A Thrush firefighting plane. Photo via Wikipedia user Hustvedt The mercenary entrepreneur is probably wrong about the market for private warplanes by PETER DOERRIE You probably remember Blackwater, the notorious U.S. mercenary company that rose to fame — or infamy, as it were — during the Iraq war. You might also remember Erik Prince, a... Read more
The Coalition Just Formed a Fighting Unit of 120 Kurdish Women
British and Dutch military advisers in Northern Iraq have wrapped up training for a class of female peshmerga fighters. The foreign instructors trained 120 Kurdish women in infantry tactics, first aid and counter-IED skills. This is the first time the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition has trained Kurdish women. These... Read more
Nearby farming and mining mean easy access to explosive components by THOMAS BARON Islamic State builds its improvised explosive devices using components from 51 different companies in 20 countries. That’s the startling conclusion of a new report from Conflict Armament Research. “These findings support growing international awareness that ... Read more
Kurdish fighters in Iraq. Matt Cetti-Roberts/War Is Boring photo Blame the Great Game by PAUL IDDON 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.... Read more
American Commandos Are Ready to Sneak All Over the Middle East
When the Pentagon announced plans to send a team of commandos to Syria, no one seemed to stop and ask the most basic question — how are they going to get into an active war zone in the first place? Official documents show that the U.S. Air Force likely... Read more
Above — northern Syria control map. BlueHypercane761/Wikimedia Commons image. At top — a YPJ fighter. BijiKurdistan/Flickr photo Syria’s Kurds are a force to be reckoned with by PAUL IDDON Russia’s aerial campaign in Syria is well underway, as the heaviest strikes focus on anti-regime rebel groups near Aleppo. But further north, Syria’s Kurds have expanded... Read more
Kalibr cruise missiles fired from Russian Navy vessels in the Caspian. Russian defense ministry photo Revenge is a dish best served cold by PAUL IDDON Russian air and sea power is now actively giving cover to an ongoing Syrian military offensive. Four Russian naval vessels in the Caspian Sea fired cruise missiles... Read more
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results by PAUL IDDON The Turkish government talks tough. “You cannot discourage us from our war on terror,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said earlier this month. “Those mountains will be cleared of these terrorists. Whatever it takes,... Read more
Iran’s Latest Tactic Against Islamic State — Send in the Battle Buggies That’s one way to swarm the enemy by GARRETT MCKINNEY SAMPLES The Iraqi push into Tikrit features loads of Iranian weapons. And the pint-size Safir jeep is one of the most distinctive of them all. Dozens of the rocket launcher-equipped, Iranian-made buggies are... Read more
No More Chemical Weapons, No Problem—Syria Steps Up Firebombings Instead
The Syrian air force jet screamed over the Ibn Tufail Commercial Secondary School in the city of Raqa, in Syria’s rebel-controlled north, at around 8:05 in the morning on Sept. 29. It released two bombs. In a thunderclap of noise and fire, at least 14 people died—12 of them... Read more
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