Less than half of the US bomber fleet is ready to ‘fight tonight’

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer prepares to take off for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. (Tech. Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger/Air Force)

 

WASHINGTON – Less than half of the bombers President Donald Trump would rely upon to be “locked and loaded” against North Korea could launch today if needed, according to the latest Air Force figures available.

That’s not a surprise to the bomb squadrons who have seen firsthand the combined effects of aircraft age, the demand of 15 years of air war operations and reduced budgets. But the numbers can be stark. Of the nation’s 75 conventional and nuclear B-52s, only about 33 are ready to fly at any given time, according to Air Force statistics. Of the 62 conventional B-1s, only about 25 are ready. With the 20 nuclear B-2 stealth bombers, the number drops further. Seven or eight bombers are available, according to the Air Force.

On a nominal basis you don’t have more than single digits of B-2s available to do anything,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, currently the dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace.

“If anything good comes out of the North Korea crisis,” it should be a wake-up call, he said.

“It’s not just the nation’s bomber force,” that is so stretched, Deptula said. “It’s the military writ large. The U.S. Air Force is the smallest and least ready it’s ever been in history – that should get people’s attention.”

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Russia flies 2,000 mercenary troops into Syria

 

Russia is engaged in a major buildup in Syria, both in support of the de-escalation zones established in conjunction with the United States, and in order to solidify its military control of the country.

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reported exclusively on Wednesday, August 2, that 2,000 mercenaries had just been airlifted into the country, boosting to a total of 5,000 the number of mercenaries on hire from the Wagner Group private contractors for service under the Russian flag in Syria. They are all retirees from elite units of the Russian ground forces, air force or navy. Continue reading

Russia posts troops 8km from the Israeli Golan

 

Russia has quietly moved troops to a point in southern Syria that is 8km from Israel’s Golan border, in the face of Israeli objections, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. Moscow used the uproar over the Temple Mount standoff and the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Jordan to cover its creeping troop deployment almost up do Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan.

Tuesday, July 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avidor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott visited Bashan Division headquarters on the Golan for a rundown on the Russian deployment just opposite. (see photo) Continue reading

The IRGC—Terrorism’s Goliath

ISIS has captivated Western attention for so long with its gruesome beheadings, stabbings, vehicular homicides, shootings and bombings in Europe and the United States, the horrific aftermaths deservedly the focus of television news, that virtually forgotten is the world’s biggest terror threat – Iran’s IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The IRGC, often misidentified in Western press as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps dwarfs ISIS by any measure.

ISIS never had more than about 30,000 fighters, equipped mostly with small arms, with very little access to high-tech weaponry.

In contrast, the IRGC has about 125,000 fighters. It is the only terror organization in the world with an army, navy, and special forces.

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The Sectarian Divide in the Middle East

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July 7, 2017 Transnational issues like religion and ethnicity have long bedeviled the countries of the modern Middle East. Major Arab states like Egypt, Syria and Iraq began to flirt with pan-Arabism – a secular, left-leaning ideology that sought political unity of the Arab world – not long after they were founded. Continue reading

Britain prepared to use air strikes or send in troops as retaliation against future cyber attack

A strike on UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”, said the Defence Secretary

 

Britain could launch military retaliation such as air strikes against a future cyber attack, the Defence Secretary has suggested.

Sir Michael Fallon warned potential attackers that a strike on UK systems “could invite a response from any domain – air, land, sea or cyberspace”.

The Defence Secretary said the UK’s ability to carry out its own cyber attacks against Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (Isil), also known as Daesh, had saved lives during the battle for Mosul in Iraq and the capability was also being used in the fight for Raqqa in Syria. Continue reading

Anti-Trump Leak Campaign Damaging U.S. and Allied Operations

Getty Images

 

U.S. official: Leaks of classified info by former Obama officials endanger American security operations

A new wave of leaks targeting the Trump administration has actively endangered ongoing intelligence and military operations being conducted by the United States and its allies, sparking anger and concern inside and outside the White House, according to multiple conversations with senior U.S. officials intimately familiar with the situation.

The classified leaks, which are being handed to sympathetic journalists by former Obama administration officials who left the government and by holdovers still serving in the Trump administration, have damaged a number of ongoing operations, ranging from American efforts to prevent Russian infiltration of the United States to Israeli efforts against ISIS, sources said. Continue reading

Pentagon Responds: “US Pilots Will Defend Themselves If Attacked By Russians”

One wouldn’t know it by looking at the market, but the biggest developing story today was Russia’s threat to intercept any aircraft – including US – flying in the area of operations of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria, and “be followed as targets” after yesterday’s downing by a US F-18 of a Syrian Su-22 fighter jet. Moments ago the US responded to this unmistakable deterioration in relations between the two nations, when a Pentagon spokesman said U.S. pilots over Syria will defend themselves if attacked by Russians. Continue reading

Russia to treat US jets in Syria as ‘targets’ after America guns down first regime warplane

A Syrian jet (similar to the one pictured on 23 March 2017) was shot down by US forces on Sunday [Getty]

 

Russia has said it will treat US warplanes operating in parts of Syria where its air forces are also present as “targets” amid a diplomatic row caused by the downing of a Syrian jet.

