American Mercenaries Soiled Themselves In Failed Venezuela Coup (Ruslan Ostashko)

American Mercenaries Soiled Themselves In Failed Venezuela Coup (Ruslan Ostashko)

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leo.

For anybody wondering why there are two links, we are trying to get into the habit of posting videos on both YouTube and Dailymotion. Since the subtitle process is different on Dailymotion than on YouTube, it may take a while to perfect it.

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leo.

For anybody wondering why there are two links, we are trying to get into the habit of posting videos on both YouTube and Dailymotion. Since the subtitle process is different on Dailymotion than on YouTube, it may take a while to perfect it.

Over 1,200,000 infected, 70,000 dead by COVID-19, food shortage – the US has serious problems. But the democracy peddlers from Washington don’t have time for that. Instead of fighting the epidemic, the American elite keeps trying to establish marionette regimes in the countries where they can carve up natural resources, and they soiled themselves, as it happened again in Venezuela.

The less opportunity the US has to solve problems in their customary manner – by flooding it all with money, the more often they result in all sorts of embarrassments. For instance, the recent disgrace of the supposedly 5th generation aircraft F-35. This is the very case of whatever the amount of money you pour in it doesn’t help. Because the school of engineering has degraded and the real achievements have been replaced by imitation for the sake of redistribution of billions.

The American foreign policy is in a similar situation. Washington has always relied on force, and on a usual scheme of buying out parts of the local elites, so they would help to overthrow the unwanted government. Very recently this again yielded results in the South American Bolivia. Because the overthrown president Evo Morales behaved exceedingly vegetarian. But there is also Venezuela which for the US plays the role of a bone in their throat. Our [Russian] strategic bombers fly over there. Rosneft is working there. There also sits Nicolas Maduro, whom they attempted to overthrow by force a few times but to no avail. And now we have more public self-soiling.

RIA Novosti: “On 3 May, the Interior Minister Nestor Reverol announced that a naval invasion staged by Colombian militants from the direction of La Guiara in the north of the country was thwarted. According to him, the militants tried to invade the country on high speed boats. The Speaker of Venezuelan National Assembly Diosdado Cabello clarified that 8 attackers were killed and two captured.” “He also announced that one of the captured was an agent of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Later Cabello informed that on Monday, the military and the police in the Northern Sate of Aragua captured another 8 participants of the Sunday naval invasion, including their leader Antonio Sikea.”

The mercenaries were recruited by the Americans among the former members of Venezuelan security forces, who had deserted earlier to the side of the so-called pro-Western opposition, while their American leader has rich experience of participation in conflicts unleashed by the US; from invasion of Iraq to operations in Libya and Syria. Is it then surprising that in Washington they immediately sang denial – the man wasn’t theirs and the US had nothing to do with it?

The American DEA denies that its operative was detained during an armed assault attempt in Venezuela, asclaimed by the country’s authorities.” “The Agency did not take any part in the events of the past weekend, stated the agency’s press service, having advised to also inquire in the State Department.”

The humor in the situation is such that the US media themselves already wrote about the US’ part in yet another attempt to overthrow Maduro.

Iron Curtain (Telegram account): “The Head of PMC ‘Silvercorp USA’ Jordan Goudreau claimed that on Sunday, 3 May he initiated the operation of overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro. However it failed. As The New York Times stated, the group was tasked with penetrating into Venezuela ‘with heavy weapons’, seizing the government buildings within 96 hours, and arresting of the country’s president Nicolas Maduro. The bet was made on ‘demoralization’ of the army, but the Venezuelans managed to defeat the mercenaries.”

It’s no matter whether the American was a DEA operative or had a different ‘roof’. It is clear that now, as he got caught, he is being retroactively removed from any US governmental structure and they will claim that it was his private initiative. Although, if the published information about his work in the White House Secret Service is correct, it is also clear that the operation was sanctioned by the highest ranks of the American state. And that the US has been trying to openly overthrow Maduro for two years is a generally recognised fact. The events demonstrate that the American capabilities for forcible influence over uncomfortable governments are withering away. And the American elites themselves contribute to it enormously while preparing for the autumn battle for the presidential post.

This is why it is not surprising that The New York Times quickly seized the topic of the failure in Venezuela. This will be presented as Donald Trump’s failure and he, in turn, will surely remind the Democrats their disgrace in Benghazi, where during Obama, the American nurtured terrorists killed US citizens. In general, they keep gnawing on each other in Washington. In the meantime, the star-stripped hegemony weakens month by month. And this is good, because the world will be able to breath more freely, when the democracy exporters will spend all their efforts on fighting each other inside their own state.

What does the Empire’s agony mean for the “Jewish state of Israel”?

Source

THE SAKER • MAY 13, 2020 • 2,100 WORDS

Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the F-35I

First, let’s begin with a few (apparently unrelated) recent news items:

These apparently unrelated news items all have one thing in common: the illustrate how weak and ineffective the US armed forces have become over the past couple of decades. And while, for the sake of brevity, I chose just three examples, the truth is that there are hundreds of similar stories all over the Internet, all pointing to the same reality: most of the US military is in a terminal state of disrepair.

