Expended Sellier & Bellot shotgun shell that Ukrainian opposition claims was fired by government forces during crackdown attempt on the Maidan last month. This shell appears to correspond to Sellier & Bellot product number VO75212, a 12-gauge shell that holds a single 17.5mm rubber ball that can be fired at an initial muzzle velocity of 270m/s. Sellier & Bellot JSC is a Czech firm.  Will post a side view of shell on Instagram soon. #kyiv #kiev #armstrade #ukrainerevolution #euromaidan #iphone  (at Київ / Kyiv)

Expended Sellier & Bellot shotgun shell that Ukrainian opposition claims was fired by government forces during crackdown attempt on the Maidan last month. This shell appears to correspond to Sellier & Bellot product number VO75212, a 12-gauge shell that holds a single 17.5mm rubber ball that can be fired at an initial muzzle velocity of 270m/s. Sellier & Bellot JSC is a Czech firm. Will post a side view of shell on Instagram soon. #kyiv #kiev #armstrade #ukrainerevolution #euromaidan #iphone (at Київ / Kyiv)

In Which Two Young Syrian Rebels Casually Offer Sustenance to a Severed Head.
For a brief while last night and early this morning, until YouTube’s censors stepped in and replaced it with the screen above, a video purportedly from Syria showed two young rebels sitting and amiably chatting with the severed head of another man.  
These two men smugly taunted their victim, noting that before they had killed him he had said he was hungry.  And so they offered him sfiha, a local meat pastry.  
The men described their victim as shabiha — a member of militias loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, although this could not be independently verified, at least not immediately.
The video was both shocking and disgusting, as the screen above says. It was also an artifact of war in the time of the smart phone and the internet connection, when barbarity is performed in grotesque scene after scene, day upon day, sometimes, as here, with glee.  The speed with which public presentations of beheadings have become a weekly, if not daily, element of jihadist rebel behavior in Syria is by any reasonable standard beyond startling, and one of the many indicators of Syria’s dark spiral, as the world has done little to stop a once socially diverse and tolerant nation from tearing itself apart.
Everything in the paragraph above is so obvious it hardly needs a discussion. Instead, for the sake of having it in the record, a quickly made translation of the “conversation” that YouTube took down, which opened, as these things tend to, asserting the approval of God.

In the name of God the Merciful,
We, the Mujahideen, regardless of whom our groups could be, whether we belong to Tawheed or the Islamic fronts, we are all brothers, God willing.
The heroes killed one of Assad’s shabiha. Before this soldier died, he complained to us that he was very, very hungry.
So we — (the cameraman interrupts) out of our mercy on him, and so he will not to go to hell hungry — so we said, “It is Haram!”
We brought him — (interrupted by his colleague)
We brought him warmed food.
(Addressing the head, and holding pieces of pastry near it) Eat! Eat! Bashar hadn’t feed you. We feed you.
You don’t want one? Here, take it. We told you to go to your Mom, go to your Dad. Why didn’t you defect?
Cameraman: He has a beard!

NOTE: The translation is subject to change. It was first cut, done quickly. If the video resurfaces, we will revisit and refresh it if necessary.

In Which Two Young Syrian Rebels Casually Offer Sustenance to a Severed Head.

For a brief while last night and early this morning, until YouTube’s censors stepped in and replaced it with the screen above, a video purportedly from Syria showed two young rebels sitting and amiably chatting with the severed head of another man.  

These two men smugly taunted their victim, noting that before they had killed him he had said he was hungry.  And so they offered him sfiha, a local meat pastry.  

The men described their victim as shabiha — a member of militias loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, although this could not be independently verified, at least not immediately.

The video was both shocking and disgusting, as the screen above says. It was also an artifact of war in the time of the smart phone and the internet connection, when barbarity is performed in grotesque scene after scene, day upon day, sometimes, as here, with glee.  The speed with which public presentations of beheadings have become a weekly, if not daily, element of jihadist rebel behavior in Syria is by any reasonable standard beyond startling, and one of the many indicators of Syria’s dark spiral, as the world has done little to stop a once socially diverse and tolerant nation from tearing itself apart.

