Sunday, December 30, 2007

Jared Cohen's BookTV appearance on Cspan



It is an interesting view into the minds of the youth of the middle east - how they are trying to assimilate new technology while trying to extricate themselves from their existence. To something better of course.

It remains to be seen if this something better is based in Jihad or just economic and political freedom.
Just watched the Jared Cohen Booktv appearance
about his book "Children of Jihad"
http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781592403240,00.html
Excerpt of review:
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Defying foreign government orders and interviewing terrorists face to face, a young American tours hostile lands to learn about Middle Eastern youth—and uncovers a subculture that defies every stereotype.

Classrooms were never sufficient for Jared Cohen; he wanted to learn about global affairs by witnessing them firsthand. During his undergraduate years Cohen traveled extensively to Africa—often to wartorn countries, putting himself at risk to see the world firsthand. While studying on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford, he took a crash course in Arabic, read voraciously on the history and culture of the Middle East, and in 2004 he embarked on the first of a series of incredible journeys to the Middle East. In an effort to try to understand the spread of radical Islamist violence, he focused his research on Muslim youth. The result is Children of Jihad, a portrait of paradox that probes much deeper than any journalist or pundit ever could.

The podcast of the booktv appearance:
http://www.mideasti.org/podcast/children-jihad-jared-cohen

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Iran has license to old German MG42 equivalent Machine Gun - the MG3

MG3


From website:

The simplicity, low manufacturing cost and high effectiveness of the MG 3 attracted several other countries, which either bought the guns from Rheinmetall (such as Denmark), or obtained manufacturing licenses and build (or at least have built in the past) the same guns domestically (such as Italy, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Yugoslavia). In total, at least twenty armies have used or still are using the MG 3 and its versions. It must be noted that in some countries these guns were used under their "commercial" Rheinmetall designation MG 42/59.

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So interesting to note, if US units engage Iranian armed forces of rtheir proxies supplied by Iran they could very well engage the descendant of the German Wehrmacht MG42.

It was known as the saw in WW2, since it fired do many rounds per second (25) that it sounded like a buzz saw.

Since it was a good useful weapon the Bundeswehr (today's German armed force) kept the weapon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bush still pushing for Iran sanctions and pressure

FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia (AFP) — US President George W. Bush said Monday that Russian deliveries of nuclear fuel to Iran only fed the need for the world to clamp down more firmly on Tehran's home-grown atomic work.

And the US State Department announced consultations Tuesday with five other powers on a draft UN Security Council resolution imposing tougher sanctions on the Islamic republic for refusing to freeze uranium enrichment.

"Iran was a threat to peace, Iran is a threat to peace, and Iran will be a threat to peace if we don't stop their enrichment," which can be a critical step towards getting nuclear arms, Bush told a town-hall style audience here.

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Unfortunately there seem to be no good quick responses - only ways to get involved in war (with military action).

Or if one does do economic sanctions that would mean long time delays before something happens.

One could do clandestine actions, but those do not look like they would make quick headway either.

In my opinion one has to increase the Human Intelligence(HUMINT), since one does not really know what is going on.


Only then could one strike effectively (like the Israelis did in Syria).


The wildcard is Israel - what will it do if it feels trhreatened by its HUMINT?


Notice the four ethnic groups in Pakistan.

The Federal Tribal lands are in the Pushtun area, and this is where Al Qeada has found refuge.
Japan successfully tests anti-missile defence from Destroyers (ship based)


It is interesting that the US and Japan now have ship-based interceptor technology.

It remains to be seen how well they would do in the live real world.


But there is a limited availability.

Which is better than nothing.


Is it better to have a questionable ability?

Or no ability?

Sunday, December 16, 2007



Turkey is worried about Iraq (Kurdistan)
"Turkey remains deeply concerned by ongoing developments in neighboring Iraq and opposes any division of the country, Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul told a security symposium gathered in the capital of the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain last weekend."


But this is the clincher: "The PKK has been struggling for autonomy for the Kurdish-populated regions inside Turkey, though many observers believe their ultimate aim is to achieve independence for Kurdistan, a region that straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria."

Both Turkey and iran are afraid of what could be - Kurdistan in tyheir eyes would be a disaster.

It is not surprising that the Turkish Defense Minister makes statements like that.

They mean to root out the PKK in Turkey and Iraq.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Strategic objectives

What would be the strategic objectives of Iran?

To gain more regional power?

Increase economy?

Gain land?

Gain prestige?

Allow an unpopular government to stick to an issue that quiets opposition?


If you ask me developing the nuclear bomb for Iran is a win-win-win.

If they successfully develop the bomb they will gsin prestige and economic bonuses through negotiations.

If they do not but make a good front of doing so, they will still gain prestige and the enemy never truly knows what is happening.

