Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | December 8, 2015

Provocation: Sailor seen with MANPAD on Russian warship transiting Bosporus

Shoulder-fired peace cruises in the Bosporus: Russian sailor on the deck of Russian landing ship Tsesar Kunikov, 4 Dec 2015. (Image: Emre Dagdeviren via Twitter, UK Express)

Shoulder-fired peace cruises in the Bosporus: Russian sailor on the deck of Russian landing ship Tsesar Kunikov, 4 Dec 2015. (Image: Emre Dagdeviren via Twitter, UK Express)

This incident reportedly occurred the morning of 4 December.

The Ropucha-class tank landing ship Tsesar Kunikov (BDK-158) was heading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, conducting a southbound transit of the Turkish Straits.  (As documented at the excellent Bosphorus Naval News blog, BDK-158 has been back and forth through the Turkish Straits several times over the last few months.  The ship was most recently off Syria in November, and returned to the Black Sea on 25 November before Friday’s southbound transit.)

Turkish media reported that a Russian sailor was photographed on the deck with a shoulder-fired missile launcher in the firing position during the transit. … Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | November 30, 2015

What really happened in the Colorado Springs shooting?

Emergency responders escort bystanders away from the active-shooter threat at the Centennial medical park on Friday, 27 Nov 2015. (Image: Colorado Springs Gazette)

Emergency responders escort bystanders away from the active-shooter threat at the Centennial medical park on Friday, 27 Nov 2015. (Image: Colorado Springs Gazette)

Will we eventually know what really happened in Colorado Springs this past week?

That’s a good question, now that the city’s mayor has already pronounced the shooting incident to be an act of “domestic terrorism.”  (For some reason, our authorities don’t seem able to jump to conclusions quite as quickly when a suspect shouts “Allahu akbar!” while attacking American servicemen.)

The drumbeat of a narrative emerged almost instantly, about Planned Parenthood being attacked because Colorado Springs is a “hub for conservative Christians” (whatever that is) who are implicitly slavering to shoot up abortion clinics.

A counter-narrative is also circulating, with some reports suggesting that the shooting attack on Friday had nothing to do – at least nothing that goes to motive – with the Planned Parenthood location on which subsequent news coverage has centered. Read More…

Shootdown porn. (Image via rebel video on YouTube)

Shootdown porn. (Image via rebel video on YouTube)

The war in Syria is metastasizing, as long predicted by this author and others.  It’s perilously close to a direct confrontation of Turkey and Russia in combat — a situation that didn’t start with the warplane shootdown today, but rather seems to have culminated in it.  The ground picture in the area of the shootdown is the key.

What we know for sure today is that Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft, which the Turks say was violating their air space.  The Turks report that an F-16 fighter pair took out the Russian aircraft.

It also appears that Russian helicopters sent on a rescue mission for the Su-24 air crew were destroyed.  If a video posted by Syrian rebels (below) is valid – assuming it shows something the rebels pulled off today (24 November) – it looks like the rebels used TOW missiles to attack the Russian helos while they were on the ground at the Su-24 crash site.

These rapid-fire events raise questions that will not be answered at a leisurely pace.  The basic question is what Russia and Turkey will do now.  But there is also the question of “why now?”  Turkey has been closely tracking Russian air activity for weeks.  The two air forces have interacted at dangerous levels before; the Aviationist has a good summary here.  But today, instead of warnings and sword-rattling, the Turks shot the Russian aircraft down. Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | November 21, 2015

Obama blocks U.S. pilots from bombing ISIS; Iranian fighters escort Russian bombers

USAF F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing (RAF Lakenheath) arrives at Incirlik in Nov 2015. (Image: USAF, Tech Sgt. Taylor Worley)

USAF F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing (RAF Lakenheath) arrives at Incirlik in Nov 2015. (Image: USAF, Tech Sgt. Taylor Worley)

It’s essential to have the big picture on this.  The war in Syria is turning into something bigger, with substantially bigger implications than what happens to ISIS.

But ISIS remains the handy pretext for Russia’s and Iran’s growing intervention in both Syria and Iraq.  That intervention is changing their posture, and the correlation of both military and political forces across the region, almost by the day.  They are not there for ISIS, and they’re not there for Assad.  They’re there – putting down stakes from the Caspian and the Caucasus to the Horn of Africa – because they intend to be in charge of carving up the rapidly fragmenting ruins of the post-World War I Middle East.

ISIS will get something of a vote in this conflict.  But America won’t.  The reason for these two realities is that Obama has limited the use of U.S. force – limited it to such an extent that ISIS is still a very viable entity.  Obama’s “restraint” is also the reason Russia and Iran keep having ISIS as a handy, open-ended pretext for arranging to occupy Iraq and Syria.  Which is what they’re actually doing.

Obama has in fact restrained the use of U.S. force to an unnatural degree.  We’ve known for a while now that 75% of the strike sorties flown against ISIS by our aircraft return to base without bombing anything.  U.S. Central Command reported that in operational statistics months ago, and it was picked up by stateside media as early as May 2015. Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | November 18, 2015

After Paris, post-NATO ‘solution’ for Syria blasts off without U.S.

