Anti-ISIS Allies Achieve Aerial Milestones

European air forces participating in coalition operations against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) achieved two milestones this week.
Belgian F-16s operating from Jordan clocked up 7,000 hours flying strike and reconnaissance missions over Iraq and Syria since October 2014. The Belgian and Royal Netherlands Air Force take turns deploying F-16s to Jordan, with the other country providing base security.
During their latest deployment, begun in July 2016, the Belgians conducted 326 missions totalling 3,400 flying hours. Some 45% of these missions were kinetic, involving dropping bombs on targets. Around 80% of these missions were flown over Iraq.
The Belgian F-16s will remain in Jordan until July 1 but they could return in January 2018, subject to parliamentary approval.
Belgian Defense has produced a video of its F-16s in the Mideast.
Meanwhile, Luftwaffe Airbus A310 Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTT) have conducted aerial refuelings of German Tornado Recce aircraft, both operating against ISIS from Incirlik, Turkey, and of other allied aircraft with 7,500 tons of kerosene since Dec. 16 2015.

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

on Mar 25, 2017

What to do about ISIS? It is evil incarnate, most of all to those Muslims it rules with a bloody sword. So what to do about it?

Let us diverge for a moment to a problem in aviation history.

At the verge of WWII the most important fighter designer in the US was Donovan Berlin. He was responsible for the most important fighter in series production at the time, the P-40. A new model had a changed radiator location which caused disturbed airflow at the nose and unpleasant vibrations at the tail.

Don Berlin wanted to fix the nose where the problem was caused; while Curtiss management wanted to improve the bottom line by lengthening the fuselage. Don Berlin quit Curtiss, arguing that people who wanted to fix the problem caused at the nose of the airplane by lengthening the tail had little future. Curtiss prospered during the war and was out of the airplane business within the decade.

So what to do about ISIS? How did it happen?

Did King Saud and Gerald Ford intend to create Arab Terrorism? Most certainly not.

Did King Khalid and Ronald Reagan intend to make Islamic terrorism a world plague? Only in Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. It is, alas, hard to control such ideas once unleashed.

The House of Saudi did it's religious duty and sought political advantage by promoting a particularly extreme form of Islam intimately connected with the dynasty’s rise, Wahhabism.

Gerald Ford saw an opportunity to imbalance the Soviets at a time when Vietnam had imbalanced us.

Ronald Reagan saw the opportunity to align with the House of Saudi in a holy war against Communism.

No one intended to create a plague of Wahhabist/Salafist inspired ultra conservative terrorists.

Certainly the Bush boy did not intend to utterly destabilize the Middle East in a fashion which would so discomfort the United States.

And contrary to the assertions of The Leader, Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton did not found ISIS.

So mistakes were made. What to do about ISIS?

We may continue to fix the tail while making the problem with the nose worse, or we may be careful to kill the tail while resolving the problems with the nose.

The root problem is the rabid form of fundamentalist Islam promoted by the House of Saudi. That problem has been given immense credibility by the actions of the West, especially the United States, over the last 40 years.

The problem with the tail is of course the monstrous actions of Islamic terrorists.

Contrary to the perception of The Leader, and his followers, who believe Obama, Clinton and Liberals created and abetted ISIS; the strategy to defeat ISIS introduced in recent years is working quite well.

Western airpower and money is supporting Arab and Kurdish forces in grinding the vile organization down while minimizing the ideological rational that it is fighting a holy war against western aggression. Daesh is losing at it’s great achievement of the Caliphate so it is reduced to instigating individual random attacks by half-baked adherents.

The purpose of this article is to inform folks of what they could have already known had they cared to see. That NATO is fighting ISIS and has been. Instead they have been hammered with the propaganda that NATO is an obsolete leech and America it’s victim.

Which returns us to what to do about ISIS?

Stop making it worse is a good start.

Only a tiny portion of Muslims agree with ISIS and the overwhelming number of victims of that vile organization are Islamic. ISIS is an anathema to the teachings of Islam. Those who promote hatred for Muslims are unwitting, or more correctly witless, promotors of ISIS.

