Thomas Wictor

Balloon has gone up. Last night and just now

Balloon has gone up. Last night and just now

How fitting! “The balloon has gone up” originated during World War I. Before a major operation, attackers raised observation balloons.

British_observation_balloon

The enemy would see and say, “Aw, crap! The balloon has gone up!”

They knew that hostilities had commenced.

Last night and just now, the balloon went up. A new phase in the liberation of the Middle East has begun.

Saudi balloon

Yesterday US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter met with the Gulf Cooperation Council Ministers of Defense. In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The partner nations will together build upon their decades of progress in the new era to defeat ISIL, counter Iran’s destabilizing activities and ensure the partner nations’ combined capabilities against both threats match their combined commitments, Carter said.

“Today I reaffirmed the United States’ enduring commitments to the security of our Gulf partners, including the commitments President [Barack] Obama made at last May’s U.S.-GCC summit at Camp David,” the secretary said.

The secretary said he today encouraged GCC partners to do more to accelerate ISIL’s defeat—not only militarily, but also politically and economically “because Sunni support for multi-sectarian governance and reconstruction, particularly in Sunni areas of Iraq, will both be critical to ensuring that ISIL stays defeated.”

I have no idea what they did to the photo below, because neither Ashton Carter nor Mohammed bin Salman look like that. But I like the image.

Carter_Bin_Salman

It’s allegorical.

Let me take you back to what the Saudis said earlier.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Monday held out the possibility of sending Saudi special forces into Syria as part of a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State.

“There is a discussion with regard to a ground force contingent, or a special forces contingent, to operate in Syria by this international U.S.-led coalition against ISIS and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has expressed its readiness to provide special forces to such operations should they occur,” he said.

The US had to unambiguously ask. This is to prevent accusations of Wahhabist imperialism.

As far as I can tell, Saudi strategic special operators have been in Syria since 2013 at the earliest. But now the US has openly asked the Gulf Cooperation Council to “do more to defeat” the Islamic State.

In reality, we’re ones who’ve begun doing more.

Afterburner balloon

At 11:30 p.m. last night, I realized that my cats had no food. When I went out to the car, I saw that it was beautiful cloudless night with a bright moon. In the sky, a large, four-engined jet flew in this direction.

Edwards_Air_Force_Base

It came from Edwards Air Force Base. Although it was too high for me to hear, I could see the orange dots of the four engines, meaning the afterburners were on.

B-1_afterburners

However, it wasn’t a Rockwell B-1 Lancer, the aircraft pictured above. The four engines were in pods on the wings.

C-17 Globemaster

Here’s what the Smithsonian says about afterburners.

A typical jet engine uses only about half the oxygen it ingests, leaving a large amount of potential energy. The afterburner, which is a long extension at the back of the engine, combines much of the remaining oxygen with jet fuel, squirted into the high-speed exhaust stream from the engine’s turbine, and ignites the mixture. The resulting blowtorch shoots through a nozzle at the back of the engine, providing a hard kick of extra thrust.

There’s no known four-engined transport that has afterburners. The aircraft I saw was flying nearly twice as fast as normal. Someone was in a hurry.

Afternoon balloon

About an hour ago, the sky became filled with aircraft vapor trails. My brother Tim and I counted thirty.

vapor_trails

We also noticed that civilian air traffic headed to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) had ceased flying the regular route past our houses.

As these thirty large and very fast aircraft went from horizon to horizon, a US Air Force Boeing C-32B floated past low enough for us to see the utter lack of markings.

Boeing_C-32B

Hey, whattaya know?

United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) operates a small number of Boeing C-32B passenger jet aircraft, providing global airlift for U.S. government crisis response activities. These may include U.S. State Department Foreign Emergency Support Teams (FEST), which deploy in response to terrorism incidents around the world. They may also fly in support of CIA Special Activities.

Here are the routes that the aircraft took.

Vandenberg_Air_Force_Base.2

Two came in from the Pacific and headed toward Edwards Air Force Base. Eight came in from the Pacific and headed toward Vandenberg Air Force Base. And twenty went from Vandenberg to Edwards.

After these thirty aircraft had departed, civilian airliners began appearing again, except that the first two flew almost directly over our house. Then the rest of the airliners took the traditional route to LAX.

In the nearly forty years that I’ve visited or lived here, I’ve never seen a display like what just happened. And I’m a sky watcher. I always look at the sky.

The balloon went up. No doubt.

What kind of balloon?

Both Edwards and Vandenberg test new aircraft and missiles. My guess is that attacks on Iran and Hezbollah are imminent—but only as a Plan B. I think that the Arab League is already in the process of regime change in Iran and the destruction of Hezbollah. However, they’re doing it the way they’ve been fighting in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. Professional strategic special operators and the locals are bringing about the enemy’s defeat without laying waste to the country.

But you need a Plan B as insurance. You need the ability to destroy everything.

Something was activated last night and this afternoon. It has to do with Putin. Here’s how he looked when listening to Benjamin Netanyahu a few days ago.

Netanyahu_Putin

Maybe a bunch of Russians and Iranians were flown out here to watch things being blown up. I wouldn’t put anything past the current leaders in the Middle East. They seem to have figured out answers to every possible complication.

Balloon inside the head

To be a journalist, you have to be an imbecile who makes weird faces.

journalists

Operation Inherent Resolve—the air and ground campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria—is now 20 months old. There have been over 40,000 weapons releases.

How many Iraqi and Syrian civilians have been killed by Coalition air strikes?

Twenty-six.

So what do reporters ask Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve?

Isn’t the fact that there are going to be more strikes by virtue of the fact that strikes can happen more quickly, and that you can take advantage of dynamic targets more readily, doesn’t that mean that the risk of civilian casualties raises, just by virtue of the fact that they’re are more strikes?

Can you help me understand, if you’re removing layers of scrutiny from this decision, then how is it that the threshold for a strike wouldn’t be more likely to result in civilian casualties?

[The decision to strike] was going higher up the chain of command, and now it’s lower down. That would suggest a lower level of scrutiny.

The delegation [of responsibility to authorize strikes] has gone down [in the chain of command], but have the rule of engagement changed or the number of acceptable civilian losses? Has that changed?

Previously, all American air strikes had to be approved by Central Command in Florida. Now, some air strikes can be authorized by commanders in Iraq. Therefore the press ignores the almost bloodless nature of the conflict and instead accuses the Coalition of carelessness.

I hate journalists. They represent decay. A layman like me shouldn’t know more about the Middle East than they do.

This is an Arab League professional strategic special operator in Syria.

Arab_League_special_operator

Because of that photo, I was able to confirm that the men below are also Arab League professional strategic special operators.

Yemen.

Yemen_operator.1

Yemen_operator.2

Yemen_operator.3

Syria.

Syra_operator

I knew in my gut that they were commandos, but now I’ve been able to prove it.

Although the balloon has finally gone up, civilians will not die in large numbers. It’s a new era. Major conflicts are becoming obsolete.

We owe it all to Israel and the Arab League.

Nasser_Al-Neyadi


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