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Tuesday, November 29

NYT admits Ukraine military in desperate situation in Bakhmut

Brian Berletic, reporting today from southern Thailand for The New Atlas, updates viewers on the situation in Bakhmut. 

West Admits Ukraine's Bakhmut Setbacks + Boeing's Long-Range Rockets Proposed for Ukraine - YouTube

My comments:

When the Russians withdrew troops from Kherson, they simply transferred the troops, some of the best in their military, to support Wagner PMC in the battle for Bakhmut. But for months before then, Wagner has been moving very slowly and methodically to prevent Bakhmut from becoming another Mariupol. 

The last thing the Russian command wants is another Azovstal factory-type siege. They've had to go building by building in outlying areas to prevent the Ukrainians from digging into another large facility. But now there is a snowball effect from the slow onslaught, which is daily leading to hundreds of dead and wounded Ukranian troops.  

Looks like the situation is just going to have to play out because Nato and the US administration and it seems the British don't want to back down.   

What about western Europe? Here are two short reports today from India's Firstpost:

Still Hooked on Russian Gas? Europe Gulping Down Record Levels of Russian LNG | Europe Energy Crisis - YouTube

Germany Gets Ready to Spend $100 Billion | Berlin's Energy Subsidy Plan | Europe Energy Crisis - YouTube

But at this moment, Germany and the rest of the most influential EU members are continuing to back the American agenda in Ukraine.  As to what will happen when Europe can no longer gulp record levels of Russian LNG, we'll just have to see.  

As to whether anything will be left of Ukraine's military by then, well, it seems the Polish government is putting thousands iof its male citizens in Ukrainian military uniform and sending them off to Ukraine to get slaughtered. Once the Polish get tired of playing Russian Roulette, we'll see what happens next. 

This is the 'We'll see' war, which finds most Nato members running around like chickens with their heads cut off because they didn't think through what Russia would be prepared to do if Nato kept pushing at its border.  

*******

Monday, November 28

Water management principle, "Slow it, spread it, soak it."

Permaculture primer. Studying beavers. This farm cracked the code. Simple when you know how:


Sunday, November 27

"Ukraine is expendable."

Russia Ops in Ukraine (Update): Western Propaganda Implodes as War of Attrition Grinds On - YouTube

Years of war-watching have made me quite stoic but today's Ukraine war update from Brian Berletic of The New Atlas I found very disturbing. He goes into detail to analyze recent whoppers told by American and British propagandists about the war. In doing so, he makes it clear that this is no longer simply propaganda. It's arms-manufacturing sales pitch. As such, and applied to real warfare, it devalues all human life.

This can no longer be blamed only on the government and weapons manufacturers.  

What is to become of us?

******** 

Skyrocketing U.S. energy costs

 "Any country that can't provide hot water or heat in the winter isn't much of a country."  

"We've reached the end of monetary policy's ability to tweak our economy. 

Quotes are from Tucker Carlson's report yesterday.  


Tucker Carlson: These are lunatic policies - YouTube

"Make it simple. Anything from Russia, cap it at 99 cents"

The Duran's Alex Christoforu, reporting this morning from Athens, manages to wring humor out of an unfunny situation. 

BTW his "tatters" comment is a quote from EC President Ursula von der Leyen from a few months ago.  Yes, Russia's economy is in tatters. Tatters, I tell you.  

********

Thursday, November 24

"Ghana plans to buy oil with gold instead of U.S. dollars"

Here we go. What a Thanksgiving present for the U.S. Treasury.  All right, Pundita, don't smirk. The news report is below, but first I'll get in a few words: 

Everyone has been assuming that any real challenge to the U.S. dollar would be years down the road when (if) the BRICS countries (which are adding to their roster by at least 10 countries) put together a basket of currencies, with the yuan given the biggest weight, to rival the USD and Euro. 

There are big problems with implementing such a basket, not the least of which is that the Chinese are not ready to make the yuan a reserve currency. But this plan from Ghana leaps over the technical difficulties that a basket would entail. 

So, is this the long watched-for Next Black Swan Event? If Ghana's plan works, other governments will try the same.  But that would mean the price of gold going through the roof, which could well put the poorer governments right back in the soup.  Unless they took out gold loans from governments, such as China and Russia, that have been hoarding huge amounts of gold. However, if that happens, the IMF will have cardiac arrest and the USA will launch World Wars III, IV, and V at the same time lol. Pundita that's not funny. NOT FUNNY.   