Let’s look at the various services one by one:

  • The USN‘s entire surface fleet is now compromised due to its carrier-centric structure. The USN also lacks modern cruise missiles. Entire classes of surface ships are now either outdated (frigates) or have major design failures (LCS).
  • The USAF flies mostly Cold War jets, often modernized, but all in all, it is an outdated fleet, especially when compared to Russian or Chinese 4th++ and 5th generation aircraft. In fact, the absolute disaster of the F-35 program means that for the first time in its history the US aircraft will be qualitatively outgunned by its likely adversaries. Even US AWACS and other reconnaissance aircraft are now threatened by Russian and Chinese very long range anti-air missiles (both ground and air launched).
  • As for the US Army and Marine Corps, the embarrassing disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere prove that the US ground forces are basically only able to protect themselves, and even that not very well.
  • Then there are the recently created Space Forces which exist only on paper and the US Coast Guard which is basically irrelevant in a major war.

Finally, there is the US Special Operations Command, which is not one of the service branches but only a “functional” and “unified combatant” command, but which is often thought of as a separate branch of the armed forces. These forces always look great on propaganda rolls, but the truth is that these putatively “best in the word” (what else?!) forces have yet to achieve even their first real, meaningful, operational success anywhere (at least to balance out their long history of abject failures, from Desert One, to Grenada, to Afghanistan, to Libya, etc.). And minor firefights against a much inferior adversary do not qualify.

Now let me ask the crucial question: what does that mean for Israel?

Well, first, it means that the “poor” Israelis now have to fly with the F-35 as their flagship fighter. In most cases, I would trust the Israelis to modify/upgrade their F-35’s to get rid of at least the worst “features”, but in the case of the F-35 this is not even theoretically possible due to profound design flaws (for those in need of an “official” refresher on the catastrophic reality of the F-35 program, please read this official US government report which includes 276 “critical” deficiencies). Sooner rather than later, the Israeli F-35s will meet the export version of the Su-35, the much cheaper but high-performing Mig-29M/MiG-35 or even a Russian Su-57 and then they will be hopelessly outgunned (even if the outcome of any air-to-air combat cannot be reduced to comparing aircraft, you need a full and much more complex picture to model possible outcomes). Currently, the Su-35 has only been exported to China, but future potential operators could include Egypt, Algeria and Turkey. As for the MiG-29M/MiG-35, countries such as Egypt and Syria have expressed interest.

Speaking of Syria, so far we have seen several cases of Israeli aircraft intercepted and forced to withdraw by Russian Su-35Ss, and not a single case of the opposite. There appears to be at least one case, though not confirmed officially (yet?) of a Russian Su-35S chasing away an USAF F-22 (once the Su-35 and the F-22 are in close enough proximity, the latter has very few hopes of survival).

Can you guess what else the Israelis are going to eventually meet in the skies over the Middle-East? Possibly an export variant of the MiG-31 or even Russian MiG-31BMs (with their 400km R-37 air-to-air missiles). In fact, the range, speed, radar and weapons of this aircraft would make it possible for Russia to maintain combat air patrols over, say, Syria while operating from southern Russia.

I dwell on these aircraft because in the past, and just like the US, the Israelis have always relied on the following combination of factors to prevail:

  • A surprise attack (more or less justified by a false flag or by preemption)
  • The destruction of enemy aircraft when they are still on the ground
  • Air superiority to protect their rotary-wing aircraft and advancing armor

True, the Israelis still have a large force of modified F-16/15/18 (14 squadrons, over 300 aircraft), but just like their US counterparts, they are rapidly becoming dated. In sharp contrast to the dated Israeli Air Force, Israeli neighbors are all acquiring more and more advanced air defense systems along with EW and battle management systems. In other words, this is a very bad time for Israel to rely on F-35s for the foreseeable future.

Right now, the Israelis are regularly bombing Syria, but with very little result other than the mantric, and no doubt therapeutic, proclamations of Jewish superiority over the Arabs. And, predictably, the Ziomedia watching folks in Israel and the West are very impressed. The Syrians, the Iranians and Hezbollah, not so much…

Just like the US MIC put all its eggs into the F-35 basket, so did the Israelis put all their national security eggs into the eternal willingness and capability of Uncle Shmuel to come and rescue them with money, weapons or even soldiers.

The willingness is still here. But the capability is quickly disappearing!

Furthermore, there are two more countries which are entering a period of severe instability which will also affect the security of Israel: Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

In the case of Turkey, the relationship between the US and Turkey is about as low as it ever has been, and there is a very real possibility that, with US sanctions and threats, the Turks might decide to give up on the F-35 and turn to a Russian aircraft, most likely an export version of the Su-35. While that would be (politically) bad news for the US MIC, it would be absolutely terrible news for the Israelis whose relationship with Turkey is generally rather bad. So far, Turkey is still an obedient member of NATO, with all that entails, but the weaker the AngloZionist Empire becomes, the bigger the chances of some kind of political clash between the US and NATO on one hand, and Turkey on the other.

As for the Saudis, they have already been actively courting Moscow because they have realized that Russia has basically replaced the US as the number one regional power. The total failure of the US to provide meaningful assistance to the Saudis in Yemen and the inability of the US air defenses to protect the Saudi oilfield from Houthi missile strikes has convinced the Saudis that from now on, they need to talk to the Russians directly and often.

source: IISS Military Balance 2020

source: IISS Military Balance 2020

True, the US still does have the appearance of real power in the Middle East. Just take a look at this page from the latest IISS Military Balance. There are still a lot of CENTCOM equipment and personnel in the region. But try to look beyond these fancy graphics and ask yourself: what are these forces doing? what are they actually achieving?

