Here we go again: Is the Obama Admin–I mean the Biden Administration funding terrorist groups?

This may come as a surprise but the Biden Administration has sent “more than $1.1 billion in tax-payer dollars since the Taliban took control of the country in August, 2021.” According to a report from SIGAR, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction,

“The United States remains Afghanistan’s single largest donor, having provided more than $1.1 billion in assistance to support the Afghan people since
the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021. However, SIGAR, for the first time in its history, is unable this quarter to provide Congress and the American people with a full
accounting of this U.S. government spending due to the noncooperation of several
U.S. government agencies. The United States Agency for International Development
(USAID), which administers the majority of U.S. government spending for
Afghanistan, and the Treasury Department refused to cooperate with SIGAR in any
capacity, while the State Department was selective in the information it provided
pursuant to SIGAR’s audit and quarterly data requests, sharing high-level funding
data but not details of agency-supported programs in Afghanistan. This is in direct
violation of Section 1229(h)(5)(A) of the NDAA for FY 2008 (requiring the agencies
to provide information and assistance upon request) and Section 6(c)(1) of the
Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended. (see SIGAR’s October 2022 quarterly report to Congress.)”

These are the same people, different administration but the same people, who delivered pallets of cash–Swiss francs, Euros, and other currencies–in a night-time flight to Iran, ultimately totaling $1.7 billion–with much of this money finding its way to Hezbollah, the Quds Force, and the Houthis.

I have no problem with humanitarian aid but when government agencies and departments refuse to comply with the law, and with the history of those in this administration, the bounds of credibility are stretched more than a little beyond the breaking point for me.

Does anyone really believe none of this $1.1 billion isn’t getting used to fund more terrorist organizations, just as the Obama administration did with Iran?

Russia has Already Lost . . .

So reads the title of Tyler Rogoway’s latest, and quite excellent article in the War Zone. I’d add to it but Tyler covered it all quite well. See the link here to read the article in full.

The only thing Tyler didn’t mention, though he somewhat alluded to it, is the old adage that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Putin is reportedly an excellent strategist, and I would think he learned a great deal from the Soviet Union’s venture in Afghanistan, but his Ukrainian adventure is one massive miscalculation. Afghanistan is often referred to as the Soviet Union’s graveyard; Ukraine could easily be Putin’s personal graveyard.

MiG-29’s to Ukraine

In a rather circumspect transfer, it sounds like Poland will be transferring all of their MiG-29 Fulcrums–Poland has roughly 28 of these fighters–to the US Government at Ramstein Air Force Base. From there, presumably, Ukrainian pilots will pick them up and fly them to Ukraine. See this article from the War Zone:

Bulgaria and Slovakia also fly the Mig-29 and Bulgaria also has 8 older Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft that might also be in the mix–especially since Poland has now set the precedent for these transfers.


Military aid to Ukraine

WOW!!! There’s aid, military aid . . . and then there’s MILITARY AID!!! The EU–read Poland, Slovakia and maybe Bulgaria–supplying Migs and Sukhoi fighters to Ukraine. Absolutely Incredible!!!

Beirut Explosion – Updated 5:00 PM Pacific


Both the AP and Fox News are reporting at least 78 dead and more than 3,000 have been injured.  According to Prime Minister Hassan Diab, a 2,750 ton shipment of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in port since 2013 fueled the massive blast.  The blast was so massive that people on Cypress have reported both hearing and feeling it–and that’s about 180 miles away.  By comparison, that’d be like the explosion happened in the Seattle area and people in Portland would have been able to feel it–just really hard to wrap your mind around that.  The devastation from this is remarkable and, unfortunately, I’m sure the casualty count will continue to rise.

There’s been a massive explosion at the port in Beirut this morning.  Attached are a couple of Twitter video links here and here, with the second one having several videos of it.  In one of the videos, you can see–and hear–multiple smaller explosions rippling off just prior to the massive detonation.  This explosion is still so recent that Beirut officials are still trying to get a handle on the number of casualties but there’s going to be many with an explosion this massive.  Reportedly windows were shattered more than 10km away!