I recommend three steps to discrediting and defeating ISIS:

Step 1. Stop waging war on Islam. Stop turning our most involved natural allies into ISIS supporters.

Step 2. Killing civilians in the context of this war is particularly difficult to avoid and particularly counter productive. The "kill them all and let God sort it out" mentality of some eager holy warriors mirrors that of ISIS and is of great comfort and support to that organization. Be careful of whom we kill. Be careful of why we kill. Be especially careful of how we speak of killing Muslims.

Step 3. Do not push our local allies aside and show them how real men fight. This seldom works. Witness the success of the US in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan.

I expound at length because there is now immense political pressure in the US to make these three mistakes because the inexorable victory occurring over the last three years is not happening fast enough to satisfy those that think the generals are idiots and ISIS may be easily expunged if only we bring overwhelming force to bear.

Ever try to get rid of a mud puddle by jumping in it? We are trying to kill an idea not spread it.

Our friends the House of Saudi continues to promote it's national religion, Wahhabism. This extremely conservative and harsh form of Islam is the root source of the problem. The House of Saudi has learned painfully that the son of Wahhabism, terrorism, is a threat to it Yet they have not amended their practices, nor successfully suppressed those Wahhabists in the Kingdom who support terrorism throughout the world.

This is a diplomatic problem which shall not be ameliorated by slashing the despised State Department.

The House of Saudi which seeks to promote it’s vision of Islam; and those in the West who wish to wage holy war on Islam; are the problem at the nose. Killing the beast without being it's best recruiter is the problem at the tail.

Donovan Berlin was both right and wrong. The cheap and easy fix for the P-40E was a longer fuselage; but the management which sought only easy profit was doomed because it would not address basic problems.

The P-40F and later P-40Q was no P-51D and the attractive but utterly inept XP-87 was the end of Curtiss airplanes.

Massive airpower and US troops rashly applied are not going to quickly solve the ISIS infestation, they are just going to spread it.

We need to fix both ends of the problem at the same time. You cannot kill an idea, you can, however, render it obsolete.

p.s. Stop calling it ISIS. Calling them a "state" is recognition of their Caliphate as such to them. Call them Daesh, they hate that term.

on Mar 25, 2017

Thank you for your intelligent and insightful piece Mark. I cannot help but agree except on one point. But I won't mention the elephant in the room any more than western governments will.

on Mar 26, 2017

Thank you Glenn.

I can not think of an elephant in a room without imagining Thornton Wilder's Wooly Mammoth, or, as no one may find it, Mark Twain's Stolen White Elephant.

I see no western government fastidiously ignoring anything related to terrorism now days, much less all of them.

The USA did when it fostered what became al-Qaeda. Clearly Ronald Reagan et al never imagined that what we so hopefully unleashed to foment revolt in the Islamic Republics of the Soviet Union would turn on us.

Rather now all seem intent upon detecting, observing and interdicting terrorism in it's every form.

"RONVILLE, N. Y., 9.30 A.M.
Just arrived.This village in consternation. Elephant passed through here at five this morning. Some say he went east some say west, some north, some south—but all say they did not wait to notice, particularly. He killed a horse; have secured a piece of it for a clue. Killed it with his trunk; from style of blow, think he struck it left-handed. From position in which horse lies, think elephant traveled northward along line of Berkley Railway. Has four and a half hours’ start, but I move on his track at once.
- HAWES, Detective"
- Mark Twain, The Stolen White Elephant

Even I, who at first thought the instigation of the Taliban in Afghanistan a jest largely unnoticed in the 1970s; began to develop qualms in the 1980s as it became clear that the disciples of Khalid and Reagan had a broader vision of The Evil Empire than just the Soviet Union.

I find it impossible to believe any government, much less a western one, finds terrorism beyond notice today.

There is something about explosions and gunfire which draws attention.

If your allusion is premised by the thought that there is any particular religion more given to fundamentalist depravity than any other I may easily evidence the contrary. Both in history and the world today.

"What elephant?"
- Jimmy Durante, Jumbo

on Mar 29, 2017


I take the view that the founder of a given religion, philosophy or political movement is by definition its authentic model. I'll say no more.

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