Well, we'll just have to watch and wait.  And maybe buy gold.

Ghana plans to buy oil with gold instead of U.S. dollars | Reuters - November 24, 1:58 EST

[BEGIN REPORT]

ACCRA, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Ghana's government is working on a new policy to buy oil products with gold rather than U.S. dollar reserves, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia said on Facebook on Thursday.

The move is meant to tackle dwindling foreign currency reserves coupled with demand for dollars by oil importers, which is weakening the local cedi and increasing living costs.

Ghana's Gross International Reserves stood at around $6.6 billion at the end of September 2022, equating to less than three months of imports cover. That is down from around $9.7 billion at the end of last year, according to the government.

If implemented as planned for the first quarter of 2023, the new policy "will fundamentally change our balance of payments and significantly reduce the persistent depreciation of our currency," Bawumia said.

Using gold would prevent the exchange rate from directly impacting fuel or utility prices as domestic sellers would no longer need foreign exchange to import oil products, he explained.

"The barter of gold for oil represents a major structural change," he added.

The proposed policy is uncommon. While countries sometimes trade oil for other goods or commodities, such deals typically involve an oil-producing nation receiving non-oil goods rather than the opposite.

Ghana produces crude oil but it has relied on imports for refined oil products since its only refinery shut down after an explosion in 2017.

Bawumia's announcement was posted as Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced measures to cut spending and boost revenues in a bid to tackle a spiraling debt crisis.

In a 2023 budget presentation to parliament on Thursday, Ofori-Atta warned the West African nation was at high risk of debt distress and that the cedi's depreciation was seriously affecting Ghana's ability to manage its public debt.

The government is negotiating a relief package with the International Monetary Fund as the cocoa, gold and oil-producing nation faces its worst economic crisis in a generation.

Reporting by Cooper Inveen and Christian Akorlie Writing by Sofia Christensen Editing by Estelle Shirbon and Elaine Hardcastle

[END REPORT]

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Sunday, November 20

Scott Ritter, telling it like it is about Vladimir Putin and much else

November 19, speaking at the Community Church of Boston. He's made the same points before, but he keeps better and better at speaking to an audience. Ritter has emerged as the most powerful voice in America calling for disarmament and fundamental change in U.S. foreign policy.  Wow. Just wow.   


See also his book, published in September; it's a blueprint for disarmament in this era:
Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika is the definitive history of the implementation of the INF Treaty signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in all its complexities, and the lengths both sides went to “trust, but verify” this successful and unique historic disarmament process. It demonstrates how two nations fundamentally at odds with one another could come together and rid the world of weapons which threatened international peace and security and, indeed, all of humanity.
Those engaged were pioneers in what was to be the new frontier of superpower arms control―on-site inspection―that would define compliance verification for future treaties and agreements to come. Their work represents not just a guide to but the standard upon which all future on-site inspections will be based and judged.
Ritter traces in great detail the formation of the On-Site Inspection Agency, who was involved, and how a technologically advanced compliance verification system was installed outside the gates of one of the most sensitive military industrial facilities in the remote Soviet city of Votkinsk, nestled in the foothills of the Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union.
He draws upon his own personal history― occasionally hilarious, occasionally fraught with peril― as well as the recollections of the other inspectors and personnel involved, and an extensive archive of reports and memoranda relating to the work of OSIA to tell the story of how OSIA was created, and the first three years of inspection operations at the Votkinsk portal monitoring facility.
The Votkinsk Portal, circa December 1988, was the wild, wild East of arms control, a place where the inspectors and inspected alike were writing the rules of the game as it played out before them.
This treaty implementation did not occur in a geopolitical vacuum. Ritter captures, on a human level, the historic changes taking place inside the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev due to the new policies of perestroika and glasnost that gripped the Soviet Union during this time, and their real and meaningful impact on the lives of the Soviet people, and the economic functioning of the Soviet nation. Much of it was for the worse.
The INF treaty was not only born of these new policies, but also helped trigger meaningful changes inside the Soviet Union due to the economic and political implications brought on by the cessation of missile production in a factory town whose lifeblood was missile production.

[END]  

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Friday, November 18

U.S. still up to no good in Syria

US armored convoy expelled by Syrian residents in Qamishli

By News Desk - November 16, 2022
The Cradle

... the US has recently expressed that it has no plans to withdraw from Syria or to end its draconian sanction policy against Damascus

According to local reports, a US military convoy was forced to return to its illegal military base in Syria on 16 November after being expelled by local Syrians in Qamishli.

