Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Syrian Delirium

Suriya al Kubra!!
Already, this is one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies in recent times. If it is not stopped, those numbers are expected to rise rapidly. Soon we will have Somalia on the Mediterranean.

The population of Syria when this armed conflict started in 2011 was roughly that of Yugoslavia when its wars began in 1991: some 23 million. Over the subsequent decade of the Yugoslavian wars, more than 100,000 people died and some 4 million were displaced. In just two years, Syria is approaching the harvest of misery for which former Yugoslavia needed 10.

Truth is that Syria may be a harbinger of things to come. In the former Yugoslavia there was the overwhelming presence of one set of like-minded powers: Europe and the west. Russia was a countervailing force, as was China to a lesser degree, but neither felt its vital national interests were at stake in Serbia – whereas many outside powers do in Syria. And still it took 10 years, more than 100,000 dead and millions uprooted, before we reached an untidy peace.

In a no-polar or G-Zero world – with multiple competing powers, both global and regional, having an interest in a fractured country – such civil and proxy wars become more difficult to stop. Starting 100 years ago, with the Balkan wars that fed into the first world war, the 20th century became the bloodiest in human history.

Not only will Assad continue to fight furiously. Not only will he have support from the country's Alawite, Christian, Shia and Druze minorities, against an opposition now overwhelmingly identified with Sunni Islam. Most important, he will have backing from outside powers, above all Iran, which feels that its own future is at stake. Probably the war could be won for the rebels by a full aerial assault and foreign troops on the ground. But then, "if you break it, you own it". Up for a new Iraq, anyone?
Unless Great Satan and Free World develop new ways of conflict resolution, strong enough to constrain this new world disorder, the 21st century will be way more bloodier.

Pic - "For all the temptation to hide behind the decision to invade Iraq based on faulty intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, 44 must realize the tremendous damage he will do to Great Satan and to his legacy if he fails to act."

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Diversified Employment of China’s Armed Forces

It"s time!!

Collectivist China"s magical military "White Paper" (actually more like a pastel creme color) makes her big debut jam packed with hot deets, smokescreens and ginourmas sincere blocks of fully crunk insincerity
The global trends toward economic globalization and multi-polarity are intensifying, cultural diversity is increasing, and an information society is fast emerging. The balance of international forces is shifting in favor of maintaining world peace, and on the whole the international situation remains peaceful and stable.

 Meanwhile, however, the world is still far from being tranquil. There are signs of increasing hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism. Local turmoils occur frequently. Hot-spot issues keep cropping up. Traditional and non-traditional security challenges interweave and interact. Competition is intensifying in the international military field. 

The Asia-Pacific region has become an increasingly significant stage for world economic development and strategic interaction between major powers. Great Satan is adjusting her Asia-Pacific security strategy, and the regional landscape is undergoing profound changes.

The threats posed by "three forces," namely, terrorism, separatism and extremism, are on the rise. The "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and their activities are still the biggest threat to the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations. Serious natural disasters, security accidents and public health incidents keep occurring. 

The security risks to China's overseas interests are on the increase. Changes in the form of war from mechanization to informationization are accelerating. Major powers are vigorously developing new and more sophisticated military technologies so as to ensure that they can maintain strategic superiorities in international competition in such areas as outer space and cyber space. 
A few salient salients include: 

Safeguarding national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity

Aiming to win local wars under the conditions of informationization and expanding and intensifying military preparedness.

 Formulating the concept of comprehensive security and effectively conducting military operations other than war (MOOTW)

Deepening security cooperation and fulfilling international obligations. China's armed forces are the initiator and facilitator of, and participant in international security cooperation. 

Also includes  nomenclating alla diff branches of China"s armed mightiness:   

The PLA Army (PLAA) is composed of mobile operational units, border and coastal defense units, guard and garrison units, and is primarily responsible for military operations on land. In line with the strategic requirements of mobile operations and multi-dimensional offense and defense, the PLAA has been reoriented from theater defense to trans-theater mobility. It is accelerating the development of army aviation troops, light mechanized units and special operations forces, and enhancing building of digitalized units, gradually making its units small, modular and multi-functional in organization so as to enhance their capabilities for air-ground integrated operations, long-distance maneuvers, rapid assaults and special operations. The PLAA mobile operational units include 18 combined corps, plus additional independent combined operational divisions (brigades), and have a total strength of 850,000. The combined corps, composed of divisions and brigades, are respectively under the seven military area commands (MACs): Shenyang (16th, 39th and 40th Combined Corps), Beijing (27th, 38th and 65th Combined Corps), Lanzhou (21st and 47th Combined Corps), Jinan (20th, 26th and 54th Combined Corps), Nanjing (1st, 12th and 31st Combined Corps), Guangzhou (41st and 42nd Combined Corps) and Chengdu (13th and 14th Combined Corps).

The PLA Navy (PLAN) is China's mainstay for operations at sea, and is responsible for safeguarding its maritime security and maintaining its sovereignty over its territorial seas along with its maritime rights and interests. The PLAN is composed of the submarine, surface vessel, naval aviation, marine corps and coastal defense arms. In line with the requirements of its offshore defense strategy, the PLAN endeavors to accelerate the modernization of its forces for comprehensive offshore operations, develop advanced submarines, destroyers and frigates, and improve integrated electronic and information systems. Furthermore, it develops blue-water capabilities of conducting mobile operations, carrying out international cooperation, and countering non-traditional security threats, and enhances its capabilities of strategic deterrence and counterattack. Currently, the PLAN has a total strength of 235,000 officers and men, and commands three fleets, namely, the Beihai Fleet, the Donghai Fleet and the Nanhai Fleet. Each fleet has fleet aviation headquarters, support bases, flotillas and maritime garrison commands, as well as aviation divisions and marine brigades. In September 2012, China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning was commissioned into the PLAN. China's development of an aircraft carrier has a profound impact on building a strong PLAN and safeguarding maritime security.