I would submit that most of what they do is to try to impress the locals, make money (by all sorts of military contracts) and, last but not least, they try to protect themselves. And yes, the US’s “footprint” in the Middle-East is still big, but that is also what makes US forces so vulnerable to attacks. The Iranians, for example, have made it clear that they see all these facilities and forces as “targets” which, following the high-precision Iranian missile attacks following the murder of General Suleimani, means that Iran now has the means to inflict major damage on any regional force crazy enough to mess with Iran.

Of course, every time somebody writes that the US or Israel are not invincible, there is always at least one person saying something like “yeah, maybe, but they got nukes and they will use them if they are threatened”. To this my reply is different for the case of US and for the case of Israel.

In the case of the USA, while any first use of nukes will result in a political suicide for the Empire, no US adversary in the Middle-East has the capability to retaliate in kind against the USA.

In the case of Israel, however, things are even much more serious.

First, we need to remember that for obvious geographical reasons, the Israelis cannot use nukes on attacking forces, at least not forces anywhere near the Israeli border. Still, if seriously threatened, the Israelis could claim that another “Holocaust” is about to happen and that the “defense of Jewish blood” leaves them no option but to use nukes on, say, Iranian or Syrian targets. I submit that the worse the damage inflicted by any such Israeli nuclear strikes, the stronger the resolve of the Arabs and/or Iranians will be. That is the problem with deterrence: once it has failed, it has totally failed and there is usually no “plan B”.

Does that mean that a major attack on Israel is inevitable?

No, not at all. For one thing, both the US and Israel can still inflict immense damage against any country, or coalition of countries, which would threaten them (and they don’t need to resort to nukes to achieve this). The fact that neither the US nor Israel can achieve anything resembling a “victory” in no way implies that attacking the US or Israel is easy or safe. Both countries have plenty of conventional military power left to extract a huge price from any attacker.

Secondly, it is precisely because the US and Israel have a lot of military power left that their adversaries will favor a gradual and slow weakening of the AngloZionists over an open confrontation. For example, while it is true that the US did not have the stomach to attack Iran following the Iranian retaliatory missile strike, it is also true that the Iranians carefully “tuned” their response so as not to force the US to strike back. The truth is that right now neither country wants an open war.

The same can be said of Syria and Hezbollah who have been very careful not to do anything which would force the Israelis (or the US) to escalate from the current symbolic/pin-prick attacks to real, meaningful, air and missile strikes.

Right now the US can still print enough dollars to maintain Israel afloat, but we already know that while throwing cheap money at a problem is often very tempting, this does not constitute a sustainable strategy, especially when the actual military capabilities of both the US and Israelis are rapidly degrading. Right now, nobody knows how much longer the last openly racist regime on the planet will last, but it is exceedingly unlikely that the Zionist entity will be able to survive without the Empire to prop it up. In other words, sooner rather than later, the “Jewish state of Israel” will have no better chances of survival than, say, the “Independent State of Kosovo” or, for that matter, the “Independent Ukraine”: they are all the ugly metastases of the Empire which by themselves are simply not viable.

The USA Screwed Up the F-35 “Fifth-Generation Fighter Jet”

May 08, 2020


Saker Community Translations

May 2, 2020 – The fifth-generation fighter jet, as the American imitators continue to stubbornly call the F-35 Lightning II turned out to be incapable to go supersonic. The Pentagon was forced to officially admit the problem and recommend to the pilots to fly at subsonic speeds. Translated by Nikolai and captioned by Leo.

Source: PolitRussia – США облажались с «самолётом пятого поколения» (Руслан Осташко) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HS4tC…

Crises – the Middle-East and a few hopefully useful pointers

The Saker

September 18, 2019

Crises – the Middle-East and a few hopefully useful pointers

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

The Middle-East is literally exploding: the Houthis have delivered an extremely effective blow against Saudi oil production which (so they claim) has now dropped by 50% before bouncing back; there are persistent rumors that Russian Su-35S and S-400 has threatened to shoot down Israeli aircraft attacking Syria; Lebanon has declared that it will defend itself against Israeli attacks; Hezbollah has been threatening to deliver crippling strikes on Israel and even Israeli officials; Turkey has purchased Russian air defenses and says that if the USA refuses to deliver their F-35S, then Turkey will consider Su-35s and even maybe Su-57’s.  Bibi Netanyahu tried to use Putin for his reelection campaign (well, he really is trying desperately to stay out of jail) but had to go home empty handed and, according to the JP, his mission was a failure.

Finally, and just to make sure that the crises are only limited to the Middle-East: the Polaks and the EU Court have successfully sued to try to force Russia to use the Ukie gas transit; the USA is invoking ancient treaties to threaten Venezuela; the UK is going to hell in a handbasket; Europe (well, Germany) can’t even get the Polaks to heel about North Stream 2 (well, they *are* heeling, of course, but to Uncle Shmuel, not Angela Merkel); India and Pakistan are threatening one another over Kashmir. Did I forget anything?

Oh yes, the DPRK is firing new missiles; the US wants to blame Iran for the Houthi attacks; China categorically rejects such accusations, while Russia continues to announce new revolutionary weapons built on new principles and plans to deploy the S-500 “Prometheus”, just to make sure the Empire does not get any stupid ideas about trying to strike Russia (or her allies which will begin purchasing the S-500 in 2021, according official sources).

I am sure I have forgotten plenty.  Really, the Empire is collapsing on all fronts and that, in turn, means the chances that the ignorant dimwits in the White House will do something very stupid, dramatically increase.

