Iran’s Four Proxy Wars and the General leading them

Last week I mentioned a name for you to remember. To Shia muslims in Iran he is now larger than life. They are even making movies about him. Major General Qasem Soleimani, the “shadow commander” of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Al-Quids forces, stepped into the light to protect the Shia of the Middle East. He runs Iran’s four proxy wars reporting directly to Iran’s leader Ali Khamenei.  Soleimani has been very successful fighting ISIS across Iraq and Syria, even joining forces on the front lines during the fighting. Since President Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal and imposed stiff sanctions against Iran, Soleimani’s forces have increased activity across the Middle East. Soleimani has now included Bahrain in the list of countries Iran wishes to destabilize, with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen as the other four.

Inclusion of Bahrain should alarm you. The Sunni government of Bahrain has been one of our closest allies in the Middle East. US Air Force, Navy, and Royal Air Force aircraft operated from Manama and Sheik Isa airfields during both wars in Iraq. The State Department declared the Al-Ashtar Brigade, a militant group in Bahrain, a terrorist organization. On August 13, the US State Department listed one of AAB’s leaders, Qassim Abdullah Ali Ahmed, also known as Qassim al-Muamen, as a specially designated global terrorist, subjecting him to wide-ranging sanctions. Al-Muamen’s group received direct support from Iran for bombing Bahrain’s oil pipeline and assassinating government leaders.

 

Major General Qasem Soleimani walking the strrets of Tehran during a celebration.

Iranian backed militant group assassinating leaders in Bahrain? The US has military leaders in Bahrain. On Saturday, Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, commander of the US Fifth Fleet, was found dead in his home in Bahrain. Current reports state there does not seem to be foul play. But we are talking about the Middle East and madness Iran has created.

The so what of all this is I’ve wondered today if Soleimani ran his own version of Operation Vengeance, the intercept of the two Betty bombers carrying Imperial Japanese Navy Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto near the island of Bougainville. Khamenei said he would implement the Mother of all Battles against the US. Iran would target US military personnel with no regrets, and have done so in the past. I sincerely hope I’m wrong… normally I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but with all the things Iran’s Khamenei has been saying against the US and the majority of the population in Bahrain being Shia, a vengeance mission against a US military leader is right up Qasem Soleimani’s alley. Hunting ISIS leadership has become one of his strengths in the Al-Quids forces fight against ISIS.

We’ll wait and see what the official report says but earlier today I read two articles saying they don’t believe what is being said about the Vice Admiral’s death. Iran is exerting their influence through the Middle East, and the commander of their version of CIA and Special Operations Forces is named Qasem Soleimani. Remember that name.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.

The Migrant Caravan Part Two: Sunday’s Rush on our Border

Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon snapped a picture of Maria Meza and her twin daughters running from a tear gas canister fired into a crowd of 1000 migrants rushing the US-Mexico border by US Border Patrol agents on Sunday 25 November. Kyung-Hoon’s photo appears on the front page of every news outlet. The photo is meant to tear you up emotionally. Migrant activist Jesus Ibanez stated “The sheer desperation in their eyes, the stories you hear of people fleeing from violence only to be met by violence here, was disheartening…” Liberal progressives and the main stream media continue to say how barbaric gassing children is, Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom of California saying in a tweet “And we will not stand for this.”

Kim Kyung-Hoon's photo used by numerous news outlets

The Russian Times gets it… their article “The Art of the Narrative” openly says the liberals and main stream media’s agenda is “to silence the immigration narrative.” Events on Sunday and the pictures you are seeing are designed to shut down the immigration narrative.

How? What is the real story behind the photo and event?

Everyone should view Ami Horowitz documentary he recorded while traveling with the caravan

Ninety to ninety-five percent of the caravan are males. There are very few women and children traveling in the caravan but the media focuses on that demographic. Ever present is the activist group Pueblo Sin Fronteras says Horowitz, clad in black T-shirts and colored vests. They are the caravan organizers and funding of millions of dollars. Pueblo Sin Fronteras advocates a world without borders, read no walls or national sovereignty. Read closely what they have on their website. Pueblo sin Fronteras organized the buses and trucks moving the thousands in the caravan. From their website, “We accompany migrants and refugees in their journey of hope, and together demand our human rights.” Heard anything about Pueblo sin Fronteras’ demands in the main stream media? Since when is it a “human right” to live in the United States? 

