A Beautiful Thing

Precision is one of the watchwords of our modern military forces, and precision coupled with either stealth or distance gives you many benefits. The fact that the Raptor can shoot other jets out of the sky before they know it’s there and the fact that our air-to-air missiles can hit targets before we are in their range adds a great deal to the F-22’s threat profile.

Boeing recently demonstrated Air to Ground capability from a C-130 that is awesome in ability to take out targets without civilian casualties. Wired has the article here.

According to the developers, the accuracy of this weapon is little short of supernatural. They claim that the pinpoint precision can make it lethal or non-lethal at will. For example, they say it can either destroy a vehicle completely, or just damage the tires to immobilize it. The illustration shows a theoretical 26-second engagement in which the beam deftly destroys “32 tires, 11 Antennae, 3 Missile Launchers, 11 EO devices, 4 Mortars, 5 Machine Guns” — while avoiding harming a truckload of refugees and the soldiers guarding them

Bajaur Offensive Continues: Taliban Deny Death Of Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri

21 More Taliban were killed, however their ground forces overan more checkpoints and villages and are now patrolling streets in the area. The Taliban are denying reports of Abu Yazid Al Masri’s death, while Pakistan security forces say they overheard about his death while monitoring insurgent radios.

More at the International News:

KHAR/PESHAWAR: Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft and military gunship helicopters continued targeting suspected hideouts of militants in the restive Bajaur tribal agency, killing 21 more people, including three civilians, and injuring several others, officials said.

Meanwhile, the security forces vacated yet another important post near Siddiqabad. Sources close to Arab fighters denied reports about the killing of senior al-Qaeda operative and the network’s operational commander in Afghanistan, Abu Yazeed al-Masri alias Mustafa Mohammad Ahmad or Sheikh Saeed al-Masri, in bombing by the Pakistani fighter aircraft on Damadola in Bajaur a few days back.

There are denials on jihadi forums from non-AQ sources, normally when something of this magnitude happens you will see a confirmation or denial from the leadership of Al Qaeda within a week. The leadership has been silent so far, and the others making denials aren’t AQ, they are TTP Pakistan Taliban.

UPDATE:
New reports have the military targeting and hitting Mullah Faqir’s vehicle convoy, according to Maulvi Omar, spokesworm for Baitullah Mehsud, Faqir survived. Intel types will want to read this article as it’s a naming of who’s who in the Damadola area. [Most of you know this information already, but it’s always good to have more confirmation.]
The tribals left in the region are confirming that the military is actually hitting real Taliban targets while they are there, which is a refreshing change if true.
Another report from Dawn reports of the hit on the two vehicle convoy, but doesn’t name names. [International News has a later press time.] The Dawn article does point out that the Military is expanding the area of operation, and from the leaflets dropped they appear to have a “gloves off, weapons hot” approach at the moment.
Meanwhile Baitullah’s assassination list of 300 is getting names crossed off as targetted hits on Pro-Government tribal leaders continue.
Another interesting note here, as tribesmen ask the Taliban to leave Dir.
UPDATE:
Further Confirmation of Maulvi Faqir Mohammed’s death at the Nation, where they also confirm that like Abu Yazid Al Masri, Faqir was close to Ayman Al Zawahiri and AQ.
Update: More at The Long War Journal

Missile Strike Against Hekmatyar Camp in Pakistan; 9 Dead

Associated Press and Reuters are reporting a missile strike at a Gulbuddin Hekmatyar training camp in Pakistan. The report has 9 militants dead (unamed, but militants usually equals foreign Taliban or Al Qaeda, local TTP Taliban are either named or tagged extremists.) From Reuters:

WANA, Pakistan, Aug 13 (Reuters) – At least nine militants were killed in a missile strike on their training camp in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region, near the Afghan border, security officials and residents said on Wednesday.

In a separate incident, a militant faction leader was shot and killed by a gunman at his office in a mosque in a northwestern town.

This strike occurred in Bhagar, about 22 miles West of Wana, a hotbed and gathering area for Taliban forces in the South Waziristan area. One out of two camps located at Bhagar was hit. According to an unamed Pakistan intel official :

“This camp was run by Hizb-e-Islami and there were about 15 people including foreigners there at the time of the attack,”
Militants sealed off the area and were not letting anyone approach, they aren’t even letting residents who live nearby go there but our information is that they have recovered nine bodies.”

