The pressure on ISIS builds

The war against ISIS is ramping up, following the Paris attacks.

Politico published a great article about how the French, while militarily small, definitely know how to fight. The article discusses recent wars the French have launched and how the French are not at all opposed to very risky operations.

This includes airborne operations, going in with ad hoc units even if outnumbered, and operating with insufficient water and medical supplies. Great article if you a moment: The French Way of War. Bet on it: Hollande’s counterattack against the terrorists is going to hurt them.

I also came across a great article describing how AC-130 Gunships and A-10s destroyed 116 ISIS fuel trucks over the weekend. ISIS reportedly has about 1,000 fuel trucks, so this was a serious blow for a single weekend.

From the article:

“This part of Tidal Wave II is designed to attack the distribution component of ISIL’s oil smuggling operation and degrade their capacity to fund their military operations.”- Colonel Steven H. Warren

Targeting fuel trucks used to be off limits because of the civilians operating them, but shortly after the Paris terrorist attacks the rules of engagement changed.

Interestingly, we dropped leaflets one hour prior to the strike warning the drivers to get away from the vehicles, and believe it or not, I’m more than okay with this. I think there’s a good chance many were pressured or forced into driving for ISIS. (Read the comments at the bottom of the article for some of the great pros and cons of this.

Finally, Russia pounded ISIS for perhaps the first time with a massive bombing raid. This short article shows the enormity of what Russia pulled off, and it’s nice to see them pounding ISIS instead of rebels fighting Assad.

Equally nice, they coordinated with the U.S. prior to the strikes. I’m glad to see Putin coming back into the fold some, though it could be mere connivign on his part. Only time with tell.

Regardless of the true or not-so-true implications of possible improving Russia/U.S/world relations, it seems abundantly clear that it’s been a rough few days for ISIS.

And I don’t see this changing any time soon.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About meStan R. Mitchell writes some of the most action-packed, fast-moving gunfighter novels around. Tired of slow-paced, investigative novels that take 50 pages to excite you? Look no further! Stan is the best-selling author of 5 novels in 3 different time periods. He’s also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a former journalist who spent ten years in the newspaper business, learning how to hook the reader, cut out the filler, and just tell the story. In short, Stan is knowledgeable, he’s fast, and his books will blow you away. Don’t forget to subscribe for email alerts to this blog.

Advertisements

An excellent, short summary of how Syria fell into civil war

Hey guys,

I apologize for the lack of posts of late. Was buried on a book deadline and that took a couple of weeks to recover from. Then, with all the presidential primary ugliness, I found myself just sick and tired of all the politics regarding foreign policy and nearly everything else.

Have I mentioned lately how much I despise how politics so badly divide us? Or maybe it’s political parties? Or maybe it’s the media? Or maybe it’s politicians with egos that are far too big? Or maybe it’s that we all shoot off our mouths too quickly (and too sharply)?

Regardless, I get sick of it all, and when I do I go hermit mode and try to stay away from it all. And that unfortunately means I blog less.

Having said all that, I thought I’d try to get back up on the horse. With the Paris attacks just days ago, it seemed a good time to remind people how we got where we are.

I thought this was an excellent, short summary of how Syria fell into chaos and civil war.

Oh, and I noticed there were several of you who were not on my regular mailing list for my primary author site (stanrmitchell.com), so for those who don’t know, I published the third book in the Nick Woods series. It’s called Afghan Storm and you can find more info about it at the link.

Thanks, everyone! Keep your heads on a swivel and stay alert out there.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About meStan R. Mitchell writes some of the most action-packed, fast-moving gunfighter novels around. Tired of slow-paced, investigative novels that take 300 pages to excite you? Look no further! Stan is the best-selling author of 5 novels in 3 different time periods. He’s also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a former journalist who spent ten years in the newspaper business, learning how to hook the reader, cut out the filler, and just tell the story. In short, Stan is knowledgeable, he’s fast, and his books will blow you away. Don’t forget to subscribe for email alerts to this blog.