The PLA Air Force (PLAAF) is China's mainstay for air operations, responsible for its territorial air security and maintaining a stable air defense posture nationwide. It is primarily composed of aviation, ground air defense, radar, airborne and electronic countermeasures (ECM) arms. In line with the strategic requirements of conducting both offensive and defensive operations, the PLAAF is strengthening the development of a combat force structure that focuses on reconnaissance and early warning, air strike, air and missile defense, and strategic projection. It is developing such advanced weaponry and equipment as new-generation fighters and new-type ground-to-air missiles and radar systems, improving its early warning, command and communications networks, and raising its strategic early warning, strategic deterrence and long-distance air strike capabilities. The PLAAF now has a total strength of 398,000 officers and men, and an air command in each of the seven Military Area Commands (MACs) of Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. In addition, it commands one airborne corps. Under each air command are bases, aviation divisions (brigades), ground-to-air missile divisions (brigades), radar brigades and other units.

The PLA Second Artillery Force (PLASAF) is a core force for China's strategic deterrence. It is mainly composed of nuclear and conventional missile forces and operational support units, primarily responsible for deterring other countries from using nuclear weapons against China, and carrying out nuclear counterattacks and precision strikes with conventional missiles. Following the principle of building a lean and effective force, the PLASAF is striving to push forward its informationization transform, relying on scientific and technological progress to boost independent innovations in weaponry and equipment, modernizing current equipment selectively by applying mature technology, enhancing the safety, reliability and effectiveness of its missiles, improving its force structure of having both nuclear and conventional missiles, strengthening its rapid reaction, effective penetration, precision strike, damage infliction, protection and survivability capabilities. The PLASAF capabilities of strategic deterrence, nuclear counterattack and conventional precision strike are being steadily elevated. The PLASAF has under its command missile bases, training bases, specialized support units, academies and research institutions. It has a series of "Dong Feng" ballistic missiles and "Chang Jian" cruise missiles.

Pic - " The latest White Paper clearly indicates growing Chinese confidence on the international stage."

Sunday, April 28, 2013


WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t) 

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter

Friday, April 26, 2013

Neo Isolationism

The avuncular Great Satan fan with like the most biggest "stache ever - appropriately nom d"guerr"d "La Stache Grande" recently put steel on target (figuratively speaking, natch) about the totally tarded isolationist bent that appears to have bent  cats (many with alledged brains and apparent prestige) into an appeasement type weirdo world where ev thang be all discombobulated 
43 made the differences between isolationism and unilateralism completely clear, contrary to the expectations of critics who feared the former and got the latter. Withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, "unsigning" the Rome Statute (which created the International Criminal Court), scuttling a "verification" protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention, and refusing to negotiate a "small arms and light weapons" agreement violating the Constitution's Second Amendment, and more, appalled the "blame America first" crowd. Of course, what really sent them over the edge was dismantling the Taliban/al-Qaeda regime in Afghanistan, followed by regime change in Iraq without a new Security Council resolution granting humble supplicants from Washington permission.

The global Left feared even worse: not only was America not entering a new isolationism, it had become wildly interventionist and unilateralist. Who would save Europe from these cowboys who, rather than abandoning the rest of the world, were instead too much in it? The answer, of course, was 44, no unilateralist he, and certainly no militarist.

Not all of those questioning the GOP's historical foreign policy and defence stand are isolationists, far from it, and many would emphatically reject the label. Moreover, it is hardly certain that isolationist sentiment will prevail. But it is critical to understand clearly these strands of thought and their relationships, so that national-security GOPers can answer the questions being raised, restore a coherent party platform and thereby thwart the new isolationism.

One strand in the new isolationist GOP thinking is to reject the convenient, strawman view that America is the world's policeman, and that we must be prepared to intervene anywhere, any time in pursuit of abstract ideals of global stability. One variation on this theme is rejecting "democracy promotion", an enthusiasm of neoconservatives, or "humanitarian intervention", the enthusiasm of the Left's "responsibility to protect" proponents. Neoconservatives are at least partially to blame here for expansive, unrealistic theorising and a penchant for intervention seemingly for its own sake.

How much really differentiates them from the "responsibility to protect" doctrine, under which powers otherwise criticised as "imperialist" nonetheless intervene essentially everywhere for humanitarian purposes, especially when they have absolutely no national interests at stake?

Of course, the isolationists' characterisation of traditional conservative foreign policy is erroneous, since it never aspired either to be the global policeman or to elevate "intervention" from an operational technique to a philosophical principle. And importantly, neocons do not dominate Republican thinking any more than isolationists do, despite the media hype. Instead, repelled by what they label indiscriminate interventionism, the new isolationists sound depressingly like Neville Chamberlain. Faced with 3rd Reich's demand to annex Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, Chamberlain said in September 1938: "How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing." Munich followed.

Sometimes, rejecting neocon or liberal interventionist policies is characterised as "war weariness", a political argument that Americans are heartily sick of Iraq and Afghanistan, and that we should bring the troops home and close the door on foreign adventures. Opinion polls tend to support the "war weariness" argument, but miss the point. Americans are intensely practical; they recognise that the demands of daily life require that they delegate enormous responsibility for national security to the president. They expect him to be on the watch for threats to US interests, and to justify the costs of protecting those interests when necessary. This system generally worked well until 43, whose view of America's place in the world is very different from every president since 32, if not before. 44 is entirely comfortable with American decline from a position he and the transatlantic Left think is unfairly privileged.