Yes, I know, Bolton was fired.  And I applaud that, but considering that I believe that Pompeo is even more delusional and evil than Bolton (not to mention fantastically arrogant!), that is hardly a reason to hope (I just read that Robert C. O’Brien will succeed Bolton; he used to be the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the State Department; I wonder if that means even more kidnappings of Russian nationals worldwide…?).

There is so much to cover here that I will limit myself to a few points about the Middle-East which I think are important.

First, the partial destruction of the most important Saudi oil facilities is a HUGE embarrassment for the US.  Remember that the KSA is really the “center” of CENTCOM and even the reason for its existence (to “protect” Iran from the USSR and officially keep the Shah safe, but in reality this was also part of a major deal between the USA the KSA: “you accept payment only in dollars and we will protect you against everybody“).  Sure, there is a long list of western stooges to which a similar promise was made, including Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Manuel Noriega, Hosni Mubarak and many others; most are now dead, the rest in jail (iirc).  Now its the turn of the Saudis it seems: not only could the super-duper “better than the S-300” patriots not stop the Houthis, all of the combined might of CENTCOM failed too.

Second, I can only concur with ‘b’ at Moon of Alabama – the war is over for the KSA. Whether they realize it or not makes no difference.  Okay, it will make a difference in time, but in time only.  The Saudis and their AngloZionist patrons have three solutions:

  1. Continue pretty much like before: that is the definition of insanity if different results are expected.
  2. Escalate and strike Iran, following which the entire Middle-East will explode with dramatic consequences.
  3. Do what the US always does: declare victory and leave.

Obviously, the third option is the only sensible one, but who said that Bibi, Trump or MbS are sensible at all?  Tulsi Gabbard joined me in calling Trump somebody’s bitch, except I call him an Israeli bitch whereas Gabbard calls him a Saudi bitch.  Same difference!

There is, however, one restraining factor: if Trump ever strikes Iran he will become the “disposable President” for the Neocons: Iran will use the opportunity to strike Israel and Trump will be impeached for it (the Neocons are, after all, in total control of the DNC and many key committees in Congress).

So this will all boil down to Trump and whether he has the info and brains to realize that an attack on Iran will wreck his Presidency (which is already FUBARed enough and attacking Iran will make it official) and he will be both impeached and, obviously, never reelected.

Third, could the Houthis have done it themselves?  Absolutely yes. Iran did not have to strike directly, precisely because the Houthis were capable of doing it themselves. Check out this official exhibit of Houthi ballistic missiles and drones and see for yourself here and here.  Furthermore, the Houthis are becoming very similar to Hezbollah and they have clearly learned advanced missile and drone capabilities (from Iran, which is why the Israelis and the US are so angry).  Now I am not, repeat, NOT saying that Iran did not help or that this strike would have been as successful had Iran not provided intelligence, targeting, technical expertise, etc.  But if there is any evidence of direct Iranian involvement, let this “malevolent manatee” (which is how Fred Reed referred to Pompeo) show it to the world, and it better be better than the crap they showed for Skripal or the chemical false flags in Syria.

Fourth, what this means for the KSA and their AngloZionist patrons is that the Houthis can strike anywhere inside the KSA with total impunity.  And not only in the KSA.  Furthermore, I suspect that Iran can also hit every single oil or gas related facility in the Middle-East just like it can strike every US/CENTCOM/NATO/Israeli objective it wants.  Furthermore, in case of total war in the Middle-East, you can expect missiles raining down on US facilities not only from Yemen (Houthis) and Lebanon (Hezbollah) but also potentially from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fifth, it really does not matter where or what the US and/or Saudis and/or Israelis fire at Iran, the response will be the same, at least according to Professor Marandi: it will be massive and the oil and gas export capability of the entire Middle-East will be threatened.  There is no safe, cheap or effective way to strike Iran.  But do the folks in DC realize that?

Next, I want to offer a few points about the alleged interception of Israeli F-35 by Russian Su-35S over Syria.

First, we really don’t have the facts, so let’s wait a little.  Most stories about this come from one Arabic online paper.  Now, in the last 24 hours there was “sort of kinda” confirmation from Russia, but not from officials, and these reports were not so much giving factual details as gloating that Netanyahu walked away from Russia with nothing.

Second, my best guess is that this story is probably based on reality.  The Israelis have been behaving as if they did not care about the Russian presence in Syria: so they engage in airstrikes exclusively for PR purposes (remember, Bibi wants to avoid jail!) and the Russians probably complained and were ignored, and now they’ve had enough.

Third, the fact that the Jerusalem Post had to published a horrified article about this event conclusively proves that those who were trying to convince us that Russia and Israel were working hand in hand and that Putin was Bibi’s best friend were, well, full of crapola and their clickbait was just that: clickbait.

Fourth, there are those technology buffs who will always try to prove that the Su-35S is vastly superior to the F-35 and that this story is very credible and those who will explain that the F-35 is vastly superior to the Su-35S and that this story is pure invention.  The truth is that it is useless and meaningless to compare two advanced aircraft “in the abstract” or declare that one is so much better than the other.  Okay, yes, the Su-35S is superior in many aspects to the F-35, but most definitely not in all possible scenarios.  In fact, we would also need to know what other aircraft were in the air at the time – including AWACs, SEAD and EW – and we would need to find out exactly what role the Russian S-400s played (if any).  Generally, I urge you not to engage in a) “bean-counting” (only looking at quantities) or in b) making direct combat aircraft comparisons.  In the latter case, we would need to know what kind (and how much) of training the pilots got, what kind of weapons they had, what kind of sensors they used and how, and more generally, exactly how the Israelis decided to structure their attack and how the Russians decided to respond.  Finally, we would have to get some detail on sensor fusing, network-centric operations, datalinks, etc.  Since we know nothing about any of that, I recommend that we don’t dwell on aircraft/radar/missile X vs aircraft/radar/missile Y.  It’s just not worth it.

