Planes and Tanks and Missiles

In the comments on last night’s essay by The Kafir, William Palmer made this remark:

Don’t we want to have a festering Shia-Sunni war going on forever in some relatively safe place like Syria-Iraq? Isn’t this perfect strategy to attract the maggots? Our goal should be to keep it going and try to keep one side from winning. When our radicalized citizens leave the west to go fight in such a war, isn’t this good? [no return policy however…surprise!] The more, the better. We want to foster an Islamic crusade from the west to help ISIS and to battle ISIS at once and together..and, if Iran gets the finally abet a larger Sunni-Shia face-off between a nuclear Iran and a nuclear Pakistan/Arabia as an ultimate stalemate?

Our long term objective must be to let the fires roar but to contain them.

I entertained similar thoughts about ISIS until very recently. What changed my mind was last night’s release of the latest propaganda video by the Islamic State. It’s at least as ghastly as its predecessors, horrible beyond the ability of words to describe. Needless to say, YouTube has taken it down since then. However, Vlad Tepes captured and edited some excerpts from it that contain no atrocity footage, and should thus be acceptable. Let’s take a look at these brief clips, which show the equipment captured by ISIS when it made a successful assault on a Syrian air base:

Update: Well, I was wrong — YouTube did remove the video, for being inappropriate, according to the Community Guidelines:

Violent or gory content that appears to posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner is not permitted in YouTube. For example, videos showing someone being physically hurt, attacked, or humiliated are not okay. If your video is graphic or disturbing, it can only remain on the site where supported by appropriate educational or documentary information.

Vlad and I chose the excerpted footage precisely because it contained no violence — only footage of captured weapons and equipment. The weapons weren’t even being fired, and the tanks and planes were not being operated. There were no corpses or wounded people in the excerpts. No one even got slapped in the face.

So go figure.

For those of you who missed this footage: it showed several planes, identified as MiG-21s, and two tanks, one of which is a T-72. The artillery piece has not been identified.

Now you can proceed. Just pretend you saw the video.

Those are Syrian flags on the planes, which suggested that they (and presumably the tanks and ordnance) were Russian in origin. Vlad and I brought a third person into our discussions, a young man who happens to be an expert on military equipment, especially tanks and planes.

Below are some excerpts from our three-way discussion:

Expert:   The plane is a MiG-21:

Syrian Civil War

Starting in July 2012, after more than a year of Civil War with no aerial action, the Syrian Air Force started operations against Syrian insurgents. MiG-21’s were among the first combat ready aircraft to be employed in bombings, rocket attacks and strafing runs with many videos recorded from the ground showing the jets in combat.

The rebels had access to heavy machine guns, different antiaircraft guns and Russian and Chinese MANPADS up to modern designs such as the Russian 9K38 Igla. The first loss of a MiG-21 was recorded on 30 August 2012. Its registration was 2271. It was likely downed on take off or landing at Abu Dhuhur air base, under siege by rebels, by heavy machine gun fire. A few days later a second MiG-21, registered 2280, was shot down and recorded on video on 4 September 2012. It was likely downed on take off or landing at Abu Dhuhur air base, under siege by rebels, by KPV 14.5 mm machine gun fire.

Baron:   Now ISIS has them. I wonder if they can fly them.
Vlad:   I’m sure they have some of the same pilots that flew them before. Whose idea was it, after all, to get the air base? Why did they want to go after such a fortified target? Why couldn’t they defend the base? I don’t understand why the Syrians didn’t blow up stuff like ordinance and so on.
Baron:   Their soldiers were there in force, and they lost. They probably underestimated their enemy.

They must have guys that can fly those. There have been defectors. Remember that guy at the oil refinery who welcomed them?

Expert:   I can’t tell what the first tank is. The second tank is a T-72. (Photo)

The nice thing about the MiG-21 is that it’s been around forever, so there are probably tons of pilots who are familiar with it, especially in that area where there are tons of Soviet-era planes. Tanks, probably the same deal. ISIS seems pretty proficient militarily. I would assume they have people who are comfortable with Soviet-era tanks.

I would wager some of the US tanks they might be oddly less comfortable with, because those are more modern and less prolific in the Middle East.

Vlad:   I mean, where are these ISIS guys coming from? Are they former military?
Baron:   Some of them, yes. They get defectors from Iraq and Syria. Sunnis. And some Turks and Lebanese and lots of “Europeans”.
Expert:   Well, that would explain it, as far as the planes go. If these guys have any familiarity with civilian aircraft, I assume they could figure out a jet. I imagine there have been some accidents, probably some fatalities, but it would be doable. Tanks would be even easier, and artillery pieces easier yet.