Here’s the wiki page on Gulbuddin, you will see that Hizb-e-Islami (G) and Hekmatyar have a long history, including some ties to Iran.

Update: AFP reports the possibility that Zanjir Wazir, commander of HIG Afghanistan was killed. His brother, Abdur Rehman and Abdul Salam were counted among the dead.

US officials are denying the strike, which was four missiles. Pakistan is known to have laser guided munitions (helicopter launched) and as the training camp’s plot is well known, the missiles could have been targetted via GPS.

Also note this from the AFP Story linked above:

Separately on Wednesday a gunman shot dead an Islamist militant leader, Haji Namdar, as he taught at a religious school in the Khyber tribal region near the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said

It’s a “red on red” killing and retribution for Namdar’s resistance in the Khyber agency, there will undoubtably be counter-strokes, stay tuned.

More at Jammie Wearing Fool

Computational Genomics: Deconstructing DNA to Determine Evolutionary Paths

Yazid Al Masri Update: Army Spokesman Partially Confirms Death of AQ #3

From the Pakistan Daily Times we have a named source saying that they think Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri is dead. He refuses to confirm until secondary verification from ground sources however.

From the Daily Times:

Strikes by Pakistani fighter jets have killed a senior Al Qaeda commander in the Bajaur Agency, according to unofficial reports on Tuesday. Military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said the security agencies had intelligence on presence of top Al Qaeda operative Abu Mustafa Al Yazid but his death could not be confirmed as yet by “contacts on the ground”. “I can only speak when we have 100 percent confirmation that he was killed,” Abbas told Daily Times. However, he confirmed air raids in the area by security forces.

UPDATE II: In the International Times they have both Taliban and “Arab” sources denying the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri. This looks like another false report from Pakistan’s Military at the moment, but note that the military also states that intercepted insurgent radio chatter is where they first heard of the death, we’ll give this another 48 hours since Al Qaeda ususally does confirm when we kill a leader.

Update: Apparently after the strike the bodies where taken away, and then sent to separate villages, see this article.

Militants’ positions were also targeted by artillery and mortars from the paramilitary Bajaur Scouts headquarters in Khar, they added. The officials said 21 militants were killed and several were injured in the daylong bombing and artillery shelling on their hideouts.

Officials said the militants later took bodies of the slain and injured colleagues to their headquarters in Seway village of Mamond subdivision. “After their funeral prayers offered in Seway, the bodies of the militants were dispatched to their respective villages for burial,” sources close to militants told The News from Seway.

Sources said the militants from other tribal regions, including South Waziristan, Khyber, Mohmand and settled districts of Mardan, Peshawar, Nowshera, Dir and Swabi also reached the area to fight alongside their fellow fighters in the Bajaur Agency against the security forces.

[also note that the village mentioned has a history. You also see that the Mullah Faqir mentioned in the article and released in 2006 is leading the Taliban here.]

Today’s Earlier Post:
Pakistan has announced the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” al-Masri in the Bajaur region as a result of their ongoing offensive there. (The Reuters story specifies an “Unamed Official, but that’s normally how these reports come from Pakistan.) Originally billed as Al Qaida’s leader in Afghanistan way back in May 2007 in an As Sahab video, he later seemed to have been replaced in subseqent announcements by other AQ leaders in Afghanistan as they tried Emir after Emir. I think this was by design after Dadullah’s death, their second tier now leads from the rear. He was the replacement after we killed Mullah Dadullah, and from what I can see he was in the second tier of leadership of Al Qaeda, managing both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here is the video announcing him as leader in Afghanistan from Memri.

While I’m calling Abu Yazid as a “tier II” leader, some refer to him as Al Qaeda’s number three, he also served time in the same cell alongside Ayman Al Zawahiri in Egypt. Regardless of where you place his position, he is part of the critical strategic leadership for AQ, and this is a tremendous blow to them if the initial reports pan out.

He was the one who declared Jihad against Turkey, and later he pops up in the news claiming credit for the Benazir Bhutto assassination for Al Qaeda. ( Rememeber that many think Baitullah Mehsud did it as well, I would still wager that AQ ordered the killing and that Baitullah managed the logistics.)
You can also see in this dispatch at Memri that he doesn’t distinguish between civilians and government for purposes of Jihad.

