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Saturday, 17 June 2017


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I stopped learning in my sixties and only started understanding in my seventies,that shows how dim I am or was.

David, Re McArthur's bellicose nature and learning, I'll join the crowd and offer up an opinion piece. The author belongs to the Cato Institute, which is an American libertarian think tank.


No doubt you'll recall my warnings (fears) that it'd be the areas around the Red Sea that'd cause whoever got elected, big problems?

Yemen obviously. So too Somalia. I mentioned some others you might recall.

Let's recall just how the conduct of Saudi Arabia's invasion of Yemen almost guaranteed the US would be required to "more directly participate." Initially there were serious doubts whether, at the time, the Iranians were actually "helping the Houthis" (different sorts of Shias - not "Twelvers" such as the Iranians for one instance). That's changed admittedly.

But the biggest mistake the Saudi coalition made was in ignoring AQAP. AQAP you may recall were (and continue to be) the US' sole threat in the region. And Somalia is just a brief boatride across the Bab-el-Mandeb. And once one hits the African continent AQAP morphs into and with, AQIM.

You might Bob too recall that AQ Central besides its frranchises AQAP and AQIM also is aligned with Ansar al-Sharia. You remember surely who those nutjobs are credited with mounting attacks on.

Its probably not a coincidence the Qatar Mess erupted so soon after Trump's visit to Riyadh - but that'd just be musing on my part as, I'm no longer In The Game (directly).

Syria though I've always thought was none of the US' business. And had it not been for the US' "friend" Turkey - the US may well have been able to stay the hell out of the place.

For what its worth - I been yanking my Congressional Rep's chains that, "C'mon guys, it's time to dis-engage."

Sadly I have no influence with Grandpa McCain.

Bob. As to that "C'mon guys, it's time to dis-engage" I'm referring to Afghanistan.

Lost Cause looks like.


For what it's worth, I agree. You're much better informed about the details of the conflict than I, but we've been watching American involvement drag on for 15 years with no clear results. Obama tried to de-escalate to "frozen war" status. It seems Trump and Mattis are turning up the heat again:


Btw, SoD, do you think private military contractors have any effect on foreign policy?


In the main I'd agree it looks like we're pretty much in agreement. Odd idn't it?

I'd take issue though with your contention "Obama tried de-escalate ..."

Recall the campaign of 2008 wherein Obama said "The Afghani War is the important front"? The subsequent troop insertions and, the increased areas (beyond primarily Kabul) of US troop presence and direct US troop involvement?

Then there was Libya, not to mention pro-actively backing Morsi whom you might recall Ayman al-Zawahiri - prior to his linking up with OBL to form AQ - was a founding member of that same Muslim Brotherhood?

Without, apparently, Obama's taking under serious consideration that AQI's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi led directly to what's come to be known (by way of its multiple changing of acronyms/labeling) as Islamic State (AQ/AQI/ISIL/ISIS/IS/Jubhat al-Nusra/Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) and is even unto today under the command of a guy we [US] had in physical custody namely, one Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi?

If any of the previous administration's "successes" can now be called "efforts to de-escalate" ... well ... I for one would hate to see what'd happened if Obama'd followed Grandpa McCain's mentoring. It's not small-taters that Obama has been tagged with "The Killingist Recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize."

JK, This chart makes one aspect plain:

Once he slowed the momentum, Obama lowered troop levels overall. It's true he gave the go-ahead for Libya and relied more on drones, which I would not defend. As you write, though, he was fighting resistance from McCain and others, including some Democrats. Remember all the rhetoric about him dishonoring the lives already lost there? By that logic the US shouldn't have withdrawn from Vietnam or Korea either. Back to my main point, though, it looks like the current administration is going to make things even worse.

From your link Bob:

"Obama projected that U.S. troops would only have a "normal embassy presence" in Kabul by the end of 2016. ... While Americans are not supposed to be involved in combat ... In his announcement Wednesday, Obama said the remaining U.S. forces would be focusing on two things: "training and advising Afghan forces, and supporting counterterrorist operations."

True enough that'd be from what Obama'd stated in June '16. And I'll go along that "a normal embassy presence" as projected in June of last year would probably have been *acceptable* to both of us.

But yet ... Kabul (where the embassy is) wasn't, it turned out in actuality, despite what his announcement announced, limited to exactly "training and advising" in solely Kabul Province now was it?