A video posted on the social media platform Twitter shows locals attacking the convoy near the village of Al-Buladia with stones and forcing it to return. 

[Video]

The Cradle has extensively reported similar incidents in recent weeks, as locals and the Syrian Arab Army have blocked US forces from accessing government-controlled areas.

 The Damascus government repeatedly denounced the illegal presence of US troops, which it described as an occupation, and assured that the Pentagon’s actions in Syria encourage terrorist activity and aim at destabilizing the country and plundering its resources.

An exclusive investigation by The Cradle details the process of the oil smuggling operation by US forces and the use of several illegal border crossings leading to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR).

Meanwhile, the Arab Tayy tribe has called for an end to the illegal occupation of Syria by US troops and says it is refusing to attend any gathering under the auspices of the US in Hasakah Governorate.

In a statement published by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on 9 November, tribe leaders said they remain one of the “major pillars of confronting terrorism, rejecting all its forms, financiers and supporters represented by the American occupation forces.”

The statement goes on to say that the US army “came under cover of fake democracy to pass its looting policy and spreading the culture of murder in the region to hide its crimes.”

The US-led international coalition forces operating in northeastern Syria intend to establish a new military base in their controlled areas in the countryside of Raqqa.

Local sources said on 7 November that a convoy of US forces, including several armored military vehicles, arrived in Raqqa city to prepare to install a new base in the area.

On the field, the illegal troops began transferring the logistical equipment and necessary gear to the specified location, coinciding with heavy surveillance drone activity.

The US army and international coalition occupy at least 28 declared military sites in Syria, distributed over three provinces, mainly Hasakah (17 sites), Deir Ezzor (nine locations), and Homs (two areas).

[END REPORT]

********


U.S. military doesn't know how much materiel it left in Afghanistan

Pentagon has no idea how much military equipment it left in Afghanistan (taskandpurpose.com) - Jared Keller - November 17

It’s been more than a year since the U.S. military’s chaotic withdrawal from Kabul, and the Defense Department actually has no clear idea how much U.S.-funded military equipment fell into the Taliban’s hands in Afghanistan, according to a new report from a top government watchdog.

[...]

******** 

 


"These countries don't want to ruin ties with Russia just to please U.S. and its allies."

Firstpost (India) November 14: 


If the Europeans "fail to end the war they will have to carry the burden.'

Exact purpose of Russia's attacks on Ukraine's energy systems:

"The redeployment of the reserve forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), and the delivery of foreign armament to operations areas have been frustrated."

The full report from MoA:

 Ukraine - Switching the Lights Off (moonofalabama.org)  -today 

The careful destruction of energy systems in Ukraine continues.

From today's clobber list as provided by the Defense Ministry of Russia:

On 17 November, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a concentrated strike, using high-precision long-range air-, sea- and ground-based weapons, at the facilities of military control, defence industry, as well as related fuel and energy infrastructure of Ukraine.

The goals of the strike have been reached.

All the missiles have accurately stricken the assigned facilities.

I have no idea if the last line is true but it does not matter much.

The targeting of 330 kilovolt transformers in various switching stations has cut some 50% of the distribution capability of Ukraine's electricity network. These transformers weigh up to 200 tons. There are no replacements. You do not buy them at the next corner but will have order them with years of lead time. As far as I can tell Russia is currently Russia the only producer of transformers of that type.

Isn't it a war crime to destroy the infrastructure that supplies civilians?

It depends. If the infrastructure is used exclusively for civilian purpose the destruction is illegal. But the electricity and transport infrastructure in Ukraine is used for civilian AND military purposes. In a recent Politico piece Ukrainian officials are even confirming that:

Ukraine tells allies it may not be able to recover from more Russian attacks on energy systems:

An unreliable energy sector could have deadly consequences, Ukrainian officials say. In recent conversations, they’ve added that it could halt food production and transport operations — critical services needed to support military operations.

The clobber list also includes this curious item:

The strike has resulted in the neutralisation of the production capacities for nuclear weaponry.

I wonder where and what that has been:

One depot of artillery armament, delivered by western countries and prepared for being sent to troops, has been destroyed.

The redeployment of the reserve forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), and the delivery of foreign armament to operations areas have been frustrated.

The last sentence describes the real purpose of the attacks on the energy systems.

