A Russian Su-34 over Syria in 2015. Russian Ministry of Defense photo Errant air strike highlights dangers on the Al Bab front by PAUL IDDON On Feb. 3, 2017, a Russian warplane targeting a building in the Islamic State-occupied city of Al Bab in northwest Syria killed three Turkish soldiers and wounded... Read more
Turkey’s Arms Industry Expands at Home and Abroad
In January 2017, Turkey hosted British Prime Minister Theresa May. During her visit, among other things, she negotiated a deal worth more than £100 million to help build Turkey’s first indigenous jet fighter, the planned fifth-generation all-weather TFX air superiority jet. The plan would bring together Turkish Aerospace Industries — aka... Read more
SDF Guardian armored vehicles. Photos via Twitter Combined Arab-Kurdish army gets better wheels by PAUL IDDON In January 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces, an Arab-Kurdish militia fighting in Syria, received armored vehicles — reportedly IAG Guardian personnel carriers — from the United States for the first time. “Previously we didn’t get support in this form, we would... Read more
A U.S. F-16 over Iraq in April 2016. U.S. Air Force photo Intelligence sharing and the law by PAUL IDDON The nascent Trump administration denied that it coordinated an air strike with Russia in Syria, and to be sure, it isn’t doing so. But the White House says it is open to... Read more
Why Isn’t Israel Arming Iraq’s Kurds?
In a predictable world, Israel and Iraqi Kurdistan would be the closest allies. However, the Middle East is not predictable, and the Israelis have refrained from sending weapons to help the Kurds’ war with the Islamic State. What’s stopping them? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that an independent Kurdistan would be... Read more
Despite Russian Warplanes in the Sky, Israel Keeps Bombing Syria
The recent downing of a Russian Su-24 Fencer attack plane by Turkish F-16s reminded the world just how congested Syria’s air space has become … and how dangerous. However, operating in the midst of all this is the Israeli Air Force, which continues to uphold a discreet policy of preventing Hezbollah from... Read more
Buying Moldova’s Fulcrums
When the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991, the newly independent states within its former domain inherited enormous stockpiles of weapons the Red Army left behind. One of the most interesting cases involved the air force of the tiny former Soviet republic of Moldova. The new republic’s inventory consisted of... Read more
Damn, There Are a Lot of Bombs Falling on Raqqa
The Syrian city of Raqqa was home to at least 220,000 people before the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Today, it is Islamic State’s de facto headquarters, where the group has imposed its repressive rule on the remaining residents. And the city has been subjected to over a year of air raids... Read more
The ‘Spruance’ Precedent
In October, the United States announced a proposed $11.25 billion arms deal involving the sale of four Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships to Saudi Arabia. If Congress approves the sale, the four Saudi LCSs will be configured differently than the U.S. Navy versions. For one, the Saudi versions will definitely have an area air-defense... Read more
Islamic State Is Not Even Close to Defeat
Islamic State is a formidable power in its own right. Even more striking — the past two years have constituted a perfect storm, one that allowed the jihadist army to endure and even expand, in parts. The Syrian government lost Raqqa, its first provincial capital to fall to rebels,... Read more

Paul Iddon

Contributing writer

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