Another strand in this confusing mélange is that the isolationists see an assertive, often unilateral, US international posture as synonymous with military intervention, although they are obviously quite different. A robust foreign policy is complex and possesses a far wider range of capabilities to assert American influence than military action alone. The Republican isolationists, however, risk conflating all foreign leadership with military force, and rejecting not just force but the strong US political and economic presence necessary to assert and defend key American interests. They join with true national security advocates in rejecting Obama's penchant for multilateralism, so beloved of Europeans of many political persuasions, but confuse the operational morass of the UN system and other international organisations for overseas involvement more generally. Instead of seeing the benefits of proceeding unilaterally where appropriate or with a coalition that shares US objectives, they reject the external involvement itself, once again confusing broad policy with operational and tactical questions.

Also, focusing on particular weapons of war, remotely-piloted aircraft or "drones" being the flavour of the day. Indeed, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul used a genuine old-fashioned 13-hour filibuster to dramatise his opposition to drone strikes and his broader opposition to what he has repeatedly called America's "aggressive" foreign policy. The Left has long attacked drones because of a thinly veiled sympathy for the targets, who have no effective means of defence against weapons that strike from remote locations without warning. Moreover, in this view, because drones minimise the risk of casualties, they make it less costly for Washington to wage war. That of course is precisely why drones are so attractive to US military planners, and why we should expand and improve their capabilities. And yet Republican isolationists find themselves again imitating their leftist doppelgängers.

So how does America get back on course? Discussions of foreign policy today are filled with labels (neoconservative and liberal interventionist, realist and isolationist) that are at best unsatisfactory and at worst counterproductive. While it is almost impossible to get beyond these pervasive terms, the answer is to do just that, and forge national security policy based not on ideologies about what an ideal world could look like, but one that is, quite simply, pro-American.

In today's circumstances, Great Satan should be seeking, in Edmund Burke's language, not the "delusive geometrical accuracy" of theories from the declinist Left or the isolationist Right, but instead "rational, cool endeavours" in support of our national interests. To refute the new Republican isolationism, we need not a new conceptual framework and new policies, but a reinvigorated assertion of what we already know to be true, but have grown stale and lazy in articulating.

We must reground policy on advancing and defending American interests. By "interests" I mean plain, unvarnished, traditional concepts: protection of American territory and citizens; defence of our economic trade and investments; and alliances based on mutual defence. I do not mean ill-defined, infinitely expandable concepts whereby everything becomes a national security interest: climate change, alternative fuels, humanitarian crises, human rights. Within a proper definition of "interests" there is ample room for debate, but my limited aspiration for now is simply to create the template upon which the debate should take place. Much like the doctrine of "originalism" in constitutional law, it is not necessarily dispositive of the substantive outcome in every concrete case. Nonetheless, returning to a "pro-American" interest-based approach would significantly shape the debate in ways which more expansive outlooks ("the living constitution" in the legal analogy) simply do not.

43 and the worst isolationists believe that America's strength (belligerence is probably what they say in private) is a major source of global conflict. Instead, of course, the opposite is true: it is not American strength that is provocative, but American weakness. For precisely that reason, Reagan adhered to "peace through strength", the notion that preventing war is best achieved by deterring and dissuading aggressors. Indeed, a more powerful America, and its alliances like Nato, are forces for international peace and security, which facilitate international trade and finance, and undergird American (and global) prosperity.

Without a strong American presence internationally, what little order and stability that do exist could well disappear, to be replaced either with spreading anarchy or with a void to be filled by other powers which have neither our best interests at heart nor will be anything near as benign. Of course, there are many free riders on America's order, but that argues for making them bear their fair share, not abandoning the entire enterprise. We are doing this not for them but for ourselves, and if we stop doing it the consequences will be incalculable. Indeed, the potential risk of a receding Great Satan is breathtaking, but the necessary corrective actions in policy terms are actually quite straightforward. The difficulty, after 43 leaves office, lies in the depth of the hole we will have to dig ourselves out of, how many opportunities we will have missed along the way, and the greater costs involved in trying to make up for lost time.

But there is no point in succumbing to hopelessness. While it is exasperating to have to make the case for a robust American presence in the world, just over a decade since the 9/11 attacks should have yet again seared it into our consciences, we should not be discouraged. Sharpening our wits against the new isolationist challenge will bolster the articulation of our case against 44's declinism, and the global Left more generally. We are not at the point of writing our own Recessional.
Neither 40 nor Thatcher ever thought of such a thing, and neither should we.

Pic - "Never Surrender!"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Redline Redux

Everdobby "members 44"s Red Line. Any WMDliciousness wickedness unleashed on hapless rebels and insurgents in ye olde Suriya al Kubra would be like a total invite for Great Satan and Allies to intervene for yet another of those coercive regime changes

Uh, well... 
Britain, France and Little Satan — have now concluded that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad has very likely used chemical weapons. This would cross a “red line” drawn by President Obama not once but on multiple occasions.

British and French governments reported to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that they had corroborating evidence, including soil samples, of chemical-weapon use in three instances since December.

Though his policy on Syria has been weak and muddled, Mr. Obama has been very clear that the United States “will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people,” as he put it last month. He has said that such use would be a “game-changer.”

As evidence mounts that Syria used chemical weapons, the U.S. must take action.

Yet the administration now declines to join the analysis of its close allies. Perhaps it is the case, as White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday, that “conclusive evidence” is still lacking. Administration officials point out that the British, French and Little Satan are not saying they are certain. No one wishes to repeat the mistake of intervening in Iraq on the basis of faulty intelligence.

But another danger is that the Assad regime will conclude that 44’s warnings were never serious.

 Many analysts believe the relatively limited use of chemical weapons until now was intended to test international reaction. If there is no response, Damascus may decide that it is free to use its chemicals on a larger scale.