Everything in the paragraph above is so obvious it hardly needs a discussion. Instead, for the sake of having it in the record, a quickly made translation of the “conversation” that YouTube took down, which opened, as these things tend to, asserting the approval of God.

In the name of God the Merciful,

We, the Mujahideen, regardless of whom our groups could be, whether we belong to Tawheed or the Islamic fronts, we are all brothers, God willing.

The heroes killed one of Assad’s shabiha. Before this soldier died, he complained to us that he was very, very hungry.

So we — (the cameraman interrupts) out of our mercy on him, and so he will not to go to hell hungry — so we said, “It is Haram!”

We brought him — (interrupted by his colleague)

We brought him warmed food.

(Addressing the head, and holding pieces of pastry near it) Eat! Eat! Bashar hadn’t feed you. We feed you.

You don’t want one? Here, take it. We told you to go to your Mom, go to your Dad. Why didn’t you defect?

Cameraman: He has a beard!

NOTE: The translation is subject to change. It was first cut, done quickly. If the video resurfaces, we will revisit and refresh it if necessary.

Are These The Rocket Motors That Propelled the Sarin-Filled Rockets Into Eastern Damascus on Aug. 21?
Soon on the NYT, a new analysis by Dr. Theodore A. Postol of MIT and Richard M. Lloyd of Tesla Laboratories proposing that rocket motors taken from the BM-21 Grad line were inserted into the tubular bodies of the sarin-filled rockets behind the largest chemical warfare attack in decades.  With the two analysts’ calculations about what this might mean for the rockets’ range.
(Dr. Postol and Mr. Lloyd rely on external dimensions and published propellant and propulsion data to reach their new conclusions. This approach has limits, though their previous estimates about the potential volume of sarin in the rockets’ warheads has stood up for months, and was implicitly seconded by the United Nations in its mid-September report into chemical weapons use in Syria’s civil war.)
ABOUT THE IMAGE
Schematic of 9M22-U, one of the standard Soviet/Russian HE rockets in the extended 122-mm family. This rocket, and its many brothers and cousins, can be fired through the BM-21 and knock-off launchers, and via improvised launchers, too. The 9M22-U’s motor assembly was the principal motor used in Dr. Postol’s and Mr. Lloyd’s new analysis.)

Are These The Rocket Motors That Propelled the Sarin-Filled Rockets Into Eastern Damascus on Aug. 21?

Soon on the NYT, a new analysis by Dr. Theodore A. Postol of MIT and Richard M. Lloyd of Tesla Laboratories proposing that rocket motors taken from the BM-21 Grad line were inserted into the tubular bodies of the sarin-filled rockets behind the largest chemical warfare attack in decades.  With the two analysts’ calculations about what this might mean for the rockets’ range.

(Dr. Postol and Mr. Lloyd rely on external dimensions and published propellant and propulsion data to reach their new conclusions. This approach has limits, though their previous estimates about the potential volume of sarin in the rockets’ warheads has stood up for months, and was implicitly seconded by the United Nations in its mid-September report into chemical weapons use in Syria’s civil war.)

ABOUT THE IMAGE

Schematic of 9M22-U, one of the standard Soviet/Russian HE rockets in the extended 122-mm family. This rocket, and its many brothers and cousins, can be fired through the BM-21 and knock-off launchers, and via improvised launchers, too. The 9M22-U’s motor assembly was the principal motor used in Dr. Postol’s and Mr. Lloyd’s new analysis.)

