Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Ingushetia - Rebels Launch Offensive

Militants in the Caucasus decided to temporarily change tactics from hit and run to a more serious offensive, attacking the region's system of authority. Local and governmental offices and leaders of administrative units were the targets of several attacks in the past week. Dagestan has already gone through this, in Chechnya they live it constantly, now it's the turn of relatively peaceful Ingushetia....

Comment: Comprehensive article in Red Star. little details on some government successes, but not much on enemy successes. I'll be posting more later.
Disaster in the South

As you say a prayer for all the folks on the Gulf coast, don't forget South Florida. They took a massive hit as well while the Katrina was still "just" a Category 1.

This looks to be a disaster of epic proportions. New Orleans - under water, Gulfport - destroyed, Biloxi - destroyed, Mobile - flooding. Interstate bridges out. No water, no communications. Stories of people losing loved ones, floating away. My wife had tears rolling down her face as we watched the news last night.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Chechnya - Russian Internal Forces to Establish Mountain Units.

General Nikolai Rogozhkin, the CinC of the Interior Ministry Internal Forces, has announced the formation of mountain units. "We've already been training mountain units as part of the Internal troops to conduct operations in the wooded mountain areas of the northern Caucasus and other regions." A training center will be established in Labinsk (Krasnodar) and first units will be formed from the internal forces special operations troops, also one unit from the 49-th Brigade (Vladikavkas) and a regiment from Nalchik. Mountain units will be formed in the 46th special operations brigade (deployed to Chechnya) and the 102 brigade (deployed to the Northern Caucasus

Link to Red Star article Главнокомандующий Внутренними войсками (ВВ) МВД РФ генерал-полковник Николай Рогожкин заявил, что в составе Внутренних войск будут созданы горные подразделения.

Track back to Mudville

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Japan to establish intelligence agency to support overseas military operations

Japan's Defense Agency is setting up a 600-member team to gather intelligence relevant to its overseas troop deployments, the Asahi Shimbun said Thursday.

The intelligence unit, to be operational in March 2007, will gather information directly from contacts in foreign countries, the newspaper reported.

The new unit will include four teams of 10 specialists, who will be authorized to interview sources overseas to obtain information crucial to the troops' operations.

Comment: I picked up this story at, then found that it's also on the UPI wire. Didn't see it in any major US papers. Interesting that the Russians thought it newsworthy, not us. Redstar does have good correspondence on Far East issues though. Anyone else surprised to find that Japan didn't have a military intelligence unit?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Ingushetia Prime Minister Survives Assassination Attempt

An assassination attempt was made against the Prime Minister of Ingushetia, Ibrahim Malsagov on Thursday beside a railroad station in Nazran. His bodyguard was killed, and the head of the government and two other bodyguards were seriously wounded and taken to hosptals. They are expected to survive.
There were two explosive devices placed 10-15 meters apart, one went off when Malsagov’s car came out of his drive onto the road.
This is the third terrorist attack in Ingushetia in the last week.
Link to Pravda story
В четверг днём возле железнодорожного вокзала города Назрань совершено покушение на премьер-министра Ингушетии Ибрагима Мальсагова. Его охранник погиб, сам глава правительства и ещё два охранника получили серьёзные ранения и были доставлены в больницу

Comment: Bad guys are having a busy week. Time to watch for the government response

Track back to Mudville Open Post

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Iraq - Red Cross chief reveals they hid and medically treated 4 terrorists in order to free two kidnapped Italian women.

Link"> jueves 25 de agosto de 2005

In an interiview in the Italian daily "La Stampa" Maurizio Scelli disclosed that in order to secure the release of two Italian hostages, Simona Torretta i Simona Pari in September 2004, they secretly treated four terrorists who had been wounded in combat with US troops. Scelli also stated that the Italian civil, military, and intelligence authorities were aware of the operation.