Bashar Baybee suggested something like that this week in a meeting with a Lebanese delegation. According to a Lebanese newspaper report, he said, “The Americans have been pragmatic from the very beginning and never pursued any course to its logical conclusion. They would eventually side with the victor.”

In truth, 44 has been inching toward more decisive action. At a meeting of opposition supporters last weekend, Madame Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced a doubling of  aid for the opposition to $250 million, including direct funding for rebel forces. 

Yet  support for the rebels remains far below what would be necessary to accelerate the downfall of the Assad regime. Syrians are furious at Great Satan and increasingly supportive of an al-Qaeda militia that has won a string of battlefield victories. If 44 waffles or retreats on the one clear red line he drew, Great Satan credibility across the region will be severely damaged.

With Syria blocking a U.N. investigation and few assets on the ground, it can be difficult to determine what happened in the reported chemical-weapons attacks. But it is important that Great Satan reach a conclusion, and soon.

Pic - "This crisis is truly an opportunity, if leaders are bold enough to seize it."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

al Qaeda In Persia?

Whoa! Stop the Press!!

The recent Royal Something Something Mounted Po Po bust in Canada (a nation state in the far north) of al Qaeda affiliates attempting to wreck bloody havoc on N"ork City unveiled a startling startlement:
The RCMP said the two men were not Canadian citizens and were supported by "al-Qaeda elements in Iran" 

After all everdobby know one thing sunnis and shias hate more than girls is - well - sunnis and shia. Since the great Shia Sunni Schism way back in the last millennium, they Just. Don"t. Work. Together. Ever - right? 

Au Contraire mon frer!!

Mentioning al-Qaida and Iran in the same sentence has some people scratching their heads. Iran and al-Qaida are greater foes than friends.

Iranian leaders adhere to radical interpretations of Shia Islam. The militant groups Tehran is known to support usually do so as well. Hezbollah is the preeminent example.

Al-Qaida and its supporters, on the other hand, are radical Sunnis who hold militant Salafi/Wahhabi beliefs. They only have contempt for Shia communities. Al-Qaida of the Arab Peninsula, for instance, began a January 2011 issue of its English-language propaganda magazine, Inspire, with a diatribe directed against Shia Muslims. It labelled them — alongside “Zionist-Crusaders” and “apostate (Sunni) regimes” — as the “third side of the triangle of evil.”

So while both al-Qaida and Iran and its militant proxies are hostile to the United States, Israel, and various Arab governments, have orchestrated mass-casualty suicide bombings, and strive for similar political goals, the romance usually ends there. The bloody civil wars that have gripped parts of Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan over the past decade have often pitted these two religious communities against one another.

But at times necessity has forced Iran and al-Qaida to bury the hatchet. While Iran’s (and Hezbollah’s) relationship with al-Qaida remains murky and while there are practical, political, and theological reasons why Shia and Sunni extremists may shy away from supporting one another, when circumstance demands it, collusion has occurred.

State Sponsored attacks on Great Satan?
Whatever the details of their plan, it isn’t Iran’s style. Reaching out to kill North Americans in North America offers Iran no advantage, and invites serious international repercussions. Why risk it?

Iran does reportedly provide some limited logistical support to al-Qaeda, mostly in the form of providing a safe harbour. Iran is one of the few places in the Muslim world where al Qaeda leadership can be reasonably confident that an American drone loaded with Hellfire missiles isn’t circling over their head. The relationship between Shia Iran and Sunni al Qaeda has long been tense, and wasn’t helped much by the thousands of Shias killed by al-Qaeda in Iraq during Iraq’s bloody sectarian fighting.

Still, Iran clearly sees some advantage in co-operating with al-Qaeda: Not only does it make al-Qaeda less likely to carry out attacks or anti-government activities in Iran, but al-Qaeda could prove useful to Iran if it did one day choose to strike out at Western targets — in the aftermath, for example, of an American airstrike against its nuclear program. Tehran isn’t above attacking North America. It just wouldn’t make sense to do so now.

But anything that makes al-Qaeda’s presence in Iran attract the attention of Washington — and a successful al-Qaeda terror attack in Toronto certainly would — can only make Tehran uncomfortable. At the very least, Iranian intelligence will likely tighten the reins for the foreseeable future. It’s not difficult at all to believe that Iran may even see fit to kick out of some of its al-Qaeda guests, or at least look the other way if their cars develop the nasty habit of exploding. 

Pic - "Rise of the Lone Wolves"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The Global reach of you know what-Had is, whale, Global.

Check it
The fact that the rantings of an Australian extremist could carry consequences for a major city in the US truly demonstrates that it is the fluid and instantly accessible radical ideology, more than political grievances, that is the root cause of modern terrorism.

The fact that the Boston bombers hailed from Chechnya, became refugees in Dagestan and later immigrants to the US and were radicalised by a Sydney preacher makes the jihadi ideology a truly global phenomenon.

Tackling the radical ideology that is the motivation for so many to unleash violence must be at the heart of combating the terrorism threat in the future. We must pay attention and combat it wherever it is preached because it is available everywhere and to anyone.

So long as the jihadist ideology remains unchallenged it will remain a threat for open societies and the bane of m"Hammedist communities.

Despite tactical counter-terrorism successes, an unchecked violent jihadist ideology ensures that its radicalising message will continue to appeal to the alienated anywhere and continue to be a matter of concern for governments everywhere.

But there is a deep reluctance on the part of democratic governments to tackle the problem of jihadist ideology. Instead they have focused on disrupting plots and shoring up intelligence efforts against jihadist networks.

All of this is important work but democratic societies also have a critical role to play in articulating open values and discrediting ideologies that go against the national interest.

