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Posts Tagged war
“Strategy in Real Time: Dueling with an Enemy That Moves is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
Strategy is a two-way street. But many commentators act as though formulating a strategy is the same as solving a chess problem. Chess problems are artificially constructed arrangements on a chessboard where the goal is to find a series of moves that leaves the other side no room to evade a checkmate within three or four turns. The sorts of conflicts bedeviling us these days, however, are more like the game of chess itself, in which there is no determinate, continuous series of moves that will guarantee victory every time. Each new contest depends on the actions of the other side, how we react to them, how they respond to our reactions, and so on.
Ignoring this aspect of strategy seems to contribute to the widespread view that victory in warfare amounts to the destruction of the enemy, a facile assumption that is all too unthinkingly held. “Defeating the enemy” may be the definition of victory in football, or even in chess for that matter, but not in warfare. Victory in war is the achievement of the war aim, and if, after Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, we still think that victory is simply the devastation of our adversaries, we have a lot of reflecting to do. Read the rest of this entry »
From: LA Times
Only three floors remain in the blackened skeleton of the seven-story, glass-walled airport terminal, opened with a burst of national pride two years ago for the Euro 2012 soccer championship.
Ukrainian commandos control two of them: the ground and second floors.
The pro-Russia separatists they’re fighting have infiltrated the third floor despite entrances barricaded with debris and booby traps. The separatists have also found a way into the basement, with its system of narrow passageways leading beyond the airport grounds.
The main difference between the immediate post-Cold War decade and the post-9/11 era as regards the variety of international challenges is that during that earlier period these challenges were faced and dealt with seriatim, rather than allowed to accumulate. Each of the above cited hurdles was taken, for the most part successfully, before the next was encountered. As a consequence, the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations usually had the luxury of managing only one serious crisis at a time.
War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened. I don’t think the situation in Syria passes that test. Even the State Department argues that “there’s no military solution here that’s good for the Syrian people, and that the best path forward is a political solution.”
From RAND Corporation:
Having been impotent against two U.S. aircraft carriers during the Taiwan crisis of 1996, the People’s Liberation Army has concluded, as Chinese military writings show, that the best way to avoid another such humiliation is by striking U.S. forces before they strike China. While not seeking war, the Chinese especially dread a long one, in which the full weight of American military strength would surely prevail. So they are crafting plans and fielding capabilities to take out U.S. carriers, air bases, command-and-control networks and satellites early and swiftly.
“Redlines and the Problems of Intervention in Syria is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
By George Friedman
Founder and Chairman
The civil war in Syria, one of the few lasting legacies of the Arab Spring, has been under way for more than two years. There has been substantial outside intervention in the war. The Iranians in particular, and the Russians to a lesser extent, have supported the Alawites under Bashar al Assad. The Saudis and some of the Gulf States have supported the Sunni insurgents in various ways. The Americans, Europeans and Israelis, however, have for the most part avoided involvement.
Last week the possibility of intervention increased. The Americans and Europeans have had no appetite for intervention after their experiences in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. At the same time, they have not wanted to be in a position where intervention was simply ruled out. Therefore, they identified a redline that, if crossed, would force them to reconsider intervention: the use of chemical weapons. Read the rest of this entry »
“Avoiding the Wars That Never End is republished with permission of Stratfor.”
By George Friedman
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the United States would transfer the primary responsibility for combat operations in Afghanistan to the Afghan military in the coming months, a major step toward the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Also last week, France began an intervention in Mali designed to block jihadists from taking control of the country and creating a base of operations in France’s former African colonies.
The two events are linked in a way that transcends the issue of Islamist insurgency and points to a larger geopolitical shift. The United States is not just drawing down its combat commitments; it is moving away from the view that it has the primary responsibility for trying to manage the world on behalf of itself, the Europeans and its other allies. Instead, that burden is shifting to those who have immediate interests involved. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a report from STRATFOR:
By Scott Stewart
In this week’s Geopolitical Weekly, George Friedman discussed the geopolitical cycles that change with each generation. Frequently, especially in recent years, those geopolitical cycles have intersected with changes in the way the tactic of terrorism is employed and in the actors employing it.
The Arab terrorism that began in the 1960s resulted from the Cold War and the Soviet decision to fund, train and otherwise encourage groups in the Middle East. The Soviet Union and its Middle Eastern proxies also sponsored Marxist terrorist groups in Europe and Latin America. They even backed the Japanese Red Army terrorist group. Places like South Yemen and Libya became havens where Marxist militants of many different nationalities gathered to learn terrorist tradecraft, often instructed by personnel from the Soviet KGB or the East German Stasi and from other militants.