Some good ideas for a U.S. strategy in Syria?

I really liked some of the ideas retired Army Gen. David Petraeus offered up for Syria.

With the refugee crisis, continued power of ISIS, and arrival of Russian troops, it’s time we do something.

Here were some of his ideas from the article:

In Syria, he said, the United States must commit to protect civilians and rebel forces from Syrian President Bashar Assad, explaining that Assad’s attacks on civilians have “been a principal driver of the radicalization” fueling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the current refugee crisis.

“Sunni Arabs will not be willing partners against the Islamic State unless we commit to protect them and the broader Syrian population against all enemies, not just ISIS,” he said. “We could, for example, tell Assad that the use of barrel bombs must end — and that if they continue, we will stop the Syrian air force from flying. We have that capability.”

Petraeus also called for the “establishment of enclaves” in Syria “protected by coalition airpower” where a moderate force of Sunni rebels could be supported and where displaced persons could take refuge. He called Syria a “geopolitical Chernobyl,” saying the crisis there was “spewing instability and extremism over the region and the rest of the world.”

What do you guys think? And seen any better suggestions?

Oh, and on my last post (Marines seek to keep combat jobs closed to women), you really want to read Old Gyrene’s comment, as well as the response that follows it. The two are worth a post all by themselves. (Here’s the link where it begins.)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About me: I write military action books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior USMC Sgt with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business — 9 of them with a newspaper that I started. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

More on the F-35

My last post on the F-35 elicited a great comment from a man who’s been there and done that, as far as serving in the military. He’s served in two branches, pulled time with two tours in the infantry in Vietnam, and retired out as a Warrant Officer.

Here’s his comment:

“As far as that “…things change” crap, how about the A-1? It was an old beat up prop job that all the hot-shot jet jockeys (USAF) used to laugh at. Of course, it could loiter over the battlefield for hours, carry a boat load of ordnance, and blow the smack out of the bad guys sitting a few yards in front of your position. Just for grins, there were also documented instances of them going head-to-head with Migs and shooting them down.

“Things change? Not really. The procurement folks are always going to bought off by the Govt contractors, the military are always going to be stuck with the latest gee-whiz crap, and the taxpayers are stuck footing the bill.

“Whoever came up with the “Joint” part of this project pretty well made it bullet proof against cancellation. You’ve got all the services slated to get it, production facilities all over the country, (so lots of senators and congress critters will keep voting regardless of the merits), and lots of lobbyists raking in the big bucks to keep it going.

“I think “Joint” projects go along with “Comprehensive” legislation. You just keep throwing more and more stuff in there and everyone making money on the result is happy.

“The Army’s rotary wing aircraft seems to set a good example. They have a good variety of platforms, each designed for very specific missions. It makes sense to (1) identify the mission, then (2) design the platform. The design, testing, and deployment is much more direct and simple, and KISS is still a valid operating principle.

“Trying to force multiple missions on one platform is a sure recipe for disaster. B-1 Bomber anyone? Billions and billions spent, and obsolete before it was released.”

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and entrepreneur who spent nine years running a weekly newspaper that I started. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

Can Russia even afford its new tough-guy image?

The New York Times had an excellent article yesterday: “As Putin Talks More Missiles and Might, Cost Tells Another Story.”

Here were some of the major highlights from the story:

  • “Everybody should understand that we are living in a totally different world than two years ago,” said Alexander M. Golts, an independent Russian military analyst. “In that world, which we lost, it was possible to organize your security with treaties, with mutual-trust measures,” he said. “Now we have come to an absolutely different situation, where the general way to ensure your security is military deterrence.”
  • Russia feels alone and besieged, a sentiment that continuously provides fresh inspiration to overhaul a military once better known for the drunk, ill-equipped conscripts who fared so badly during two wars in Chechnya in the 1990s.  “The Russian Army is returning to normal combat activities and training,” said Igor Korotchenko, the editor in chief of National Defense, a monthly Russian magazine. “We are doing exactly what our Western partners are doing.”
  • “Russia has been making aggressive statements, insisting that it lives in a world of mutual military deterrence, while thinking that the West will not pay attention,” Mr. Golts said. But the West paid attention, he said, and Russia is not ready. It is one thing to use a force of up to 100,000 well-trained, well-booted soldiers to seize Crimea or even to destabilize a neighbor, but it is a very different matter to take on NATO, he noted. Russia, lacking both the manpower and the weapons systems, will not be ready to do so any time soon, which is why Mr. Putin resorts to asymmetrical responses like nuclear weapons, analysts said.