I would say planes present the most problems for them, but even so I think they’ll probably do a better job than we expect. And I would say that with planes, they will probably have a very easy time figuring out air-to-ground missiles.

I think ISIS’s first air to ground attack will take place much sooner than anyone expects, and I predict they will get very devastating, very fast.

Vlad:   Military jets require specialized training to the extent that they reject commercial ATR level pilots.

Expert:   I predict they will be more devastating than even pessimists like you and me are predicting. My guess is they will try to choose targets that maximize suffering. Power plants. Dams. Places where they can take out the grid, and cause a lot of human death and grief. ISIS is determined.

Just because their pilots suck doesn’t mean they’ll die or crash. It just means that their jets will break down faster, and, yeah, there will be some crashes.

Right now, though, ISIS has a lot of reasons to try to find decent pilots.

Baron:   They have exceeded all expectations so far, so I am not predicting.
Vlad:   They didn’t take out the Mosul Dam, which I thought was interesting.
Baron:   I think they need it for their own purposes.
Expert:   My understanding is that most Middle Eastern air forces are kind of a joke, anyway, and they’ve been operating for 30-40 years without major issues. I don’t think ISIS will have a problem finding decent (for Muslims, anyway) pilots.

I noticed they seem to have actual Asiatics among them, so their collective IQ might go up.

The clips embedded above include only the portions of the ISIS video that showed the equipment they captured. The rest of it — which will be popping up on YouTube briefly from time to time before it gets taken down again — contained newsreel-style footage of a military operation, mixed with vile, horrific, bestial scenes of mass slaughter.

I’ll give a brief synopsis:

After an intro featuring what seemed to be loving care provided to wounded children, the video showed aerial footage taken using a GoPro camera on a drone at relatively high altitude. The camera panned over the area around the military base, highlighting targets.

The next section showed the ground operation. There was a lot of ghastly footage of Syrian soldiers being shot, with loving close-ups of corpses with gory wounds. You could see the ISIS mujahideen taking their victims’ weapons and going through their pockets. Sometimes they held up a soldier’s military ID card for the camera. Then they went around putting an extra head shot into each of the bodies, just to make sure.

Eventually they overran the base itself, and triumphantly claimed the military equipment you saw in the excerpts.

The last portion of the video was the most horrific. In it you see captured Syrian soldiers being rounded up. They are forced to strip to their underwear, then slapped and pushed around as they are marched in columns across the desert. The final scenes show them being compelled to lie down in shallow pits, where the mujahideen methodically dispatch them with automatic weapons.

As in previous ISIS videos, I had to avert my eyes from the worst parts of this video. I just couldn’t take it.

Vlad and I discussed it afterwards:

Baron:   Vlad, the world hasn’t seen anything like this since 1945, not that I’ve heard of.
Vlad:   In 1945 the Nazis at least tried to hide it. It was the allies that exposed the horror. The fact that ISIS is bragging about this stuff, it shows a level of depravity I can only call biblical.
Baron:   And the thing is, it does sell. It brings recruits swarming in, people who want to do neat stuff like this.

A peculiar aspect of those final scenes: even while the prisoners were being machine-gunned in their piles, the video editors were careful to blur out their chests, midsections, and legs. This is because they had been stripped to their underwear, and the Koran instructs Muslims to make sure the bodies of both men and women are always modestly covered from neck to ankle.

The equipment expert — for whom the rules of sharia are a relatively new topic — was taken aback:

Expert:   I shouldn’t laugh, but the idea that they’re censoring male chests, while showing a video of mass murder. It’s just… it’s terrifyingly ludicrous.
Baron:   Yes, it is. Grotesquely, hideously ludicrous.

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In summary: based on the evidence provided by its propaganda videos, it is doubtful whether ISIS is containable within Mesopotamia, or even within the Levant and the Arabian peninsula. It may be tempting to formulate policy based on the premise that the Sunnis of ISIS and its satellites, and the Shiites of Iran and its satellites, could simply destroy themselves through sectarian warfare. However, given what we have seen so far, it could well be a mistake — and maybe a fatal one — to make such assumptions.

ISIS is now perceived as the “strong horse”. Not only is it attracting bloody-minded Muslims from all over the world, it is inspiring psychopaths and bloodthirsty criminals to convert to Islam, just for the sheer pleasure of doing what Allah sanctions under the banner of the Caliph.