Here’s the story from Fox News:

Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri has been killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border, a security official told Reuters on Tuesday.

“He was believed to be among the top leadership of Al Qaeda,” the senior security official told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

Al-Masri, which means Egyptian, was the senior most Al Qaeda operative to have been killed in Pakistan’s tribal belt since the death of his compatriot, Abu Khabab al-Masri, an Al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, last month

You can also see that Abu Yazid Al Masri, like all Al Qaeda leadership, interprets Jihad the way he wants to at the moment. Here he specifically states that blowing up mosques is forbidden, but later you saw Al Qaeda suicide bomb the mosque at Charsadda in an attempt to get Aftab Ahmed Sherpao:

In the interview, Abu Al-Yazid stated that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad last June. He said that the bomber was a Saudi, and added: “We are proud to have carried out [this operation], and we congratulated our brothers for completing this task. We timed the attack in such a way that no Muslims were in the vicinity.” Abu Al-Yazid also stated that Al-Qaeda had been responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. On a previous occasion, he claimed that the organization had carried out the December 27, 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime-minister Benazir Bhutto.

Referring to the permissibility of suicide bombings, Abu Al-Yazid said that eminent Islamic scholars around the world had issued fatwas sanctioning them. He added: “Suicide attacks are justified by Islamic shari’a. [However, Islamic] scholars [who are affiliated with] governments issue whatever fatwas they are told to issue… However, suicide attacks inside mosques are forbidden.”

Meanwhile the offensive in Bajaur is continuing, I think the ruling coalition in Pakistan has realized that they must get AQ and Baitullah before the terrorists get them. ( Baitullah circulated a list of 300 PPP and PML-N stalwarts up for assassination last month.)

More at Jawa Report

More at The Long War Journal

Communist Party USA Endorses Obama

The CPUSA endorsement shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has been reading here. More at Little Green Footballs.
The remaining question is which lapel pin Barack Obama really prefers. Would it depend on speaking venue?

Update: This post is one of those that I sneer at my own self for, I knew that Obama wouldn’t prefer a communist pin over our flag, but was still so embedded in wingnuttery that I went ahead and sent the undeserved partisan shot with that final question.

Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid aka “Sa’id” Al Qaeda Leader Dead

Pakistan has announced the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” al-Masri in the Bajaur region as a result of their ongoing offensive there. (The Reuters story specifies an “Unamed Official, but that’s normally how these reports come from Pakistan.) 
UPDATE: In the International Times they have both Taliban and “Arab” sources denying the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri. This looks like another false report from Pakistan’s Military at the moment, but note that the military also states that intercepted insurgent radio chatter is where they first heard of the death, we’ll give this another 48 hours since Al Qaeda ususally does confirm when we kill a leader.

Originally billed as Al Qaida’s leader in Afghanistan way back in May 2007 in an As Sahab video, he later seemed to have been replaced in subseqent announcements by other AQ leaders in Afghanistan as they tried Emir after Emir. I think this was by design after Dadullah’s death, their second tier now leads from the rear. He was the replacement after we killed Mullah Dadullah, and from what I can see he was in the second tier of leadership of Al Qaeda, managing both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here is the video announcing him as leader in Afghanistan from Memri.

While I’m calling Abu Yazid as a “tier II” leader, some refer to him as Al Qaeda’s number three, he also served time in the same cell alongside Ayman Al Zawahiri in Egypt. Regardless of where you place his position, he is part of the critical strategic leadership for AQ, and this is a tremendous blow to them if the initial reports pan out.

He was the one who declared Jihad against Turkey, and later he pops up in the news claiming credit for the Benazir Bhutto assassination for Al Qaeda. ( Rememeber that many think Baitullah Mehsud did it as well, I would still wager that AQ ordered the killing and that Baitullah managed the logistics.)
You can also see in this dispatch at Memri that he doesn’t distinguish between civilians and government for purposes of Jihad.

Here’s the story from Fox News:

Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri has been killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border, a security official told Reuters on Tuesday.