Fifth, there are already rumors about this being a false flag operation of the Israelis, the British, the KSA or the US.  Well, I sure can’t prove a negative, but I see no compelling reason to make such conclusions.  First, this is really bad news for the Empire and, second, the Houthis have done similar actions many times in the past and there is no reason to suspect that they could not have done what they did.  Still, it is also undeniable that any hike in oil prices benefits a lot of people (USA shale, Russia, the KSA, etc.).  Finally, there is always and by definition the risk of the Israelis and their Neocon allies pulling off some kind of false flag to finally trigger a US attack on Iran.  All these are, however, only indirect arguments, at least so far.  The fact that a false flag is possible does not mean it actually happened, let’s never forget that and never drop to premature or unfounded conclusions.

Sixth, let’s look at the targets themselves.  We are talking about oil facilities, huge ones, which under the logic of US/NATO/Israel (aka the “Axis of Kindness”) is most definitely classified as “regime support infrastructure” or something similar.  Furthermore, even under non Axis of Kindness logic, the laws of war allow strikes on infrastructures critical to the enemy’s military effort.  So while TV stations, embassies or medical factories are NOT legal targets, critical oil facilities are.  The ONLY stipulation is that the attacking side make an honest effort in selecting targets and munitions and try to avoid avoidable casualties.  As far as I know, the Saudis have mentioned zero victims.  Yes, that is unlikely, but that is how things stand for the time being. In this case, the Houthi strike was absolutely legitimate, especially considering the kind of genocidal devastation the Axis of Kindness and the KSA have unleashed against Yemen.

Lastly, I will venture a guess as to why the US and Saudi air defense were so useless: they probably never expected an attack from Yemen, at least not such a sophisticated one.  Most of the US/KSA air defenses are deployed to defend against an attack from Iran, from the northern direction.  The fact that this strike was so successful strongly suggest that it came from the south, from Yemen.

Conclusion: (Sept 18th, 1816Z)

I was about to conclude that according to RT, the Saudi Oil Minister has declared that the KSA “don’t know yet who is responsible” and that this was good news.  Then I saw this: “Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of sponsoring oil-plant attack, says it ‘couldn’t have originated in Yemen“, also on RT.  Not good.  Not credible either.

For one thing, had it been Iran, the strike would have been far more massive and would have only been a part of a much bigger, full-scale, attack not only on Saudi oil facilities, but also on all crucial CENTCOM installations and forces.  There is no way the Iranians would have opened major hostilities (and these strikes were definitely described by the Saudis as “major”) just to wait for a massive US/KSA/Israeli retaliation.  The Iranians are most certainly not going to repeat Saddam Hussein’s crucial mistake and allow the US/CENTCOM/NATO/Israel/KSA the time needed to prepare for a massive attack on Iran.  I am monitoring various “indicators and warnings” which would suggest that the USA is up to no good, and so far I have noticed only one potentially worrying event: MSC Sealift and US transportation Command  has ordered a no-notice turbo activation of between 23 to 25 ships from the 46 ship Ready Reserve Force (RRF have to be 5-day ready).  This is an unprecedented number since 2003 and it could mean somebody just taking precautions or someone is getting twitchy. But the timing is usually September, but not in this number (more about this here).  But please keep in mind that such indicators cannot be considered in isolation from other facts. Should there be more, I will do my best to report them on the blog.

The fact that US/KSA air defenses performed so miserably does not mean that the USA is totally clueless about ‘whodunit’. There are a lot of other sensors and systems (including in space) which will detect a missile launch (especially a ballistic missile!) and there are some radar modes which allow for long-range detection but not necessarily capable of track-while-scan or of long-range engagements.  Furthermore, you can also monitor data signals and general telemetry, and since the US has immense databases with the “signature” signals from all sorts of enemy hardware, they also probably could accurately assess which type of systems were used.  Just in this case, just as in the case of MH-17, the Pentagon knows exactly ‘whodunit’.  Ditto for the Russians who have a lot of SIGINT/FISINT in the Middle-East (and in space).

But in the last days of the Empire, facts don’t really matter.  What matters is whatever is seen as politically expedient by the folks in the White House and in Israel.  My biggest hope is that Trump finds out the truth about the strikes and that he has enough brains left to understand that should he strike Iran he will lose the election and will probably even be impeached to boot.

Let’s hope that his narcissistic instincts will save our long-suffering planet!

The Saker

GAME CHANGER: WHAT’S BEHIND US-TURKISH CONFLICT OVER S-400 DEAL

South Front

According to the Turkish National Defense Ministry, receipt of the first batch of Russian S-400 missile defense systems was  completed on July 25th. Besides making headlines all around the world and causing a harsh response from the US, the delivery demonstrated Turkey’s readiness to provide independent defense and foreign policies in its own interests despite all the difficulties that it may face on this path.

The Russian S-400 missile defense system, according to Stratfor, is the “best all-around.” It is approximately 30 years in the making, as development began in the late 1980s, and it was officially announced in 1993.

The first successful tests of the system were conducted in 1999 at Kapustin Yar in Astrakhan and the S-400 was scheduled for deployment by the Russian army in 2001. By 2003, the system was yet to be deployed to Russia. Following various setbacks it was finally cleared for service in 2007.