The migrant group rushed the US border placing women and children in front of the wave. Remember the human shields seen in the Middle East? They are trying to provoke a response, which the main stream media will always misrepresent. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote a long nine point Facebook post saying the event was “entirely predictable.” Males in the crowd threw rocks and parts of cinder blocks at Border Patrol Agents rushing the border while women and children kept Border Patrol from engaging directly.

Which prompted the use of tear gas. Border Patrol Agents have a right to self defense. President Trump is being excoriated for using “chemical weapons” on women and children in this single event though, typical of the MSM and liberals. Yet the media has not mentioned once the number of times Border Patrol Agents employed tear gas under the Obama Administration.

Does the photo tell the real story though? Remember, a single photo is a moment in time which never gives the context for when it’s taken. Notice every media outlet in the collage above used the SAME picture of Maria Meza and her twins. Makes me skeptical of the story. Several people examined the photo of Maria and her twins, focusing on the four quadrants behind them. There are a lot of cameras making it looked staged. Why are there no other photos? One examiner measured the distance from the bridge to where Ms. Meza is standing, three quarters of a mile according to Google Earth. That’s an arm the New York Yankees want.

Kyung-Hoon's photo with observations by reviewers on Twitter

Here’s my “So What”… As my father told me over and over again, when it comes to news events and the images shown, believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.

“This is an invasion!” is no longer a statement by President Trump, residents of Tijuana are now saying the same thing. Migrants are aggressive, vulgar bullies according to other residents. Will that state of mind change when arriving in the US? Nope. 

Sunday’s use of tear gas and the MSM coverage is propaganda at its finest. Many Americans are falling for the fake narrative when a little investigation goes a long way. Bottomline, none of the people Ami Horowitz interviewed said they are seeking asylum, they are coming to the US for economic and educational reasons. Economic and educational shortfalls are not asylum criteria. I agree with something Glenn Beck said the other day on his morning radio show. The Migrant Caravan will become the US version of Israel’s Palestinian State struggle. And you know how this has turned out for the Benjamin Netanyahu government. Violence along the Gaza Border has been intense. As the residents of Tijuana know, this situation only aggressively intensifies over the next couple weeks as the Christmas holidays approach. Liberals and progressives are trying to stifle the conservative immigration narrative and the main stream media’s photos are the tools for facilitating the propaganda. 

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.

No Gas for Operation Yukon Journey

The current Saudi leadership has asked the Trump Administration to cease US air refueling support to the their coalition fighting in the Yemeni civil war. Our support to the Saudi coalition under the name Operation Yukon Journey came to a halt after US voiced concerns about how the Saudi and United Arab Emirates coalition’s conduct during the air campaign. The halt also comes on the heels of allegations Crown Prince Salman may have been involved in the assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The target of the Saudi coalition are the Shia aligned Houthi Rebels, led by Abdul-Malek Al-Houthi. 

Saudi and UAE began an air campaign in 2015 to reinstall the sunni leader Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi who was removed from power is Sana’a. The Houthi Rebels are supported by the Iran regime with arms to include SCUD type theater ballistic missiles.

The civil war has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as the Yemeni ports have changed hands several times during the civil war. More than 23 million people, two-thirds of Yemen’s population, now rely on aid to survive and 13 million could die from famine, according to the United Nations. 

Here’s the “so what” of Operation Yukon Journey…

The Saudis are involved in a proxy war with Iran. So is the US in Syria and Iraq. The Iran regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei currently fights on four fronts. Khanenei’s goal is Sharia Law throughout the region and the world. Saudi Arabia’s Sunni muslims are trying to stop that from happening as is the US in Syria. But the Iranian Shias have the advantage as Iran’s Hezbollah militias support the Houthis in Yemen.