The lack of energy is degrading the railway network that brings weapons from the west to the eastern front. It makes redeployment of units from one front section to another very difficult and time consuming. It will give the Russian forces the advantage when they change the Schwerpunkt [center of gravity] of their attacks from one corner of the frontline to another.

Another effect of the strikes on the electricity systems and the blackouts in the big cities that follow them is a renewed stream of refugees that will want reach western Europe. It will over time change the public opinion and the political priorities of those countries. If they fail to end the war they will have to carry the burden.

Posted by b at 14:37 UTC
[END REPORT]

American attitude: 'Whatever goes wrong in all of this, the Europeans will eat the cost.'

When oh when will EU leaders grow a brain about Ukraine and the USA?

Today's discussion from The Duran:

Trade between India and Russia surges. EU continues to self-destruct - YouTube

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Thursday, November 17

"There is a global energy crisis, a global inflation crisis and a global economic crisis."

Yes, Britain is the fifth largest economy.  

U.K. economy in recession for first time since 2008 - CBS News

BY RAMY INOCENCIO
NOVEMBER 17, 2022 / 12:30 PM 
CBS NEWS

London — The United Kingdom has slipped into recession, the country's finance minister Jeremy Hunt said Thursday. The last time the U.K. was in recession was during the 2008 financial crisis, which shattered the global economy. 

Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the second-highest ranking member of Britain's government behind Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, made the anxiety-inducing declaration to lawmakers gathered in the House of Commons to hear his hour-long financial address, called the Autumn Statement.

In it, he outlined the state of the world's fifth-largest economy, which has been battered by soaring inflation and energy prices. The economic woes are due in large part to the war in Ukraine and supply chain disruptions lingering from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a self-inflicted wound by the previous prime minister and her top economist, whose plan to slash taxes sent shockwaves through financial markets

At the heart of Hunt's proposals is a painful mix of tax increases and public spending cuts, aimed at filling what economists have described as a "massive black hole" in the government's finances — a gap of about $64 billion. 

"There is a global energy crisis, a global inflation crisis and a global economic crisis. But today with this plan for stability, growth and public services, we will face into the storm," said Hunt. "We do so today with British resilience and British compassion."  

As the finance minister spoke, the value of U.K. stocks fell to their lowest point of the day, but recouped losses to close flat by the end of trading in London. The British pound, however, fell about 1% to trade at 1.17 to the U.S. dollar. That fall came despite the government having telegraphed its plans before the chancellor's televised address, in the hope that the news would not spook investors. 

In taxation, the threshold to trigger payment of the top income tax rate, 45%, will fall from £150,000 to just over £125,000 per year. That and other thresholds were to be frozen for two years, which means that as people make more money — wages are up 5.5% year on year, though not keeping up with inflation at 11.1% — millions of people will eventually be pushed into higher tax brackets. 

Hunt said the government would maintain a cap on energy prices introduced by his predecessor Liz Truss, but would raise that cap slightly from next April. Oil and gas companies will also be forced to pay a higher tax, known as a windfall tax, on their profits, which have soared thanks to the soaring oil and gas prices, through 2028. 

"The overall result, therefore, is that fiscal policy will be tightened materially next year, amplifying the recession already underway," Samuel Tombs, Chief U.K. Economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in an analysis.

[END REPORT]

See also:

As recession looms, British business sends out lending SOS | Reuters - November 17

[...]

Banks are increasingly nervous about extending credit to small companies, according to data compiled by Reuters and interviews with lenders and business heads, as rising costs of debt, labour and raw materials put the business case of lending to such companies under unprecedented strain.

[...]

‘Recession’ is far too mild a term for what Britain is about to face | The Independent  

The sluggish growth punctuated by relapses into inflation and recession will continue indefinitely. [...]

********

JCOS Chief Milley knows which side of his bread is buttered.

Two important discussions; the first explains why so many incompetents came to lead the U.S. military.  

Judge Napolitano interviews Col. Macgregor:

Ukraine Russia War - What is Next? - YouTube - November 16

and The Duran's report today: 

Ukraine 'for as long as it takes' w/Brian Berletic from The New Atlas - YouTube

*******

French inch toward admitting America is their true enemy

Now when will Germans inch toward admitting the obvious about their country and America? 

You are under contrĂ´le: French elites privately fear the US and new research explains why — RT World News

Intelligence services worry about American economic warfare more than terrorism or the prospect of confrontation with Russia or China

New research published by France’s Ecole de Guerre Economique has revealed some extraordinary findings about who and what the French intelligence services fear most when it comes to threats to the country’s economy.