  • The S-400 Triumph package consists of a 30K6E battle management system, six 98ZH6E SAM systems, 48N6E3 and (or) 48N6E2 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) ammunition load and 30TsE maintenance facilities. Use of the 48N6E SAM is possible.
  • An S-400 Transporter Erector Launcher has four missile containers. Each container can house one 48N6E or four 9M96 surface-to-air missiles.
  • The S-400 can be used with a semi-mobile package of towed trailer-mounted radars and missiles. Typically, it is towed by the Russian 6×6 truck BAZ-6402-015.
  • It takes 5-10 minutes to set system assets from traveling position and about 3 more minutes to set it to ready from the deployed position.

The S-400 has a target detection range of approximately 600 km, while being able to simultaneously track around 300 targets. The maximum speed of the target may be up to 4,800 m/s, approximately Mach 14.

It can simultaneously engage approximately 36 targets, or 72 guided missiles. It can engage an aerodynamic target at a range of between 3 and 250 kilometers, while a ballistic target can be engaged at 60 kilometers.

  • The Russian armed forces have several S-400, located at various positions, as well as plans to equip the Kirov-class battlecruiser Admiral Nakhimov with the 48N6DMK anti-aircraft missile derived from the land-based S-400. By 2020 Russia plans to have 28 S-400 regiments, each comprising of two or three battalions. In turn, each battalion consists of at least eight launchers with 32 missiles and a mobile command post.
  • Two S-400 systems are deployed in Syria for use in protection of Russian personnel.
  • Since 2016, Belarus has two S-400 missile systems, both provided by Russia free of charge, as per a 2011 agreement.
  • China received its first S-400 regiment in May 2018 and carried out successful tests in August 2018. There was an issue  where Russia had to send dozens of replacement missiles in early 2019 since a Russian cargo ship, reportedly carrying an export variant of the S-400’s most advanced interceptor, the 40N6E, was forced to return home as a result of damages sustained during a storm in the English Channel.  On July 25th, 2019, Russia began the delivery of China’s second S-400 missile defense system regiment;.
  • In October 2017, Saudi Arabia announced that it had finalized an agreement for the delivery of the S-400 missile defense system. Unsurprisingly, the US’ key ally in the Middle East wasn’t subject to sanctions and constant warnings over purchasing the S-400. In February 2019, the Kingdom and Russia held consultations on the S-400.
  • The S-400 missile defense system is expected to enter into service in India in October 2020. The United States threatened India with sanctions over India’s decision to buy the S-400 missile defense system from Russia. So far, it’s proving as effective as the threats towards Turkey.
  • As of January 2018, Qatar has allegedly been in advanced talks for the purchase of S-400, but no additional information has been provided since.
  • There are various rumors and confirmations by officials from Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Egypt for interest towards the S-400.

The US strongly opposes the purchase of S-400 by its allies, but mainly by Turkey, since Turkey was a key partner in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. According to US officials, there were constant fears that it could be used to steal the fighter jet’s secrets. Turkey has, for over a year now, maintained that the deal was done and there was nothing the US could do to dissuade it from purchasing despite threats of sanctions and other aggressive actions.

In a last ditch and quite absurd effort US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, allegedly on behalf of US President Donald Trump, suggested that the Turkish side may choose to “simply not turn on” their $2 billion system to avoid difficulties in the Turkish-US relations. This absurd proposal was later repeated by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

US media claim that negotiations on an offer by the US for Turkey to purchase a Raytheon Patriot missile system are still on-going despite the S-400 delivery. How that makes sense is unclear, but the new US Defense Secretary Mark Esper was, after all, a Raytheon lobbyist. Regardless, the cost of the proposed Patriot is $3.5 billion, compared to the $2 billion Russian system.

Another factor why the US military political leadership opposes deliveries of Russian state-of-the-art air defense missile systems to other states is that such deals contribute to the Russian development programmes in this field. Right now, the Russian military is developing and testing interceptors of the A-235 Nudol anti-ballistic missile system and anti-satellite weapon. The system is set to replace the current one defending Moscow and the surrounding region from nuclear attacks, the A-135 Amur.

According to reports, the Nudol will operate in three stages:

  • Long-range, based on the 51T6 interceptor and capable of destroying targets at distances up to 1500 km and altitudes up to 800 km
  • Medium-range, an update of the 58R6 interceptor, designed to hit targets at distances up to 1000 km, at altitudes up to 120 km
  • Short-range (the 53T6M or 45T6 interceptor (based on the 53T6)), with an operating range of 350 km and a flight ceiling of 40-50 km

The main contractor for the project is Almaz-Antey, who created the S-300, S-400 and is working on the S-500. According to military experts, the future of the missile defense systems A-235 and S-500 will form the basis for the comprehensive, integrated aerospace defense system of Russia, which will include a variety of modern ground-based detection tools.

The additional experience and funds obtained by Almaz-Antey and Russian military experts during implementation of S-300 and S-400 deals around the world and their usage in the conflict zones such Syria will allow Russia to make its aerospace defense systems even more sophisticated and effective.

No, Israel Did Not Attack Iranian Targets In Iraq

 

By Moon Of Alabama

August 01, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – Israeli newspaper repeat a report which claims that Israeli planes hit Iranian targets in Iraq.