The Legend of CPO Shannon Kent

I came across this article as I was doing some background work for The ISIS Gambit.  Obviously, I didn’t know of CPO Shannon Kent when I wrote The Gambit, but I knew of her unit, the Mohawks, and used this for the inspiration for one of the characters in both books.  As the article on her relates, Kent was larger than life, incredibly talented in her profession and as an “operator” (though, as her husband CWO-3 Joe Kent related, she was a woman in SOF before women were in SOF), yet very down to earth; a wife and mother of two little children who was extremely talented at her profession and knew the risks.  Where we find such people, I do not know, but I am grateful they are out there.  Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent, thank you for your service!

The ISIS Gambit

The Kindle version of The ISIS Gambit will be available this coming Tuesday, December 17th!  However, it is available for preorder here.  I’ll have the paperback version out very soon!

KINDLE Cover - The ISIS Gambit 29 Oct 2019

The ISIS Gambit

KINDLE Cover - The ISIS Gambit 29 Oct 2019

Coming Soon!  I’m working on the proofs now and hope to release this in the next couple of weeks!  Here’s an excerpt:

Sunday, September 9th

Fenway Park, Boston, MA,  1:15 PM

“The rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox has always been special, and this year poses no exception,” Butch McAlister announced to his radio audience.  “With three weeks left in the season, the Red Sox hold a game and a half lead over their division rivals, the New York Yankees, as we’re about to begin this four game series.”

“That’s right, Butch,” his partner, Jack Weaver commented.  “And a sellout crowd of over 37,700 is expected this afternoon for the series opener,” Weaver continued.  “If the Red Sox can stifle the Yankees here and take advantage of the home-cookin’, they’ll clearly be in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the season as we head into the playoffs.”

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA, 1:30 PM Local Time

        The season opener for the New England Patriots always brings out a sellout crowd of over 66,000.  The Tom Brady – Bill Belichik era would soon be over and every Patriots fan wanted to be a part of what could be the last season for this quarterback-coach tandem.  Obviously, every Pat’s fan expected this opener to be like most every other one had been for the past seventeen years:  another ‘W’ for the home team on their way to hopefully another Super Bowl season.

 35 Miles off the coast of Long Island, 3:58 PM Local Time

“How soon can we launch, Captain?” First Mate Aleksander Gozni asked.

“Our orders indicate that we are to launch every one of the missiles at precisely four o’clock local time,” Captain Kanokov replied.  “Have you double checked to make sure that all of the target coordinates have been programmed into each of the missiles?”

“I have, sir.  The target coordinates for each missile have been programmed as expected and we are ready to go, sir,” Gozni replied.

“Very well, open the containers and prepare to fire on my mark.”

“Excellent, sir!” Gozni replied with more than a little nervous excitement in his voice.

“Have you done anything like this before?” the captain asked his first mate.

“No sir, and it’s an honor to be a part of this.”

“Well, seaman, let’s just pray that this isn’t your last one either.  Once the Americans realize where these missiles came from, they’re not going to be too concerned with asking questions first.”

“I’m not worried sir.  Allah will protect us.”

“If he doesn’t, you’ll have an appointment with 72 virgins very soon.  Are we ready to fire?”

“All containers opened, sir!  We are ready to fire.”

“Very well, then. May Allah forgive us.  You may commence firing.”

And with that, the first Tishreen missile left its launcher aboard the container ship MV Admiral Ushakov.  Ninety seconds later, Ushakov, along with the container ships MV Tibor Szamueli, the Bomar Hermes, and two hundred miles to their southwest, the Falcon Trident each lay completely obscured by the smoke from the exhaust plumes of fifty Tishreen missiles launched from each of their decks.



The Saudi – Iranian Proxy War

It is sounding more and more likely–still not publicly confirmed–that Saturday’s attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure might have originated in Iraq–and not Yemen or Iran.  Middle East Eye is quoting an unnamed Iraqi intelligence official that this attack was in retaliation for Saudi funded, Israeli launched attacks on Iraqi militias.  This lends credence to the entire notion of the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  The Saudi’s have been fighting the Houthis in Yemen since approximately 2015–one of the most under-reported wars that continues to the present day.  Iran has been an avid supporter of the Houthis and, indeed, the Houthis have conducted some long range missile strikes at Saudi Arabia over the past couple of years.