The country’s defence ministry said it would track US-led coalition aircraft with missile systems and military aircraft, but stopped short of saying it would shoot them down.

A hotline set up between Russia and the US to prevent mid-air collisions will also be suspended. Continue reading

Future of Iraq

WASHINGTON/BERLIN/BAGHDAD (Own report) – A strategy paper prepared by the US Atlantic Council think tank – with the assistance of Germany’s CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation – is proposing measures for Western powers to take to insure their continued influence in Iraq following the fall of Mosul. According to the paper, published a few days ago, US military forces should remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future, train and equip Iraqi forces to prevent IS from regrouping and recovering after its expected defeat. To push back Iran’s influence, measures should also be taken to help the country’s economic development. In Baghdad, a government “strongly inclined to cooperate closely with the United States” is needed, the paper states, and calls for US allies – particularly European countries – to engage in Iraq to “tackle sensitive areas in which the United States is not seen as neutral.” Berlin is already using this opportunity to build its own base of influence in Iraq and is supporting the reconstruction of towns recaptured from the IS. Insuring western control of Iraq is considered all the more urgent, since Russia could successfully obtain major influence in Damascus following the anticipated end of the Syrian war.

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Pentagon: US shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time

(AP) — The U.S. military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants, an action that appeared to mark a new escalation of the conflict.

The U.S. had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday’s confrontation, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. While the U.S. has said since it began recruiting, training and advising what it calls moderate Syrian opposition forces to fight IS that it would protect them from potential Syrian government retribution, this was the first time it resorted to engaging in air-to-air combat to make good on that promise.

The U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a written statement that a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

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EU Sues Poland, Hungary And Czech Republic For Refusing To Accept Refugees

 

The European Commission has launched a legal case against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, for refusing to take in asylum seekers, escalating a bitter feud within the 28-nation bloc about how to deal with the Pandora’s box opened up Angela Merkel’s 2015 “Open Door” policy (since shut).

The reason for Brussels’ ire is that the eurosceptic governments in Poland and Hungary refused to take in anyone under a plan agreed by a majority of EU leaders in 2015 to relocate migrants from frontline states Italy and Greece to help ease their burden. The Czech Republic initially accepted 12 people but has since said it would not welcome more. It is perhaps worth noting that the three countries are among the very few who have had virtually no terrorist attacks in the past two years. Continue reading

VIDEO: Humongous ISIS convoy allowed to escape Raqqa to fight the Syrian Army instead

Please see the source for the video.

 

 

AMASCUS, SYRIA (3:40 A.M.) – Al-Masdar News has obtained jaw-dropping footage from northern Syria suggesting the US-led coalition has allowed hundreds of ISIS vehicles to leave Raqqa city for areas controlled by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Despite Kurdish and American drones hovering above Raqqa on all flanks, the Islamic State convoy remained completely untouched by coalition airstrikes, thus suggesting an under-the-table deal may have been struck between the warring parties: Continue reading

Michael Savage Predicted ‘Violence’ by ‘Marginals’ Day Before Attack

 

‘We are at a boiling point. There’s going to be a civil war’

Less than 24 hours before a supporter of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders fired at Republican members of Congress at a baseball practice, seriously injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others before U.S. Capitol Police took down the assailant, talk-radio host and author Michael Savage warned of violence by “marginal” people who are set to explode and “kill somebody.”

Savage, the host of the nationally syndicated “The Savage Nation,” was commenting on recent developments that have escalated the anti-Trump “resistance,” such as comedian Kathy Griffin’s ISIS-style photo shoot of the decapitated likeness of Trump and the “Julius Caesar” play in Central Park featuring the assassination of a Trump-like figure. Continue reading

Iran Says it Can Prove the U.S. and ISIS Are Allies

Iranians attend the funeral of the victims, who were killed on the June 7 terrorist attack in Tehran, Iran June 9, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS

 

Tehran claims it has documents proving the U.S. has formed an alliance with the terror group ISIS according to senior Iranian officials. So far though they haven’t provided any evidence.

Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mostafa Izadi on Sunday accused the U.S. of supporting Islamic State.

We possess documents and information showing the direct supports by the US imperialism for this highly disgusting stream [IS] in the region which has destroyed the Islamic countries and created a wave of massacres and clashes,” Fars news agency quoted Izadi as saying. Continue reading