Those MiG-21s and T-72s are not going to sit idle. And ISIS is not of a mind to respect the existing borders of Syria and Iraq — or even of Turkey and Iran.

One more thing — the Islamic State did something different this time: it stripped its prisoners of their uniforms before shooting them.

What will those uniforms be used for? Will a “Syrian army” convoy, complete with T-72s and Syrian uniforms, suddenly appear at a strategic location that is still controlled by the Assad regime?

No, I don’t thing simple containment should be considered a viable option, not at this point.

19 thoughts on “Planes and Tanks and Missiles

  1. ISIS is never going to be a serious threat to the west, though they may be to Iraq, Syria and immediate neighbors. However, ISIS is creating a situation inside western countries that makes co-existence impossible between muslims and non-muslims in a more immediate way than before. Polls that show western-muslim sympathies for ISIS drive this message home. This is a good thing, so it is probably good that ISIS survives rather than being destroyed immediately. Call it win-win.

    • Correct! In their new found zeal for hatred of the West and the non-Muslim, that has been brought about by a so far indestructible Islamic fundamentalist movement, let us now be exposed to those who would harm us all in our own countries so that we may get to know the real Islam and take the necessary action to be finally rid of it!

      • Good luck with that one. Europe without borders is upside down with everything in the east sliding into the west. What a bunch of inept loonies in Brussels. The chaos at ports. The pathetic Hal-assed response to muslim racism, rape and assault. The EU is like a Maginold Line any enemy with half a brain can just go around, over, through to connect with their fifth colums everywhere. The West without borders and nation states surely is a dead man walking.

  2. “One more thing — the Islamic State did something different this time: it stripped its prisoners of their uniforms before shooting them.

    What will those uniforms be used for? Will a “Syrian army” convoy, complete with T-72s and Syrian uniforms, suddenly appear at a strategic location that is still controlled by the Assad regime?

    Point taken. And here I thought IS/ISIS/ISIL was simply further humiliation and torment of Shi’ite rafadite dogs. . . ISIL Sexually Assaults New Recruits: Documentary

  3. On the removal of military uniforms prior to prisoners being shot to death. From my own experience as a police officer the Muslim goes to great lengths to steal police uniforms (from clothes lines) and weaponry (break into police vehicles, even those vehicles parked outside police stations) and to them use them in robberies or to gain access where security is tight or for any reason they feel the urge to use them for against their infidel or other Muslim enemy.

    So those military uniforms will no doubt be recycled and worn, just as the weapons taken will also at some time be used for their own benefit. IS,ISIS,ISIL or whatever it may call itself tomorrow, is in effect a guerrilla outfit that fights guerrilla style which necessarily means that ALL equipment ‘won’ will be put to use.

  4. To say that ISIS is no threat to the West is, I think, premature at best. the Laws of War dictate that you never ever underestimate an opponent, most especially do not be dismissive. I saw an article, I think on Breitbart, where the writer used the dismissive term, “self proclaimed caliphate,” as if there is an officially sanctioning body. The nitwit didn’t know that every caliphate has been “self proclaimed” with an unsheathed sword. All of Dar al-Islam considers the West to be a dead man walking. The fact that all historical claimants to the Caliphate are openly vying for a second “term” in full view and contemptuous disregard for the West should be frightening. The Saudis are taking the long road via expensive investment in wahabi mosques world wide to educate the Ummah to their control, the Iranians more directly through acquisition of nukes, The Turks will be a more direct player as soon as Eredagon has cosmo Turkey more in hand, the Brotherhood would claim it through the Egyptian lineage. What is playing out with ISIS, the first viable claimant to the Caliphate with an actual army, actual territory, and actual treasury in a century, is far more important than what the palace eunuchs in Washington would portrait as a squabble among ignorant rag-heads. Why all the Middle-Eastern interest in defeating them. Who ever comes out on top will be powerful indeed in the Ummah, and those who lead from behind will get the honors they deserve from the warrior culture of Dar al-Islam.

    • The thing is, the greater a threat ISIS becomes to the west, the more secure the west becomes. It is curious, I know, but all that ISIS can do is to bring the day of final reckoning closer, which is beneficial to the west. ISIS is the great spoiler of the mosque strategy.

