Iran, U.S: Pre-talks posturing ropes in Israel, trash talk, Trump administration

Signals, intentional and not so.

Iran announced in early November that it would start talks on the Iranian nuclear program with the Biden administration and other world leaders this coming week in Vienna.

In preparation for the talks, Iran and the Biden administration have been sending smoke signals.

At a superficial level, the least ambiguous of these signals is probably one sent by Iran, in which the commander of the IRGC, Hossein Salami, stated that Iran “decides for USA and runs its policy”: Continue reading “Iran, U.S: Pre-talks posturing ropes in Israel, trash talk, Trump administration”

TOC Ready Room 11 Nov 2021: Ukraine and security; mock-ups in Chinese desert; preview of Danchenko meditation

What’s wrong and right with the world.

These will be drive-bys only, but it’s time for an update, whether updates are polished and ready or not.

Being left for later treatment are such equally urgent matters as the Biden administration’s weird posture on Iranian sanctions violations, which seems to have involved a most peculiar encounter in late October.

The “Ukraine and security” topic was prompted by a segment on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox Wednesday evening.  I rarely catch Carlson, but happened to see it on 10 November in its 8 PM slot, and was kind of mesmerized by the quality of the interview with Ohio Republican Congressman Mike Turner. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 11 Nov 2021: Ukraine and security; mock-ups in Chinese desert; preview of Danchenko meditation”

TOC Ready Room 2 Nov 2021: Election 2021; geopolitics heat up in Middle East; sub said to collide with seamount

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Here comes Tuesday 2 November 2021, general election day this year, and there’s no stopping it.

As mentioned in the TOC football forum, we plan to be watching the Toledo game.

But we’ll check in with the election results.  New Jersey’s not looking good for turning, but Virginia is a live prospect with the latest poll showing Republican Glenn Youngkin up on Democrat Terry McAuliffe 53%-45%.

…and this is us, checking in with the election in Virginia. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 2 Nov 2021: Election 2021; geopolitics heat up in Middle East; sub said to collide with seamount”

TOC Ready Room 19 Oct 2021; *UPDATE*

What’s wrong and right with the world today.

[Updates added at the bottom. – JED]

Greetings, readers.  This is the inaugural edition of the TOC Ready Room, which will be an open thread and drop-by briefing space in the spirit of the ready rooms used by military aviators.

My experience being with U.S. Navy ready rooms, the feature image is of a ready room on the carrier USS Constellation (CV64) used by a squadron from Carrier Air Wing 2.  The image is tagged as being from March 2003, when Constellation was on her final operational deployment supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.  (The CVW-2 patch is visible on one of the flight jackets, incidentally.)  Constellation was decommissioned only a few months later, in August 2003.

On a carrier, the ready room is used for planning and squadron briefings, but also serves as a gathering space subject to availability.  It’s the center of squadron life during underway periods and deployment.

The Ready Room posts will be added at least once a week, Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 19 Oct 2021; *UPDATE*”

War comes home: Russia v. Turkey; Jet shootdown; Rebels attack Russian helos with U.S. TOW missiles

Peace in our time.

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. Continue reading “War comes home: Russia v. Turkey; Jet shootdown; Rebels attack Russian helos with U.S. TOW missiles”