Comment: Yeah, it sucks to be us. The terrs can disregards the laws of armed conflict, but still be protected by the Red Cross. What's really sickening, if true, is that the Italian military commander in Iraq knew about it. It's one thing to treat prisoners, but providing medical services to enemy forces seems to be way over the line.
Anti-Terror Anti- Narcomafia Federal Security Service (FSB) Regional Special Operations Department (ROSN) in Novosibirsk celebrates 10 year Anniversary.

The goal of FSB ROSN regional detachments was to combat terror and the attempts of the international narcomafia to establish bases for moving goods from Central Asia to Europe. This unit's area of responsibility includes Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tomsk, and Kemerovsk oblasts and the Altai region and republic. ROSN also has missions of to support counterintelligence, anti-crime, and security for members and their families.

The article goes on to describe some of the unit's successes, and a very detailed acount of the bravery of one of the members in urban combat in Ingushetia against terrorists led by Basaev and Umarov. Of note, the ROSN operator was completely integrated with a military unit.
Региональному отделу специального назначения (РОСН) управления ФСБ России по Новосибирской области исполнилось 10 лет. В зону ответственности подразделения, помимо Новосибирской, входят также Омская, Томская и Кемеровская области, Алтайский край и Республика Алтай.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Terrorist Weapons Cache Found in Moscow Apartment

A large cache of weapons and explosives was found today in an apt in SE Moscow, according to security forces, it may have been put there by the terrorists who conducted the last attack in Moscow(Dubrovka -2002). The cache included 20 AKs, 3 Colt pistols, 6 RPGs, 18 silencers, 500 grams plastic explosive, a large number of detonators and more.

The apartment belonged to a citizen who had previously been "brought to justice and died in custody. "...квартира принадлежит ранее привлекавшемуся к уголовной ответственности гражданину, скончавшемуся в местах лишения свободы..."

The article also mentions another stash in another part of town - but just a pistol and 10 grenades. The apt owner was a 75-year old pensioner granny.

Comment: That's a pretty large stash by my measure, but luckily for the citizens of Moscow it looks like it may have been abandoned - if that's what you call it when everyone who knew about it has been killed or captured.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Redstar Reports Large Scale Offensive Underway in Chechnya

In response to a noted increase in activity by illegal armed groups, in the last few day federal forces and security organs have undertaken measures to eliminate and interdict the extremist elements in all regions of the republic.

Some results - two militants TU in the Vedenskij region, rest of the elements of a band, under field commander Izumraev, dispersed, smalls arms captured. One of the dead may have been an Arab. The fighters in that region are showing determined resistance and have good communications and intelligence.

"Several" fighters were killed in the Suzhenski region near Sernovodsk, including the chief of the group - Emir Batalov. According to prisoners, the 80-strong group included Arabs.
В ответ на заметную активизацию в Чечне незаконных вооруженных формирований федеральные войска и правоохранительные органы предприняли в последние дни довольно жесткие меры по ликвидации их участников, пресечению действий экстремистских элементов во всех районах республики. На бандитов начато настоящее широкомасштабное наступление. Правда, уступает этот противник не очень охотно – огрызается, отвечает огнем и терактами, подлыми вылазками…

Comment: Is this something noteworthy or is it business as usual? I really haven't been following the war in Chechnya. Are there really Arabs there or is it a propaganda ploy to discredit the fighters - guilt by association? No opinion here yet.
Russian Terr Toes Up in Ingushetia

Bashir Pliev was killed as a result of a special op to eliminate bandits. He had been wanted in connection with the Jun 2004 attacks that killed 79 people. He was a close associate of Shamil Basaev, mastermind of the attacks on the schoolchildren in Beslan. Two police were wounded in the action when the bad guy offered armed resistance.
В Ингушетии убили басаевского оборотня
11:36 2005-08-23