      • I agree. If the entire Ummah were as smart as, say, Imam Rauf or Tariq Ramadan, they would bide their time and play the waiting game. Hijra, the “jihad of the womb”, and gradual Islamization would boil the infidel frog very, very slowly.

        But Muslims can’t do it that way, not en masse. They never have been able to. Whenever they catch the unmistakeable whiff of infidel weakness, they go for full jihad. Smite their necks! Convert or die! Take their women! Kill the kuffar!

        We’re entering that phase right now, before they have the numbers that would enable them to prevail. Let’s hope enough infidels notice what is happening, while there’s still a chance.

  5. I still maintain that the YouTubes and Googles and MSNBCs and the Socialists and the “Conservatives” are far more dangerous to us than ISIS is. If you have AIDS, and there is a major typhus plague in a distant territory, you had better concentrate on beating your AIDS and making your borders less porous to the typhus, rather than on the horrors wreaked by the typhus in distant lands.

    To wit, YouTube. A friend sent me yesterday a link to a video with a German shepherd being abused by a Musloid, and responding with an attack, here:

    You klick on it, Mr. Google wants to know your age. And if you wish to confirm your age, Mr. Google also wants to know your email address and have you open a Google account. Why? Would it be the same if the dog-human interaction happened with a drunken white yob?

    In any case, the more of us stay away from this Tech-NSA-Obamanation-NWO-Islam Religion of Peace complex, the better.

    • In order to set up a YouTube channel, you have to give up even more information, including your phone number.

      In pursuing this like of work, I gave up all hope of privacy. I assume the government listens in on all my phone calls. I assume it reads all my emails and skype chats. I presume it knows my web-browsing habits.

      For that reason I always obey the law, even the speed limit. I report all my income and pay all my taxes fully and on time.

      And above all else I make sure I never say anything insulting about chinks, wops, slants, ragheads, slopes, spades, geeks, faggots, micks, spics, chicks, hebes, feebs, frogs, wogs, grits, dagos, gimps, niggers, taffies, camel jockeys, kikes, dykes, polocks, bimbos, crackers, jocks, porch monkeys, crips, wetbacks, limeys, goobs, gooks, yids, retards, bohunks, chicken-chokers, broads, or towelheads.

      • Now you qualify for an H.L. Mencken fellowship too. I wonder, if P.G. Wodehouse were alive today, would he have changed his satirical focus as current circumstances demand.

      • yOu forgot paleface WASP – they are a minority supposedly. Not a protected one, however. So it’s “persecuted paleface WASP”

      • You forgot “ghosts” (Japanese expression for white people). I’m deeply offended at having been excluded.

  6. Baron:

    This past Sunday France24 ran a show filmed in Kurdistan, and a Kurdish officer confirmed that Turkish military are participating in ISIS. He produced 3 or 4 Turkish military dog tags that were taken from ISIS casualties.

    The same officer also displayed Tunisian and Bahraini passports that were taken from other ISIS casualties.

    • As for the MIG-21s at the airbase, any halfway competent troops would have grenaded the turbines. They could have disabled the entire squadron in minutes with little effort.

      Perhaps they feared retaliation from their superiors for destroying the equipment, but you’d think they would also suffer for allowing the planes to be captured.

  7. I don’t see why Baron’s position and Palmer’s position can’t both be pursued simultaneously: exploit internecine violence among Muslims, but also keep a watchful eye to make sure it doesn’t expand to hurt us.

    What such a two-pronged approach would take, of course, would be a West that has shaken itself out of its ridiculous Rip Van Winkle snooze about the pernicious danger of Islam and Muslims. Since we don’t have a West like that now, the two-pronged approach won’t work; but neither would Baron’s or Palmer’s approach either. That’s why the #1 priority for the war we are in (which the West doesn’t adequately realize it’s in) is the War of Ideas theater, an internal project to educate the West and slap some sense into it before a few million of our men, women and children get mass-murdered by terror attacks far worse (and more numerous) than 911/London/Madrid.

    • You’re quite right, Hesperado. The immediate problem is how to find the strength to raise a hand and slap that face, and even how to find a hand that might do it.

  8. Consolidation and containment no use indulging in a asymmetrical war of attrition abroad when the home front is disintegrating. To date the engagement has been in an ideological theatre of smoke and mirrors the only outcome has been a deep mistrust of political motivations and the suspicion of double dealing, it is not very clever to engage the enemy without the trust of the general population.

    All the smart weapons in the World can not bomb an intangible ideology back to the Stone Age unless the objective is the total annihilation of its adherence.

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