Identify the SPG
Afghanistan Today: Narco State
(Strategypage) The United States and Pakistan openly agree that the new Afghan government cannot be trusted. It is definitely providing sanctuary for many Islamic terrorist groups. In August 2021 the elected IRA (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) collapsed and was replaced by the Pakistan-backed IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan). The new IEA declared a great victory but found that few people, not even most Afghans, saw this as a win. Foreign aid ceased. Nearly $10 billion of IRA cash held in foreign banks (to reduce corruption) was frozen and no one would recognize the IEA as the successor to the IRA. Countries in the region expect the IEA to collapse in a few years, which will leave the country a narco-state without any central government.
The Americans had an agreement with the Pakistan-backed Taliban that became the IEA. This new government continued to insist that its promise to not allow Islamic terrorists sanctuary would be enforced, but it wasn’t. This was even more disappointing for the Pakistan military which had provided sanctuary in Pakistan for the Afghan Taliban and played a key role in ensuring their Taliban replaced the IRA. This was seen as essential to ensure that drug production in Afghanistan thrived.
The Afghan drug trade depends on the Pakistan military for support. The drug cartels could be in trouble here because they depend on the cooperation of the Pakistan military to get key chemicals into Afghanistan so that opium sap can be refined into heroin and protection for their exports to world markets via Pakistan. This time the situation is different. The Pakistan military is also at war with its own government. Pakistan’s elected officials are determined to curb the autonomy and outlaw mentality of their military. It is generally agreed by most Pakistanis and neighboring countries that the Pakistan military is the main cause of Pakistan’s financial and Islamic terrorism problems. If the Pakistani military does lose its autonomy and the Afghan drug cartels lose their arrangement with the military, it won’t mean the end of drug production in Afghanistan. The drug cartels will have to pay more to get essential chemicals in and heroin out. That will mean less drug cartel revenue for the IEA. Given the lack of foreign aid and any other sources of income, payments from the drug cartels are essential.
* I’m happy to be well past the point in my life where I’d need to go to a university. Many American college students are now required to take DEI, anti-racism, or social justice courses. At Georgetown, all undergraduates must take two Engaging Diversity courses. At Davidson College, the requirement goes under the title of Justice, Equality, and Community, which students can fulfill by taking courses like Racial Capitalism & Reproduction and Queer(ing) Performance. In Flagstaff, AZ at Northern Arizona University recently updated its general education curriculum to require nine credit hours of “diversity perspectives” courses, including a unit on “intersectional identities.”
* We’re going to die – The Biden Regime extended the Covid emergency once again on Wednesday as Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 spreads. The first Covid emergency was imposed January 2020. Blah-Blah-Blah. Nobody buys it anymore. A lot of people believe that vaxes can cause more problems than they solve.
* The abrupt push by Democrats led by the Brandon Regime to ban gas stoves has enraged and confused Americans across the country. The good news is we may have found the primary culprit behind the push and it’s connected to the World Economic Forum.
RedState.com, which first broke this story, points out that prominent Democrats and liberals never demonstrated an iota of concern over gas stoves before. Not even noted low-IQ Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who made an utter fool of herself by claiming a study shows gas stoves are dangerous to brain health.
* When the World Economic Forum released the guest list for its 2023 meeting in Davos, Switzerland, many were surprised to find that it included Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
Kemp, who recently won re-election over far-left Democrat Stacey Abrams, will be in Davos along with the likes of Democrat governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois. They’ll be able to hobnob with Klaus Schwab and his merry band of globalists, including Bill Gates, the Soros clan, Larry Fink of BlackRock, Michael Bloomberg, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and many others with wealth and power.
* Since there won’t be a sermonette this week, check out this Daily Mail article for some backstage Papal politics.
* (Harvard) Harvard Medical School students can learn about how to provide healthcare to “infants” who are LGBTQIA+, according to a course catalog description.
“Caring for Patients with Diverse Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities, and Sex Development,” a regularly available med school course, promises to give students a chance to work with “patients [who] identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual.”
“Clinical exposure and education will focus on serving gender and sexual minority people across the lifespan, from infants to older adults,” according to the course description.
Students in the course may also “engage in a mentored scholarly endeavor” such as “advocacy, quality improvement, medical education, original research, or public health project.”
* More on (former prince) Harry’s penis…that is one sick young man.
The Russian Logistics Disaster
(Strategypage) Russia’s only arms imports now come from equally poor North Korea (artillery ammo) and Iran (nearly 2,000 cheap Shahed 131/136 cruise missiles. Payment is by barter. North Korea gets badly needed food and oil supplies while Iran receives modern jet fighters and other military tech. China and India help with the funding by purchasing heavily discounted Russian oil and natural gas.