In Sangin, Power-Sharing with the Taliban.
For more than a decade now the bloody contest for rural Afghanistan has shifted, depending on the year and the American military’s priorities, from spot to spot, leaving behind a  list of previously little heard from valleys and districts where American grunts, and those who support them, fought bitterly hard.  
One of the most problematic districts was Sangin, in Helmand Province, where Marines paid with life and limb to try to push the Taliban from another remote place where it proved persistently strong.  
As the Marines pulled back, in keeping with Washington’s calendar, they ceded the lead to the Afghan army and police, where, to almost no one’s surprise, their Afghan counterparts found another way to walk the dangerous ground — by making an arrangement with the foe, no matter that…

…any appearance that the Afghans would be willing to essentially give back hard-won gains to the Taliban would be politically problematic, at best.
According to several people familiar with the details, including the deputy district governor and the local police commander for Sangin, the deal involved a company commander’s ceding at least two checkpoints to the Taliban. It was unclear whether more senior officers in the area condoned the move.
As part of the arrangement, which local officials said excluded the police force and other militias, the commander even drove the insurgents into the district bazaar to introduce them to the people, according to officials and witnesses.

Read the rest, here.
To those who fought for this place, told they would be bringing a better government and new way to corrupt and impoverished corners of an exhausted country, this sort of arrangement undermines sacrifices that they know too well.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPH
Marines from 3/7 on patrol in Sangin in 2010. By Corporal Ned Johnson, USMC.

In Sangin, Power-Sharing with the Taliban.

For more than a decade now the bloody contest for rural Afghanistan has shifted, depending on the year and the American military’s priorities, from spot to spot, leaving behind a  list of previously little heard from valleys and districts where American grunts, and those who support them, fought bitterly hard.  

One of the most problematic districts was Sangin, in Helmand Province, where Marines paid with life and limb to try to push the Taliban from another remote place where it proved persistently strong.  

As the Marines pulled back, in keeping with Washington’s calendar, they ceded the lead to the Afghan army and police, where, to almost no one’s surprise, their Afghan counterparts found another way to walk the dangerous ground — by making an arrangement with the foe, no matter that…

…any appearance that the Afghans would be willing to essentially give back hard-won gains to the Taliban would be politically problematic, at best.

According to several people familiar with the details, including the deputy district governor and the local police commander for Sangin, the deal involved a company commander’s ceding at least two checkpoints to the Taliban. It was unclear whether more senior officers in the area condoned the move.

As part of the arrangement, which local officials said excluded the police force and other militias, the commander even drove the insurgents into the district bazaar to introduce them to the people, according to officials and witnesses.

Read the rest, here.

To those who fought for this place, told they would be bringing a better government and new way to corrupt and impoverished corners of an exhausted country, this sort of arrangement undermines sacrifices that they know too well.

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPH

Marines from 3/7 on patrol in Sangin in 2010. By Corporal Ned Johnson, USMC.

Improvised Weapon. (Offered Without Comment.)
With many other bloggers and writers, we’ve offered several looks at the improvised weapons in Syria’s civil war. That beat has been well-trod.  
So for this number, which recently appeared on Facebook, even though there could be much to say, we’ll have no comment right now, beyond the words of the Facebook user who posted it.  
As is often the case with discussions about weapons, his comment was rooted in politics.  These:



The infidel West, led by America’s and Russia’s crusade …. They thought they could break the people of Syria to prevent arming the rebels ……. but they did not know that Sham Sham is blessed by Allah, the Lord of Creation ………





Takbeer!

Improvised Weapon. (Offered Without Comment.)

With many other bloggers and writers, we’ve offered several looks at the improvised weapons in Syria’s civil war. That beat has been well-trod.  

So for this number, which recently appeared on Facebook, even though there could be much to say, we’ll have no comment right now, beyond the words of the Facebook user who posted it.  

As is often the case with discussions about weapons, his comment was rooted in politics.  These:

The infidel West, led by America’s and Russia’s crusade …. They thought they could break the people of Syria to prevent arming the rebels ……. but they did not know that Sham Sham is blessed by Allah, the Lord of Creation ………

Takbeer!