Syrian fighting expanding, America still on the fence (thankfully)

The New York Times was rocking some coverage of the Middle East today.

First, there was this great article: By Inserting Itself Into Syrian War, Hezbollah Makes Dramatic Gamble.

The article lays out the increasing involvement of Hezbollah, Lebanon’s fierce fighters, into Syria, where they’re actually fighting with Syrian government forces against the rebels, who increasingly look like al Qaeda members.

If you’re not aware of what’s going on there, definitely take the time to read the article and get in the know.

And then there was a great column on the Op-Ed Page called In Syria, Go Big or Stay Home.

A few highlights of this must-read column:

The sort of intervention needed to bring about a decisive rebel victory would require more than no-fly zones and arms. It would mean disabling Mr. Assad’s air power and putting boots on the ground. America would have to take the lead in organizing a regional military force blessed by the Arab League and supported by its own intelligence assets and Special Forces. After that would come the task of reconstituting Syria and mediating its sectarian conflicts. As the war in Iraq painfully demonstrated, refashioning national institutions from the debris of a civil war can be more taxing than the original military intervention.

And I agree with this, as well, from the column:

There is no easy solution or middle ground. Moreover, rather than intimidating Iran, a less-than-decisive American intervention in Syria would do the opposite. It would convince Iran’s leaders that America doesn’t have an appetite for fighting a major war in the region.

Speaking for myself, I can see little reason for getting involved. Any of you out there think we should? I’d love to hear the “pro”-side of intervention.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The modern day American James Bond? What do you think?

Did you guys here about Russia busting the CIA “spy”?

Full story here: Russia Busts CIA ‘Spy’ and His Gmail.

When I first read about this a day or so ago, I thought there was no way this guy was a spy. Between the crappy wigs and map and other odd details, it just seemed too amateurish to me. At the time, I was too buried with deadline-related newspaper stuff to post a blog about it, but as I went to prepare this post tonight and re-read it the article, I’ve now changed my opinion.

I do think he was CIA. What do you guys think?

And my second dumb question is what do you do (assuming he is) after you get busted like this? His real photos are everywhere thanks to state-controlled Russian media (see here: http://rt.com/news/fsb-detain-cia-agent-253/).

I mean, does he get relegated to a desk job as an analyst (at best)? Or, do they kick his ass out for getting busted. Stupid question, I guess, but I am kind of curious.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

2 F.B.I. Hostage Rescue Agents Die in Training Exercise at Sea

I’m saddened to report that our country lost two brave warriors yesterday.

Special Agents Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, or HRT, died while fast roping in a training incident. Full story here: 2 F.B.I. Hostage Rescue Agents Die in Training Exercise at Sea.

My unit fast-roped a lot back in the 90s, so I plan to write a follow-up post that illustrates the dangers of fast roping.

But until then, make sure you check out the article. It explians the unit, the past service of the two brave men (who both had families), and some history of the unit.

Definitely required reading, in my opinion.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

China gets more involved internationally, dipping toes into the Middle East

I’ve written at length about the growing military power in China, and our increasingly cold war we’re entering with them. (See posts here.)

I would like to see us avoid this costly cold war, as I explain in my typical Marine style in this post: America: Wake up, you bunch of stupid morons.

Not that I expect that to happen, but in the latest news on China’s military capacity and influence, look no further than this article in The New York Times from two weeks ago.

As it explains, China’s President Xi Jinping met with Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

I remember ten years ago when I exited the Marine Corps and entered college arguing with a friend about China. And I told him, “We will see the day when Chinese ground troops deploy to the Middle East, and they almost certainly won’t be deploying to support American efforts.”

It’s still a long ways from happening — China’s Navy is still woefully inadequate — but I’m more convinced this will happen than ever.

Here’s a key quote from the article:

“As China’s economy, national strength, and international status grow, Arab countries are looking more to China,” said Guo Xiangang, a vice president of the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing who follows China’s relations with Middle Eastern nations. “The expectations they place on China are growing.”

Here’s the link to the  article: China Dips a Toe Into Middle East Peace.

Hope you enjoy the article, and I’d love to here your thoughts. Will we see the day when Chinese troops deploy to the Middle East? And if so, in what size element? Battalion strength? Brigade? Or, even division size?

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

An archive of posts about National Security from the past year

This is a list of articles regarding National Security from my other website.

The day’s news in a single post

New medal for cyber warriors and drone pilots cancelled

U.S. pulls last tanks out of Germany

Japan gets into America’s growing Cold War with China

The End of War Stories

New medal for cyber warriors and drone pilots over-rated

Talking with a Three-Star General

Latest frightening trend in Afghanistan

Believe it or not, Stan Mitchell changes his mind… Don’t cut the Marine Corps.

A huge day for the defense industry — DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE

A Veterans Day story worth reading

Do not fall for the spin. We should not get involved in Syria.

Here’s what happens when you tell the truth in the military…

What really happened in the attacks in Benghazi

Crazy military technology… The end of good war stories?

Robots are stronger, and now faster, than humans

Marines begin patrolling Guatemala to stop drug trafficking

What’s your first firefight like?

Why would Fox News out a Navy Seal?

Hollywood, war, and death

Full Speed Ahead? Not quite.

Could this be the dumbest leak investigation into secrets ever?

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Marines deploy to Spain as emergency response force

We all know that when you need something done, you send in the Marines.

The Department of Defense decided this week to forward deploy 550 Marines (along with plenty of air-lift support) to Spain. The Department wants the Marines staged near Africa and other hot spots so that the next time an attack happens against an embassy or consul (such as what happened at the compound in Benghazi, Libya), forces are already staged nearby.

My readers know I’m not much of a fan of all these alliances and interventions overseas, but if we’re going to be involved, then we need rapid-action forces nearby.

Sound move by the Defense Department in my opinion.

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.