The article goes on to discuss new tanks, whose orders have already been reduced. So, too, fighter jets, such as the T-50.

One thing the article didn’t discuss, which I thought it should, was a comparison of the two economies, America and Russia, side-by-side.

Here are those figures (from Wikipedia):

  • GDP: United States equals $17.4 trillion.
  • GDP: Russia equals $1.8 trillion.

And here are military expenditures (from Wikipedia):

  • U.S. $581 billion.
  • Russia $70 billion.
  • (Also worth noting that China’s is $129 billion.)

You can click either Wikipedia link above to compare other countries. For instance, one interesting thing is that I had no idea that the U.K. has a much larger GDP than Russia.

Yes, the U.K. Crazy, right?

Anyway, I continue to think Putin will bluster and talk loud and maybe do a few stupid things, but in the end, he has to know he can’t truly bully NATO and the United States. Not once he seriously forces the usually slow to act American people and Congress to act. Just ask the Germans and the Japanese.

Fact is, we typically arrive late to the party, but we bring the Suburban loaded with all our rich, drunk friends. And I don’t care who you are, you really don’t want us showing up to the party, because we’re going to wreck the place… : )

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and entrepreneur who spent nine years running a weekly newspaper that I started. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

More on ISIS in Iraq

The Economist in its May 23rd edition discussed the fall of Ramadi and had a pretty in depth article on ISIS, and it had a couple of graphs I wanted to make sure you all saw.

These are the two final graphs in the article.

First, here’s some insight into how ISIS is actually able to hold ground — and nope, it’s not completely through fear, as I mostly assumed.

  • “(ISIS) administrators win plaudits for their efficient management, clean streets and timely payment of salaries. They have partially restored electricity to Mosul, refurbished a hotel there and opened Saddam Hussein’s palaces for weekend strolls. Debt-burdened Jordan hopes that IS might see a mutual interest in keeping its border crossing open for trade, and even recognises the receipts it issues for import duties as tax-deductible.”

So, clearly, ISIS  is actually competing with the Iraqi government — it seems, quite well — on providing services. This has been exacerbated by the pro-Shia government of Iraq, which I’m certain has short-changed the Sunni-part of its own population.

Thus the opening for ISIS, a Sunni-based organization.

The final paragraph was the nail in the coffin, so to speak. I mean, I like to be optimistic, but reading this graph helped convince me that Joe Biden was probably right all the way back in 2006 about dividing up the country. Here’s the last graph from the article:

  • “The danger is that the IS caliphate is becoming a permanent part of the region. The frontiers will shift in the coming months. But with the Kurds governing themselves in the north-east, and the Shias in the south, Iraqis question the government’s resolve in reversing IS’s hold on the Sunni north-west. “Partition is already a reality,” sighs a Sunni politician in exile. “It just has yet to be mapped.””

Colin Powell famously said “if you break it, you own it.” I think we certainly broke it, and there’s probably not any putting it back together.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

P.S. You should really consider buying this book: The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. It’s absolutely changed my life for the better.

Why ISIS is winning, and how its foes can reverse that success

This is the best article I’ve seen yet — probably in two months — about ISIS. (Ignore the video, though it’s pretty good, too. Just read/scan the article.)

Why ISIS is winning, and how its foes can reverse that success(H/T Blake K. Baxter)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps.

P.S. You should really consider buying this book: The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. It’s absolutely changed my life for the better.