Many governments fear this effort would be seen as challenging the beliefs of religious or ethnic communities. 

Ouch! Touche" after all, challenging J!Hadism may be construed as a challenge to m"Hammedism
The Tsarnaev brothers were typical American immigrants until they weren't. It was their exposure to radical jihadist ideology that turned them.

It"s Global
The jihadist's call is only a click away.

Pic - "Why I left Jihad"

Monday, April 22, 2013

Jordan"s Jam

al-Mamlakah al-ʾUrdunniyyah al-Hāšimiyyah!

A fakebelieve nation state concocted by those naughtiful  Imperial Brits from bit of the olde Suriya al Kubra after Imperial Deutschland gave up the ghost in the last millennium.

Since Arab Sprang sprung - ME monarchies seem somewhat immune to the riotous riots that inflict coercive regime change.

Not Little Jordan!
The Arab Spring has emboldened the opposition by eroding the deterrent effect of the notorious “fear of government” ( haybat al-sulta ) in the Arab world in general and in Jordan in particular. 

For over two years, Jordan has experienced almost weekly demonstrations, led primarily by the Ikwhan Brethren but also by other less substantial opponents of the regime. They demand political reform and decry the pervasive corruption in the country, which they argue is the major cause for the depletion of the state’s resources and the steadily declining living standards of the masses. 

At the same time, while the demonstrations continuing for more than two years reflects the perseverance of the opposition and the depth of popular disaffection, it also indicates the staying power of the regime and the relative ineffectiveness of its fractious rivals

Jordan’s present difficulties should not be underestimated. Their origins are in the rumblings of economic discontent that began in Hussein’s time,long before the Arab Spring. As HRH King Abdullah observed, "The Arab Spring didn’t start because of politics; it started because of economics—poverty and unemployment. . . . if people are going to get back on the streets, it is because of economic challenges, not political.”

The complaints of corruption on the part of the regime’s opposition are undoubtedly justified. But the real problems regarding Jordan’s economy are structural. The economy has been in serious trouble since the late 1980s and was never particularly strong, with a population growth that was too rapid for a cash-strapped and resource-barren economy. Recent price increases for food and fuel have made matters considerably worse for the average Jordanian. The most aggressive riots in Jordan, not only since the advent of the Arab Spring but since the beginning of Abdullah’s reign, took place in mid-November 2012

Demonstrations by the various branches of the opposition have been rather ineffective.Usually mobilizing no more than a few thousand protesters—often fewer—and on very rare occasions maybe as many as ten thousand, the protests have turned into what is beginning to look like a benign routine. The Brethren’s decision to boycott the January 23 elections appears to have been counterproductive. Despite their efforts, voter turnout was good by Jordanian standards:(56.7 percent of registered voters) and similar to the norm in other Arab states that have held elections in thewake of the Arab Spring. The "Slamic Centrist Party (al-Wasat aI-Islami )—moderate "Slamists who were unaffiliated with the Brethren (and who were in the good graces of the regime)—ran and did well, garnering 17 seats.

Most political analysts concluded that the Brethren were now increasingly marginalized in Jordan.

Events outside Jordan were having a mixed impact on the Brethren’s local stature. On the one hand, the prominence of radical Islamist forces in neighboring Syria was giving them “growing clout.”

On the other hand, the questionable performance of the Ikwhan Brethren in power in Egypt was not doing the Brethren’s image in Jordan very much good.The Arab Spring had initially emboldened the Jordanian opposition, but the outcomes of the revolutions in countries like Egypt and Libya, and especially the bloodbath in Syria, were horrifying to most Jordanians.
More than four hundred thousand Syrians are currently seeking refuge in Jordan, as did about five hundred thousand Iraqis before them. Spokespersons for the regime could ask what Jordanians had to complain about in their oasis of stability—which, unlike some neighboringregimes, did not have a reputation for brutal repression.In over two years of demonstrations in Jordan, fewer than a handful of protesters have been killed by the security forces, under the strict orders of the King himself not to use excessive force

The critical turning point in Jordan’s recent history was not the advent of the Arab Spring but the passing of King Hussein. Under the less capable King Abdullah the monarchy has lost prestige and popularity, as he has failed to re-create the monarchical presence of his father. But notwithstanding cracks in the edifice of the East Banker elite, the fractious opposition has yet to come up with a viable alternative. Even opponents tend to see “the Hashemite regime as the thing that holds [the country] all together.”

The situation, therefore, remains manageable.

As long as the unswerving loyalty of the security establishment lasts, the capacity of the regime to continue muddling through will depend more on its ability to deal effectively with the economy than on any other single factor, including the pace of political reform.Indeed, demonstrations in Jordan—like those against the skyrocketing prices of fuel in November 2012—have been more massive and aggressive when economic hardships have hurt most. The problem for the regime is that improving the material well-being of the people and providing for the influx of Syrian refugees are dependent on the goodwill and generosity of others, such as the IMF, Great Satan, the EU, Japan, the Saudis, and the other Gulf states, and they too are not as wealthy as they used to be. 

The Jordanians can never be quite sure whether the checks will always be large enough and whether they will arrive on time—before the impoverishment of the people overflows into uncontrollable expressions of despair. After all, it was mainly poverty, unemployment,and sheer hopelessness that set the region ablaze in the so-called Arab Spring, rather than an irrepressible urge for democracy and civil rights

Pic - "Hashemite!"

Saturday, April 20, 2013


WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t) 

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chechen J!had

Ah yes, the dreaded Chechens - shock troops of  terrorist endeavours worldwide.

Actually Dagestan - a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia's North Caucasus that has become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from Chechnya. On the site, he describes himself as speaking Chechen as well as English and Russian. His world view is described as "Islam" and he says his personal goal is "career and money."