The findings are based on extensive research and interviews with French intelligence experts, including representatives of spy agencies, and so reflect the positions and thinking of specialists in the under-researched field of economic warfare. Their collective view is very clear - 97 percent consider the US to be the foreign power that “most threatens” the “economic interests” of Paris.

Who is your true enemy?

The research was conducted to answer the question, “what will become of France in an increasingly exacerbated context of economic war?”. This query has become increasingly urgent for the EU as Western sanctions on Moscow’s exports, in particular energy, have had a catastrophic effect on European countries, but have not had the predicted effect on Russia. Nor have they hurt the US, the country pushing most aggressively for these measures.

Yet the question is not being asked in other EU capitals. It is precisely the continent-wide failure, or unwillingness at least, to consider the “negative repercussions on the daily lives” of European citizens that inspired the Ecole de Guerre Economique report. 

As the report’s lead author Christian Harbulot explains, ever since the end of World War II, France has “lived in a state of the unspoken,” as have other European countries.

At the conclusion of that conflict, “manifest fear” among French elites of the Communist Party taking power in France “strongly incited a part of the political class to place our security in the hands of the US, in particular by calling for the establishment of permanent military bases in France.” 

“It goes without saying that everything has its price. The compensation for this aid from across the Atlantic was to make us enter into a state of global dependence - monetary, financial, technological - with regard to the US,” Harbulot says. And aside from 1958 - 1965 when General Charles de Gaulle attempted to increase the autonomy of Paris from Washington and NATO, French leaders have “fallen into line.”

This acceptance means aside from rare public scandals such as the sale of French assets to US companies, or Australia canceling its purchase of French-made submarines in favor of a controversial deal with the US and UK (AUKUS), there is little recognition - let alone discussion - in the mainstream as to how Washington exerts a significant degree of control over France’s economy, and therefore politics. 

As a result, politicians and the public alike struggle to identify “who their enemy” truly is. “In spheres of power” across Europe, Harbulot says, “it is customary to keep this kind of problem silent,” and economic warfare remains an “underground confrontation which precedes, accompanies and then takes over from classic military conflicts.”

This in turn means any debate about “hostility or harmfulness” in Europe’s relations with Washington misses the underlying point that “the US seeks to ensure its supremacy over the world, without displaying itself as a traditional empire.” 

The EU might have a trade surplus of 150 billion euros with the US, but the latter would never willingly allow this economic advantage to translate to “strategic autonomy” from it. And this gain is achieved against the constant backdrop of - and more than offset by - “strong geopolitical and military pressure” from the US at all times.

I spy with my Five Eyes

Harbulot believes the “state of the unspoken” to be even more pronounced in Germany, as Berlin “seeks to establish a new form of supremacy within Europe” based on its dependency on the US. 

As France “is not in a phase of power building but rather in a search to preserve its power” - a “very different” state of affairs - this should mean the French can more easily recognize and admit to toxic dependency on Washington, and see it as a problem that must be resolved.

It is certainly hard to imagine such an illuminating and honest report being produced by a Berlin-based academic institute, despite the country being the most badly affected by anti-Russian sanctions. Some analysts have spoken of a possible deindustrialization of Germany, as its inability to power energy-intensive economic sectors has destroyed its 30-year-long trade surplus - maybe forever.

But aside from France’s “dependency” on Washington being different to that of Germany, Paris has other reasons for cultivating a “culture of economic combat,” and keeping very close track of the “foreign interests” that are harming the country’s economy and companies.

A US National Security Agency spying order sent to other members of the Five Eyes global spying network - Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK - released by WikiLeaks, shows that since at least 2002 Washington has issued its English-speaking allies annual “information need” requests, seeking any and all information they can dig up on the economic activities of French companies, the economic and trade policies of France’s government, and the views of Paris on the yearly G8 and G20 summits.

Whatever is unearthed is shared with key US economic decision-makers and departments, including the Federal Reserve and Treasury, as well as intelligence agencies, such as the CIA. Another classified WikiLeaks release shows that the latter – between November 2011 and July 2012 – employed spies from across the Five Eyes (OREA) to infiltrate and monitor the campaigns of parties and candidates in France’s presidential election.