Tu-95 Bear bomber, one of several types used in Russian strikes on Tuesday, 17 Nov. (Image: UK MOD, SAC Robyn Stewart via Guardian, Oct 2014)

Tu-95 Bear bomber, one of several types used in Russian strikes on Tuesday, 17 Nov. (Image: UK MOD, SAC Robyn Stewart via Guardian, Oct 2014)

If you’re not convinced we are now in a “post-American” (and hence post-NATO) world, consider these events of the last 72 hours.

After the Paris attacks on Friday, the G20 leaders gathering in Turkey knew that both Syria and ISIS would top their agenda in Antalya.  On Sunday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron expressed the standard position of the Western allies, since late summer, that Russia should stop prosecuting what is essentially a unilateral war in Syria.

How odd that that position should seem antique a mere 48 hours later.  In the wake of the most recent events, one now has the sense that Cameron was speaking in another world and time.

Obama’s watershed moment Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | November 14, 2015

Paris, the Russian airliner, Lebanon: ISIS is enlarging the war

The house of war comes to Paris. (Image: EPA, Etienne Laurent via UK Guardian)

The house of war comes to Paris. (Image: EPA, Etienne Laurent via UK Guardian)

his will be a quick update tonight, with less of the usual analysis, because I just don’t have time.

I have no doubt that ISIS is behind the recent attacks that have been spreading out around the Syria/Iraq theater.  ISIS has claimed responsibility for all of them, and it is credible that ISIS is behind them (although they are being executed through ISIS affiliates in each local area.  The core leadership of ISIS doesn’t have to be involved in planning or managing each attack, and I assume unless it’s proven otherwise that it is not).

But this is not a minor campaign of pinpricks from single-venue terror attacks, randomly distributed here and there.  This is a full-blown campaign: a strategy on ISIS’s part. Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | November 11, 2015

Ninety-seven years

The Unknown Soldier from WWI laid out in the Capitol rotunda in 1921.

The Unknown Soldier from WWI laid out in the Capitol rotunda in 1921.

This post, an annual tradition for Veterans Day at The Optimistic Conservative since 2009, is now an annual tradition at Liberty Unyielding.

Ninety-seven years ago, in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the armistice was proclaimed that ended the terrible fighting in World War I.  A war that had erupted in large part because Europe’s political leaders, a century on from the Napoleonic conflicts, were accustomed to war remaining limited, produced some of the bloodiest battles ever fought. The six-month battle of the Somme in 1916 took the lives of an unimaginable 1.5 million French, German, and British soldiers – without either side achieving sustainable penetration of the line of confrontation, or any operational victory. WWI was the most tactically and politically frustrating of wars, admitting little maneuver, little jockeying for advantage, and no enduring significance to victory. Read More…

St. Martin's Day - too Christian for the European left. (Image: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung)

St. Martin’s Day – too Christian for the European left. (Image: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung)

You just know this latest in the thousand cuts of “multi-kulti” cultural suicide has to do with fear of offending Muslim immigrants.  And it does.

But I urge readers to look past the surface and keep in mind who’s doing the slice-and-dice job.

The story at hand involves a school in Oberkassel, Dusseldorf, which has redesignated the traditional St. Martin’s Day festival, held on 11 November, as an absurdly generic “Festival of Light.”  German media reported this late last week, and it was picked up quickly by English-language outlets.  (It’s worth making the point, as an aside, that we not only have to give up the richness of our own Western culture to supposedly avoid offending those from other cultures; we have to dumb everything down as well, turning ourselves into primitive animists and nature-worshipers.  Having a festival about “light” is so 10,000 years ago.) Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | November 1, 2015

‘Boots on the ground’: Saigon on the Euphrates, on steroids

Brain trust. (Image: AP, Pablo Martinez Monsivais via nola.com)

Brain trust. (Image: AP, Pablo Martinez Monsivais via nola.com)

Regular correspondents of this space may have wondered why I haven’t been writing more recently about the events in Iraq and Syria.  (Or Afghanistan, for that matter.)

The short answer is: because it’s too depressing to watch the Obama administration repeating every mistake of Kennedy and Johnson in Vietnam, but from a posture of greater weakness, greater foolishness, and – bonus! – apparent hatred for the United States.

Who wants to write about that?

We’ve reached the point at which there is nothing positive or hopeful to say.  I think most readers realize that, even if they can’t fully articulate what the problems seem to be.  Obama is quite literally doing nothing right, in his political-military approach to these hot spots of the Middle East.  There’s nothing in his policy to work with. Read More…

Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | October 28, 2015

Migrant influx has Europeans arming up

The workshop of Austrian gunmaker Steyr-Mannlicher. (Image via gunsforsale.com)

The workshop of Austrian gunmaker Steyr-Mannlicher. (Image via gunsforsale.com)

The urge to self-preservation may not be entirely dead among native Europeans.  According to European news sources, cited in this article at WND, Europeans who have the realistic option of purchasing firearms have started doing so, at a dramatically increased rate.

Although the citizens of several key countries (e.g., Germany, the Netherlands) are basically prohibited from buying guns — by the very high obstacles their governments set for such purchases — those who can are flocking to gun vendors.  Women are reportedly the customer base showing the biggest increase.

Austria is one of the nations where guns are selling fast. Read More…

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