From the last one:

The IAF used its F-35i stealth fighter jets to hit two Iraqi bases that were used by Iranian forces and proxies and for storing ballistic missiles, the London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

Asharq Al-Awsat is owned by Faisal bin Salman, a member of the Saudi ruling clan. It is – like other Arab papers – often used to launder Israeli disinformation and propaganda that is then repeated in the Israeli press.

The original Asharq Al-Aswat report reads:

Israel has expanded the scope of its Iranian targets in Iraq and Syria, western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat amid reports that Tel Aviv carried out an airstrike earlier this month against an Iranian rockets depot northeast of Baghdad.

The July 19 attack was carried out by an Israeli F-35 fighter jet, they added.

On Sunday, the Ashraf base in Iraq, a former base used by the Iranian opposition People’s Mujahedin of Iran, was targeted by an air raid, said sources.

The base lies 80 kilometers from the border with Iran and 40 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

The sources revealed that the strikes targeted Iranian “advisors” and a ballistic missile shipment that had recently arrived from Iran to Iraq.

Last week, Syria’s Tal al-Hara was struck by Israeli jets.

The diplomatic sources said the attack targeted Iran’s attempt to seize control of the strategic hill, located in Daraa countryside in southern Syria.

The above F-35 promotion then goes on to laud the Israeli Arrows-3 air defense missile the U.S. paid for.

Of the three incidents Asharq Al-Awsat mentions only one, in Syria, really happened.

On July 19 a fire broke out at a camp of the 16th Brigade of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). It set off some ammunition. The 16th is a light infantry brigade. It does not have ballistic missiles. While the incident was first reported as a missile attack, an investigation later said (Arabic) that the fire was caused by a defect of some equipment (machine translation)

The Central Commission of Inquiry sent by the People’s Assembly on Sunday announced the results of the investigation into the bombing of the Martyrs’ Camp of the Commission, which is located near the city of Ameri.

The report of the specialized committee confirmed that the investigations conducted have proved that the explosion was not a military target as a result of a plane or a guided missile, but was a fire of solid fuel due to an internal defect.

No one was killed in the incident.

The alleged attack on Sunday never happened:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 17:29 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

The Camp Ashraf incident was nothing more than a rumor that started on Facebook. It’s not even called Ashraf anymore, the base is named after the Brigade 27 commander who was Martyred in Diyala battles.

Saudis hard at work creating Fake News.

It is not the Saudis that created this fake news but the “western diplomatic sources”, aka the Israeli ambassador in London, who briefed the Asharq Al-Awsat writer.

The third incident, in Syria, did happen:

Syria’s state media said on Wednesday an Israeli missile attack had targeted the country’s southern province of Daraa, but did not report any casualties.

State news agency SANA and state TV added that the “Israeli aggression” struck Tal al-Hara hill that is home to Syrian army posts adding that it only caused material damage.

The Tal al-Hara hill, a strategic area overlooking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, was for many years a major Russian military radar outpost until rebels took it over in 2014 before it was again recaptured by the Syrian army last year.

Israel did not hit any Iranian targets or anything else in Iraq. The Asharq Al-Awsat story is pure propaganda.

If the Israeli air force were stupid enough to bomb targets in Iraq, it would likely see consequences that it would not like:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 18:08 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

And besides

If Israel really wants to waste their time and resources striking sites in Iraq, by all means.

They’ll only accelerate the decision as to whether or not to purchase the S-400 system.

There are plenty of Air Defense Officers who are already fluent in Russian.

This article was originally published by “Moon Of Alabama” – 

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

==See Also==

Israel to conduct new offensives in Iraq soon: “Israel has expanded its area of ??control against the Iranian presence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq,” while indicated that it will conduct further strikes soon on Iranian sites in Iraq.

US “Boots” Turkey from F-35 Program

July 19, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson – NEO) – Turkey has been officially “booted” from the F-35 multirole combat aircraft program.
The F-35 multirole combat aircraft, produced by US-based arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, is part of a massive weapons program exceeding $1 trillion. A single aircraft can cost over $100 million, or over twice the cost of Russia’s new Su-57 and many times more expensive than other Russian, Chinese and European-made aircraft already in operation.

The record-breaking costs however don’t translate into record-breaking performance. The F-35 has already seen its fair share of development hiccups and even when they are all ironed out, nothing the F-35 is even advertised as being able to do justifies its growing price tag.

It is amazing then that anyone has lined up to buy it at all let alone the large number of nations that have lined up.

Reuters in an older article titled, “The 11 countries expected to buy F-35 fighter jet,” would report:

Lockheed is developing three models of the plane for the U.S. military and eight partner countries that helped fund the plane’s development – Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada. 

South Korea, Japan and Israel have also placed orders for the jet.

Since then, however, there has been public backlash in nations like Canada which are shouldering development costs even if they end up buying no F-35s at all, CBC would explain.

Despite headlines like the BBC’s, “US removes Turkey from F-35 fighter jet programme,” Turkey itself has probably benefited most from being “removed.” Other headlines across the corporate media have been using the term “booted,” “kicked out,” or “expelled,” but a more apt term would be “dodged.”

What would nations like Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Canada, South Korea, Japan and Israel do with F-35s anyway?

Israel already reportedly has the new aircraft. They’ve even reportedly used them in their attacks on neighboring Syria. However Israel has used the aircraft for mostly standoff attacks, fearing Syrian air defenses despite the F-35s supposedly stealthy profile.

While Britain is likewise prone to acts of illegal military aggression like its Israeli friends, the remaining nations hardly have any role for the F-35 their existing aircraft, or newer, cheaper aircraft could not easily fulfill.