Given that, come 04 November of that same year and, prior to Surefire it'll be Hillary turning out to be, not quite the case:

"Even worse"?

Well gee Bob, I dunno how what, before the US vote tallying was over was, unarguably, a total clusterfuck then could be even more clusterfuckier.

I guess we'll see. ... Unless it goes nuclear in which case it won't matter much whichever one of us God deems the winner of our present argument.


I meant even worse than right now. You're right about everything except blaming Obama for the current set of problems in the region. I'm pretty sure GW Bush's administration had something to do with them.


I don't actually "blame Obama" exactly for the ME shit, for that I'd be more inclined (if I were to be forced to have to pick out "anybody" specifically for the US' imbroglio regionally-speaking) toward the post WWI "Arabists" that'd be James Hugh Keeley, Jr., Stephen J. Meade, and maybe Miles Copeland Jr. who nobody today (except for guys like me who had to sit in in the various War Colleges boring lectures boning up on the region's "Who's Who") either has ever heard of 'em or, gives a hoot-in-hell how we [US] originally ever got in the present clusterfuck.

There's a whole host of characters that's too long (and too long dead) for anybody but specialists to lay "blame" on.

About all I'd actually be comfortable in assigning to Obama individually (specific to the region) would be "inattention." GW for forgetting Napolean (two front war).

Let's wind this up whatcha say?

Ahoy SoD!

Above you'll note Bob's asking you whether you reckon contractors have any effect.

Mebbe this'll help you form a reply;

"Btw, SoD, do you think private military contractors have any effect on foreign policy?"

We have the two best private military contractors in the world keeping us safe - the Iran / Shia and Arab / Sunni axes.

So long as they hate each other more than us, and keep fighting each other rather than us, and do it all the more for the money we pay them and the arms we sell them, the better.

Mercenaries are a well valued commodity in the world of war. We just had our FWGS (Farnborough Wargames Society) annual show yesterday ...

I picked up a small army of French Revolutionary War Prussians for a really good price. Here's a piccie ...!An0TAR5hO_KkjJshS25sOWpD_Y0ELg

Saved me hours of painting. The opportunity cost of me painting them plus the tatty looking outcome vs. me mate L's beautiful paint job and lead figures for £80. A no-brainer really (which of course rules out anyone with an economics training from making a useful contribution to the debate).

Now the final lot I need to round off my French Revolutionary War armies are the Hessians. I've got French (Republican and Chouan / Royals), Austrians, Rooskies (gotta Love my Rooskies!), and now Prooskies - but no Brits or Hessians - yet.

Hessians, eh, remember them lot, y'all over the pond!? Yes, we - Blighty - hired 'em to keep you lot in order during the American Revolutionary War ...

Probably the most effective troops we had - and all mercenaries to a man! In fact just read the opening one liner from that Wiki article ...

"Hessians /ˈhɛʃən/[1] is the term given to the 18th century German auxiliaries contracted for military service by the British government, which found it easier to borrow money to pay for their service than to recruit its own soldiers.[2] "

See, the Brit state had the same spasticity in the 18th century as it has now, couldn't even recruit and train a bunch of soldiers for the money, so it turned to the market to resolve its problems!

In fact the only thing that defeated them was the true idea of Liberty in the hearts and minds of Americans - and I'm very happy with that. Kinda win-win situation for me really!

And on the other hand, the perverted Liberty of France was crushed by a handful of Brits and shedload of mercenaries and paid for ex-pro-French turncoats on that hillside in front of Brussels in 1815.

'bout sums it up.

But to be explicit: Yes, mercenaries are a very effective fighting force and should always be considered as a part of foreign policy.


JK, I suppose we could begin tracing the current trajectory of US foreign policy to the early 20th century, but things were, considering the region, fairly stable until the US (and British) invasion of Iraq. It will likely go down in history as one of the greatest military blunders. I'm done now.


SoD, Do give JK's link a read. the influence of military contractors and their lobbyists is probably worse here than in the UK, but surely you'll understand the implications. I seem to remember the Red Coats losing the American Revolutionary War despite the Hessians. Perhaps they weren't a bargain after all.

Actually Bob,

What I was expecting SoD to continue explicating on was, his ad nauseum mantra of Bait 'n Bleed!

