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 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.

U.S. Military news round up from around the world, 2/23/15

In Ukraine…

More evidence of Russia sending troops directly to Ukraine has emerged. This news should surprise no one. And in other news, Ukraine is saying it can’t pull back its heavy weapons because of continued “rebel” attacks.

If I were in charge of Ukraine, I’d be digging in, recruiting more soldiers, and preparing my country for all-out war. And lets hope Europe steps up and starts getting more serious about their own defense and NATO commitments.

Back to the F-35…

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a post of the U.S. Navy not being that sold on the F-35.  I went on to say that I continued to have concerns because when an Admiral is speaking up about a super-controversial weapons program, there just may be more news here than any of want to think about…

On the front of me possibly being wrong, which I sincerely hope I am since this is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program EVER, Israel appears to be in love with the plane. They just ordered 14 more of them, on top of the 19 that they already have.

In Iraq…

There’s been lots of talk about taking Mosul back from ISIS/Daesh by the administration, and that led to torrents of criticism about announcing the plans ahead of time.

Turns out, most of this talk doesn’t matter anyway, since now the Iraqi’s admit that basically their forces suck and they can’t take Mosul when the administration hoped, anyway. Well, they didn’t quite say it so clearly, but I’ll save you some reading and you can trust me on what they said.

I would take the time to compile a ton of links of all the times that Iraqi’s with better weapons and tanks (provided by the U.S.) have run from ISIS like complete cowards, but I’m betting most of you already know this truth. (Seriously, how do you ever give up if you even have one, single M1A1 tank? I mean, seriously, guys. Come on…)

So, instead of researching a bunch of links, let me just show you a little training.

I’m thinking it’s time we send this guy back over there to chew some ass…

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.

Military news round up from around the world, 2/9/15

Quite a few things have happened since my last military news post.

Things got uglier in Ukraine, as I’m sure you heard. And here’s a heart-breaking story of their troops at the airport being outgunned, exhausted, and finally defeated.

The latest “non-Russian” aggression is really causing some raised eyebrows. President Obama is beginning to consider arming the Ukranian rebels, though German Chancellor Angela Merkel remains opposed to such a position.

NATO is increasingly taking the threat from Russia serious. They decided to boost the NATO rapid-reaction force in response to growing threats. Additionally, NATO is deploying small units to six Eastern European nations for planning purposes, in case reinforcements needed to be rapidly moved forward.

*     *     *     *     *

Moving to the Middle East, things are pretty hot there, as well.

The country of Jordan is now bombing ISIS/Daesh, as well, after they burned one of its pilots alive. Additionally, Jordan executed two prisoners to avenge the pilot.

Because of the captured pilot from Jordan, the U.S. has taken additional preventive measures and moved rescue aircraft closer to Syria.

Of course, Iran is still in the picture as a potential threat. The Senate is preparing sactions against Iran if Nuke talks fail.

And I’ve got to bring up that old questions about Saudi Arabia and 9-11 are coming up again. (Me thinks — having barely read the latest news — that there’s probably more here than either the Saudi government or our government wants to discuss.)

But while it’s easy to argue things should be black and white, right or wrong on this, the truth is that the leaders of Saudi Arabia are in a complicated position. And I certainly don’t think it’s in America’s interest for the fundamentalists to topple the monarchy that largely supports us, so I’m not too in favor of airing out this dirty laundry in public…

*     *     *     *     *

Finally, in other news, North Korea is heading toward another food crisis. I’m sure they’ll threaten invasion of the South again soon.

Moving to China, Sen. McCain is making waves about our carriers potentially visiting a Chinese port city.

And speaking of the Navy, not everyone there is sold on F-35 stealth technology. The plane is supposed to replace the F/A-18s, and the Marine Corps just received their first aircraft, but I continue to have concerns. And when an Admiral is speaking up about a super-controversial weapons program, there just may be more news here than any of want to think about…

To me, this plane could still go down as a huge bust for our military… From cost over-runs to delays… We’ll see. And I truly hope I’m wrong. There have been other new technologies that started out rough, but I’m pretty nervous on this one.

I’ll end the post with what was huge news at one point, but now is just barely mentioned. Ebola, which was supposed to kill us all — along with the bird flu and Y2K — is winding down in Africa. The fight against Ebola in Liberia, in which U.S. troops were sent to assist the impoverished country, is drawing to an end.

Infection rates are nearly zero now, and I must admit that even I should eat some crow over this.

I had serious concerns when President Obama deployed troops there. But now that I’ve eaten my crow, I wonder how many other Congressmen and commentators will?

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.

This recent anti-terrorism drill falls short, in my opinion

On the one hand, I’m glad to see the anti-terrorism drill below, which took place on a Marine base in Okinawa.

The training is needed, and this drill happened even before the attack on the French newspaper.

But at the same time, I’m beyond NOT impressed with what I see.

In my humble opinion, these guys are far too lightly armed, serious security barriers/fortifications are lacking, and it’s clear even from the interview that there aren’t many of these joint training ops happening. (The Japanese security guard says he hopes they’ll do more…)

Watch the video and give me your take.

Maybe I’m being too harsh/old school, but I want to know what their plan is for when a van load — or two van loads — of guys bust through the gate, all heavily armed. As most prior service members know, almost everyone on a military base is unarmed, so the carnage would be disastrous.

Respectfully, Marine leadership, I think you guys need to step it up before you get a lot of folks killed.

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.