So why did any of these nations line up to buy the F-35 in the first place? Is there any historical precedent that can help explain why Lockheed Martin’s extraordinary expensive, but less-than-extraordinary performing combat aircraft has been so financially successful?

Yes, there is.

Lockheed’s F-104 Starfighter: Flying on a Wing and a Bribe 

This historical precedent is exceptionally relevant. Not only is it about an astronomically expensive, underperforming and essentially unnecessary combat aircraft, it was also made by Lockheed and pushed on America’s allies at the time, just like the F-35 is now.

It turns out that policymakers who chose the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter despite its many shortcomings were simply bought off, literally with crate fulls of money as was the case in Japan.

A very old 1976 article by the New York Times titled, “Japan’s Watergate: Made in U.S.A.,” illustrated Lockheed’s business practice of simply buying off policymakers to chose their aircraft over competitors even after official decisions were made. While Lockheed’s commercial airliners were mentioned in the article, the F-104 Starfighter was also involved in what was later exposed as a massive multinational multi-million dollar (billions in today’s dollars) bribery racket.

Bribery might explain why Canada has tried to back off from the F-35 today but still has stubborn holdouts demanding the aircraft be given a chance.

The Daily Kos in a more recent article would report on Lockheed’s massive bribery racket during the F-104’s days, that:

Lockheed executives admitted paying millions in bribes over more than a decade to the Dutch, to key Japanese and West German politicians, to Italian officials and generals, and to other highly placed figures from Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia, in order to get them to buy our airplanes. Kelly Johnson was so sickened by these revelations that he had almost quit, even though the top Lockheed management implicated in the scandal resigned in disgrace.

Despite the obvious reasons not to buy the Lockheed Starfighter, nations ended up with them in abundance. All in all, over 2,500 were built. Over the course of their operational history, they succeeded in shooting down 3 aircraft and allegedly forcing another to land. Conversely, hundreds crashed with West Germany alone losing 116 pilots between 1962 and 1984.

If US arms manufacturers like Lockheed could get away with bribing officials to buy hundreds of what were essentially “flying coffins” to allied nations back in the 1950s and 60s, killing far more allied pilots than the enemy ever did, how hard would it be to sell something slightly less deadly, semi-functional but simply overpriced?

Pretty easy apparently.

Between collective public amnesia regarding Lockheed’s past abuses, a corporate media that works for arms manufacturers and policymakers receiving millions in bribes, the collective defense of the West never stood a chance of getting affordable and effective defense capabilities.

Turkey Wasn’t “Booted From” the F-35 Program, It Dodged It

Turkey has undoubtedly played accomplice to Western machinations over the past half century. It has been a member of NATO since 1952 and has played a role in destabilizing the Middle East and even parts of Eurasia for decades on behalf of Anglo-American interests.

More recently it served as a springboard into neighboring Syria for tens of thousands of terrorists backed by a US-led coalition aimed at overthrowing the government in Damascus. Much of the current violence in China’s Xinjiang region is owed to Turkish meddling alongside US efforts to divide and destabilize the political order in Beijing.

Turkish forces have even partially invaded Syria, finding themselves mired in fighting with terrorists they themselves at one point supported and of course Kurdish militants, many of whom are supported by their own Western allies.

Ankara has also watched as US, European and even Israeli combat aircraft including F-35s have tip-toed around Syrian and Russian air defenses.

There is clearly much more going on behind the scenes as Western influence around the globe fades and Eurasian powers like Russia and China emerge upon the global stage. Turkish interests in the long-term will likely tip toward greater cooperation with the East rather than the West.

But the inability of Western forces to establish uncontested air superiority over Syria as they have done in virtually every other war in the past century including World War 2 surely isn’t being lost on anyone seriously interested in national defense, bribed or not.

Ankara knew by buying Russian S-400 air defense systems they would likely be “booted from” the F-35 program, so in reality, Ankara itself made the decision to leave it. It will acquire a premier air defense system that it itself has watched complicate US military intervention in Syria next-door.

Turkey has freed itself from a complicated and costly weapons program that would leave its coffers lighter and its borders no more or less safe than they are at the moment. Deepening its military relationship with the West removes rather than enhances any leverage Ankara has when dealing with Washington, London or Brussels.

Other analysts have made convincing arguments that Russian-made systems transferred to Turkey and used by Turkish forces gives Ankara more autonomy from the US and NATO who insist US-made weapons systems be manned by US troops and ultimately directed by US and NATO commanders. The US, for example, has refused to transfer technology associated with their S-400 alternative, the Patriot missile system. Russia, as part of its deal with Turkey, will transfer technology.

While some may be overstating the significance of Turkey’s latest decision, this is undoubtedly one of many steps Ankara is taking to move from West to East. The US, in “booting” Turkey from a program Turkey would not benefit from, is merely attempting to conceal the full extent of its waning influence.

Turkey will continue to be a nation straddling both East and West. But it is hard to recall another point in recent history where Turkey’s balance between the two has been more equitable.

We can recall several extremely risky moments during the Syrian conflict, including the downing and ambush of Russian pilots and rescuers and calls from many in the public for swift retaliation from Moscow. Moscow didn’t. Instead, it has patiently bided its time, and for doing so it has avoided what would likely have been a costly confrontation and instead reaped this recent success.

How significant or minor this success actually is, only time will tell. A major NATO partner buying Russian air defense systems while spurring an unprecedented US arms program certainly seems significant.

Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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