Iran’s military support to the Houthis has included ballistic missiles, which they fired against Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh and southern large city of Khamis Mushayt and King Khalid Air Base. American-made Patriot missiles ringing Riyadh and Khamis have engaged numerous Houthi SCUDs over the three year civil war.

Remains of a Houthi ballistic missile lying in the streets of Janir Saudi Arabia

As the US coalition learned during the First Gulf War, hunting Saddam’s SCUD ballistic missiles requires a big net of airplanes which must remain airborne for long periods of time. Air refueling extends the range, increases the payload, and stretches the endurance of airborne aircraft. The US Air Force has the largest fleet of tanker aircraft, 414 KC-135s and 59 KC-10s. The Royal Saudi Air Force has 26 and the UAE 3. The Royal Saudi Air Force operates a version of the US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle, a very capable fighter bomber. Loaded down with 8-12 bombs, a Strike Eagle consumes 12,000 pounds an hour at tactical speeds. A four-ship formation of F-15Es will consume 144,000 pounds of fuel during a typical three hour long tasking. Multiply 144,000 by a 24 hour day means 1,152,000 pounds of fuel, or 177,230 gallons. An American family uses 1010 gallons a year so Mom can operate the minivan for 175 years on what the F-15Es will use in a day. Now do you understand why air refueling support is so important?

Air refueling support may not seem like a big deal to most US citizens but when you run some numbers we used during the planning of both Iraq wars and compare it to the number of tankers Saudi and UAE have in their tanker fleet, the loss of US tanker support actually limits their ability to run an effective air campaign. And the Iranian regime marches on extending their influence across the Middle East.

 

Booming Utah: Welcome to the “Silicone Slopes”

When I was a college student at Brigham Young University in the early 1980’s, Thanksgiving Point was full of cows and wheat fields. Driving home last night from a family outing I was in awe of the number of buildings going up where those pastures used to be. Adobe’s large headquarters dominates the hill next to Cabelas. Utah’s economy is booming, and getting better. The German high tech giant SAP bought the Provo- based software company Qualtrics, co-founded by CEO Ryan Smith, over the weekend for $8 billion. Salt Lake City and Utah is becoming a new gold standard for business. Reasons given are “entrepreneurial spirit,” quality of life, and the right policies to grow.

My wife shared this article with me this morning containing some interesting statistics. Like Qualtrics, there has been a boom in startups in the Beehive State. University of Utah student-created startups have gone form 1 in 2002 to 329 in 2017. The price tag for a startup has decreased from $10 million in the mid-1990s to $50,000 to $100,000 today.

Wage growth helped Utah become the nation’s hotspot for immigrants from other states. Utah’s wages increased 20.9% since 2012, the fastest growth in all fifty states. I complained last night of the continued construction on I-15 through the state, but the infrastructure growth has been a top priority of the Utah government. They need it to handle the influx of people coming to Utah.

Utah’s economic fortune increased the need for qualified workforce. According to the Census Bureau, Utah is the fastest growing state. People are leaving California in droves because of high cost of living and taxes, and now the numerous wildfires destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

The fastest growing business in Utah is in the tech world.  Utah has become the new home for the technology world, given the nickname “Silicon Slopes.”  Utah’s startups are attracting other companies to look at moving here. The cost of living and lower corporate tax flat tax of only 5%  makes moving to Utah lucrative. Best of all , there is a staggering amount of venture capitol coming to Utah.

And there is lots to do in Utah. I personally like the food variety, from Oreganos Italian Kitchen to Sensuous Sandwich… buy a custom sandwich by the inch! Arguably, Utah has the best snow in the US and Robert Redford owns one of the best ski resorts in the Wasatch Mountains.

If you are starting a new company, particularly in the tech industry, come on out to Utah and joins us. There are plenty of reasons to begin your new life along the Silicone Slopes.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.

What has the 2018 US midterm election wrought?

