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Mid-week, national security, news round-up
Gaza, Iran, Yemen, Putin, Russia and the ongoing humiliating extremism of the GOP
Happy Hump Day,
We woke up to 37-degree weather here in San Antonio and after last summer’s shattering of heat records, it is welcome. A perfect day to sit by the fire with my laptop and catch up on what has been missed with the extreme focus on Gaza and the heinous hitmen of Hamas. Just a few sentences today on a variety of significant developments.
1. I will begin with a few words about Gaza
Overnight, the IDF/ Israeli Defence Forces continued precision-targeting of HVT/ High Value Targets or as is more commonly known, senior or important Hamas leaders. Ground forces are also “preparing and shaping the battlefield” with probes, surveillance, intelligence collection, influence operations and targeting of strategic locations and groups.
Most media are still focusing on Hamas-controlled reporting of casualty figures and claims of IDF missile strikes and claims of alleged war crimes. As I wrote on Monday, media owes us far more accurate, in-context reporting, instead of just posting an occasional nebulous and minor disclaimer.
The good news is that diplomacy has produced an exit plan for dual citizens to leave Gaza and for a bit more aid allowed in. More than any other reason, it is primarily the fault of Hamas that the aid situation is so tragic. Egypt also bears some responsibility while concurrently blaming Israel. The only control Israel has is their inspection of vehicles to search for weapons, technology or other items/ personnel of military significance.
Israel intends to dismantle the Hamas and other terrorist capabilities to commit further, large-scale harm to their citizens. This actually will dramatically improve life for Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank. This is especially true in Gaza, where Hamas has been the only post-occupation government and is the veritable definition of oppressive. Hamas not only stole most of the mountain of aid, largely provided by the West, but used it for their terrorism purposes.
"How does Hamas treat Palestinians? Hamas diverts international assistance to build its terrorist infrastructure. This impedes economic development and contributes to the humanitarian and environmental crisis in Gaza. The group restricts the rights of women and Christians and treats homosexuality as a crime. Hamas uses civilians as human shields, hiding terror tunnels, weapons factories, and operations centers under schools and in densely populated civilian areas. The United Nations (UN) has called on Hamas to “cease immediately” these violations of international law." - Ten things to know about Hamas - FDD, Foundation for the Defense of Democracy - 16 October 2023
Yemen, the Houthis and their Iranian taskmasters.
Here are the comments I attached to a LinkedIn post, of reporting about missiles targeting Israel from the Houthis, in Yemen.
Let's translate this in Iranian cultural terms. The Iranian supported, Houthi proxies in Yemen are doing the dirty work for the theocratic thugs in Tehran. This is intensely shameful for Persians. It signifies that Iran's IRGC and Quds Force terrorists, are too cowardly to fight Israel and her allies openly. They sneak around either murdering innocent and unsuspecting civilians or demand that their proxies do it for them. Honor and shame in most societies are closely related. It is no wonder that the overwhelming majority of Iran, despises and is humiliated at what the IRGC, Quds and proxies do in the name of the nation. Let's be very clear about something, Iran has long pushed the US and West up to but not over a certain line. At the moment, that line is closer than they think. So long as the theocratic thugs in Tehran, keep doing Putin's and Xi's dirty work, they will remain a source of shame for the entire nation. They will also cease to exist if they continue poking true powers and Putin is in no shape to rescue them. Like the Iranian military, the Houthi fighters are not even a blip on the radar screen for real armies. Putin is learning that even his once esteemed military is really a paper tiger. The Iranians and Houthis would fare much worse than Russia in a stand-up fight. These Houthis can prance around in their new uniforms and waving their AK-47s all they like, but if they keep on poking real powers, they will be attending funerals, not victory rallies. The fight in Gaza is just the tip of the spear of an Axis of Evil. No time like the present to break the spear into pieces. - Cobaugh - 01 November 2023
For those unfamiliar, the Houthis are a family or clan from northern Yemen who have aligned themselves with Iran for years. They currently hold Saana, the capital of Yemen. They are long experienced guerrilla fighters, supplied, trained by and proxies of Iran. They have as of this writing, launched three attacks on Israel from Yemen. Israel has now deployed navy vessels to intercept incoming from these Iranian proxies.
More important background can be found here: Who are Yemen's Houthis and why did they attack Israel? | Reuters
Also, from ABC News:
″Our armed forces launched a large batch of ballistic missiles and a large number of drones at various targets of the Israeli enemy," Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said in a televised statement. “The Yemeni Armed Forces confirm that this operation is the third operation in support of our oppressed brothers in Palestine and confirm that we will continue to carry out more qualitative strikes with missiles and drones until the Israeli aggression stops.” For Israel, Tuesday's attack marked an incredibly rare reported in-combat use of the Arrow missile defense system, which intercepts long-range ballistic missiles with a warhead designed to destroy targets while they are in space, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. - Yemen's Houthi rebels claim attacks on Israel, drawing their main sponsor Iran closer to Hamas war - By JON GAMBRELL Associated Press October 31, 2023, 11:09 AM
The best daily, open-source round-up on Ukraine comes from the prestigious folks at ISW, Institute for the study of War. I highly recommend following them.
Their “takeaways from yesterday, 31 Oct, are below. The full write up can be found with this embedded link.