If they do not develop and don't say anything, no one knows the status and countries and internal people still have to assume there is something there.


The thing is - that no one can take a chance - What if it is true?




That is the billion dollar question.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Rasmussen Iran poll

Here is the synopsis:
Just 18% of American voters believe that Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 66% disagree and say Iran has not stopped its nuclear weapons program. Twenty-one percent (21%) of men believe Iran has stopped the weapons development along with 16% of women (see crosstabs).

The survey was conducted following release of a government report saying that Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program in 2003.

The Rasmussen Reports survey also found that 67% of American voters believe that Iran remains a threat to the national security of the United States. Only 19% disagree while 14% are not sure.
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So much for the NIE report that Iran has stopped nuclear weapons development.

This being an apolitical blog, we will not discuss the reasons of the NIE report or any other internal US politicking.


Although it may have made sense to stop Nuclear development as the US army was rolling towards Baghdad for Iran (in 2003).

As time passed and especially as the insurgency movement gained momentum Iran likely restarted its program.

Which is what the nuclear agency has put togeher:

In fact November 2003: The Natural Resource Defense Council has this report:

Iran Develops Nuclear Technologies in Secret for 18 Years
A report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency describes technological advances and a policy of concealment.

On November 10, 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a 30-page confidential report on Iran's nuclear activities. The report, which the agency sent to its board of governors and to 20 governments, reveals that for the past 18 years Iran has secretly developed technologies for producing weapon-usable highly enriched uranium and plutonium. During that time, the report says, Iran violated its Nonproliferation Treaty obligations and falsified declarations to the agency regarding safeguards required under the treaty.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Office of Director of National Intelligence

Came out with the latest NIE report leak from a report of 2003 Iranian capability which said that Iran no longer was pursuing Nuclear weapons.



The key to this report: Wash Post story:

Iranian leaders boasted that the new report vindicated them, but European allies agreed with Bush that Tehran's continued uranium enrichment program for what it says are civilian purposes remains a threat that merits international action. A senior U.S. envoy won agreement from other permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany to push forward for additional sanctions, according to U.S. and foreign officials, although some worried that the consensus would tatter.



This is really kind of a red Herring. We still do not know the Iranian capabilities, nor do we have a good strategy to come up with a way to prevent Iran from possessing Nuclear weapons. Or if they did possess weapons of Mass Destruction what should we do?

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The trillion dollar question is what we should do and what Iran will do in response.

If the US and EU would attack suspected bomb sites and were unsuccessful then Iran has a Casus Belli to respond in kind.

They may respond before asny action to pre-empts an attack.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What if US attacks? Iran

In game theory one reviews the options to see what the potential issues are.

Asia Times article

With the IRGC as the first national military organization sanctioned by the United States, Washington and Tehran have now moved another step closer to a possible military showdown. In light of the unfolding crisis, it remains unclear what could happen in a military conflict between Iran and the United States. A basic scenario involves a comprehensive US attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, naval forces, information and technology support system (especially those linked to nuclear sites in Bushehr, Isfahan and Tehran) and finally the bombing of IRGC ground force units stationed near the strategic cities of Abadan, Ahvaz, Chah Bahar, Dezful, Hamadan, Khoramshahr and Mashahd.

The United States, possibly with the help of Israel, could help stave off Iranian retaliation by destroying Iran's command air base where Iranian fighter jets are kept on daily readiness against potential attacks by American forces.

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This reporter at Asia Times speculates on a variety of potential targets for the US.

When one thinks about this, one should also realize the potential response from Iran.

What can one hit, how successful would that be and what is the potential response from Iran?

The reporter does get into this retaliation:

Tactics of retaliation
It goes without saying that in the case of a US attack on Iran the Shi'ite population in Iraq would be largely supportive of Tehran's retaliatory military actions. It remains unclear, however, as to the extent to which the Shi'ite clerical establishment would be willing to give allegiance to the Iranian leadership, who historically have rejected the Quietist ideology of the Iraqi Shi'ite seminary at Najaf and its conservative stance against revolutionary uprising.

....

The IRGC's most effective means of combating US forces in Iraq will revolve primarily around unconventional war tactics and intelligence gathering, namely suicide terrorism and espionage intelligence through an effective system of native informants. The deadliest weapon that the IRGC can employ against US forces in Iraq will be the "live bomb". It is well known that the IRGC originally carried suicide strategies to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon in the early 1980s; the IRGC and Hezbollah even deployed joint suicide operations against Israeli and US forces.


Here is the conclusion:

The irony of the US policy of disengagement is that the more it aims to weaken the IRGC through sanctions, the more it strengthens its military influence, and hence increases the chance of conflict in a region the United States has sought to stabilize for many years.


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over the coming days we will delve into this some more.