Washington was particularly worried about a Socialist Party victory, and so sought information on a variety of topics, “to prepare key US policymakers for the post-election French political landscape and the potential impact on US-France relations.” Of particular interest was “the presidential candidates' views on the French economy, what current economic policies…they see as not working, and what policies…they promote to help boost France's economic growth prospects[.]”

The CIA was also very interested in the “views and characterization” of the US on the part of presidential candidates, and any efforts by them and the parties they represented to “reach out to leaders of other countries,” including some of the states that form the Five Eyes network itself. 

Naturally, those members would be unaware that their friends in Washington, and other Five Eyes capitals, would be spying on them while they spied on France. 

It was clearly not for nothing that veteran US grand strategist and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once remarked“to be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.”

[END REPORT]

********

Wednesday, November 16

But not shameful enough to stop the carnage, eh, President Grybauskaite?

“We’re learning in Ukraine how to fight, and we’re learning how to use our NATO equipment,” [former Lithunian President] Dalia Grybauskaite said in an interview last week. “And, yes, it is a teaching battleground.”

She paused, then added: “It is shameful for me because Ukrainians are paying with their lives for these exercises for us.”
Nov. 15, 2022, 12:01 a.m. ET
The New York Times

Though the battle for Ukraine remains largely a grinding artillery war, new advances in technology and training there are being closely monitored for the ways they are starting to shape combat

Three months ago, as Ukrainian troops were struggling to advance against Russian forces in the south, the military’s headquarters in Kyiv quietly deployed a valuable new weapon to the battlefield. It was not a rocket launcher, cannon or another kind of heavy arms from Western allies. Instead, it was a real-time information system known as Delta — an online network that military troops, civilian officials and even vetted bystanders could use to track and share desperately needed details about Russian forces.

The software, developed in coordination with NATO, had barely been tested in battle. But as they moved across the Kherson region in a major counteroffensive, Ukraine’s forces employed Delta, as well as powerful weaponry supplied by the West, to push the Russians out of towns and villages they had occupied for months. The big payoff came on Friday with the retreat of Russian forces from Kherson City — a major prize in the nearly nine-month war.

Delta is one example of how Ukraine has become a testing ground for state-of-the-art weapons and information systems, and new ways to use them, that Western political officials and military commanders predict could shape warfare for generations to come.

The battle for Ukraine, to be sure, remains largely a grinding war of attrition, 
with relentless artillery attacks and other World War II-era tactics. Both sides primarily rely on Soviet-era weapons, and Ukraine has reported running low on ammunition for them.

But even as the traditional warfare is underway, new advances in technology and training in Ukraine are being closely monitored for the ways they are changing the face of the fight. Beyond Delta, they include remote-controlled boats, anti-drone weapons known as SkyWipers and an updated version of an air-defense system built in Germany that the German military itself has yet to use.

“Ukraine is the best test ground, as we have the opportunity to test all hypotheses in battle and introduce revolutionary change in military tech and modern warfare,” said Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation.

He was speaking in October at a NATO conference in Norfolk, Va., where he publicly discussed Delta for the first time.

He also emphasized the growing reliance on the remote-controlled aircraft and boats that officials and military experts said have become weapons of choice like those in no previous war.

“In the last two weeks, we have been convinced once again the wars of the future will be about maximum drones and minimal humans,” Mr. Federov said.

Since last summer, Ukraine and its allies have been testing remote-controlled boats packed with explosives in the Black Sea, culminating in a bold attack in October against Russia’s fleet off the coast of Sevastopol.

Military officials largely have declined to discuss the attack or provide details about the boats, but both the United States and Germany have supplied Ukraine with similar ships this year. Shaurav Gairola, a naval weapons analyst for Janes, a defense intelligence firm, said the Black Sea strike showed a sophisticated level of planning, given the apparent success of the small and relatively inexpensive boats against Russia’s mightier war ships.

The attack “has pushed the conflict envelope,” Mr. Gairola said. He said it “imposes a paradigm shift in naval war doctrines and symbolizes an expression of futuristic warfare tactics.”

The use of remote-controlled boats could become particularly important, military experts said, showing how warfare at sea might play out as the United States and its allies brace for potential future naval aggressions by China in the East and South China Seas, and against Taiwan.

Inevitably, the Russians’ increased use of drones has spurred Ukraine’s allies to send new technology to stop them.

Late last year, Ukraine’s military began using the newly developed drone-jamming guns known as SkyWipers to thwart Russian separatists in the eastern Donbas region. The SkyWipers, which can divert or disrupt drones by blocking their communication signals, were developed in Lithuania and had been on the market for only two years before they were given to Ukraine through a NATO security assistance program.