“He was believed to be among the top leadership of Al Qaeda,” the senior security official told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

Al-Masri, which means Egyptian, was the senior most Al Qaeda operative to have been killed in Pakistan’s tribal belt since the death of his compatriot, Abu Khabab al-Masri, an Al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, last month

You can also see that Abu Yazid Al Masri, like all Al Qaeda leadership, interprets Jihad the way he wants to at the moment. Here he specifically states that blowing up mosques is forbidden, but later you saw Al Qaeda suicide bomb the mosque at Charsadda in an attempt to get Aftab Ahmed Sherpao:

In the interview, Abu Al-Yazid stated that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad last June. He said that the bomber was a Saudi, and added: “We are proud to have carried out [this operation], and we congratulated our brothers for completing this task. We timed the attack in such a way that no Muslims were in the vicinity.” Abu Al-Yazid also stated that Al-Qaeda had been responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. On a previous occasion, he claimed that the organization had carried out the December 27, 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime-minister Benazir Bhutto.

Referring to the permissibility of suicide bombings, Abu Al-Yazid said that eminent Islamic scholars around the world had issued fatwas sanctioning them. He added: “Suicide attacks are justified by Islamic shari’a. [However, Islamic] scholars [who are affiliated with] governments issue whatever fatwas they are told to issue… However, suicide attacks inside mosques are forbidden.”

Meanwhile the offensive in Bajaur is continuing, I think the ruling coalition in Pakistan has realized that they must get AQ and Baitullah before the terrorists get them. ( Baitullah circulated a list of 300 PPP and PML-N stalwarts up for assassination last month.)

More at Jawa Report

More at The Long War Journal

Obama is Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense

Most Americans would not recognize the acronym “BMD” or understand its meaning, but Ballistic Missile Defense is a keystone to our strategic defense systems as well as those of NATO.

Russia, China, and a raft of third world thugs and dictators are as openly and adamantly opposed to the program as Obama is.

James Lewis at American Thinker has an article up about this, and I will take a moment here to completely underline one of the key effects of BMD for Geo-political strategy. To help you understand this effect I’m going to explain what I call the “Snapshot Bully Scenario.”

While nuclear war would be unthinkable with either Russia or China, and Ballistic Missile Defense at present isn’t designed to cope with their large arsenals, BMD does prevent the “snapshot bully” scenario. A single nuclear shot or threat of one by Russia or China against a neighbor they were trying to coerce would be unlikely, but it’s also unlikely that the response would be nuclear in return if they were given slight pretext and only one nuclear device were used or threatened. The opposition would be world wide, but it probably wouldn’t be military since that would initiate WWIII at a nuclear level. The precedent for limited nuclear weapon use was already set by the US when we used them against Japan.

What’s more likely is that Russia or China could threaten through proxy – a nuclear armed North Korea, Pakistan, India, or Iran backed by a tight alliance with either Russia or China could use the snapshot bullying tactic of a single shot or threat of a single shot to gain compliance, and that would be more likely than the direct threat scenario outlined above. Not to mention that if Iran gets nukes, it’s likely they will share the awful bounty with people like Hugo Chavez to threaten our allies in this hemisphere. Without BMD it’s likely that the Eastern European or South Asian country threatened would knuckle under to whatever demand was made under coercion from snapshot nuclear blackmail.

The current BMD program (once in place) completely removes that threat, since it makes it highly unlikely that a single shot would succeed in reaching target. Japan is already protected from snapshot scenarios, as are others in the area by their BMD batteries and ships.

China and Russia’s strategic nuclear forces also make the conventional armies of countries in East Europe and the Sub-continent of Asia somewhat useless in defending against an ally of either Russia or China, and there are many other scenarios you could imagine where the ability to defeat a single nuclear shot becomes extremely important beyond just that of the madman with a nuclear ICBM scenario most people think of.

Barack’s opposition to BMD and the space program is clearly a disaster in the making for the US and our Allies. Please write or join here and let your support of BMD be known. ( Please note that I am conservative, and oppose Barack Obama and the Democrats in general, but the MDAA is Non-partisan and supports the concept of BMD in general without lobbying for any particular technology.)

“Ask Not What You Can Do For Social Justice…”

The Newest McCain Ad in the “Not Ready to Lead” series, in this one you wonder if Obama will change and invert the famous John F Kennedy quote to “Ask not what you can do for social justice, ask instead what social justice will do to you…”

Say What Barack?

This is hilarious.

[editor: Well it was hilarious, but now they’ve pulled the air gauge vid. Here’s the latest McCain ad as a poor substitute.]