Russian government debt issuance costs a lot more because of higher interest rates for what lenders call “high risk” (of default) debt. That has forced Russia to be selective in what military equipment it purchases. For example, the government won’t buy many new rifles for their combat troops because there are still lots of older weapons in storage. Those were so poorly maintained as to be often obviously rusty and barely operational. The newly mobilized troops complain but the federal government recognizes that most of these poorly trained and equipped soldiers won’t last long in combat. (cannon fodder) Local governments suffer most of the blowback for this and often organize efforts to raise money locally to buy new weapons and other equipment for the troops.
Russia depends a lot on its Iranian cruise missiles and North Korean artillery ammo to keep the fighting going. The Iranian missiles are not as useful as predicted because the Ukrainians now shoot down nearly all of them. There is still damage because the wreckage of the downed missiles often still has its explosives on board and these frequently go off when they hit the ground. If Russia uses a lot of cruise missiles in an attack, more will be downed inside an urban area, where the wreckage does some damage to the Ukrainian infrastructure.
Russia’s enormous prewar artillery munitions stocks are now depleted, while its production facilities are unable to expand. Before 1991 a lot of Soviet-era 122m and 152mm ammunition was produced outside post-1991 Russia. That includes Ukraine, Belarus, and other countries that have halted production and dismantled production facilities. Russia was not expecting a long war in Ukraine and did not have the artillery munitions available to fire all the shells and their available guns sent to Ukraine. On the front lines, Ukrainian troops have noted much fewer Russian shells fired at them. Ukrainian artillery, a combination of old 152mm and new 155mm guns are well supplied with shells and use more effective tactics than the Russians.
Russia sought to import 152mm shells but there were few suppliers available. Only North Korea was able draw on its stockpiled 152mm ammunition and increased production. This is all that prevents Russian forces from being overwhelmed by superior numbers of Ukrainian 152mm and (NATO supplied) 155mm shells. Ukraine has managed to repair the artillery ammo production facilities previously knocked out by Russian missile attacks or that were in Russian-occupied Ukraine. Eastern European NATO countries have limited stocks of Soviet-era 122mm and 152nn shells in storage since they adopted NATO-standard 155mm artillery. NATO nations have provided lots of military and economic aid that enabled Ukraine to begin rebuilding the damage Russian missiles and artillery have done to residential and industrial areas.
Russia has used up its own supplies of ballistic and cruise missiles; the few remaining are not enough to reverse the progress Ukraine is making in rebuilding its production capabilities. Ukrainian reconstruction is concentrating on keeping the lights on, along with other utilities (water, sewage disposal, and heating). While much housing has been damaged or destroyed, 20 percent of Ukrainians have left the country, at least temporarily, leaving enough unoccupied housing for those needing temporary shelter until their bombed-out homes are repaired or rebuilt. Some of the foreign aid consists of building supplies to speed the restoration of war-damaged housing. Russia is also suffering a smaller exodus of population. Most of these are military-age men avoiding mobilization or unemployed Russians with skills who can get jobs anywhere. These refugees have been sufficiently numerous to cause labor shortages inside Russia, forcing the government to import North Korean workers to deal with some of the shortages.
Neighboring Belarus is technically an ally but the relationship is more like Belarus being an unwilling donor of resources to Russia that makes no secret of the plan to absorb Belarus once Ukraine is conquered. Most Belarussians are pro-Ukraine. The pro-Russia Belarus leaders and their security forces (reinforced by some Russians) keep Belarus from actively supporting Ukraine. Central Asian nations that also became independent of Russia in 1991 see themselves as on Russia’s acquisition list and have adopted wary neutrality towards the Russia-Ukraine war. Like Belarus, the Central Asians also support Ukraine. This has limited Russian economic opportunities in Central Asia. China has sped up its efforts to replace Russia as the major foreign trading partner with the Central Asian states.
China has avoided any trade with Russia because of all the sanctions but has quietly increased its trade with North Korea and Iran. China does not give things away but is willing to sell to anyone who can pay. Iran has oil and North Korea has coal and minerals plus whatever its hackers can steal. China allows these hackers to work from China as long as they pay their own way and do not hack Chinese. The North Korean hackers have become quite good at stealing cryptocurrency, which China or Russia will accept as payment.
The more desperate the Russian economic situation gets, the more they have to improvise to survive. That’s an old Russian tradition that must be relied on more often than most Russians want.
Housekeeping: Work, travel, and the schedule will preclude me from blogging for a couple of days.