I watched the midterm returns until 2 am this morning. Getting up at 7 am made for a short night, but Travis needed a ride to school. I feel there are some interesting lessons learned from the US midterm elections…

The divide between urban and rural voters widened. The Democrats had a strong showing in the urban areas which gained them the house advantage by 26 additional seats, and the number may still rise. Republicans broke records for the number of voters in rural areas who went to the polls. The map remains a sea of red with islands of blue.

There was a strong showing for former veterans who are Democrats. I’m glad we have more vets in Congress. We may need their input soon

Some new firsts… the highest number of women winning their bids for election… a Somali-American woman, a Muslim woman, a lesbian Native American, and the youngest woman ever to be in Congress won in their House districts.

Six more congressmen and congresswomen with scientific backgrounds are going to Washington DC; three Engineers, a Pediatrician and a Registered Nurse, a Biochemist, and a Software Engineer.

The Blue Wave appears to be more of a Purple Puddle so it will be interesting to see how each side tries to govern. Forty-five Republicans in the House retired this year, an unprecedented number.  President Trump’s House losses were far less than Clinton’s loss of 54 seats in 1994 and President Obama’s loss of  63 seats in 2010 midterms. This bodes well for President Trump. Despite these major setbacks, both Clinton and Obama went on to win second terms.

The real wave wore camouflage. There was a camo wave yesterday as 77 former members of the military became Senators, Congressmen or Congresswomen, and governors around the nation. In all, 92 vets will be part of the 116th Congress. Of the 92, 25 are Democrats and 67 are Republicans.

The conventional wisdom of Washington DC remains narrow and unfocused. Poll numbers showed a Blue Wave. Florida has a new Republican Governor and Senator. Four incumbent Democratic senators lost who were 5 point or higher in the polls than their opponents. Beto will not replace Senator Ted Cruz no matter how much money he spent campaigning. We still have to wait and see what will happen with Jeff Flake’s Senate seat in Arizona. Republican Martha McSally maintains a slight lead and her opponent Kyrsten Sinema was 3 points ahead going into Tuesday.

Speaking of money, the amount spent in this midterm campaign may top $9 billion! Think about that the next time someone says money isn’t corrupting our political system.

The Attorney General has been asked to resign and he did so. What will his resignation bode for the Mueller investigations? My pick for AG… please President Trump bring on Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

The Republicans own the Senate, all Presidential appointments will go through. This is a big win for the President and the Republicans. The Senate has not had such a robust pro-GOP bias since 1913.

Nine of the eleven Senatorial candidates President Trump campaigned for won. Nine of eleven is an astounding number and shows what power he has from the Bully Pulpit. 

The Democrats now run the House Committees. Stand by for subpoenas and potential gridlock… which the Stock Market loves, rising 545.29 points today.

Every Democratic senator who voted against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the nation’s highest court lost in their reelection bids: Donnelly of Indiana, McCaskill of Missouri, Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Nelson of Florida. Lindsey Graham called it “Kavanaugh’s Revenge.”

One online newsgroup states the US is now in a Cold Civil War. It seems there is little room for compromise right now. Both sides say they will work together. Past statements leave compromise in doubt in my mind. I feel this Cold Civil War will worsen during the pull for power by each side.

Young voters turned out in historic numbers and helped drive the Democrats to victory. My son waited in line for three hours forty-five minutes to vote yesterday. He wasn’t happy about that but he did it. The polls in Provo stayed open another three and a half hours because there were that many people in line.

A real shock… medical marijuana passed in Utah! Prop 2 passed even after the LDS church leadership came out publicly against it. No one saw that coming.

Now… the “So What” of this election. The electoral college becomes even more critical now that the divide between less populated rural areas and more densely populated urban areas continues to divide. There will be a push by the Democrats to do away with the electoral college after the sting of 2016. There was a good reason the Framers put the electoral college in the voting system. One look at the Presidential Election map of 2016 shows a sea of red with islands of blue. If the House Democrats investigate vs. legislate, it will be their doom in 2020. The economy is growing, more people are working, there are more jobs than people to fill them… President Trump has a lot to be proud of. 

