sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Friday, January 3, 2020

A Message to the Ayatollah

THE LATE QASSEM SULEIMANI

Good bye Qassem. I wonder if the lesson will be learned in Iran? Likely not. But the sanctions will continue with more vigor now and the trashed Iranian economy won't be getting any better. There will be a lot of coverage of reciprocity with the elimination of Qassem Suleimani and his entourage at the Baghdad Airport. Suleimani was a big figure in the world of international terrorism. More here from Foreign Policy.
(NY Times) The commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who led the powerful Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed along with several officials from Iraqi militias backed by Tehran when an American MQ-9 Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the airport. 
General Suleimani was the architect of nearly every significant operation by Iranian intelligence and military forces over the past two decades, and his death was a staggering blow for Iran at a time of sweeping geopolitical conflict.
Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly vowed to end American entanglements in the Middle East, insisted that he did not want war. 
“I don’t think that would be a good idea for Iran. It wouldn’t last very long,” Mr. Trump said. “Do I want to? No. I want to have peace. I like peace.”
Suleimani arrived in Baghdad to oversee terrorist attacks there. Iraq is seen as Iran's playground and President Trump disabused them of that for the moment. Keep in mind that Suleimani went to BAGHDAD, and was not in Iran, sitting on a barcalounger and watching one of the Ayatollah's rants on the national tv channel.  

If Iran wants a war, I suspect that something like "rods from God" might end the Ayatollah. No need for nukes.

SANCTIONS

Kenneth Katzman, a senior Iran analyst at the Congressional Research Service, told The Washington Post in September that Iran still has about $100 billion in reserves, adding that under current conditions that would last the Iranians at least another two years.

But Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, said in a December interview with The Wall Street Journal that based on classified intelligence Iran has access to only 10 percent of its foreign exchange reserves due to banking sanctions and that as a result it would struggle to stabilize its currency and keep inflation down.

Iran may see a war with the US as one way to tamp down internal dissent against the government's disastrous political policies that have led to a ravaged economy. Either way, General Suleimani won't be overseeing his part of the war. And his successor might consider not traveling abroad. Although, if there is a war, the successor might not last long in Iran. 

WAR?

There are a number of fifth column types in the US that could cause some trouble.  Lax immigration enforcement over the past decades has made that possible. And that's not going to turn into a rant here at this point, because you've heard it before.  But the war itself might not require boots on the ground. Simply pounding Iran to dust is possible without a kinetic ground war. Mopping up is something else but the US can take its time. Once all of the highways and runways are cratered, the electric power grid is down and the bridges are in the rivers and no more oil infrastructure exists, Iran can be left to itself to suffer. Maybe the people will come up with a better group of leaders? And maybe Iran could be rebuilt in time?

But there is no immediate need for Americans to die in a ground war.


Friday Follies

CALEXIT

January 1 marks my first year at the White Wolf Mine in Arizona. I moved there in a blizzard twelve months ago, in 8 degrees (F), from sunny Southern California and have never looked back. 

Wisdom

...from one of my oldest and dearest buddies, Mark S. who is deadly with edged weapons, and is a fellow of tradecraft. He still lives in California. He's commenting here about the place and the state of the State. He didn't write it to me. He wrote it to other Californians, and I suspect that he was venting. In his heart, he believes that California can be saved. I harbor doubts.
In 2019 the California legislature and governor signed in almost 1,200 new laws. That's impressive or depressing, depending on your point of view; one new law rolling out of Sacramento every 7.3 hours every day of the year including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays!  
I had not realized we had fallen into such a state of lawlessness, rampant disfunctionality, and immorality that we needed quite so many new pronouncements to regulate the behavior of our citizens, especially considering the hundreds of thousands of laws already on California's books. I am sure there are perhaps a hundred or so of these new laws which are good and necessary for the orderly and peaceful maintenance of society and its various activities, and the funding of the government, of course, but it seems that our legislature is hell-bent on "self-justification", which is to say, on proving to us that we desperately need them on a full time, indeed, on an over-time, basis to regulate our behavior to a minute degree lest without their guiding hand we fall into perdition. 
Of course, along with many of these new laws there are new fees and penalties, and a reminder of the need for and the expansion of our burgeoning state regulatory bureaucracy. I could go on, but I think you get my point, so I'll let you get back to your morning cup of whatever, secure in the comfort that our representatives are doing their best to regulate, proscribe, or moderate whatever you are thinking of doing today, and making you pay for the privilege.
NAVAL SEALIFT 


I hate to say it, but the US Navy is in need of completely new leadership. And when I say completely, even decimation of the admirals would be insufficient. Maybe relieve the worst 50% of flag rank and see if their replacements can do better. If not, fire them until you have somebody who can run a navy.

Nowhere is this complete failure in budgeting and planning more evident than in Naval Sealift. (link
WASHINGTON — In September, the U.S.  ordered the largest stress test of its wartime sealift fleet in the command’s history, with 33 out of 61 government-owned ships being activated simultaneously. The results were bad, according to a new report. 

In an unclassified U.S. Transportation Command report posted to its website, the so-called turbo activation revealed that less than half of the sealift fleet would be fully prepared to get underway for a major sealift operation in a crisis.
The article lays it all out but many ships were unfit to leave port, many more were unfit to be underway (outside of port) for any distance.

I could rant about the worthless Littoral Combat Ships (possibly only useful if you put huge radar reflectors on them and use them as decoys/cannon fodder), the CG(x) or the DDG1000 program, the search for a naval bomber to replace the long departed A-6 Intruder, or the myriad of staffing issues left over from the years of Obamanation, etc.  But today it's sealift and this most recent exercise was an abortion. It will give faith to our enemies and embolden them.

YOUR LEADERS


AOC is also on record for opposing the use of ducks in the manufacture of "duck tape...

NO MO CASTRO

Julián Castro, a former Obama housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, has dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. It would have been so "woke" to have had a Castro in the White House, running the nation. His failure to win support from Democrats only underscores their  party's rampant racism - when you consider that Bernie and Biden (old, white, male) are raking in the cash.