Nearly nine months into the war, the SkyWipers are now only one kind of drone jammer being used in Ukraine. But they have been singled out as a highly coveted battlefield asset — both for Ukrainian troops and enemy forces that hope to capture them.

It is not known how many SkyWipers have been sent to Ukraine, although Lithuania reportedly sent several dozen in October 2021. In a statement to The New York Times, Lithuania’s defense ministry said it sent 50 SkyWipers in August after Ukrainian officials called it “one of the top priorities.”

Dalia Grybauskaite, who was Lithuania’s president when the SkyWipers were being designed, said her country’s defense industry made a calculated turn toward producing high-tech equipment during her time in office, from 2009 to 2019, to update a stockpile of weapons that “were mainly Kalashnikovs” and other Soviet-era arms.

“We’re learning in Ukraine how to fight, and we’re learning how to use our NATO equipment,”Ms. Grybauskaite said in an interview last week. “And, yes, it is a teaching battleground.”

She paused, then added: “It is shameful for me because Ukrainians are paying with their lives for these exercises for us.”

The Western lethal aid that is being sent to Ukraine consists, for the most part, of recently updated versions of older weapons. That was the case with the German-made infrared, medium-range homing missiles and launchers known as IRIS-T, which protect against Russian rocket attacks.

They have a longer range than the previous generation of air-defense systems that debuted in 2015. Germany’s own military has not yet used the updated version of the systems, which were shipped to Ukraine last month. Additional missiles were delivered last week.

Rafael Loss, a weapons expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said that by themselves the upgraded air defenses do not “represent a game-changer.” But he said their use in Ukraine showed how the government in Kyiv had evolved beyond Soviet-era warfare and brought it more in line with NATO.

Senior NATO and Ukrainian officials said the Delta network was a prime example. More than an early alert system, Delta combines real-time maps and pictures of enemy assets, down to how many soldiers are on the move and what kinds of weapons they are carrying, officials said. That is combined with intelligence — including from surveillance satellites, drones and other government sources — to decide where and how Ukrainian troops should attack.

Ukraine and Western powers determined they needed the system after Russia instigated a separatist-backed war in Ukraine’s east in 2014. It was developed by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry with NATO assistance and first tested in 2017, in part to wean troops off Russian standards of siloing information among ground units instead of sharing it.  It has been included in training exercises between Ukraine’s military and other NATO planners in the years since.

Information sharing has long been a staple for American and other NATO forces. What NATO officials said was surprising about the Delta system was that the network was so broadly accessible to troops that it helped them make battlefield decisions even faster than some more modern militaries. In Kherson, Delta helped Ukrainian troops quickly identify Russian supply lines to attack, Inna Honchar, commander of the nongovernment group Aerorozvidka, which develops drones and other technology for Ukraine’s military, said in a statement on Sunday.

“Bridges were certainly key points,” Ms. Honchar added. “Warehouses and control points were damaged, and the provision of troops became critical” as Russians became increasingly isolated, she said.

Delta’s first real test had come in the weeks immediately after the February invasion as a Russian convoy stretching 40 miles long headed toward Kyiv. Ukrainian drones overhead tracked its advance, and troops assessed the best places to intercept it. Residents texted up-to-the-minute reports to the government with details that could have been seen only up close.

All the information was collected, analyzed and disseminated through Delta to help Ukraine’s military force a Russian retreat, Ukrainian officials said.

“That was the very first moment when Delta capabilities were realized at max,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement. It said Delta had since helped identify 1,500 confirmed Russian targets across the country on any given day — with “hundreds of them being eliminated” within 48 hours.

The test runs in Ukraine are helping senior officials and defense planners in the United States and its allies decide how to invest military spending over the next two decades. Even routine missions in Ukraine — like how to get fuel to missile-toting vehicles on the edge of enemy territory — have set off discussions in American commands over how to design equipment that is not dependent on supply lines.

And longer-term strategy about how to coordinate and communicate among allied troops, which officials now say was a challenge during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is being developed as the battle against Russia continues to unfold.

Such strategic military reforms were being discussed before Ukraine was invaded, said Gen. Philippe Lavigne of France, who leads NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, but “our early observations of this war is that those assumptions are still valid.”