Pic - "Chechen Jihad"

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sino Dream World

As the biggest ever collectivist nation state - China will dream big!

Autocratic rulers have it made in tons of ways
Press censorship, repression of dissent, and the absence of organized opposition allow rulers the luxury of promising whatever they want, with no political consequences for failing to deliver. The result is government of the sloganeers, by the sloganeers, and for the sloganeers.

China appears to have perfected this form of government over the last decade. The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in response to rising public demand for social justice, has devised numerous slogans, such as “governing for the people,” “building a harmonious society,” “balanced development,” “scientific development,” and so on.

Whenever the top leadership in Beijing uttered such slogans, they became the rallying cry of the bureaucracy. The party’s massive propaganda machine went into overdrive and blanketed the country with a publicity blitz that would make the most extravagant Madison Avenue advertising campaign look like child’s play.

But government by slogan, whether in China or in other autocracies, seldom achieves its declared goals. In the last decade, GDP growth soared, but most indices of social justice, governance performance, and public welfare deteriorated. Macroeconomic imbalances worsened as economic growth became excessively dependent on investment and exports. Inequality worsened. Official corruption escalated. Social mobility declined. Environmental degradation reached a crisis point.
Today, it is the responsibility of China’s new leadership, headed by President Xi Jinping, to avert another decade of missed opportunities. Without missing a beat, Xi, like his predecessors, rolled out a new slogan to inspire popular confidence in his leadership. As a catchphrase for his administration’s objective, “the great renaissance of the Chinese nation” is bit long, but it has lately morphed into the simpler “China Dream.”

The substance of the China Dream remains difficult to determine. When Xi first unveiled his slogan after being selected as the CCP’s new general secretary, he defined it in simple, accessible, but nonetheless generic terms: The “Chinese people dream of living the same good life as all other people in the world.”

Xi has said little about the China Dream since – and his silence has caused considerable trouble. China’s ever-zealous propaganda officials, evidently fearful of not demonstrating sufficient loyalty and respect for the new party chief, quickly hijacked the slogan; the China Dream has replaced the “China Model” in official political branding. Whatever the new administration does is touted as part of its ambitious effort to make the “China Dream” come true.

Unfortunately, China propagandists, who double as censors, have a perverse ability to discredit anything that they try to brand. The China Dream is no exception. So far, public reaction has ranged from puzzlement to derision. After a decade of government by slogan, the Chinese public wants substance.

This presents Xi with a real challenge. He has risen to the top by winning friends and allies inside the CCP. Now that he is the leader of a dynamic, diverse, and increasingly demanding society, he must gain popular support and confidence to maintain his credibility and become an effective politician.

The first thing that Xi should do is to articulate a clearer, more specific, and inspiring version of the China Dream, and stop letting the CCP’s propaganda officials define it for him. The China Dream may include all of the economic benefits and material comfort that ordinary Chinese desire, but it will not be complete without the human rights and dignity that citizens in civilized societies take for granted.

The second thing that Xi and his colleagues need to do is to follow up with specific policies and actions that can bolster the credibility of their declared goals. Political slogans, however high-sounding, become stale when their purveyors fail to make good on their promises.

Xi may still be enjoying a honeymoon with the Chinese public, but it is likely to be a short one. His predecessors had ten years to carry out real reforms and accomplished little, leaving the Chinese in no mood to endure another decade of government by shibboleth. 

Pic - "China is recasting its strategic identity in soft power terms with the help of figures from its past."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Terrorthon

Worlds fail to express the horror, sympathy and burning desire for revenge yet sump must be said

Events are very fluid following the gruesome terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, but speculation is already swirling as to motive and responsible parties. There's only one plausible scenario* that would carry significant geopolitical consequences: If Iran's Revolutionary Guard or Hezbollah (or both) were behind it.

In response to the assassination of Iranian scientists, Iran has launched a wave of largely unsuccessful global terrorist attacks against Little and Great While many plots were bungled, Iran (via Hezbollah) did manage to kill Little Satan civilians in Bulgaria and attempted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the in Great Satan. 

If Iran's hand is in this act of terror, it would galvanize proponents of military action against Iran's nuclear program to push the administration for immediate action. The administration would be under enormous pressure to act in some overt manner to punish Tehran. Yet unlike al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, there's no simple method of punishing Iran militarily that doesn't open the door to a much broader conflict. Retaliatory attacks aimed at the Revolutionary Guard or Iran's nuclear facilities could invite Iranian counter-moves and runs the well-established risk of a direct military engagement with Iran. Standing pat, however, will be politically difficult (if not impossible). 

So, of all the potential scenarios associated with the Boston attacks, linkage to Iran carries the most significant geopolitical consequences. 

Why not al-Qaeda?

The most likely global culprit is also the one least likely to spur any fundamental change to American security strategy or foreign policy. Three of al-Qaeda's main groupings -- in Pakistan, in the Arabian Peninsula and in Africa (the "Islamic Maghreb") -- are already the focus of intense counter-terrorism campaigns, drone strikes and covert action. If any of these groups are linked to the Boston attack it may lead to a stepped up campaign of drone strikes and covert action, but it's unlikely to radically reorient the Obama administration's current policy (it will, however, likely lead to a sharp debate over the drone strikes and whether they're a cause of, or solution to, incidents such as these).

*There are plenty of implausible scenarios which would have far-reaching consequences as well: just pick your favorite rogue or adversarial state and make them the culprit.

Pic - "Of course, it's terror"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Aegypt"s Aepic Fail

Pyramidland - the mommy land of all Araby is crashing faster than doped up strippers after a 48 hour tour
Egypt imports 10 million tons of wheat per year, the most of any nation—or the diesel that fuels bread ovens and transports 99 percent of everything that moves in this country of more than 85 million. Egypt’s dilemma is this: it cannot politically afford to stop providing the costly subsidies to the poor that distort its economy. 