The Cold War also spawned al Qaeda and the broader global jihadist movement as militants flocking to fight the Soviet troops who had invaded Afghanistan were trained in camps in northern Pakistan by instructors from the CIA’s Office of Technical Services and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate. Emboldened by the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and claiming credit for the subsequent Soviet collapse, these militants decided to expand their efforts to other parts of the world. Read the rest of this entry »
Libya and the Problem with The Hague is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
By George Friedman
The war in Libya has been under way for months, without any indication of when it might end. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s faction has been stronger and more cohesive than imagined and his enemies weaker and more divided. This is not unusual. There is frequently a perception that dictators are widely hated and that their power will collapse when challenged. That is certainly true at times, but often the power of a dictator is rooted in the broad support of an ideological faction, an ethnic group or simply those who benefit from the regime. As a result, naive assumptions of rapid regime change are quite often replaced by the reality of protracted conflict.
This has been a characteristic of what we have called “humanitarian wars,” those undertaken to remove a repressive regime and replace it with one that is more representative. Defeating a tyrant is not always easy. Gadhafi did not manage to rule Libya for 42 years without some substantial support.
Nevertheless, one would not expect that, faced with opposition from a substantial anti-regime faction in Libya as well as NATO and many other countries, Gadhafi would retain control of a substantial part of both the country and the army. Yet when we look at the situation carefully, it should be expected. Read the rest of this entry »
Tim Hetherington, a well-known British photojournalist, was killed in Misurata, Libya, while covering the civil war in that country, the UK Foreign Office stated.
Hetherington had won a World Press Photo of the Year award for his coverage of the Afghanistan conflicts and also made well-received film documentaries.
He was reportedly killed by a mortar round while on the front line. An American colleague Chris Hondros was seriously wounded in the attack.
The journalists had accompanied rebel fighters to Tripoli Street in the city center, which Gaddafi’s forces pounded with mortars in an attempt to retake the strategic road that divides that city. An ambulance rushed Hetherington and Guy Martin, a British freelance photographer working for the agency Panos, from the battle to the makeshift triage tent adjacent to the Hikma hospital about 5 p.m. Hetherington arrived bleeding heavily from his leg and looking very pale.
“Come with me. Come with me. Everybody is injured,” American photographer Katie Orlinsky, who had seen the attack, shouted to ambulance drivers, imploring them to return to the scene. Her bulletproof vest was splattered with blood. “I’ll come with you. I’ll show you where they are.”
As she sought help, doctors attended to Hetherington and Martin, who had suffered a stomach wound and remained in surgery Wednesday evening. About 15 minutes after the ambulance’s arrival, doctors in the tent pronounced Hetherington dead.
About 10 minutes later, another ambulance carried Hondros and Michael Christopher Brown, who also suffered shrapnel wounds, to the triage unit. Doctors examining a scan of Hondros’s brain explained that shrapnel had hit the photographer in the forehead and passed through the back of his head. They asked a reporter at the hospital to look after his battered helmet. Brown’s medical condition was considered less dire.
Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 13:20:58 PM EDT
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the film Restrepo. It’s probably the best and hardest to watch film I’ve ever seen. To do this day, I can’t bring myself to watch it a second time. It’s because of this that I’m at a loss over today’s news that Restrepo Co-Director Tim Hetherington has been killed in Libya.Just yesterday, Tim Hetherington tweeted this:
“In besieged Libyan city of Misurata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of Nato.”
Immaculate Intervention: The Wars of Humanitarianism is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
By George Friedman
There are wars in pursuit of interest. In these wars, nations pursue economic or strategic ends to protect the nation or expand its power. There are also wars of ideology, designed to spread some idea of “the good,” whether this good is religious or secular. The two obviously can be intertwined, such that a war designed to spread an ideology also strengthens the interests of the nation spreading the ideology.
Since World War II, a new class of war has emerged that we might call humanitarian wars — wars in which the combatants claim to be fighting neither for their national interest nor to impose any ideology, but rather to prevent inordinate human suffering. In Kosovo and now in Libya, this has been defined as stopping a government from committing mass murder. But it is not confined to that. In the 1990s, the U.S. intervention in Somalia was intended to alleviate a famine while the invasion of Haiti was designed to remove a corrupt and oppressive regime causing grievous suffering.
It is important to distinguish these interventions from peacekeeping missions. In a peacekeeping mission, third-party forces are sent to oversee some agreement reached by combatants. Peacekeeping operations are not conducted to impose a settlement by force of arms; rather, they are conducted to oversee a settlement by a neutral force. In the event the agreement collapses and war resumes, the peacekeepers either withdraw or take cover. They are soldiers, but they are not there to fight beyond protecting themselves. Read the rest of this entry »