release from AFRICOM: “an al-Shabaab member complicit in the murder of at least six innocent Somalis.””
- Also at Military.com Shawn Snow writes about 11 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels harass US warships in the Persian Gulf.
“The 11 Iranian ships carried out an “unsafe” and “unprofessional” interaction with the following U.S. warships: the expeditionary mobile base vessel Lewis B. Puller, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Paul Hamilton, Cyclone-class of coastal patrol boat Firebolt, Cyclone-class patrol ship Sirocco, and Coast Guard ships Wrangell and Maui.”
It seems the corona virus doesn’t have the entire world on lock down.
- Georgetown Security Studies Review has a Latin American and Caribbean post by Joshua Chang about Paramilitary Groups in Venezuela and the broader implications. Chang argues that Venezuela has groups similar to Shia paramilitary groups currently operating in Iraq. These groups mobilize political support, disperse anti-government protestors and have played host to the FARC and ELN. But Chang argue their role goes much farther:
“The Bolivarian regime’s reliance on these armed paramilitary groups, however, reflects a security doctrine that extends well beyond the needs of domestic security. From the onset of Chávez’s rule in Venezuela, the socialist strongman advocated a form of revolutionary asymmetric war aimed at a potential foreign invasion that could threaten the Bolivarian regime. Dubbed “4th Generation War,” this doctrine is strikingly similar to the Maoist conception of People’s War and incorporates elements such as the involvement of non-uniformed civilians in combat and the promotion of transnational conflict through extraterritorial havens.”
- John Friberg with SOF News reports that the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) has released a report on Village Stability Operations in Afghanistan. I cannot link to the actual report here but they did describe it this way:
“With the 2018 National Defense Strategy the U.S. military is shifting focus from counterinsurgency and counterterrorism to the near peer threat. VSO is inherently political in character and has a joint, interagency, international, multinational, and corporate nature. This report presents concepts for how special operations forces can contribute to not only the counterterrorism fight but also within the context of great power competition.”
- And Joseph Trevithick on The Drive has this little gem to end the evening, Iran’s Military Makes Batshit Claim That This Stupid Contraption Detects Coronavirus.
“Iran claims that it has developed a “smart detector” that can confirm the presence of the virus at distances of almost 330 feet in seconds without the need to draw blood or even interact with a potentially sick individual.”
Sorry I’m getting this one out so late, today just completely got away from me. Hopefully, you found something interesting in one of the above articles. If you did or if you have another source that you would like to get the word out on drop a link in the comments.