He said Ukraine had shown how future warfare was likely to be fast-paced and highly contested not just on the ground or in the skies, but also, most important, in cyberspace.

“This is the future operating environment,” General Lavigne said.

[END REPORT]


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Thursday, November 10

"Now we are faced with a serious great power that is not going to roll over for us."

American Col. Douglas Macgregor (Ret.) tells is like it is and does so in less than 2 minutes.  


And from Clayton Morris, another American telling the bald truth, in a few more words: "We are arming terrorists under the guise of democracy."

This looks like the article Clayton is quoting, at the original publications site:

How Support to Partner Forces Enables Secret War (justsecurity.org)

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Wednesday, November 9

"Ukraine is in the middle of an all-or-nothing offensive" while Russia is waiting them out

Ukraine's battle strategy, repeatedly applied, has been absolutely devastating to its troops and materiel to the point of suicidal; in this they've been doing much of the Russian military's work them.  


Ten-minute analysis from Brian Berletic. 

Will Saudi Arabia accept yuan in payment for oil? Question of the century.

If Xi Jinping travels to Saudi Arabia this year, we might get an inkling of the answer.  China’s Xi Jinping Plans Visit to Saudi Arabia Amid Global Reshuffling - WSJ - November 7.

If the answer is yes, this paves the way for all OPEC nations to accept yuan in payment. China is already Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner; it buys 25 percent of the kingdom's oil. Saudi Arabia considers accepting yuan instead of dollars for oil sales, report says | Middle East Eye - March 15

Next question: Will Saudi Arabia join BRICS?  If the answer is yes, this paves the way for successful development of a new basket of currencies to rival the US dollar.   

BRICS Expansion: Five New Members in 2023? - Impakter - July 18 

Following Russia's announcement of Iran & Argentina's BRICS membership bids, the alliance president reveals that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, a NATO member, have the same plans.

 Just over two weeks after Russian state media announced that Iran and Argentina filed their official applications to join BRICS, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt began the process of making the same move, the alliance President Purnima Anand said on July 14.

“All these countries have shown their interest in joining and are preparing to apply for membership. I believe this is a good step, because expansion is always looked upon favorably, it will definitely bolster BRICS’ global influence,” Anand told Russian media. 

According to Russia Today, she pointed out that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt are “already engaged in the [BRICS membership] process,” saying she hopes that they will join soon but that she doubts they will all join simultaneously. 

[...]  

We'll have better insight about these momentous questions after Xi visits Saudi Arabia, if he visits, and after the BRICS 2023 summit, which is still in the planning stage. The fate of human civilization as we've known it for almost 80 years hangs on the answers.  

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US and Russia supposedly will hold nuclear talks

" ... before correcting himself to say that the meeting will definitely happen."

US and Russia to hold nuclear talks – State Department — RT World News - November 8

The meeting will be the first since hostilities broke out in Ukraine

American and Russian diplomats will meet to discuss the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty “in the near future,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday. Earlier, Bloomberg and Kommersant cited sources who said that a meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) may soon be held in Egypt.

“We have agreed that the BCC will meet in the near future. Under the terms of the New START treaty, the work of the BCC is confidential, but we do hope for a constructive session,” Price said at a press briefing.

The US believes in the “transformative power of diplomacy and dialogue” but is “clear-eyed and realistic” about what it can accomplish when it comes to Russia, Price added. The conversations are “focused on risk-reduction” but Washington wants to ensure that the ability to pass messages back and forth with Moscow “does not atrophy.”

“If there is, and it sounds like there will be, a meeting of the BCC, that is a good thing,” Price added, before correcting himself to say that the meeting will definitely happen.

While Price would not name the venue for the meeting, Bloomberg mentioned Cairo as a neutral location that is more acceptable to Russia than Geneva, since Switzerland has taken part in the US and EU sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.

The New START is the last remaining nuclear arms control agreement between the US and Russia, set to expire in 2026 unless renewed. The BCC last met in October 2021.

Moscow suspended the inspection regime under the treaty in August, citing Western sanctions that have prevented Russian inspectors from doing their work in the US, thus putting Washington at an unfair advantage. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the inspections would continue once the principle of parity and equality is restored. Inspections had previously been disrupted by lockdowns in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

[END REPORT]

See also: 



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Russian troops retreat from parts of Kherson region

 

Breaking News: Russian MoD Announces Troop Withdrawal From Parts of Kherson Region to Left Bank of Dnepr River


The Sputnik report has a long-winded explanation.  

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