More good news in the war on terror. Gotta say one thing about the Russians, when they start a campaign to eliminate banditry, they apply the literal meaning. Not like a western "war on drugs" or "war on terror" that includes apprehension and prosecution as if the enemy were common criminals. The objective is to destroy the enemy, destroy his ability to fight. Take prisoners when the enemy surrenders or when you need intel.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Joint Air Defense Exercise today - Russia, Armenia, Belorus, Tadzhikistan.
The scenario is "terrorist" activity in the northern Caucasus region. Armenia requests requests assistance and Russia, Belorus, and Tadzhikistan immediately deploy forces. An enemy aerial attack, simulated by a low flying Strizh-3 target and flares, will be engaged by Armenia surface to air missile forces and Russian Mig-29s. They'll also exercise aerial recon, air-ground attacks, air-air engagements, and a SAM engagement with Su-24R, Su-25, Mig-29, and ZRK S-125 respectively.
22 августа на полигоне Ашулук начинается основной этап совместного учения с боевой стрельбой «Боевое содружество-2005». В отличие от прошлых лет условия работы как боевых расчетов зенитных ракетных частей, так и авиации будут усложнены. Это коснется как помеховой, так и мишенной обстановки. Но обо всем по порядку. По замыслу учений в Северо-Кавказском регионе проявляют активность «бандформирования» и «террористические группы».

My thoughts are that the cooperation and coordination is certainly good exercise, but the whole scenario looks quite conventional. Is an anti-"terrorist" air defense ex a stretch? Not sure. Are they exercising against a threat that has truly been defined by their leadership and intelligence - or is cooperation the goal? The rest of the article includes a great discussion on the regional/mulitnational unified air defense systems. Leads me to believe the latter.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Three Policemen killed by IED in Dagestan
3 officers on foot patrol were killed by a remote detonated IED hidden in a dumpster on Avenue Imam Shamilya near the "Europe" banquet hall in the capital Makhachkala. The device was loaded with shrapnel and had a charge of about 6kg. Two of the killed were from the Dagestan police, the other was on temporary duty from the Stavropol region.

В Дагестане очередной теракт. Трое милиционеров погибли02:26 2005-08-21
Во время пешего патрулирования совместного наряда милиции на проспекте имама Шамиля в Махачкале было приведено в действие радиоуправляемое самодельное взрывное устройство. По предварительным данным, смесь алюминиевой пудры и аммиачной селитры была упакована в оцинкованное ведро. Взрывное устройство было усилено обрывками арматуры. Мина была приведена в действие дистанционно. Среди погибших - два сотрудника дагестанской милиции и один милиционер, прикомандированный из УВД Ставропольского края. Мощность взрывного устройства, которое было начинено поражающими элементами в виде гаек, болтов и рубленной арматуры, составила до 6 кг в тротиловом эквиваленте. Оно было заложено в куче строительного мусора возле строящегося здания недалеко от банкетного зала "Европа", сообщает ИТАР-ТАСС.
Dilbert Takes on the MSM?

Excellent Dilbert cartoon in the Sunday paper today

The willingness to blather on, treating opinions as "news" and the mutual masturbation between the"pundits," anchors, and other assorted talking heads is probably at the top of the list why many people have moved away from the news networks. (Fox too, although criticized as "right wing," I think they're more populist than libertarian or conservative). A good example of the MSM failure was the withdrawal this week of the Israelis from Gaza. Powerful images, but nowhere in the legacy media have they really explained why Israel's is doing this.

Scott Adams has always had a good take on working in cubeworld, it's good to see him venturing out. Mr. Adams' criticism is on target as far as I'm concerned, especially with the recent admission by AP that it's too dangerous to get the real story in Iraq. Didn't stop Stephen Vincent (may he rest in peace)... well, actually it did, but the fact is, that rather than compromise and get half the story he went for the whole story.

On a much brighter note, Michael Yon has been doing bang up work in Mosul. Check him out if you haven't already. He's definitely worth a donation.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

What's my "niche?"

I'd like to contribute something unique to the blogosphere. Although I'm convinced that I occasionally have original thoughts regarding politics, human rights, right left, the war and so on, there are plenty of folk already giving voice.