Key Takeaways: - Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov's response to the October 29 antisemitic riots in the Republic of Dagestan suggests that Russian officials may be increasingly concerned about the weakening of authoritarian control in regions on the periphery of the Russian Federation. - Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on October 31. - Russian forces launched a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on October 31. - Russian authorities detained two suspects for the murder of a Ukrainian family in occupied Donetsk Oblast. - Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted combined missile strikes against Sevastopol and elsewhere in occupied Crimea on October 30. - Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kremmina line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced near Avdiivka. - Former Wagner Group fighters continue to redeploy to Ukraine as part of other Russian formations. - Russian occupation officials continue efforts to eradicate Ukrainian language and culture in occupied Ukraine. - Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 31, 2023 - Karolina Hird, Christina Harward, Angelica Evans, Riley Bailey, and Frederick W. Kagan - October 31, 2023, 4:45pm ET
Putin’s partial offensive/ counter-offensive is little different from those for the past year and a half. They are brutal, scorched earth affairs, best defined by Nazi-level war crimes. He is bleeding troops, logistics and national strength at an alarming rate. His value to Xi is less by the day. This is one reason that he is provoking trouble in parts of the world like Gaza, via his Iranian attack dogs who employ Hamas and Hezbollah as theirs. Other areas of the globe being provoked to violent conflict are Niger, central and West Africa, the Balkans, Armenia and more.
Turkey, a supposed NATO ally, has under Erdogan been more aligned with Putin than NATO. In fact, most don’t know that Erdogan’s Turkey, supports Hamas. In a recent briefing, he had this to say:
- President Erdogan
- 10 Sept.
- As reported by the AP
- Andrew Wilkes
Putin, and Russia’s current form of oppressive and aggressive government, must be contained and defanged. For this reason, aid in all forms must continue to flow to Ukraine. This is the perfect segue to the next topic.
MAGA controlled GOP, un-American extremism.
Will the US ever be rid of MAGA extremists, formerly known as the Republican Party and who now control the US House of Representatives? Where the hell are the so-called, “principled conservatives.” If they don’t take a stand then they are in fact, not principled.
Now, a few days into new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson’s speakership, the wheels are already coming off of US national security. Johnson’s worldview is WCN, White Christian Nationalism which by definition, denies all Americans, their innate, constitutionally guaranteed rights.
From a national security perspective, Johnson, who was complicit in the attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, has defunding Ukraine, high on his agenda. Just this week, his announced agenda also includes denying Israel aid if it cannot be tied to defunding the IRS. What kind of mind-numbing idiocy is this?
At a time when the MAGA controlled GOP is whining incessantly about the deficit, and which they contributed more to during the Trump administration than others, now wishes to diminish our national revenue. Talk about insanity, this nearly defines it. On top of this, they also gave away tax breaks to corporations and the so-called 1% as a present from Trump.
As it pertains to national security, we need revenue to fund our national security. We need even more than usual as we are deeply involved in contributing to the protection of the free world in Ukraine, Israel, regarding China, Iran and the other thugs running nations critical to global security and stability.
Since there is little support from the GOP to back Ukraine and their defund Ukraine agenda is extremely unpopular, they will attempt to defund national security by reducing our revenue. This will also defund countless other critical elements of the functionality of the US government. Please, spare me the BS about how the GOP is fiscally responsible.
Please see the graphics below, borrowed from the most recent US Treasury report.
Finally, I will summarize and add a PSA/ public service announcement.
There are so many threats, worldwide and domestically, that many days I find it difficult to figure out what to write about first. To this point, I go back to the basics of resilience. I’ll explain…
Resilience takes many forms but for a nation, it is key to survival. Too bad I and my colleagues at Narrative Strategies cannot get the FBI and DHS, among other agencies to understand that our most pressing threats, can all be addressed effectively if we shore up our national values or as with what we focus on, our NI or Narrative Identity. Resilience nationally depends on all citizens rallying around core values, stated or otherwise.
US national values and our identity is significantly wrapped up in the ideals of our founding documents. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the most succinct explanation of those values. Political parties don’t own those values. All Americans do. What has occurred over the years, especially the past three or four decades is that parties have created different definitions for those values. For example, you may not like the D party’s values, but they are far closer to our actual values than the fake patriotism of the MAGA right which operates on the fake patriotism of God, guns and Trump.
It’s okay to have different political beliefs but they must be grounded in reality. WCN/ White Christian Nationalism, the mantra of the new Speaker of the House, is fake patriotism. Sure, the far left, which is far smaller than the far right or MAGA may not make sense to everyone, but our constitution is the guardrails of American democracy. Our nation can achieve anything if united but fail catastrophically when divided. Division is what parties want in order to have more power. Political parties are NOT part of our constitution and as expressed by G. Washington in his Farewell address, a severe threat to our republic.
If we continue to put party over country, especially with the fake patriotism of the MAGA dominated GOP, our “great experiment” is finished. It is not a matter of if, but when. We must pull together and focus on knowledge, wisdom and experience, not the BS that divides us artificially. As you can see from today’s update, we are proverbially up to our butts in alligators, in the threat department. If we are to survive, we must unite around common morals and values, not political barkers, spewing un–American BS. Be a Republican or a Democrat or any other belief system but keep it between our constitutional guardrails. Read our constitution, it’s not hard to understand and it sure isn’t the road apples coming out of the MAGA mouthpieces. Our republic quite literally, depends on it.
My best for the end of your week.