I feel the Cold Civil War will intensify though. The push and pull for power will make the rhetoric and probably the violence more likely. The rhetoric of the mainstream media in President Trump’s press conference is a good indication of how bad it’s going to get. Seems the Democrats taking control of the House is emboldening many in the mainstream media. And that same mainstream media will be the bullhorn for the Democrats no matter what President Trump does. He could cure cancer tomorrow and they will say he took to long doing it. 

We may be standing on a precipice looking over a big valley right now. And our enemies are taking notice. Go read how they view what happened yesterday.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.

Ista quidem vis est!

Plutarch describes the event in his book The Life of Brutus. Caesar arrived at the Senate to conduct business. Tillius Cimber presented him with a petition to recall his exiled brother, but the Emperor waved him off. That wave set events in motion. The other conspirators crowded round Cimber to offer their support. Their support was in the form of knives and daggers. Cimber grabbed Caesar’s shoulders pulling down his tunic. Caesar screamed to Cimber, Ista quidem vis est! The English translation is “Why, this is violence!”

Senator Ted Cruz and his wife were forced to leave a Washington DC eating establishment when anti-Kavanaugh and anti-Trump protestors began screaming at them. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao had their dinner interrupted by four protestors screaming they both should leave the country. Threats of violence against conservatives continues to increase. Just wear a “Make America Great Again” ball cap and see what happens.

Today Democrats became members of the same violence club. Suspicious packages were intercepted by the Secret Service destined for the Clinton’s home in New York, the Obama’s home in Washington DC and CNN’s Headquarters in Atlanta. There will probably be more. 

Are these acts of political violence caused because desperate individuals see no other recourse but political interaction by violent means? Read ANTIFA’s literature for some excellent clues. 

President Trump continues to be successfully fulfilling his agenda. A quote from the Chinese General Sun Tzu over 2500 years ago came to mind this morning while reading the news and polling numbers. It doesn’t matter if you are conservative or liberal. It applies to all conflicts. Sun Tzu said in his book The Art of War “If your opponent is of a choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.” Irritating and arrogant is the only way to describe these people perpetrating this violence on American citizens.

Piers Morgan, certainly no fan of President Trump, wrote a piece in the UK’s Daily Mail stating Trump is winning. Morgan observes “Even better for Trump, he’s officially more popular than his predecessor Barack Obama was at the exact same stage of his first tenure as President.” The hardest message for the Democrats he says is “Trump is kicking your a$$!” If you really want to stir the soul of someone who violently hates Trump, tell them the Democrats and mainstream media prophesied big blue wave is unsupported by observations and polling data but is actually a big red wave handing the Republicans an increased majority in the House and Senate.

There’s my “what.” Violence is increasing against both sides as Trump’s approval rating climbs, the big red wave is coming, and there’s nothing these extreme left  groups can do about it. 

Now for the “so what” and “now what.”

My “so what” gut instincts and fears are these. The growing Honduran migrant caravan is approaching the US -Mexican border and there will be violence. Two thirds to three quarters of the migrant wave appear to be military aged males. The mainstream media continues to hype the evaporating blue wave which in reality is a big red wave. These choleric anti-US/Trump/Conservative organizations will become even more violent as they watch the US military stop the migrant caravan at the border, or Republicans extend their majority in the House and Senate. The liberals and progressives could not stop Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation with violent interruptions in the hearings. President Trump’s approval rating climbs closing in on the midterm elections. Look at the side-by-side pictures of Obama’s rally for Democrats in Las Vegas compared to Trump’s rally for Ted Cruz in Houston. The economy is creating record GDP growth and the lowest unemployment numbers in fifty years. These extreme groups feel backed into corners. They feel hopeless and violence against both Democrats and Republicans will increase dramatically.

The “now what” is the Civil War has begun in the United States and I see three groups forming: the conservative right, the progressive left, and the anti US, communist, socialist, ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter organizations forming a third violent group. It remains to be seen how extreme the violence really becomes. I know where the money’s coming from… George Soros. That is where the investigation into these activities needs to start. 

How do you defend your rights, property, and most importantly your family from an angry mob bent on your total destruction? I know where I’d start and who I’d ask… an Israeli family in Sderot near the Gaza Border.