I tried something with my first two posts, checking some foreign language news sites for stories or details I hadn't seen in english language media - either web or legacy, and came up with the helo details (I knew about the crash, but wasn't aware of the causes), and the Russian naval exercise (hadn't heard about that) . Oh yeah, it helps to speak Russian and Spanish.

Comments? Thoughts?
Putin and MoD Ivanov attend Russian Navy Exercise - Russian Navy shows a high state of readiness
According to a Pravda article, the largest exercise in recent years took place this week in the Barents sea. It involved practically all Northern fleet forces - subs, including two "Sineva" armed SSBNs , carrier aviation, shore units, and a large number of surface units including the CG Petr Velikij, and the CV Admiral Kuznetsov, (president Putin and Russian Minister of Defense Ivanov embarked).

Самые масштабные за последние годы учения прошли в Баренцевом море. В них были задействованы практически все силы Северного флота: атомные подлодки, в том числе два стратегических подводных ракетных крейсера типа «Дельфин», вооруженных баллистическими ракетами «Синева», палубная авиация, береговые части и большинство надводных кораблей, среди которых тяжелый ракетный крейсер «Петр Великий» и авианосец «Адмирал Кузнецов». За ходом маневров с палубы крейсера «Петр Великий» наблюдали верховный главнокомандующий, президент Владимир Путин и министр обороны РФ Сергей Иванов.

The exercise showed that Russian naval forces are at a high state of readiness

Учения показали, что боеготовность военно-морских сил находится на высоком уровне.

At an event a few days earlier, Ivanov had noted that "The country's leadership, the defense ministry well understands that without a modern and powerful Navy we can't count on an adequate future..." He called for improvements and modernization of strategic Naval nuclear forces, surface forces, bases, and support, calling them "among our highest priorities."

«Руководство страны, министерства обороны хорошо понимает: без современного и мощного флота мы не можем рассчитывать на достойное будущее», – заявил он. По его словам, «именно поэтому поддержание потенциала морских стратегических ядерных сил, качественное обновление корабельного состава и вооружения, улучшение условий базирования и обеспечения сил флота, совершенствование системы социальной защищенности военных моряков относятся к числу наших важнейших приоритетов».

A recent poll showed a high level of public confidence in the Russian Navy's ability to defend the country from external threats.

При этом подавляющее большинство граждан (70%) убеждены, что если возникнет реальная военная угроза извне, то ВМФ сумеет защитить морские рубежи страны.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sad news about the loss of 17 Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan. The Spanish press is discussing the possible causes of the crash of the helicopter which is described both as a "Superpuma" and a "Cougar." The Cougar is the military family of helos based on the Superpuma civil helos.

The main thrust of the article is that the helo was at maximum load, with its crew and passengers carrying full combat loads and flying at extremely low altitude, under 10m.

Spanish press says that according to its sources, atributing the accident to wind gust is not a serious explanation. (As in most mishaps) it was probably a cumulation of events - including altitude above sea level, altitude above ground level, load, and air temperature. It boils down to the fact that the aircraft was operating at the extremes of several variables. It was a risky mission to start with.

The implication in the Spanish article is that because the mission was risky, it shouldn't have been conducted. The tone is familiar. When something goes wrong armchair quarterbacks, like those too afraid to leave their hotels in Baghdad, question why the mission went forward when the risks were so great. The reason it goes forward is because the payoff of a successful mission outweighs the possible risks. We manage risk, through training, exercise and planning. We identify the risks, plan contingencies, and move out. That's what a military force does. That's how you win.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Welcome to my blog.
I hope to share my thoughts on the war and other issues of importance. Left Right Center? You be the judge. I can tell you though, I used to be a registered Democrat until I came to the realization that the Democratic party doesn't really have any principles, only positions. Googling that idea, it turns out that it's not an original thought. It seems someone has written on the topic already.

I may share a little of my own personal history with you too.
Come on' back.