Iran has also been a longtime supporter of Hezbollah in Lebanon and, quite recently, of the Iraqi Shia militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).  Hezbollah’s confrontation with Israel has been on-going for many years.  Iran’s support for the PMF is a relatively recent endeavor, though entirely within the vein of Hezbollah and the Houthis.  Indeed, throughout the region, Iran’s modus operandi has been to work asymmetrically through these proxies whenever military action has been called for.

Which brings us to the attacks on Saudi Arabia.  Four months ago, May 14th, the Saudi’s were hit with a drone attack–this one on Aramco’s east-west pipeline near the central Saudi town of al-Duwadimi.  As with Saturday’s attack, the Houthis claimed responsibility.  However, in the May attack, reports are that this attack may very well have originated in Iraq, thereby implicating Iranian backed PMF Shia militias.

Saudi Arabia Oil Field Attack II

The map above, from Middle East Eye, shows a possibly route for Saturday’s attack, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the May attack–right down to the Houthis claiming responsibility.  However, as Middle East Eye is reporting, Saturday’s attack is in retaliation for Saudi’s support, even coordination, of Israeli attacks on Iranian bases in Iraq and Syria.  If this is the case, we may soon see an end to this “proxy war” and an outright confrontation between the major antagonists.

That drone attack on the Saudi oil facilities . . . .

Around four AM Saturday morning, local time, a number of drones reportedly attacked two major oil facilities in northeastern Saudi Arabia.  Reportedly, these attacks affected up to half of Saudi’s oil supply, though it should not take long for the Saudi’s to recover from this.  According to Iranian media reports, this attack originated with the Houthis in Yemen.  That claim, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is more than a little dubious as he flat out claimed that “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

Clearly, Secretary Pompeo should know what he’s talking about in this case.  The Saudi facility attacked represents “perhaps the most critical facility in the world for oil supply.”  In addition, this facility is less than 50 miles from the Gulf–and there is a ton of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance  (ISR) in the region.  The map below gives some perspective:  Al Udeid Air Force Base–the largest US Air Force Base in the Middle East–is only about 120 miles from this facility.  Bahrain, the headquarters of the US 5th Fleet, is about half that distance and, while no US ships are permanently assigned to the 5th Fleet, an American naval presence–of some sort–has been routine here for years.  The question here really isn’t who did this–the list is very short, either the Houthi’s–who have claimed responsibility are fully supported by Iran–or the Iranians themselves–but rather, how did this happen given not only the ISR capabilities in the region but also the elevated tensions with Iran?

Saudi Arabia Oil field attack - 14 Sept '19

Iran recently claimed that they have a very long range drone, capable of the roughly 750 mile flight from Yemen–in the extreme southeastern part of the peninsula.  However, if the drones did not originate in Yemen, as Pompeo alleges, where did the come from?  Iran is about one third the distance as that of Yemen but again, I think everyone knows–or certainly believes–that Iran had a hand in this (that question is simply to what degree?).  The question, again, is how did this happen?  Did these drones really go undetected by all of the US ISR in the region?  Or, did the Saudis, once warned from the US, simply fail to prevent the attack.  Indeed, it seems much more plausible that the Saudi’s air defenses are seriously lacking rather than the Mullahs in Tehran possibly launching these drones from somewhere in Iran and crossing the Gulf in the very teeth of US ISR capabilities.  But again, if they didn’t come from Yemen, and the peninsula is a vast desert, where did they come from and how did the Saudis miss these?

One final question:  With the notable success of this drone attack, how will the Saudis respond?  I think most everyone acknowledges that the drones themselves were most likely manufactured in Iran.  Tensions have been high in the region for some time.  In the wake of yesterday’s attack, they’ve escalated even more–almost as if someone through a match on a powder keg, or an oil refinery.