But unless it reduces these subsidies and adopts a pro-growth budget, Egypt cannot secure the $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan it needs.  In other words, the government would be committing political suicide to do what economists say must be done to sustain the country’s economic viability. Only a government that enjoys public confidence can risk taking such steps.

Since the Ikwhan coasted into power on the wave of electoral dysfunction, the inept and preacher loving gov is showing all the uncool chiz that failed state show

Check it
Inconsistent and selective application of law.

On March 27, an Egyptian court overturned President Muhammad Morsi's November 2012 decision to replace the sitting prosecutor-general with Talaat Abdullah, a crony who has since focused investigations solely on the MB's political opponents. The ruling renders all of Abdullah's investigations illegal. By ignoring the verdict and going after activists even more aggressively, the state -- personified in the president, his government, and the prosecutor-general -- has shown its willingness to undermine rule of law.

Deterioration of services.

Basic public services such as electricity and gas are falling apart, with most Egyptians experiencing daily power cuts.

Unaccountable security apparatus. 

The interior minister, a Brotherhood loyalist, deploys the police to clash with opposition protesters while protecting the MB thugs who beat and torture demonstrators.

Delegitimization of the state.

Due to a legally faulty election law issued by the Morsi-appointed upper house of parliament, the legislative elections originally slated for this month have been delayed until November. Meanwhile, the opposition is now refusing to participate in elections because Egyptian institutions cannot guarantee the fairness of the process. When Secretary of State John Kerry tried to mediate last month, the MB undercut his efforts by publicly calling for elections without any of the promised changes to the electoral law, which were the basis of his mediation. 

The situation is pushing Egypt toward failure, and the MB government shows no sign of seeking a solution.

So  - let 'em crash? 
Great Satan"s support for Aegypt is tied to America's three main interests in Egypt: the Suez Canal, military cooperation, and the peace treaty with Little Satan. Given that each of those interests is secured by the independent Egyptian military, backing the Morsi government holds little advantage.

Rule of law is key -- a loan without necessary reforms would be money wasted on propping up a failing government for a few more months, further entangling Great Satan with a time traveling, girl hating preacher paradise administration at a time when the Ikwhanese government's long-term survival is increasingly costly and doubtful.

Pic -  "The corrupt autocracies that gave us the previous 50 years of “stability” were just slow-motion disasters."

Monday, April 15, 2013

NoKo Heave Ho


Could Juche jazzed up NoKo have placed herself in the unenviable position of running out of friends?
One unlikely benefit of the North Korea crisis is that the world may be getting fed up with the country's pugnacious young leader, Kim Jong Un. In his belligerent talk of war, Kim appears to have crossed a line, upsetting traditional allies such as China and Russia as well as Great Satan and South Korea.

Time to contemplate regime change!
All of North Korea’s most destructive policies -- the nuclear and missile programs, the unwillingness to reform, the determined efforts to maintain a police state, the penchant for fomenting regional tensions -- are designed to keep the regime afloat. The only way to alter North Korea’s behavior is to change the nature of the regime. The question is how.

North Korean propagandists face a bigger challenge. They have to explain the stunning prosperity of South Korea -- a country populated by members of the same ethnic group, who share the same language and culture as the destitute inhabitants of the North. The more that knowledge about the fabulous success of South Korea spreads among ordinary North Koreans, the less tenable the status quo will become.

Three channels can be exploited to provide the North Korean populace with unauthorized information about the outside world. First, academic, cultural and other interpersonal exchanges, endorsed by North Korean authorities, will open the gates to potentially dangerous knowledge. Conservatives in Washington, Seoul and elsewhere may question the value of these exchanges, and no doubt the top functionaries in Pyongyang and their spoiled children will be the first to take advantage of overseas study trips or international student exchanges. Yet these are exactly the type of people who matter most. Changes to the North Korean system are most likely to be initiated by well-informed and disillusioned members of the elite

Apart from academic exchanges, one should encourage all activities that create an environment conducive to contact between North Koreans and foreigners (and especially between North and South Koreans). This is the major reason why the Kaesong Industrial Zone -- recently suspended by the North -- was actually a very good idea: Projects on which North and South Koreans work together are bound to produce many situations that involve uncontrolled and unscripted exchanges between the two peoples.  

Additionally, for the first time in decades, it is becoming possible to deliver unauthorized knowledge directly to North Koreans. DvD players are common now in the North, and even computers are not unheard of anymore. Tunable radios, while still technically illegal, have been smuggled into the country in growing quantities. The information blockade can now be penetrated, and the North Korean public seems to be more receptive to critical messages. 

New technologies -- particularly the VCD/DVD players that have continued to spread inside North Korea -- are also creating opportunities. It is now possible to produce visual material -- essentially, documentaries -- specifically designed for North Korean audiences. Books, too, can now be easily scanned and converted into text files. Hundreds of such files can easily fit into one USB drive or DVD disk. In the 1970s, it would have taken years of typewriting (or days of photocopying) to reproduce such a large volume of text; now the job can be done within minutes. A digital book is also easier to hide or destroy than its paper equivalent. That means even one copy of a book (or rather a collection of books, a “digital library”), once smuggled across the border, can proliferate inside North Korea. 

By their very nature, books will be more appealing to intellectuals and the lower reaches of the elite. Such scanned materials might thus include textbooks on major social subjects and humanities, as well as purely technical material (and special attention should be given to textbooks and manuals dealing with computers). It is important to introduce books that have different, even mutually exclusive, opinions; North Koreans should not be subjected to syrupy propaganda and anti-communist harangues. Instead, they must become accustomed to intellectual differences and arguments. They should read what is written by the left and right, zealous antiglobalists and stubborn libertarians alike. They should be exposed to the modern world, with all its complexity and uncertainty. 

