Thomas Wictor

Reading tea leaves in the Middle East

Reading tea leaves in the Middle East

For me, reading the tea leaves in the Middle East is exciting. All I see is good news. Keep in mind, though, the caliber of the people who are reshaping the region. The leaders and the men carrying out combat missions are a new breed. It’ll take decades for the rest of us to catch up.

Reading Israel

Prime Minister Netanyahu said this on social media.

I thought he was referring to the Palestinian knife attacks, but “scope” has several meanings, including the following.

The opportunity or possibility to do or deal with something.

Opportunity and possibility for terrorism has dropped significantly. In February Israel pretty much announced that it would intervene in Syria on behalf of moderate Arabs and Kurds. And that’s what happened.

Israel has launched dozens of strikes in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, acknowledging for the first time such attacks against suspected arms transfers to Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas.

Netanyahu did not specify what kind of strikes Israel had conducted in Syria. He also gave no timeframe or other details regarding the strikes.

Only a handful of air strikes have been reported. I’m guessing that IDF commandos went into Syria and blew the hell out of many different targets.

Did you hear about this, which happened a few weeks ago?

An explosion in Iran has injured at least 39 people at the Grand Bazaar in central Tehran.

Al-Bawaba reports the likely cause of the blast as a faulty gas cylinder at a three-story building in Green Square.

Tehran’s police chief said chemicals for manufacturing firecrackers exploded in the marketplace.

Well, was it a gas cylinder or chemicals for manufacturing firecrackers? Fifteen were killed. Am I reading into things by pointing out the clothes on some of the injured?

Of the thirty-six who appear in photos, thirty-three are military-aged males.

I believe that the operation to overthrow the mullahs has begun.

Reading Syria

Too many people get caught up in the daily back and forth of the Syrian civil war. Here’s a handy rule of thumb: The people winning the war are putting out almost no videos or statements. There isn’t really a term for how this war is being fought. Arab League and allied strategic special operators infiltrated the country at least three years ago and have been chipping away at the offensive capabilities of everybody.

Another handy rule of thumb is that what you see is almost certainly not what you think. For example, this.

People say that a US Air Force Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog” destroyed a BMP infantry fighting vehicle stuffed with explosives, but I don’t think that’s correct.

The screen you see is the feed from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), probably the Chinese CH-4 that the Saudis and Emiratis were forced to buy because our government was too incompetent to sell them ours.

As the UAV filmed, another aircraft fired on the VBIED. Americans are extremely reluctant to use the A-10 in Syria because everybody has antiaircraft missiles. This attack on Shaddadi came out of the blue; the A-10 would’ve had to have been loitering over the area in a combat air patrol (CAP). American policy is to send aircraft only on attack missions. We’re not doing CAPs.

Also, the 30mm round from the GAU-8 Avenger cannon on the A-10 makes a gigantic, fiery explosion.

The munition used on the VBIED in Shaddadi didn’t explode. There are no flashes.

These projectiles used kinetic energy to piece the roof of the vehicle. I think they were 25mm discarding sabot rounds.

My guess is that the Arab League has counterinsurgency (COIN) turboprops with gun pods.

Any trainer can be armed. It’s a new weapon in the video, not an A-10.

Reading the future

First the present.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) counter-offensive in northern Aleppo has proven to be successful for the terrorist group, as they have recaptured all the villages they lost to the extremist rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, and Jabhat Al-Shamiya.

ISIS launched their counter-offensive on Saturday night, seizing 8 villages by dawn the following day; this paved the way for their recapture of Al-Rai this morning.

This is what I wrote two nights ago.

Without warning, the Kurds and these guys stopped fighting, the rebels produced “several thousand fighters,” and the very heavily defended village of al-Rai was taken pretty much effortlessly.

The video above shows no military skills at all. Men who carry their rifles like that have no training, yet the Free Syrian Army is rolling up the Islamic State in northern Syria.

My suspicions about what really happened came from reading the comments of General Anwar Eshki, former Saudi National Security Adviser.

I believe Daesh will like Pac Man eat all the terrorists until it becomes one big terrorist. Then we can destroy them.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) units that took al-Rai are very bad men. They’re jihadists allied with al-Qaeda in the form of the al-Nusra Front. The whole thing was fishy.

Well, now these guys have had their butts handed to them by the Islamic State. “VSO” means “vetted Syrian opposition,” a pitiful joke.

The Islamic State published video that they said showed an American A-10 helping the VSO take al-Rai on April 7, 2016. However, the Coalition didn’t operate in that area on April 7. The balloon below is al-Rai, and the red arrow is where the Coalition struck.

And the A-10 seen over al-Rai was dark in color.

American A-10s are light gray.

Reading the Arab League

I’m not a fan of Palestinian terrorists. However, this story sickened me.

In Yarmouk, Damascus—home to Palestinian refugees—a Hamas affiliate called Aknaf Beit Al Maqdis fought against the Syrian Arab Army, which had besieged and bombarded the neighborhood for two years. The al-Nusra Front and Aknaf Beit Al Maqdis were partners who together controlled Yarmouk.

On April 1, 2015, the al-Nusra Front allowed the Islamic State into Yarmouk to exterminate Aknaf Beit Al Maqdis. Nearly the entire group was killed, and the Islamic State filmed themselves played football with the Palestinians’ severed heads.

Well, guess what just happened?

One year after entering the Yarmouk Camp, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) has imposed full control over every building block – save Street 15 and Al-Ja’ounah – inside this strategic district in southern Damascus.

According to local reports, Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) surrendered to the ISIS terrorists at almost every street block they controlled in the Yarmouk and Palestinian Camp districts after a brief battle this week.

Surrendering didn’t help. They’re all dead, Jim!

Somebody is showing no mercy to every armed group in Syria, playing them off against each other and killing the survivors. Only the fighters who’ve pledged to create a secular, democratic society are being spared. Although real, the war is also theater meant to distract from activities by IDF strategic special operators.

I’m not telling anyone how to feel. However, you need to understand that astonishingly brave men are doing many things that are prohibited by their religion. They’re going against centuries of tribal loyalties because they see the big picture. Due to the fact that they reassessed, Israel is now safe. Israel won. And Israel’s allies are going to free Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran too. Guaranteed.

Someday I hope you’ll appreciate what they did. They’re truly great men.

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