At some point in the next few weeks, a B-52H bomber will carry a missile high into the air and launch it at an unprecedented velocity toward its target, according to the U.S. Air Force. If everything goes according to plan, that missile will accelerate to more than five times the speed of sound before deploying a dummy second stage that will promptly “disintegrate” somewhere in the atmosphere.
The missile, known as AGM-183A, is supposed to be the first hypersonic weapon — or Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) — in the U.S. arsenal. It should move so quickly through the atmosphere — about 20 times the speed of sound — at such low altitudes that it’s impossible for enemy missile defense systems to shoot out of the air. And its speed means that it can be useful for destroying “high-value, time-sensitive targets,” the Air Force said in a statement.
Hypersonic missile designs, including this one, typically involve two stages.
First, a rocket accelerates the weapon to many times the speed of sound, while remaining at a much lower altitude than Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that arc high above the atmosphere before delivering their nuclear payloads.
Islamist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the assault through their radio station.
The attack featured clashes with heavy gunfire, which followed a car bombing. The entire incident took longer than 7 hours.
Among those killed at the popular hotel was the well-known retired General Mohamed Nur Galal, said Somalia’s Information Ministry. Another general and more than 100 civilians were reportedly rescued during the siege.
According to various reports, anywhere between 9 and 17 people were killed, and at least 30 were injured.
“The operation is over now,” said police spokesman Sadik Ali.
“I have never witnessed such a level of devastation,” said bystander Ali Ato, who said he went to the hotel to recover the body of a colleague.
Keeping troops in Afghanistan effectively kills peace deal
Since President Biden took office, his administration has been very hesitant on the Afghan peace deal, and is now to the point where reports say that the US is very likely to keep its troops in Afghanistan beyond May 1.
This comes just days after NATO reported that their own troops are staying in Afghanistan, and that came with calls for the US to stay for NATO. The May withdrawal of NATO and the US wasn’t some arbitrary figure, of course, and came as part of a peace deal with the Taliban.
The Taliban isn’t shocked by this development, and was putting Doha talks on hold surrounding the Biden inauguration just in case the US was no longer going through with the pullout that Trump’s Administration had nearly completed.
Keeping the war going, which is what all of this boils down to, is the predictable consequence of the US policy of the past week, which amounted to bad mouthing the peace process and scrapping the withdrawal.
On Wednesday The Wall Street Journal revealed that the Biden administration for the first time sent a B-52 bomber in a long range flight from the US to the Persian Gulf on Tuesday.
It’s the first such “warning” message to Iran under the Biden White House, in continuation of similar recent moves by Trump, and the sixth such B-52 operation over the Persian Gulf in only a few months. WSJ reports:
The B-52H Stratofortress, a long range heavy bomber, flew from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana on Tuesday and was expected to make a continuous flight across Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and down the eastern Saudi coastline near the United Arab Emirates and Qatar before returning to the U.S., a senior military official said.
The official said further that “Our intent is to maintain that enduring defensive posture, to deter any aggression in the region, promote regional security and assure our allies.”
Multiple Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force F-15 jets were seen escorting the bomber in photos posted by US CENTCOM.
The provocative flyover appears to be in response to the two latest attacks on the Saudi capital of Riyadh. On Tuesday a ‘mystery’ inbound projectile, likely a missile, exploded over Riyadh’s city center when it was reportedly intercepted by Saudi anti-air defense systems.
It followed a prior Saturday projectile fired at the city from outside the country, widely reported to have been a drone, which also seems to have been shot down before doing any damage.
The ascendance of the Joe Biden era in Washington is giving some lawmakers renewed hope that the lopsided executive-legislative power imbalance on war and peace issues will be addressed as a top priority.
According to a January 21 report in Politico, the top Democrats on the House foreign affairs, intelligence, and rules committees have written to President Biden calling on him to work with Congress to eliminate the 2002 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) and begin the process of paring down the 2001 AUMF that has justified every U.S. counterterrorism action since September 2001. There is some evidence the Biden administration intends to work with interested lawmakers on curtailing these resolutions.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff have spoken. Issuing a remarkable memorandum to all members of the Armed Forces, the JCS have declared that Joe Biden will be the new president of the United States. The memo may have been not only one to military personnel but also to President Trump: No matter how convinced you are that the election was stolen from you, don’t even think about remaining in power because we will ensure your forcible exit from the White House.
Unfortunately, relatively few people, including libertarians, comprehend that the Pentagon, along with the CIA and the NSA and, to a certain extent, the FBI, are the part of the federal government in which ultimate power is being wielded. They are the ones who are ruling the roost in America. That’s why that memo is so important. It’s declaring how things will be.
This overwhelming power is usually exercised behind the scenes in order to make Americans feel comfortable that their government is different from other national-security governments. While the national-security branch of the government is driving the overall direction America will take, especially with respect to foreign affairs, it permits the other three branches to maintain the appearance of power. The idea is to convince Americans that the federal government operates the same as a national-security state as it did when it was a limited-government republic.
Mired in financial collapse, moral decay, and lack of leadership & direction, the last sole superpower is lashing out in every direction, spreading brutal destruction throughout the world for nothing more than its own depraved sake This article from our archives was first published on RI in April 2015
The story is the same every time: some nation, due to a confluence of lucky circumstances, becomes powerful — much more powerful than the rest — and, for a time, is dominant. But the lucky circumstances, which often amount to no more than a few advantageous quirks of geology, be it Welsh coal or West Texas oil, in due course come to an end. In the meantime, the erstwhile superpower becomes corrupted by its own power.
As the endgame approaches, those still nominally in charge of the collapsing empire resort to all sorts of desperate measures — all except one: they will refuse to ever consider the fact that their imperial superpower is at an end and that they should change their ways accordingly. George Orwell once offered an excellent explanation for this phenomenon: as the imperial end-game approaches, it becomes a matter of imperial self-preservation to breed a special-purpose ruling class — one that is incapable of understanding that the end-game is approaching. Because, you see, if they had an inkling of what’s going on, they wouldn’t take their jobs seriously enough to keep the game going for as long as possible.