Finally, the world shouldn’t overlook the potential of those North Koreans who have made it out of the country. North Korean refugees are very different from those Eastern Europeans who fled to the West during the Cold War. To start with, they cannot be plausibly described as “defectors” since most of them were driven away from the North by starvation or other nonpolitical factors. Furthermore, Eastern European and Soviet defectors were well-educated, while North Korean refugees are largely farmers and manual workers. 

Still, a small but not insignificant community of well- educated refugees has now built up in South Korea. Contrary to what is often assumed, they are not actively supported by the South Korean state; one shouldn’t be surprised by the sight of a former North Korean engineer working as a pizza deliveryman. Support systems and jobs for such people are crucial. For younger refugees, scholarships for master’s and doctoral studies are of special importance, since currently the government only pays for their undergraduate education. 

We need to train more former North Koreans to become professionals -- construction engineers, accountants, scientists, water-treatment specialists, and doctors. Nowadays, refugees stay in touch with their families and friends back in North Korea, thanks to Chinese mobile phones and a network of “brokers” who deal with people smuggling, money transfers, and letter exchanges. A refugee who has become, say, an accountant, is likely to channel back to the North information of much greater importance and impact than one who makes a living by waiting tables. 

When the collapse or transformation of North Korea finally comes, some of these refugee intellectuals will probably go back to their native land. Some of them will become political and social activists, while many more will apply their technical skills in the reemerging North Korean economy. They will play a major role as educators and instructors, teaching North Koreans how things are done in the South and, broadly speaking, in the modern world. Investing in them now is one way to help speed that day along. 

Pic -  “The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia"

Saturday, April 13, 2013


WoW - the Watchers Council - it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t) 

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter

Friday, April 12, 2013


While it's always cool to LOL out loud concerning any despot"s tenure - Bashar al Assad"s much heralded end really depends on what all"s left of Syrian Army

After two years of armed conflict, is the Syrian army finally close to collapse? This question, frequently posed during the war, has gotten much louder over the past month as the anti-Assad rebellion increases its military effectiveness and becomes more audacious in its messages on social-media sites. For those who have been tracking the conflict for the past twenty-five months, the strength of the Syrian army is the best barometer for measuring Assad’s staying power.

Judged from the latest events on the ground, there is a strong feeling worldwide that Bashar al-Assad’s security forces are nearing the breaking point. For the first time since the civil war began, the Syrian army last month lost control of a provincial capital, the city of Raqqa, after a sustained offensive from rebel fighters—some of whom were associated with the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra. In the country’s northeastern and eastern sectors, antigovernment elements are beginning to establish a temporary political administration to fill the void of a retreating regime. And in a new development, Syrian rebel forces have opened up a new front near the Golan Heights and along the Syrian-Jordanian border, two areas relatively close to the capital of Damascus.

When coupled with a desertion rate that continues to thin out the Syrian army’s rank-and-file, an overtaxed logistics system for sustaining the army in the field, and the hundreds of fatalities that the Syrian government suffers every month, it is tempting to say that the backbone of Assad’s strength—the army, intelligence and security services—will not be able to hold on much longer. Consider the actions of Syria’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad Badr al-Dine Hassoun, who pleaded last month for Syria’s young men to fulfill their religious duty by joining the army. Translation: the Syrian armed forces are in a tough spot, and need more men to fight.

Yet, as stressed as the Syrian army now appears after two years of trying to contain hundreds of thousands of dedicated anti-government fighters, we should not hastily conclude that Bashar al-Assad is on his way out, as the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper hinted during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last month.

Progovernment forces have demonstrated a keen ability to adapt their techniques, conserve their firepower, and change their military plans to meet the changing strategic environment. More importantly, the Syrian army has demonstrated a willingness to escalate the use of force, employ destructive weapons systems and launch indiscriminate ballistic missiles.

Early last year, when a systematic campaign of destruction on the rebel-controlled district of Baba Amr failed to end opposition resistance, the Syrian army increased its firepower by deploying its fleet of helicopter gunships. When helicopters failed to do the trick, fixed wing aircraft and fighter jets were added to the mix, resulting in the deaths of thousands of additional civilians and culminating in an incredibly bloody summer.

In the fall and winter of 2012, when the Free Syrian Army made minor inroads in Aleppo and encroached ever closer to Damascus, the regime opted to give up on securing the entire country. Knowing that the insurgency was too strong in Syria’s north and east, Bashar al-Assad chose to play the long game by consolidating his forces in areas of the country considered vitally important for the regime’s survival: Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, and the Alawite coast. As the Institute for the Study of War’s Joseph Holliday has illustrated in his latest report, the Syrian regime made the judgment that controlling the entirety of Syria was no longer possible.

 It was considered possible, however, to ensure that neighborhoods supportive of the government have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Building progovernment militias in local villages, arming Syria’s minority communities to fight a Sunni rebellion, and holding the key corridor from Damascus to the northwest coast is now far more important than killing every insurgent and controlling every town.

Before the international community writes Bashar al-Assad off, it should realize that a desperately strained Syrian military is not necessarily defeated. Assad maintains the solid loyalty of much of the armed forces, with a significant portion of them now fighting to thwart or delay what could be a vengeful, Sunni-led, post-Assad order after the war ends.

While he may not be able to extinguish the insurgency completely or control the entire country as he once did, Bashar al-Assad still has enough firepower and men to continue the conflict through the year. 

 Assad recognizes that cutting the army’s losses in the field, rallying his support base, and narrowing the mission are key to ensuring that the regime can fight on.
Pic - "The After Bashar War"