A version of my own, Arm all sides! Rinse/Repeat.

Instead what happens appears to be, SoD disappoints yet again.

So. No change there.


"What I was expecting SoD to continue explicating on was, his ad nauseum mantra of Bait 'n Bleed! A version of my own, Arm all sides! Rinse/Repeat."

I did endorse our shared ME viewpoint! See first paragraph of mine above. "Bait 'n' Bleed" and "Arm both sides, rinse and repeat" are one and the same!

I did also read the linked article.

The real story isn't about the liberals' observation of apparent hypocrisy in Trump selling F-15's to Qataris while at the same time declaring them terrorists per se, but rather how they - the liberals - haven't cottoned on to the "Bait 'n' Bleed" and "Arm both sides, rinse and repeat" strategy.

The Qataris and Saudis are both terrorists and we should sell them both whatever they need to stop terrorizing us and continue, nay enhance, terrorizing each other! F-15's seem a damn good option. I mean, how are they gonna sneak an F-15 on to London bridge? It's only really useful for squishing the terrorists of the other side "over there".

And if their F-15's come anywhere near US or Western forces "over there", don't tell me the firmware on every flippin' device in the gadgetry isn't crawling with "someone in the Pentagon just switched me off" software!?

It's all going rather well, "Bait 'n' Bleed" and "Arm both sides, rinse and repeat", I think.

The one to watch out for is the struggle for the Iran-to-Syria vs. Saudi-to-Turkey corridors.

Can the Sunni / Arab alliance with US and Israeli support hang on and block the Shia / Iran corridor with all this new gear, while bashing IS at the same time? If they do, that would really pork Putin and the Shia / Iran game up good and proper!

Or will Putin and the Shia / Iran axis up the ante to get their treasured land corridor from Iran via Iraq and Syria to the border of Israel?

I think there is a good chance of conflict between the US proxies and Russia, maybe even a localized US / Russia dust up. In fact it's almost inevitable. But Putin has put his boots on the ground, cock and bollocks onto the anvil, of the Levant - and they will be remaining there long after the scimitars do their business and he exits stage right!

On the other hand, I really hope that Trump doesn't get over-excited and put US boots on the ground; the aircraft and gadgetry can work wonders while Arab boys and girls do the dirty work on the ground.

Raise a toast tonight for the Arab boys and girls tonight - the Mercenaries of the West! Fighting Putin, IS, and Shia / Iran terrorism - and making themselves too busy for their own terrorists to have a pop at us!

I say, well done Carruthers!


Well SoD,

I note last night (19 June) Erdogan dispatched another 800 of his depleted military personnel - you'll recall Erdogan's purging his trained and "fairly well officered" military in response to the recent *coup* - anyway, the 800 are dircted to join up with the 400 or so Johnny Turks already sitting on Qatar ... should be hmmm ... interesting I suppose.

"Interesting" in the sense the Qataris do not - to my knowledge - have any of their own F-15 pilots so ... Need Mercs!

And then there's the recent US downing the Assad Sukhoi so there's that too.

And I also note from, again last night, Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen took credit for the recent spate of attacks in Mali. Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen you're probably aware is not in any way affiliated with "the usual suspects" which would be the Boko Haram nutters. No indeedy no, Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen is an AQIM affiliated/sponsored Wahhabist group and, as AQ that means Saudi NOT Qatari financing.

Over here SoD we do popcorn - what is it ya'll do, kippers 'n pints?

Keepin' 'em busy. An' oh yeah I'll raise 'em a toast.

"Carry on boys an' girls!"


"the Qataris do not - to my knowledge - have any of their own F-15 pilots"

Heavens above, that was a bit of an oversight!

Be a bit like buying two aircraft carriers and having no planes to put on 'em.

Errr, nothing to see here! ...



I don't know I posted it here but to rectify just in case ...

The Egyptians bought the two Mistrals that the French, initially, were to sell to the Russians.

And (giggling) as the US doesn't have any airframes (well ... we've still a few AV-8s but/and the Marines version of the F-35B still has some kinks) Anyway as I was saying, the US doesn't have any Mistral capable airframes and since the Russians were expecting to get the Mistrals ...

"Bit of an oversight"?

You can say that again!

Ahoy Sod!

B&B Kippers an' Pints?

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